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What is intellective knowing as search? Here we have the key question. Intellective knowing as search is not being in search of an intellection, but a search in which one intellectively knows while searching and by the search itself. This brings up a multitude of problems, because searching is clearly an activity of intellective knowing which should be considered from two points of view. Above all it is an activity, but not just any activity; it is an activity of intellective knowing. As I see it, this activity of intellective knowing qua activity is what should be termed thinking. But one ought to consider as well the activity of intellective knowing in the structure of its intellection. This act of intellection has its own intrinsic structure and constitutes a mode of intellection determined by the activity of thinking. Thus intellective knowing not only has the character of activity, but is also a mode of intellection as such. The activity determines intellection as such, and intellection in turn determines the activity. As a mode of intellection, thinking activity is no longer mere thinking but something different; it is reason. Reason is the intellective character of thinking. Thinking and reason are not the same, but {26} neither are they independent. Rather, they are two aspects of a single act of intellective knowing as search. The activity of intellective knowing qua determined by a mode of intellection has, we may say, intellective character. But qua act which proceeds from an activity qua activity, this I shall term the activity of intellective knowing. That is what I expressed a few lines back when I said that reason is the intellective character of the activity of intellective knowing, i.e., of thinking.

In this manner we have before us two groups of problems which we must confront:

§1. The activity of intellective knowing as search, as activity: thinking.

§2. The intellective character of thinking activity: reason.





Seeking, I said, is an activity of intellective knowing. And in order to understand it one must begin by conceptualizing what activity is. Only then can we say in what, properly, the thinking character of this activity consists. These are the two points with which we must occupy ourselves.


What is Activity?

I am referring now to the concept of activity in general. To reach the goal it is necessary to refer to notions about which we have been speaking since the beginning of the book.

Activity is a mode of action. But not every action is the action of an activity. Why? Action is always something carried out, and only that, regardless of the connection between the action and the one doing it; this itself is a problem with which we have no reason to become involved here. The carrying out of an act can take on at least two different forms, because action has, qua action carried out, two different aspects. On one hand it is, purely and simply, an action carried out which has "its" corresponding act. And then we say that the doer is simply in action; this is "being here-and-now in action". Thus in the actions of seeing, hearing, walking, eating, intellectively knowing, etc., the corresponding "act" is produced in a formal way. By the fact of producing {28} this action, the doer (animal or man) is acting in the sense of being in action. But something different can happen. It can happen that the doer is in action, but not in any action which yet has its full act or formal content; rather, the doer is in a type of continuing action and continues an action which unfolds in different stages. Then we say not only that "he is here-and-now in action", but that "he is here-and-now in activity". Permit me to explain. Activity is not the carrying out of an action, it is not being in action, but being in the process of carrying out actions; activity is taking action, it is to be here-and-now in the process of action. Activity is not simply an action but an action which, I repeat, consists in being here-and-now taking action in a way more or less continual and continued. Taking action here does not refer to what is carried out—as if taking action meant that the corresponding act is being sustained, etc. Taking action does not refer to what is carried out, but only to the doer of the action. Someone can be acting in a dragged-out manner in a single action. This is not activity. Activity certain has something of action, but such action does not even its act without something more, something which leads to the act, because activity consists in being here-and-now in action. Activity which has something of action is, nonetheless, not by itself action with its act. This taking action, which is at one and the same time more than action from a certain point of view, and less than action from another (since by itself it does not have its complete act), this strange taking action, I say, is precisely activity. In activity one is involved in that action which is not only producing actions but producing them by taking action. All activity involves action (since it leads to actions), although not every action is carried out by a doer in activity. {29}

It is necessary to forcefully reject the idea that the superior form of taking action is activity. On the contrary, activity is only a modality of action, and ultimately is the successor of a full action. The fullness consists, in fact, of having its "act". And activity is activity in the order of achieving this act. Thus, to be living or to be in movement is not activity, but simply action, because in them the doer is only in action. But on the other hand, looking from side to side or being in physical agitation are activities. Thus, being in action and being in activity are not the same. Activity is thus taking action; it is something on the order of that action which is the only thing which the "act" has, act in the double sense of being "the act" and of being its full, formal content. It is this which I term ‘act’ in the strict sense; and therefore I call this character ‘actuity’. Actuity is not the same thing as actuality. I call ‘actuality’ the character of act, whereas actuity consists, as I see it, in the real being present in itself qua real. To know intellectively is not formally actuity but actualization.

Now, searching is the activity of intellective knowing. It is what we term ‘thinking activity’. Let us then ask ourselves, In what does the thinking character of this activity consist?


What Is "thinking" activity?

Activity is not pure and simple action, but is taking action in relation to a formal content of its own. And here this content is intellective knowing. The activity of intellective knowing is what we formally term thinking. {30}

Thinking, to be sure, is not just about what things are from a point of view which is, so to speak, theoretical. One does not think only about the reality of what we call "things"; rather, one also thinks for example about what one must do, about what one is going to say, etc. This is true. But even in this order, that about which one thinks is what it might be that he is going to realize, what might that be that he is really going to say. In thinking there is always a moment of reality and therefore a formal moment of intellective knowing. Conversely, this intellective knowing is an intellective knowing in activity, not simple actualization of the real. In order to have simple actualization it is not necessary to have thinking, because the actualization is already, without further ado, intellection. But one thinks just in order to have actualization. This intellective knowing, which by virtue of being so is already actualization, but actualization in progression, in the form of taking, this intellective knowing, I say, is just the activity which we call thinking. In thinking one goes on intellectively knowing, one goes on actualizing the real, but in a thinking manner.

The character of thinking activity is determined by the real which is open in itself qua real. Only because the real is open is it possible and necessary to intellectively know it openly, i.e., in thinking activity. In virtue of this, thinking activity has some moments proper to it which it is essential to point out and conceptualize rigorously.

a) Above all, thinking is an intellective knowing which is open through the real itself, i.e., it is the search for something beyond what I already intellectively know. Thinking is always thinking beyond. If this were not so, there would be neither the possibility nor the necessity of thinking. But it is necessary to stress that this beyond is a beyond in relation to the very character of reality. We are not dealing only with the search for other things—that animals do as well—but with searching for real things. {31} What the animal does not do is to investigate, so to speak, the reality of the real. But we investigate not just to find real things, but also to find in these same real things, already known intellectively before thinking, what they are in reality. And this is a form of the "beyond". Thinking is above all "thinking toward" the "real which lies beyond". Now, three directions for the "toward" spring into view, determined by the progress toward the beyond. The beyond is, in the first place, what is outside the field of reality. Thinking is above all to go on intellectively knowing, according to this direction, what is outside the things we apprehend. Thinking is, in this direction, an activity "toward the outside". In the second place, one could be talking about going to the real as a simple noticing, and go from it toward that which is noted in the real; the beyond is now a "toward what is noted". In the third place, it can go from what is already apprehended as real toward what that real is from the inside as reality; it is a progression from the eidos toward the Idea, as Plato would say. Beyond is here a "toward the inside". The "inside" itself is a mode of the "beyond" along the lines of reality. This is not in any sense a complete catalog of the primary forms of beyond, if for no other reason than that we do not always know toward which "beyond" the real may point and direct us. I have only sought to emphasize certain particular lines of special immediate importance.

b) Thinking, we said, intellectively knows, in activity, the real "beyond". Therefore, in virtue of intellectively knowing in openness, thinking is an inchoate intellection. This is the inchoative character of intellective knowing as thinking. It is not something merely conceptive, but something which concerns the progress of intellective knowing in a very important way. Every case of intellective knowing through thinking, by virtue of being inchoate, opens a path. I shall return to this point and discuss it at length later. For now it {32} suffices to emphasize that there are paths which in fact deviate from the reality of things. And this is because there are paths which do not seem to differ among themselves except very subtly, almost infinitesimally; it would be enough to just lean a bit to one side or the other to go onto one or the other of the paths. And this is just what thinking does. Nonetheless, these diverse paths, which inchoatively are so close, and which therefore can seem equivalent, may lead to quite disparate intellections when extended, intellections which may be absolutely incompatible. That initially slight oscillation can lead to realities and modes of reality which are essentially diverse. And the fact is that thinking is constitutively inchoate. A thought is never just a point at which one arrives, but also intrinsically and constitutively a new point of departure. What is intellectively known through thinking manner is something intellectively known, but inchoatively open beyond itself.

c) Thinking is not only open beyond what is intellectively known and in an inchoate form, but is an intellective knowing activated by reality qua open. How does this happen? Intellective knowing is just actualizing the real. Therefore the real intellectively known is something which is given as reality; it is a datum. What is this datum? The datum is above all a "datum of" reality. This does not mean that the datum is something which some reality beyond the given vouchsafes to us; rather, it means that the datum is the reality itself as given. To be a "datum of" reality is to be the "given reality" qua reality. Rationalism in all its forms (and on this point Kant accepted Leibniz’ ideas) always conceived that to be given is to be "given for" some problem, and therefore a datum given for thinking. This is Cohen’s idea: what is given (das Gegebene) is the subject matter (das Aufgegebene). {33} Intellection would be formally a thinking, and as such just a task. But this is impossible. To be sure, what we intellectively know of the real is a datum for a problem which is posed to us for thinking. But this is not the essential point of the question, either with respect to the idea of the "given" or the idea of the "datum for". Above all, this is because in order to be a "datum for", the given has to start by being a "datum of" reality. The real is, then, a "datum of" reality and a "datum for" thinking. What is this "and", i.e., what is the intrinsic unity of these two forms of datum? It is not a unity which is merely additive; nor is it that the datum is a "datum of" and also a "datum for". Rather, it is a "datum for" precisely and formally because it is a "datum of". Why? Because the datum of reality gives us reality in its intrinsic and formal open character qua real. Therefore it follows that the "datum of" is eo ipso a "datum for" what is beyond the given. And then it is clear that rationalism not only has not taken account of the "datum of", but moreover has a false idea of the "datum for", because it believes that the reference to thinking is that for which the datum is given, and which constitutes it as a "datum for". Now, this is wrong. The "datum for" is a moment of the actuality of the real in its openness "beyond". There is therefore a double error in rationalism: in the first place, it stumbles over the "datum of"; and in the second, in having interpreted the "datum for" as a datum for a problem, whereas in fact the "datum for" is first and foremost a form of actualizing the field in its openness beyond and not the form of intellectively knowing the real. Because the "datum for" is a moment of field reality "beyond", and only because of this, can it be a {34} datum for a problem. The openness of reality qua merely actualized in intellective knowing is the intrinsic and radical unity of the two forms of datum, datum-of and datum-for. Ordinary language expresses this intrinsic unity of being a datum with an expression which is not only fortunate but which, taken rigorously, manifests the unitary structure of the two forms of datum: things give us pause to think.[1] The real is not only given in intellection, but it gives us pause to think. This "giving" is, then, the radical unity of the two forms of datum in the real. And this giving us pause to think is just intellectively knowing in thinking activity. Thinking activity is not only open to the beyond in inchoate form, but is constituted as such an activity by the real itself which was previously known intellectively. From this point of view, thinking activity has some quite essential aspects which it is necessary to stress.

c.1) Above all, regardless of what it is that things may give us pause to think, being an activity is not what is formally constitutive of intellection. In and by itself, intellective knowing is not activity. To be sure, intellective knowing can be found in activity, but it "isn’t" activity, and moreover the activity is subsequent to the intellective knowing. The primary intellection of the real in its double aspect of being "real" and of being "in reality" is not activity. Affirming is not activity but just movement; and not every movement is movement in activity. Affirming is not activity but movement. Movement will only be activity when the primary intellection, in virtue of what is already intellectively known as real, is activated by what is intellectively known itself. And it will be so precisely because what is intellectively known is open reality qua reality. To be in the action or process of intellectively knowing by means of sight is not to be in activity, but it can turn into activity. {35} Thinking, then, is not something primary but is consequent upon the primary intellection. What is primary, and indeed chronologically primary, is the intellection.

c.2) In virtue of this, thinking activity is not only not primary but does not even arise from itself. It has been commonly said (as in Leibniz and Kant) that thinking is a spontaneous activity, in contrast to sensibility, which can be merely receptive; thinking in that case would be spontaneity. But this is false for two reasons.

Above all, it is false because true human sensibility is not just receptive and not just a receiving of affections, but is the physical presentation of what is impressing as real, i.e., otherness, intellective sensibility. But that is not what is important to me now, which is rather to insist on the fact that thinking is not an activity which spontaneously arises out of itself. And it does not do so because the intelligence is constituted in activity only as a result of the datum of open reality. It is things which give us pause to think, and therefore it is they which not only put us into activity, but also determine the active character itself of intellective knowing. We are intellectively active because things activate us to be so. This does not mean that that activity does not have in and by itself a specific character (as we shall see below), which might easily lead to the error of believing that thinking is a spontaneous activity. But the truth is that it is not spontaneous; rather, primary intellection, and therefore the real itself, are what makes us, in a certain way, to be spontaneous. To give us pause to think is, in fact, something given by real things; but what the real things give us is just "to think". In the first respect, thinking is not spontaneous; but it can seem to be so in a certain way, albeit erroneously, by virtue of the second respect. Without {36} things there would be no thinking; but with those things already intellectively known there is a specific activity, "to think". Thought, one might say, proceeds from real things by the "having to think" which these things "give" us pause to think about. This is the radical point which has led to the error of spontaneity.

c.3) Thinking activity is an intellective knowing activated by the things which give us pause to think. And this, as I already indicated, is an intrinsic necessity of our intellection in a field, because the openness of their reality is that by which things give us pause to think. Nonetheless, this is inadequate. It is necessary to add that this openness is not simply the openness of respectivity in the world; rather, it is this same openness qua apprehended in the field manner. If this were not true, there would not be thinking activity. Simple respectivity in the world is the open character of reality itself. If intellective knowing were not sentient, this openness would be intellectively known, as is usually said, by an intuitive intelligence, as just a note of reality. In this case intellective knowing would not be of the thinking type. But the openness is given to us sentiently, i.e., within a field. Thus its intellection is "trans-field", "beyond", i.e., is a progression. And this progression is thus thinking activity. The possibility and necessity of thinking activity are then intrinsically and formally determined by sentient intellection.

In summary, thinking activity is not just a particular case of the activity of a living man; i.e., we are not saying that human reality is activity, and that therefore everything human—including thinking—involves an activity. This is false in two ways. First, not every action of a living man is the {37} result of an activity; as we have seen, action and activity are not the same. Activity is taking action, something different than doing an action. The life of a living man is de suyo action, that action in which the living being realizes and fulfills himself while being in possession of himself. But this action is not therefore activity. It will be so only when the action is activated. Now, this can take place in many different ways, and that is the second reason why the conception of thinking activity as just a particular case of a presumed general activity is false. With regard to what concerns the intelligence, the activator of the activity is the real itself qua real; the real is the what arouses the taking of action, by virtue of being actuality in sentient intellection, and therefore open. And this taking, this activity, is thinking. As I said earlier, in Part I, it is not that life forces me to intellectively know, but rather that intelligence, by virtue of being sentient intellection, forces me to live thinking. Whence thinking activity forms part of the intellection of reality, not just intrinsically but also formally. As intellection is actualization of reality, it follows that thinking is a mode of actualization of reality. One does not think "about" reality but "in" reality, i.e., as already inside it and based upon what, positively, has already been intellectively known of it. Thinking is an intellective knowing which not only intellectively knows the real, but does so searching based on a previous intellection of reality and progressing in and from it. Thinking, as the activity of intellective knowing that it is, formally involves that which activates it, viz. reality. And it is not just that reality activates the intelligence in that form of activity which comprises thinking; but that intellectively knowing reality qua activating is an intrinsic and formal moment of thinking activity itself. {38} In virtue of this, thinking already possesses in itself, actually and physically, the reality in which and in accordance with which one thinks. This is what we are going to see.




Thinking activity, thinking, has intellective character. I have already said that I call the internal structure of thinking intellection its ‘intellective character’. Through thinking, thinking activity acquires an intellective character which is determined in its intellection. Now, by virtue of its formally intellective character, thinking constitutes reason. Reason is the intellective character of thinking, and in this sense is the thinking intellection of the real. Thinking and reason are but two aspects of a single activity, but as aspects they are formally distinct: one thinks in accordance with reason, and one intellectively knows in thinking reason. The two aspects are not mutually opposed, as if we were dealing with the fact that some subjective mental activity (such as thinking) managed to reach the real (e.g. by reason) from which it was previously excluded. This is not the case. To be sure, I have a thinking activity which is merely psychical by which I can, for example, turn over my thoughts. But turning over thoughts is not thinking. Thinking is always (and only) thinking in the real and indeed already inside the real. One thinks and one knows intellectively while thinking in accordance with reason. It is this thinking intellection of the real, then, which should be called ‘reason’.

The real as previously known intellectively propels us, then, to know intellectively in another way, viz. to know intellectively while thinking. But that real from which we start is not just a point of departure which we leave behind; rather, it is the positive support for our progression in its search. Thinking intellection, in its {40} intellective character, is reason; it is essentially and constitutively a progression based upon an intrinsic support. It is a support in which we have already intellectively known the real. And in its intellective progress, reason must go on by newly actualizing the real in a cautious manner, i.e., by going over its steps again and again. And it is precisely on account of this that that the activity is called ‘thinking’ or pensare [in Latin], a word closely related etymologically to ‘weighing’ or pesare. Thinking has the intellective character of a repeated weighing of the real "in" reality itself in order to go "toward" the real which is inside of that reality. Thinking is weighing intellectively. One weighs reality; one weighs it over and over. And this intellective weighing of reality is just reasoning, explanation. Thus we speak of "weighty reasons". The reality which reason must achieve is not, then, naked reality—that was already done in primordial apprehension and also in the subsequent field affirmations. The reality which reason must achieve is reality weighed over and over. What then is that previous installation in the real? In order to answer this question, we must confront three serious issues:

1. What is reason?

2. The scope of reason.

3. Reason and reality.




We have just answered the question: it is the thinking intellection of the real. But this is just a generality. To make it precise, it is necessary to clarify that intellection in two of its essential aspects. This intellection, in fact, is mine above all. Of that there is not the slightest doubt. Reason is {41} above all my reason. But on the other hand, it is undeniably a reason about real things themselves. Therefore if we wish to clarify what reason is, we see ourselves constrained to examine successively what is reason as my intellection, and what is reason as the reason or explanation of things; only in this manner will we understand, in a unitary way, just what reason is.


Reason as Mine

Naturally, "mine" does not here refer to something subjective. Nor does it mean that reason is just a simple activity of mine, that activity which we call ‘thinking’, because thinking is formally the activity of intellective knowing, whereas reason (including my reason) is an intellective character of intellection itself. It is the formal character of an intellection brought about in thinking intellection. This means, then, that we are referring only to a mode of intellection, and therefore to something which concerns intellection itself as such. To speak of my reason means only that reason is something which modally concerns intellection.

Reason as a mode of intellection has three essential moments: it is in-depth intellection; it is intellection as measuring; and it is intellection as or while searching.

First moment. Thinking intellection is an intellection of something "beyond" the field of reality. I have already pointed out that "beyond" does not formally designate only other things which are "outside" of the field. "Beyond" is also that or those aspects of things within the field, but aspects which are not themselves formally in it. What, specifically, is this "beyond"? That is the essential point. One does not think about the {42} "beyond" in some capricious way, because it is not the case that one intellectively knows things or aspects which are outside of the field "besides" having intellectively known field things. It is not, then, that there is an intellection on this side of the field and "besides" that another "beyond" the field. On the contrary, one thinks about the reality beyond precisely and formally because the things which are in the field are the very same things which "give us pause to think". And this giving us pause to think is, on one hand, a being led to intellectively know what is "beyond", but on the other consists in being led to the beyond by the inexorable force of the intellection of what is on this side, so to speak. And it is in this that the "giving us pause to think" consists. To give pause to think is a sensed intellective necessity, by virtue of which the things in the field direct us to what is beyond. The beyond is above all the "toward" itself as a moment of the impression of reality. But this "toward" is not just an additional moment. The "toward" is, in fact, a mode of sensed reality qua reality. Whence it follows that the real not only directs us to something other, but does so by virtue of being already real in that "toward" which it directs us. That is, the "toward", as a mode of reality acquires, as we saw in Part II, the character of a "through" or "by". Therefore the "beyond" is not something which is just other, but is other "through" being "on this side" what it is. It is not a "deduction" but the very impression of reality in the "toward" as a moment of what is on this side. And this character is the "through" as sensed physically. What is not in the field is intellectively known in order to be able to better know intellectively what is in it. And the "beyond" consists in a positive way in this: in being something to which that "on this side" precisely and formally leads us in order to be able to better know intellectively the "on this side" itself. Thus we have here just the opposite of a simple additional item. And in virtue of that, intellectively knowing the beyond is intellectively knowing what, {43} ultimately, is on this side. That which gives us pause to think is what, ultimately, is intellectively known in the field. This "ultimately" can be the interior of each thing, but it can also be other things external to the field. Nonetheless, in both cases what is intellectively known beyond is always intellectively known precisely and formally as that without which the content of what is "on this side" would not be the reality that it is. This is intellective knowing in the "through". And it is in this "through" that the "in-depth" consists. To go to the beyond is to get to the bottom of real things, to understand them "in depth". And this "in depth" or ultimate nature, intellectively known, is just my explanation of them. Only by intellectively knowing this ultimate nature will I intellectively know the real things of the field. In-depth is thus not a type of indiscernible profundity, but only the intellection of what, ultimately, real things are. Thus, an electromagnetic wave or a photon is what, ultimately, color is. Their intellection is thus intellection in profundity.

Now, reason or explanation is above all the intellection of the real in depth. Only as an explanation of color is there intellection of electromagnetic waves or photons. The color which gives us pause to think is what leads us to the electromagnetic wave or to the photon. If it were not for this giving us pause to think, there would be no intellection of a beyond whatsoever; there would be at most a succession of intellections "on this side". And I am not referring only to the type of "beyond" discussed above, because the beyond is not just a theoretical concept, as are the wave and the photon. The beyond can also be what forges a novel; we would not create the novel if the real did not give us pause to think. The same could be said of poetry: the poet poetizes because things give him pause to think. And that which he thus thinks of them is his poetry. That what is intellectively known in this manner is a reality which is theoretically conceptualized, a reality in fictional form, or a poetic reality, does not change the essence of intellection as reason. {44} A metaphor is one type of reasoning about things, among others. What is intellectively known of the beyond is purely and simply the intellection of what things "on this side", in being intellectively known, give us pause to think. Therefore the intellection of the beyond is reason or explanation; it is intellection of the real in depth. But reason, explanation, has still other essential constitutive moments.

Second moment. Reason, as I said, is intellection of the real in depth; but this reason is brought to fulfillment in the reality "on this side" which has already been intellectively known. This reality previously known is not a simple "medium" of intellection, but something different. It is the "measure" of intellection. The fact is that every reality is a reality which is constitutively measured qua real. What does this mean?

Everything real is constitutively respective qua real. This respectivity is the world. World is the unity of respectivity of the real as real. Everything real is, then, the world precisely and formally by being real, i.e., by its formality of reality. In virtue of this, that worldly respectivity turns back upon each real thing, so to speak, in a very precise way: each thing is presented to us as a form and a mode of reality determined according to formality in respectivity. This determination is just the measure. Thus reality is not just the constitutive formality of the "in itself", of the de suyo; but rather the measure in accordance with which each real thing is real, is "in its own right", de suyo. Measure is not the unity of relation of real things; on the contrary, measure is, in each thing, consequent upon its respectivity as sich. Only because reality as reality is respective, and only because of this, is its formality a measure of its own reality. The real is reality but measured in its reality by its own formality of reality. So, reason is not just {45} intellection of the real in depth, but rather measuring intellection of the real in depth.

This requires somewhat more detailed analysis. Every measuring is based upon a measurement standard or "metric" with which one measures. What is this metric? What is the intellective measure of the real according to this metric? To answer these questions, it is necessary to recall that thinking intellection, my reason, is an intellection which is based upon what we have previously known intellectively in the field. Only by returning to this point of previous intellection will we be able to investigate the questions A) What is the metric? And B) What is the intellective measure of the real in depth?

A) My thinking intellection, my reason, does not intellectively know reality as a medium but as something already known intellectively, in a positive way, in a prior field intellection. This is an essential difference. If one wishes, reason intellectively knows reality itself not as light (that would be reality as a medium) but as a source of light (i.e., reality as measure). And this is a peculiar intellection, because in it one intellectively knows reality by itself, to be sure, but not as some additional thing. Rather, one knows it as something which I shall term "reality ground"; reality is the grounding of thinking intellection qua grounding. That is what I term a principle. The intellection of formality is reality as a source of light, as a measure; this is the intellection of reality as a principle. Under this aspect reason is intellection as a measuring principle of reality in depth. We shall continue to take a firmer grasp of the concept of reason as a mode of intellection. To clarify it, let us state first of all what it is to be a principle; and secondly, investigate what the principle of thinking intellection or reason is; and thirdly, clarify in a rigorous way the nature of this intellection as principle. {46}

a) What is it to be a principal, and how is the principle given to us? Reality as a principle is clearly reality as ground; and as such, the ground is a "by" or a "through". Now, to be a ground is always and only to be the ground of something else, of the field; it is, I repeat, a "by". This other thing, qua grounded, is something to which the so-called ground is open; it is a "by" as open. And conversely, the ground then has the formal and intrinsic moment of openness. It is on account of this that it grounds; ground is above all foundation.[3] But that is not all, because being a ground is a very precise and determinate mode of grounding; a grounding principle is only one mode of ground-ability. Now, what grounds does so when it grants to what is grounded its own character of reality: a) from itself (i.e., from what is grounding), and b) when upon granting it the grounded reality is realizing itself precisely and formally by and in the reality of the thing doing the grounding. The ground passes fundamentally into the grounded. That which is grounding has not only grounded the real but is doing so intrinsically and formally. That which is grounded is then real in a fundamental way. It is in this that being principle formally consists, as I see it. A principle is not just a beginning, nor is it the mere "from where" (the hothen) as Aristotle thought; rather, it is that which is doing the grounding making itself real from itself, in and by itself, in the real qua real. The principle is so only inasmuch as it is intrinsically "being a principle", i.e., making itself real as a principle.

How is the principle of intellection given to us? When that which is the ground is the very character of reality, i.e., when the ground is in-depth reality, then its intellection is, as I already indicated, {47} very peculiar. Reality is no longer naked formality of reality; that naked formality we have intellectively known in every intellection since the primordial apprehension of reality. Reality is not now naked reality but reality qua grounding. How is this reality qua grounding given? To be sure, it is not reality "itself" as if it were an "object" (let me be permitted to use this word for the sake of clarity). A principle is not some "hidden" thing in what has the principle. If that were the case one would intellectively know this "object" and would "later" add to it a relation, which would therefore be something extrinsic to the object, viz. the relation of grounding another object. But such is not the case, because if one considers just reality "itself", its being grounded is an intrinsic moment, not an added one. Reality "itself", in fact, is here actualized, is here present to us, not like "the" realities, i.e., like an object-reality, but is actualized and present to us in itself and formally as ground-reality, or if one wishes, as the real ground. This is an essential difference. The ground is reality, but reality whose character of reality consists only in really grounding. In the object, the real is "put", but as "against" (ob): opposite or contraposed to the apprehendor himself and to his apprehension. Here, however, the reality is not "put", but is here and now "grounding". Reality is not now actualized either as naked reality or as object-reality, but precisely as grounding. Reality is actualized now as real, but the mode of its actuality is as "grounding", not as "being here-and-now present", either in itself or against, "ob" something other. Therefore I call it ground-reality. This is not, I repeat, a relation added to its character of real, but its intrinsic and formal mode of being real. In the object, the real is actualized in {48} the form of being "against" (ob)—as we shall see forthwith—, whereas here reality is actualized in its own way, that of really grounding. It is, if one wishes, a presenting of the real not as something which "just is there", but as "being there as grounding". This is the reality apprehended precisely as a principle, i.e., principle-reality. Its mode of actualization is to be actualized in the form of a "by", as grounding.

b) Granting this, is reality the fundamental principle of thinking intellection? Definitely it is. Reality, in fact, is apprehended as reality constitutively open qua reality. If reality were not open there would be no thinking intellection because there would be no "beyond". Reality itself would be only real things. But since reality itself is open, it is reality itself, previously known intellectively in sentient fashion, which thrusts us from itself "toward" the beyond in an intellective search; i.e., reality is grounding. But it is grounding which creates a foundation precisely because it is reality already actualized in a previous intellection; and it is in this reality that, formally, the real thing is being newly actualized. Through openness, then, reality is grounding and foundation of thinking intellection; it is its principle. Reality qua open is what gives us pause to think, and this giving is what constitutes reality as the principle of thinking intellection. The "datum-of" is the principle of the "datum-for". This principle is therefore reality. But that must be clarified.

In the first place, we are dealing with reality not as naked reality but as ground-reality. In the second place, reality itself, which comprises this ground-reality, is not the moment of individual reality (qua individual) of each thing. We have already seen in Parts I and II {49} that naked reality is the formality of reality. Formality is the mode of otherness of the de suyo, which has nothing to do with what Scholasticism called a "formal" object or Duns Scotus called ‘formality’. Formality is here the mode of otherness of mere stimulus. This de suyo—let us reiterate even at the risk of being repetitive—does not mean only the fact of existence. Rather, it means that both essence and existence, as in classical philosophy, pertain de suyo to the thing. Reality is not formally synonymous with either essence or existence, although nothing is real without being existent and having essence. This formality of reality has two moments. Above all, it has a moment which, for lack of a better word, I call ‘individual’; this is the formality of reality of each real determinate thing. But when various real things are apprehended, we intellectively know that each of them determines that moment of reality, in accordance with which we say that each thing is in the field of reality. This is the field moment of the formality of reality. The formality of reality is thus not only individual formality but the ambit or scope of reality. It is a transcendental scope which encompasses all sensed or sensible things.

This field, qua physically real, is a medium in the intellection, a medium of intellection. The field of reality as medium is that in which something is intellectively known. This happens, for example, in the case of every affirmation. But it can happen that the reality is what leads to what is grounding, to the reality beyond, to the world of reality itself. Then reality is not a medium but ground-reality; this is the measuring principle of reality in the beyond. The field reality thus intellectively known is now more than a medium of intellection; it does not stop {50} being a medium for the intellection of the beyond, but it is more than a medium because it leads to the measuring principle. It is unnecessary to repeat that this ground-reality is not an object-reality. This reality is that in accordance with which I intellectively know, in a thinking manner, the measure: in this consists its being a principle. Now, it is on account of this that reality as intellectively known as fundament reality is the principle of reason.

This principle is not a judgement. The conversion of the principle into a fundamental judgement is one of the most seriously flawed reincarnations in the history of philosophy. Aristotle called the intellectively known thing the principle of noein; thus, he tell us, the principle of trigonometry is the triangle. But shortly thereafter this principle is transformed into a primary judgement, in large measure by Aristotle himself, who made the judgement called the ‘principle of contradiction’ the principle or the arkhe of his metaphysics. And thus we find it in modern philosophy, above all in Leibniz and Kant, who take for ‘principles’ one or several primary judgements. They are primary because they announce something upon which every subsequent intellection is grounded. In place of the triangle we now have a fundamental judgement. With this, the function of the principle becomes that of a primary rule or norm of every intellection. This is what has sent philosophy along the paths of mere logic. But it is unacceptable. A principle is reality itself previously known intellectively in field actuality, but now intellectively known as the ground-reality of every subsequent intellection. It is necessary to return to the original meaning of ‘principle’: it is not a judgement but a prior intellection of reality itself. Naturally—and I shall return to this shortly—we are not concerned with this prior intellection qua intellection, but with what is intellectively known or actualized in it, to wit, reality itself. {51} What Kant claims is false, viz. that reason is reason or explanation not of things but only of my knowledge of them.

This principle which is not judgement, I assert, is reality in its field moment: the de suyo of things within the field is what, in them, gives us pause to think. Thus the reality which reason intellectively knows is not naked reality, i.e., not reality such as it is intellectively known merely as formality of what is apprehended in sentient intellection, but is this same sentient formality in its field or ambient moment, apprehended in itself as ground-reality.

Therefore, though the content of the reality beyond is grounded upon the content of the reality on this side (perhaps as distinct from it), with respect to what concerns the character of reality, this character is physically identical on this side and in the beyond. Consequently the character of the reality of the beyond is not grounded in re (as a Scholastic would say) in the thing on this side, but is physically the same thing as that res on this side. The world of reality is the same as that of field reality qua reality. It is not the sameness of an objective concept but the physical and numerical identity of the scope or ambient of the real. The only thing grounded in re is perhaps its own content, but not its character as reality. The possible ground in re does not concern reality itself, only its content.

Field reality is reality "itself" in the field, reality itself in its structure on this side; reality "itself" of the world is that same reality in its structure beyond. The two structures are not independent. Their dependence is manifested in their same character. Field respectivity is the same as respectivity in the world, but, in a certain way, it is so qua sensed. And by virtue of this sameness field reality qua reality propels us to worldly reality. {52} Then reality in the world is formally the ground of field reality; it is ground-reality. We shall see this in greater detail below. These structures are always extremely concrete; therefore they consist not only in an empty respectivity, but also in a content, however problematic it may be, which intrinsically pertains to the respectivity itself.

c) Let us clarify this idea a bit more. The ground-reality is that in accordance with which the thinking intellection measures; it is just what constitutes the being of a "principle". In this respect, reason is intellection as a principle. To be sure, the principle which constitutes reason as a principle is what we can call the ultimate principle. Permit me to explain. Every thinking intellection is based upon something, and this something is by itself a principle of intellection. Thus, returning to the example of Aristotle, the triangle is the principle of trigonometric intellection. But this does not mean that in its turn, the triangle cannot be something whose own intellection is based upon the intellection of, for example, perpendiculars and angles. Then these latter are the principles of intellection of the triangle. This means that a principle can have its being as a principle only provisionally. But what is it that constitutes the being of the principle of reason itself qua reason? We are not dealing only with trigonometric or some other type of reason, but rather with reason qua reason. Now, the principle of all the limited principles of reason is "reality", reality in its physical and identical character. And in this sense, I say that reality is the ultimate principle, ultimate in the sense that its intellection is what constitutes the principle of reason as such. This is the ultimate nature of being a principle. It does not refer to an ultimate nature which is recurrent in the sense of a causal series or to anything of that nature. What then is reality itself as the principle of reason? {53}

To be sure, the principle is not "being" nor therefore "entity", because reality is something in principle prior to being and all entity. And this is not some triviality, as if we were dealing only with a change of words. Being, as I see it, is always and only actuality of the real it its respectivity qua real, i.e., actuality of the real in the world. On the other hand, reality is formality of the real as real, i.e., the real as something de suyo. Reality and being are not the same. The proof is in the fact that being has its own modes, which are not formally modes of reality; an example, as I see it, is temporality. Moreover, being is grounded upon reality and has its explanation there. There is no esse reale but only realitas in essendo. The principle of reason as such is, then, not being but reality. Therefore it is strictly false to think that being is the ultimate instance of things—that rather is "reality". I shall return to this problem at greater length.

This principle is not an objective, analogical, or univocal concept. And this is because we are not dealing with the case of reason finding itself compelled to intellectively know the real as something which the objective concept of reality makes effective, a concept which would be found to be at variance with the diverse categories of things or predicated univocally of them. Reality is not an objective concept, but the intellective actuality of a physical moment of the real, of its own formality of field reality. The field moment of reality is physically real. Insofar as it pertains to the field, it is a sensed moment; but qua real it is already an intellectively known moment. Reason is not thrust upon real things by the concept of reality; rather, physical apprehension of reality itself makes one intellectively know, physically, "the" reality in reason. And this is the principle of reason. Therefore reality as {54} principle is in reason not only objectively, but really. It is not something which needs to be achieved by reason, as if we were dealing with some passing from a concept of reality to the real part of things; rather, the fact is that reality as physical field is that which intrinsically and formally pertains to the intellection of the real in reason. This intellection, this reason, is already physically in that field. Whence a principle is not that concept into which all others are resolved; rather it is already physical reality itself in its field moment. This reality as grounding principle of reason can also be called ‘reason’, but not by virtue of being a mode of intellection, only in virtue of being a real principle of this mode of intellection. In place of an objective concept we have, then, the physical reality of what pertains to the field. Reality qua field reality is, in a certain way, the explanation or reason of reason itself. Therefore this intellection, I repeat, does not consist in intellectively knowing how something realizes the objective concept of reality, but rather in intellectively knowing how the physically real field is, qua reality, something determinate in each real physical thing; it is the intellection of the real itself measured by physical reality in its own nature as a field. Each real thing, as real, is a mode and form of reality as in the world, i.e., it is real as a formal individual moment in the field of reality. Therefore to intellectively know something as real in the field sense is not to intellectively know it "under" the objective concept of reality, but to intellectively know something "within" the physical ambit of reality, within the field moment qua formality of reality. Reality is thus a principle not only of the intellection of everything real in the most profound sense, but the principle of reason itself; it is the reality of what pertains to the field, not as such but as being the principle measuring of the real. In this respect—which is {55} certainly the most radical—reason is intellection precisely as the principle of the real. Hence the usual concept of reason, to wit, "faculty of principles", is for me false because the plural "principles" has no meaning unless one understands by ‘principle’ something like "fundamental judgement". And this, as we saw, is wrong. A principle is not a fundamental judgement, and therefore there is only a single principle: reality. And because of this, reason is not the faculty of principles but in-depth intellection of the real through principles.

The real, I said, is constitutively measured qua real. And it is because of this that reality has the character of principle, viz. that of being its own measure. The real is that which is measured in the field sense in its own formality of reality.

With what is this measuring brought about? With a canon. The intellection of the real in reason is not only via principles but also constitutively canonic, i.e., possessing a canon.

B) Canonic character of intellection via principles. We have intellectively known the principle, we have obtained it, in a prior field intellection of the real as real. This might seem poor, because the reality which we have intellectively known in the field manner is itself apparently poor and provisional. This is a question to which I shall immediately return. But it is in light of what we have learned about the principle that we are going to measure the real in the most profound sense, both in respect of its content as well as its mode of reality.

Consider some examples to clarify what I just said. In the most elemental field of reality we have intellectively apprehended that the material things in it are what we term ‘bodies’. In the progression beyond the field it has been thought for many centuries that the things "beyond" are also bodies—of another class, {56} to be sure, but still bodies. It required the commotion generated by quantum physics to introduce in a difficult but undeniably successful way the idea that the real beyond is not always a body. Elementary particles, in fact, are not corpuscles (neither are they waves in the classical sense, be we leave aside this aspect of them) but another class of material things. Borne along by the field intellection of things, we were disposed to intellectively know the things beyond the field as bodies, different perhaps, but when all was said and done, still bodies. The measure of the real was undertaken with a determinate metric: "body". Now, the progress toward reality has opened up to us other real material things which are not bodies.

But this is not all. In the process of intellection of real things within the field there has been decanted into intellection not just the intellection that the real things are bodies, but also and above all the intellection that to be real is to be a "thing", in the sense that this word has when one speaks, for example, of "thingness". That was the measure of reality: progression beyond the field was brought about by thinking that the measuring reality is a "thing". An intellection much more difficult than that of quantum physics was needed in order to understand that the real can be real and still not be a thing. Such, for example, is the case of person. Then not only was the field of the real broadened, but that which we might term ‘the modes of reality’ was also broadened. Being a thing is only one of those modes; being a person is another. Thus not only has the catalog of real things been changed, i.e., not only has a reality beyond the field been discovered, but the character of reality itself as a measure has changed, because a person is something different from a stone or a tree not just by virtue of his {57} properties, but by his mode of reality; the mode of reality of a person is different from the mode of reality of a stone or a tree: the measure of reality is not that of being a thing.

I have adduced these examples because they clearly show that progression is a search not just for new things but also for new forms and new modes of reality. Upon intellectively knowing the real in the field sense, we have not just intellectively known this or that thing, but also just what it is that we call ‘real’. These two dimensions are not independent. Their intrinsic unity is that with which the real is measured in thinking activity. The intellective part of this activity consists first and foremost of thinking in accordance with an intellective measure. That reality which is already known intellectively is not a medium but a measure, both with respect to what concerns what is real and what concerns that which we call form and mode of reality. Now, that which is measuring is always reality in the profound sense. But the measurement is always brought about by some particular metric. Reality as the measuring principle is what I term canon of reality. Here I take the word ‘canon’ in its etymological sense. The Greek word kanon is formed from another Greek word kanna which is of Semitic origin (Akhadian qana, Hebrew qaneh) meaning a cane, which served among other things as a standard of measure. Reason, the intellectus quaerens, bears this canon in its intellection, and with it measures the reality which it seeks, at one and the same time as real thing and as mode of reality.

This canon is not a system of norms for measuring the intellection of the real. The concept of canon entered philosophy with Epicurus and was revived by Kant. For all of this philosophy, the canon was a group of norms (logical or of some other order). The canon would thus be a system of judgements which regulate {58} the intellective measurement of the real. But this, as I see it, is unacceptable, because it makes affirmative predication the very essence of intellection. And that is wrong. A canon is not a system of normative judgements but is, as the etymology of the word expresses precisely, a "metric"; it is not a judgement nor a system of judgements which regulate affirmative measurement. This "metric" is just what was previously known intellectively as real in its form and in its mode of reality. The thinking intellection goes off in search of the real beyond what was previously intellectively known, based upon the canon of reality already known. It is essential to reiterate the main point: a canon is not the canonic of Epicurus and Kant, but what the word meant when spoken in Greece, for example the canon of Polycletus.

This canon, in my opinion, has very precise characteristics which it is necessary to point out.

Above all, the canon is always concrete; it has the character of concretness in an essential way. We have intellectively known the canon previously upon intellectively knowing the real in the field of reality. And already in that case, as I have said, we have intellectively known not just what each real thing is among others, but also—perhaps without realizing it—what it is to be real. Now to be sure, I intellectively know, in real things of the field, what in them is their being real. That is, this is an intellection which is essentially concrete. And this is just the canon of reality. We are not, then, dealing with the fact that in the field we have intellectively known in what being real consists in the abstract and in all of its generality; rather, we are dealing with the concrete mode in which what we intellectively know in the field is real. The canon of reality is what, through reality, we have intellectively known within the field. And this is an essential character of the canon. But it has still others.

In the second place, in fact, the canon does not have {59} a definite form of being a canon. On the contrary, there are many different modes of being a canon; there are different modes of measuring. When speaking of a canon, we tend to think that it consists formally in being conceptualized reality, perhaps concrete and limited, but always conceptualized. But this is not the case. The canon can be conceptualized reality, but it is not necessary for it to be so. It can be, in fact, an emotional measure, for example, or a metaphorical measure, etc. The metaphor is not only so in its content, but above all concerns its own mode—metaphorical—of measuring the real. The canon is not formally any of these natures; it is canon qua measure, regardless of the mode of measuring.

But this is not all. In the third place, the canon is essentially an open canon. Inasmuch as we continue to intellectively know more real things, the canon measuring reality continues to change as well. And this happens in two ways. The canon continues to change above all because what constitutes the field measure of reality has been changing. For example, what the canon is after having intellectively known "persons" is not the same as it was when we intellectively knew only "things". The measuring reality, in its concrete condition and within a determinate mode of measure, continues to expand or contract, but always goes on changing. But there is another sense to this variation, because the canon does not only consist in being a concrete metric of measurement; rather, things, when they are measured, turn out to be of greater or lesser reality with respect to reality itself as principle. Whence the canon itself remains open not just on account of real things, but also by virtue of the character of reality. {60}

In summary, the measure of the real in the intellection of reason has an open character which is rooted in principles and canonic. It is rooted in principles because it deals with reality as a principle; it is canonic because it deals with reality as a canon. The two aspects are inseparable: the principle is such for a canon, and the canon is always a canon according to a principle. Their intrinsic unity is a measuring moment of reason. In order to simplify, I shall call it a ‘canonic principle’. Reason has a first moment, that of being intellection in depth. It has a second moment, that of being the canonic intellection of this depth. But it has in addition a third moment, since reason is formally and constitutively reason, by virtue of being intellection in its quest mode.

Third moment. Reason progresses in measured fashion towards an in-depth intellection. Therefore it has this moment of being a quest for that which is going to be intellectively known. This moment of quest can lead to a mistake which it is necessary to root out. I have already hinted at it before. The fact is that we are not dealing with the quest for an intellection which we still do not possess; we are rather dealing with a proper mode of intellection, viz. the quest itself, quest or search as a mode of intellection. Reason is formally intellectus quaerens, i.e., inquiring intellection. It is inquiring itself as a mode of intellection. Reason is only a mode of intellection; it is not intellection pure and simple. Reason is formally and structurally a quest or search, because reason is intellection of the real insofar as the real gives us pause to think. Now, to intellectively know what gives us pause to think and is giving us pause to think, is the very essence of the search. Reason, then, is formally and structurally a "search". Thus to reason there pertains essentially not just the moment of depth and the moment of measuring, but also {61} its inquiring character. On this point philosophers have usually gone astray. What is this formal mode of intellectively knowing in the inquiring sense? I shall begin responding to this question by pointing out some essential aspects of the intellective search.

A) Above all, reason is dynamic. The matter is clear: reason is progression, and while not all movement is progression, nonetheless all progression is movement. Therefore reason has a formally dynamic structure. And it is essential to emphasize this. Reason is not just a system which is articulated in the nature of a principle and a canon, as for example in the demonstration of a theorem. This type of demonstrative system is, as we shall see, the result of reason, but not what formally comprises reason. Reason is a progression; and the principle and canon of reason are the principle and canon of searching, of the search for reality in depth. If reality were totally and completely apprehended in primordial apprehension, there would be no need to speak of reason. Intellection is not inquiring reason because reality is intrinsically articulated in a fundamental form, but because this fundamental articulation, precisely by virtue of finding itself only in depth, must be an articulation which is sought after. It is not enough for us to move within the field of reality; rather, we must progress in depth beyond the field. The difference between what is on this side of the field and its ultimate nature is the difference which makes the dynamic moment a progression of reason. It is this progression which has a canonic principle.

B) This canonic principle is not proper to just any progression, but only to one which is formally intellective; it is an inquiring progress, and the canonic principle is the principle of inquiry. The canonic principle is {62} formally a canonic principle of intellective search. Therefore this principle is not the canonic representation of the real. The canon does not measure the real in such a way that anything falling outside the scope of what the canon presents is declared non-real. The canon does not measure the real as representation, but on the contrary as a "direction" of search. Therefore it can happen, and in fact does happen—perhaps most of the time, as in the examples previously cited—that the real actually encountered is not like real things intellectively known in the field sense and presented in the canon. Nonetheless, the canon does not cease to function as a canon, since it is precisely by being directed by that representation that the thinking intellection is able to find diverse realities in it. The canon is directional. Only by going to seek bodies is it that reason has been able to intellectively know something "material" which is not "corpuscular". Reason is the directionality of a progression. To be sure, there would be no direction without representation; without intellection of bodies there would be no direction for searching beyond the field. But this representation does not consist in being the norm or measure of what, in fact, is real; but rather in being the direction of an in-depth search. All searching has a precise direction determined by a previous representation. To search is to go while opening for oneself a path in the light of the direction which has been marked out for us by what has already been presented. Reason is not a quiescent system of articulated strata, but a system of inquiry; it is directional reason. Reason is above all the direction of an in-depth search.

C) Reason as search is not just directional; by virtue of being so it is constitutively provisional. This is the provisionality of reason. Reason is always subject to possible canonic "readjustments" or "renovations", which by virtue of being so {63} are rational readjustments or renovations. Such readjustment clearly concerns the content of what is presented in the canon, regardless of the nature of this presentation, which may not necessarily be a visual image. But when all is said and done, the essential part of the matter is that the readjustment not only remakes the content of what is presented as real, but also the very direction of all subsequent search, of all subsequent reason; hence it is that the direction of reason is always provisional. Provisional does not mean that it is false; that is another question with which we shall deal later. Rather, it means that even if true, it is a truth which by its very nature will be not necessarily derogated, but superceded. The nature of this superceding depends upon the individual case. But it will always be the case that what is superceded, precisely because of its nature, is formally provisional.

Dynamic, directional, and provisional is how reason is formally inquiring. This inquiring character, as I have already said, is a moment of the proper mode of the intellection of reason.

Now, intellection is actualization of the real. Therefore if reason is inquiring, this inquiring is determined by the mode of actualization of the real. What is this mode by which it affects the inquiry? That is the question upon which it is necessary to focus after having analyzed some characteristics of inquiry.

We have already seen that reason is intellection thrust "toward" what is beyond the field, i.e., in depth. This thrusting does not happen in a negative way; i.e., we are not dealing with a case of the field expelling us to some realm outside the field. On the contrary, the field thrusts us from the field, to be sure, but within and not outside of the real itself qua real. That is, {64} the thrusting "toward" is a positive actualization of the reality beyond the field aspect of reality. The essential point of the question is this positive actualization. The field throws the intelligence in front of a real, but outside-the-field, reality. And this thrusting before itself, actualizing that toward which we are thrust, is just what the word pro-blem (from the Greek, pro-ballo, to throw something "in front of") means in its etymological sense. In a problem there is already an actualization, i.e., there is an intellection of reality; but this actualization is at the same time still not fully actual. This being-now-actual in a certain way without being so, or rather without being so fully, is the nature of the problematic. The problematic is not primarily the character of my progression, but is primarily the character of the actualization of the real. The real gives one pause to think. And this giving is precisely the problematic, something given by the real. Reality in the "toward" hurls me to a peculiar actuality of the real, to a problematic actuality. And this actuality of the real as a mode of actualization is what formally constitutes a problem. It is on account of this that problems are not created, but discovered or found. Only because the real is problematically actualized, and only because of this, intellection is—and must be—inquiring by intrinsic necessity. Inquiring is the mode of intellectively knowing problematic reality qua problematic. And this is inexorable. It is quite possible that, hurled by the real as problematic, we might retreat and not continue the intellection. There are millions of problems to which everyone can give a wide berth. But what is necessary is that we either stop before the problem or we give it a wide berth. And this necessity is just inquiring. Giving it a wide berth is a form of inquiring. The problematic determines an inquiring intellection as such. This {65} inquiring can have the negative aspect of giving something a wide berth, or the positive aspect of our taking up the problematic. This taking up can in turn have different modalities. Inquiry can be take up and resolve the problem. But this is not the general case, because there are perhaps radical problems which the strict intellection of reason cannot resolve. Then "taking up" means only treating the problem. The "treatment" of the problematic is already an incipient solution. But this solution can be something toward which the incipient treatment only directs us in a convergent manner; it is a convergence which most of the time would be only "asymptotic". In every case what is formally essential to inquiring reason is to be a "treatment" of the problem.

In summary, reason is a mode of intellection which has three proper moments. It is above all an intellection in depth. In the second place, it is a measuring intellection, i.e., an intellection of the real precisely as principle and canonic. Finally, it is an intellection with an inquiring character. The intrinsic unity of these three moments constitutes reason as a mode of intellection. If we wish to reduce it to a formula, we might say that reason is intellection in which in-depth reality is actualized in a problematic way, and which therefore compels us to inquire through principles and a canon about the real in-depth. Let us not take this expression as a definition in the usual sense of the word, but as a descriptive expression of what reason is, and it is something toto caelo different from what is usually understood by ‘reason’. It would not be superfluous to pin down further the nature of this difference.

D) Philosophy has customarily limited itself to a conceptualization of intelligence as affirmation: to know intellectively would be to affirm something of something—what many pages ago I termed {66} the logification of intellection. This idea runs parallel to another according to which reality and entity are identified, viz. the entification of reality. Both identifications are unacceptable; but what is now important to us, to clarify the problem of reason, is to concentrate on the logification of intellection. This logification has led to some concepts of reason which are vitiated at their very root. As we have already seen, according to these concepts, one understands by ‘reason’ the "faculty of principles", i.e., the faculty of fundamental judgements. And this is false because a principle is not a judgement based on principle, but mere sentient actualization of reality as ground-reality. A principle has to be understood not in a concipient intellection but in a sentient intellection. Judgement is only one mode among others of this actualization, and therefore is something derived from it. In virtue of this, a principle is "reality" itself. And therefore reason is not the faculty of principles but intellection as principle. And that logification of intellection, I repeat, is what has led to certain concepts of reason which are, as I see it, unacceptable. Without pretending to be exhaustive, we can reduce these concepts to three.

Above all, there is the concept that reason is logical rigor. This concept, in a definitive way, has led to understanding reason as a reasoning process. Thus the process of reasoning would be the supreme form of logical rigor. This logical rigor caused reason to be conceived as something absolute. The idea, in various forms, has been circulating since Parmenides, Plato, and even Aristotle, and in modern philosophy culminates in Leibniz. The rigor of the reasoning process would be grounded upon various kinds of rigorous evidence from the so-called principles of reason, i.e., in primary conceptual evidence, which for Leibniz were reduced to identities. Reason would be the organ of absolute conceptual evidence. {67} Hence, over and above sensibility, the absolute conceptualization of reason would float. Reason would be the canonic principle of the real, because a canonic principle would be a judgement of absolute conceptual evidence. If we go beyond what is apprehended sentiently, it would of necessity be by means of rigorous logic. Now, all of this is unacceptable not only as an idea, but even as a description of the fact of intellection, because to know intellectively is not to conceive and judge, but to sentiently apprehend the real as real; it is not "logical" but "sentient" intellection. And what carries us beyond the sentient apprehension of the real is not logical necessity, but the sentient actualization of the real in the "toward"; it is the real "toward", and not some logical necessity. The principle of reason is not concepts and primary judgements, but reality physically apprehended in the "toward". Reason is not the organ of absolute evidence, but the organ of the progression of intellection in depth of the real already intellectively known sentiently.

According to a second concept, reason is not logical rigor but dialectical necessity; the logos logifies reason in the form of dialectic. This is Hegel’s idea. For Hegel, logical rigor consists but in seeing the real in the mirror or speculum of reason "itself". Reality does not go beyond the "mirrored" or "specular" image of reason. Hence reason is speculative reason. The principles of reason are not a type of absolute conceptual evidence, but the unfolding of the speculative structure of reason. Reason is the unfolding of concepts. And the principle of this unfolding is not evidence but the intrinsic inconsistency of the concept. Reason cannot stop at a concept without seeing it dissolve into its opposite; then the original concept is recuped by incorporating into it this opposite, synthesizing a new concept from both, and so on ad infinitum. {68} The only consistent thing is then reason in its movement. Reason is movement, this movement is dialectical, and it consists in the turning of reason in upon itself; such would be the principle of reason under this concept. Reason would be speculative conceptual dialectic, in itself the very concept of the concept, i.e., Idea in the Hegelian sense.

But this is impossible. Reason is not movement within a concept; nor is it movement "in itself"; rather, it is a progression "toward the other", intellection of the beyond. Reason is not a movement of concepts but a search within reality. Reason is inquiring, reason progresses. And this progression is not, to be sure, the result of some evidence, as Leibniz maintained; but neither is it the internal mobility of concepts. Reality is not the mirrored or specular image of reason. It is not the case that concepts are in themselves inconsistent; rather, it is reality itself which is intellectively actualized in problematic form. What moves reason is not the inconsistency of concepts, but the problematicism of reality. And it is on account of this that intellection, whether inconsistent or not, is still of an inquiring nature. Inquiring is the intellection of the problematic as such. The progression of inquiring is, then, nothing but the progressive actualization of the real.

According to a third concept, reason is neither rigor of absolute evidence nor dialectical necessity. Reason would simply be organization of experience. This was Kant’s idea. The primary judgements of reason are not judgements about reality, but judgements about my intellection of experience. Regardless of how one interprets Kant’s philosophy (psychological, logical, or transcendental organization), reason must be the organization of these intellections. Such organization would have a precise {69} character, viz. totalization. The content of reason would not be the totality of the real but the logical totality of my intellections. Kant called these totalities (world, soul, God) Ideas. Reason is not the organ of absolute evidence nor the dialectic of the internal inconsistency of thinking; rather, it is purely and simply logical totalization. But this is unacceptable. And it is so for at least two reasons. In the first place, it is clear that reason is based upon what I have termed ‘prior intellection’. But these intellections upon which reason is based and to which I here refer are not intellections qua intellections, but the reality intellectively known in them. And since this intellection is sentient, it follows that reason is not the reason of intellections, but the reason of reality intellectively known in sentient fashion. In the second place, with regard to this sensed reality, reason does not organize its totalization, but its measure as open and in-depth. The presumed organization of experience is not the construction of a logically closed totality, because reality is in itself open qua reality. Reason is not organization but simply measuring as the principle and canon of the character of reality in depth.

The logification of intellection has led to three ideas of reason: organ of absolute evidence of being, organ of speculative dialectic, and organ of the total organization of experience. These conceptions are unacceptable at their root, because intellective knowing is not judging but sentiently actualizing the real. Whence it is that reason does not rest upon itself, but is always just a mode of intellection. Reasoning, speculating, and organizing are three ways—among the many possible—of intellectively progressing in depth toward the beyond. And this progression is by its own formal nature grounded {70} upon a previous intellection, a sentient intellection.

With this we have examined with some care what reason is as a mode of intellection, i.e., what is my reason. But this is not enough to conceptualize what reason is, because the fact that the reason is mine is just an aspect of reason. In an essential way, reason has another aspect: reason is reason or explanation of things. What is this reason or explanation of things? That is what we must now examine.



Reason as Reason or Explanation of Things

On this point I will be much briefer, because the subject really belongs to the intellection of reality, to metaphysics; and here we are only dealing with intelligence. It is only with respect to intelligence that one can speak formally of reason, because reason is always a mode of intellection. But if this is true, what sense is there in speaking of the reason or explanation of things? We must address two questions: A) Reason as something about things, and B) the meaning of this reason or explanation.

A) Reason or explanation is about things. Let us return to the point of departure for this investigation. Intellection of the outside-the-field real is an intellection in progression toward reality itself as such, because reality as reality is formally open. This progression is an intellective activity. Qua activity, the progression constitutes thinking. Qua intellective, this activity is reason. Thinking is the activity of the intelligence, i.e., the activity determined by the actuality of reality qua open. It is, then, an activated activity; it is, in fact, {71} real things which give us pause to think. Reason is the intellective aspect of this thinking activity. That is, reason intellectively knows in things that by which they give us pause to think. In this intellection, real things do not just give us pause to think; they give something more: they give reason or explanation. It is of minor importance that sometimes, perhaps most of the time, they deprive us of reason or explanation. But we encompass both directions of giving and depriving in that which a potiori we call "giving a reason or explanation". In intellective progression, real things begin by giving us pause to think, and end up by giving a reason or explanation. These are two different senses of "to give". But their unity is the "giving" as such. And it is in this giving that the reason or explanation of things consists. To be sure, reason is only a mode of intellection. But as this mode is determined by real things themselves, it follows that qua determined by things, reason or explanation is about them. Reason, then, is given by them both in its initial moment as well as in its terminal moment. In virtue of this, a given reason or explanation qua given pertains to them; it is the reason or explanation of things themselves. The "of" does not mean that my reason is about things only in the sense that by being a mode of intellection it falls back upon them. This characteristic applies to all intellection and not just to reason. Nor are we dealing with an "of" which is genitive in the sense of propriety or pertinence, whose subject would be intellection itself. We are dealing with the fact that reason pertains to things themselves. The "of" is a genitive of propriety or pertinence but whose subject is real things themselves. It is they which "give"; and since what they give is "reason" or explanation, it pertains to things. Otherwise they would not give it. Reason or explanation is something given. This is essential; reason is not something which one "has", but something which is "given" to us. Reason is intellection measuring reality. Now, things give us the measure of their reality; it is just in this that {72} reason or explanation consists. And this "given" is at one and the same time my reason and the explanation of things. It is at one and the same time the open character of the reality of the real. In this openness, the real gives us pause to think and gives reason or explanation, because only the open can "give", and only in the open can one search and find. To be sure, the question here arises as to what this finding is. But we shall speak of that later. Reason or explanation, in summary, is something belonging to things.

B) But, in what form is reality something which gives? Reality is the de suyo of things. And this de suyo sets limits for the "giving". To give reasons or explanation is then a moment of the de suyo; reality as canonic principle of the in-depth inquiring intellection is a de suyo. But this is not sufficient for the question at hand. Reality, in fact, is something which de suyo "gives", and it gives because it is open. Now this openness of the real has different forms.

Above all, the real is open qua reality, and it is therefore constitutively and formally respective. But reality is also open to real things qua grounding them. And we have previously explained what grounding is. Here openness is not just openness but an openness qualified as the ground itself, grounding openness.

But there is a third form of openness. Reality can be open not only by being respective, and not only by being grounded, but also by being intellective actuality. The intellectively known real is, as real, something de suyo, open therefore to being in intellective actuality. This intellective actuality can be at times just the primordial actuality of the real as real; this is primordial apprehension. But it can happen that intellective openness has the character of a principle, i.e., is an actuality in thinking intellection. {73} Now, I repeat, the intellective openness of the real as a principle is just reasons or explanation. And this opennes is the basis for saying that reason or explantion is of things. Reality is not open to being reason or explanation by virtue of being naked reality, nor by merely being actualized in intellection; rather, it is open to being reason or explanation by being intellectively actualized in form as a principle, and therefore ultimately by being actualized in sentient intellection. It is important to elaborate on this point, not just repeating it in different words, by discussing it from the point of view of the explanation of things.

a) In the first place, there is the very idea of the reason or explanation of things. Philosophy has distinguished reason or explanation as explanation of being from reason considered as the reason associated with knowing. But this distinction does not touch upon what, as I see it, comprises the fundamental aspect of reason. Reason is always reason or explanation of real things. Therefore in order to be able to speak of reason associated with knowing, it is necessary that a real thing be already present in its own character of reality. Now, that which is present is not naked reality but actualized reality. Between ratio essendi and ratio cognoscendi there is, as I see it, the ratio actualitatis. And it is from this that reason is formally extracted, i.e., reason is extracted from actuality. Naked reality is but a "what"; it is that in which the real consists. This "what" can be actualized in different ways. When it is actualized in thinking intellection, the "what"—that in which a thing consists—has actuality in a problematic mode; it is a "what" which problematically retains its full actuality, its full "what", that full "what" toward which the real thing itself qua real has directed us. This full "what" is, then, its what "for", its "because".[4] Reality actualized in the field manner, as reality, directs us as reality to {74} that which must be its full actuality, to its "what-for" or "why", as direction. The "toward" itself is reality in the form of "for". The "for" is the very openness of the "toward". Reason is always intellection of a "what", and therefore is intellection of a "what-for" or "why". Later I shall explain the structure of this which we call "what-for". It is not so easy to conceptualize.

The "what-for" or "why" is not a question which I formulate more or less arbitrarily about the actualized real; rather the question at hand is inexorably determined by the mode in accordance with which a real thing is actualized. This mode of actuality of the real is reason or explanation. As a questin, the "what-for" or "why" is the intellection of a mode of actuality of the real; it is the concrete positive aspect of the problematic. To be problematic is to be a "what" in the "what-for" or "why".

b) But this is not all, because that problematic actuality is eo ipso intellectively known by searching. And this means that the actuality in "what-for" or "why" is actuality which, by being a search, turns out to be ordered to being found. The actuality of the real in "what-for" or "why" is always and only something found.

The "what-for" or "why" is not just something toward which I am thrust in my inquiring; rather, as a mode of actuality in the "toward", it is something formally encountered in a search. This moment of the "being encountered" is a moment of actuality having positive character. This positive moment of the "what-for" qua encountered is what, precisely and formally, constitutes the "giving". That things give us reason or explanation means that their actuality is actuality found in them themselves, because we are not dealing with the case of finding by chance, by stumbling upon it, but with the formal character of something sought, i.e. of something found in a search. This positive character is therefore {75} formally constituent of the reason or explanation of things; it is just their "giving". We shall see shortly with greater precision in what this giving and this finding consists. But we can already say that they are moments of actuality.

c) But since it is actuality in that mode of "what-for", there arises the question of what is the character of the "what-for" qua encountered.

Above all, the actuality in question is not an actuality of the real in the world, i.e., the actuality to which we now refer is not being. The "what-for" is not a "why is it" something or other. To be sure, it is impossible to refrain from expressing ourselves in the language which has already been created and therefore it is impossible to refrain from saying that the "what-for" or "why" is always just a "why something is". But this is an ambiguous mode of expression. It could mean that the real "is thus in its reality". And this is something which is extremely precise. But it might also mean that the real "is" thus in reality. And this is false as an idea of reason. Reason qua reason or explanation is not reason or explanation of being. Reason or explanation is always so of reality. Reason deals with reality and not being. Reason as principle of things is not "reason or explanation of being" but on the contrary "reason or explanation of this being". Being is something which requires a principle and this principle is reality; reality is the reason or explanation of being. Reason is not the unfolding of being, as Hegel conjectured, but intellection of reality as a principle actualized in a thinking manner as reality.

The actuality in "what-for" or "why" is not, then, actuality as being in the world, but intellective actuality of reality. It is not just actuality of the real—that is proper to all intellection. We are, rather, dealing with an actuality in its mode of "what-for" or "why". And insofar as something is actualized as real in "what-for", we say that its reality is a ground. The actuality of the real in "what-for" is the grounding. {76} Reason or explanation is of things because it is their grounding actuality. Qua searched for, actuality is found in "what-for" or "why", and as such, this actuality is the ground.

Reason is, then, reason or explanation of a thing qua actuality in the "what-for", found as a ground.

We have thus seen what reason is as a mode of my intellection and as explanation of things. But both aspects of reason have an essential unity. It is necessary to attend to this unitary aspect of reason.


The Unity of Reason

All reality known intellectively by thinking, i.e., all reality intellectively known in reason, is reality whose actuality is grounded on and by reality itself as principle and canon. The essence of reason is to be thinking actuality of the real. It is by being thinking actuality that reason is "mine". By being thinking actuality it is essentially, like all actuality, actuality of the real, i.e., "of things". The unity of reason as mine and as explanation of things is, then, in the fact that reason is thinking actuality of the real. Let us clarify the nature of this unity.

In Leibniz this unity is a unity which we might say is one of indiscrimination. For Leibniz, reason is always reason or explanation of being. And this explanation of being is indiscriminately explanation of what a thing is and that it is intellectively known. This unity is what the celebrated principle of sufficient reason expresses: everything which is has a reason why it is rather (potius quam) than is not. It is ultimately more than {77} indiscrimination; it is an identity. Whence every logical reason or explanation always has some metaphysical ramifications. Now, this is quite impossible. Ultimately, the principle of sufficient reason is insufficient. First, because it concerns a reason or explanation of being; but reason is not reason or explanation "of" being, but reason or explanation of "this" being. And Leibniz did not see the explanation of this being: reality itself. Secondly, it is inadequate because the presumed identity between reason or explanation of being and reason or explanation of things is quite capable of being rejected, not just as a theory but by the mere analysis of the facts of intellection. It virtue of this, logical explanation is not, purely and simply, real and metaphysical explanation. The reason of intellection is one thing, and the reason or explanation of real things quite another.

It was necessary to establish, then, some "discrimination" where Leibniz has not discriminated. And etymologically, ‘discrimination’ means "critique". Hence the necessity for a critique of reason alone. That of course was Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The reason to which Kant refers is reason as Leibniz’ indiscriminate reason. Therefore the title of Kant’s book Kritik der reinen Vernunft should be translated not as Critique of Pure Reason but Critique of Reason Only. It is the critique of the purely logical ground of metaphysics, the critique of Leibniz’ logico-real unity. Kant’s critique as discrimination is perfectly justified; intellective reason is not the same as reason or explanation of reality. But does this mean that we are dealing with two reasons, split apart and separated as reason? That was Kant’s thesis. In contrast to the unity of reason, Kant set forth the simple duality of two reasons, incommunicado as reasons. But this, in turn, is impossible, because it is to pose the problem of reason along the lines of naked reality. Now, that is wrong. The reality upon which reason touches is not naked reality but actualized reality. And if it is indeed true that {78} reason as a mode of intellection is not the reason of naked reality (on this point, as I said, Kant is justified), still, when dealing with actualized reality, the question changes its aspect. Actualized reality does not cease to be real because it is actualized, even though its ambit of reality is immensely smaller than the ambit of naked reality, i.e., than the world. And as it is actualized in my intellection, it follows that the two reasons are not identical, as Leibniz claimed; but neither are they radically separated, as Kant claimed. The unity of reason is unity as intellective actuality of the real. And it is this which is the subject of the celebrated principle of sufficient reason. As I see it one should express the principle as: every reality, intellectively known in reason, is a reality whose actuality is grounded in and by reality itself. Actuality is, ultimately, actuality in sentient intellection, and reason is what the actualization of the real in sentient intellection gives us in the form of "by". It is sentient reason. Conversely, as this unity is a unity which is only radical, the two reasons, though not split, still follow separate paths. The real can be intellectively known as real, but this intellection will never be a mere logical unfolding of an intellection. We shall see this in the next chapter.

In summary, reason is the actuality of the real in a thinking search. As what is actualized is formally real, it follows that the real thus actualized is formally in actuality of reason. In this sense one ought to say that everything real is rational. But it is necessary to understand this statement correctly.

In the first place, we are dealing with the fact that the actualized real is inexorably found in the ambit of reason. ‘Rational’ {79} means, first of all, to be in the ambit of reason. In this sense everything real actualized in intelligence is finally but ultimately incorporated into the ambit of reason. What happens is that not everything real "has" a reason or explanation: it could be based upon itself without being actualized.

In the second place, ‘rational’ does not mean that the actualized real has the internal structure of something conceptual. ‘Rational’ is not synonymous with ‘conceptual’; that was Hegel’s mistake. For Hegel, everything real is rational, and for him ‘rational’ means that everything has the structure of speculative reason, i.e., the structure of a concept. But that is chimerical, because ‘rational’ does not mean ‘conceptual’ but rather to be intellectively known in thinking actuality. And this intellection is not necessarily the logical intellection of the concept. Reason can actualize the real in a thinking manner in forms which are not conceptive. Moreover, it can actualize the real as being superior to every rational intellection.

In the third place, the rational is not just what is actualized in thinking intellection, but is rational because what is thus actualized enters by itself into the ambit of reason. Here ‘by itself’ means that we are not dealing only with an arbitrary operation of human intellection, but rather that the real is actualized as real in the form of "what-for" or "why", i.e., it is already, by itself, actualized in the ambit of reason. We are not dealing with the question of whether reality in it is own internal structure, i.e., as naked reality, can be intellectively known by reason. And this is because we are not dealing with the nakedly real but with the actualized real. Moreover, within the realm of the actualized real itself, its content can be completely opaque to rational intellection. It is one thing for the real to be actualized in a "what-for" or "why", another for its content to be able to assume different forms in what is actualized. And it does assume them. One is the {80} form of transparency; the real in reason can be transparent to reason. But it can also happen that the real is not transparent but opaque. Opacity and transparency are two modes in accordance with which the actualized is intellectively known as a "for-what" or "why". Now, ‘rational’ here means only that the actualized real is by itself, i.e., by its very mode of actualization, the terminus of rational intellection. It does not mean that by being the terminus of rational intellection, that which is intellectively known necessarily has a character which is transparent to reason. Reason can intellectively know the real as opaque. In this sense the real, though rational in the sense of being by itself ensconced in the ambit of reason, can still have in its own structure moments which are not transparently knowable intellectively by reason. That is, the real can be, by itself, opaque. This is what, in common parlance, is termed irrational. The irrational is a characteristic of the real as intellectively known by reason itself. The irrational is not what "is not rational" but in a positive sense, what "is non-rational". Irrationality is a positive characteristic of what is intellectively known in reason. In this sense, the irrational is eo ipso rational. The real, in itself, as naked reality, is neither rational nor irrational; it is purely and simply real. It is only one or the other when it falls into the ambit of reason, i.e., when it is reality actualized in thinking. Now, as the real qua actualized falls in the ambit of reason for itself, it follows that the real is real in a "what-for" or "why". And only then can the answer to this question, the "for" or "because", be irrational. Irrationality is reason giving the actualized real in reason; or rather, it is one of the modes which things have of giving reason or explanation of themselves. It is a type of reason or explanation given by things. The real is immersed by itself in reason, both by being about things {81} as well as by being one of my modes of intellection. And in this sense, and only in this one, everything real is rational.

I proposed to do a study of reason. And I have centered my reflections upon three questions: What is reason? What is the scope of reason? And in what, concretely, does the unity of reason and reality consist? We have already seen what reason is (both as a mode of my intellection and as a mode of reason or explanation of things, and in their essential unity, i.e., as actuality of the real in thinking intellection). Reason is, in all its dimensions, a mode of intellection. But not every intellection is, of itself, reason. Therefore it is necessary to inquire about the origin of this mode of intellection. That is what I have termed the ‘rise of reason’.




As was inevitable, when examining what reason is we spoke at length about the rise of reason, covering the essential points. But it is fitting to recall in a systematic way all the things said on this topic, while at the same time covering certain points in more detail.

Reason does not rest upon itself, but has an origin. Here I understand by ‘origin’ or ‘rise’ that structural moment of reason by which it is, qua reason, something originated. We are not dealing with the genetic origin of reason, either in an individual or the species; rather, we are concerned only with the radically structural origin of it. Where does reason have its structural origin and what is its mode of origination? This is the question. In order to deal with it, let us proceed, as in so many other questions, step-by-step. {82}

1) Above all, reason is an activity, but an activity which does not arise out of itself. Modern philosophy has always conceptualized reason as an activity which arises out of itself, i.e., spontaneously. But this is impossible. Reason, in fact, is the intellective moment of thinking activity. Now, thinking is not a spontaneous activity. Thinking is certainly activity, but activity activated by real things. It is they which give us pause to think. Therefore reason, by virtue of being an intellective moment of an activated activity, is reason grounded upon something given. And by this I am not referring to the fact that reason intellectively knows what is given as an object about which to think; i.e., I am not dealing with the fact that reason is an intellection which has an object that it did not "put" there. Rather, I am referring to the fact that reason, as a mode of intellection, is a mode determined by things and therefore is a mode of intellection imposed by them. Things not only give us that about which we think, but also the very rational mode of intellectively knowing them; the impose it, because upon giving us pause to think, they eo ipso determine this mode of intellective knowing which is reason. Reason, then, is not a spontaneous activity but an intellective mode given by things. It has its rise, its origination, above all in real things inasmuch as their reality is what gives us to think, and what determines intellection in the form of reason. But that is not all. The origination has a root which is still deeper.

2) What is it that gives us to think? Real things, in their reality, give us pause to think. To do this, these real things have to be already present to us as real. Now, the mere intellective actuality of the real as real is intellection. Things give us to think because previously they were already intellectively known as real. Therefore reason {83} as a mode of intellection of what things give us pause to think is a mode of previous intellection of the real. In virtue of this, reason formally arises precisely from this previous intellection. Reason has its origin in things, but in things previously intellectively known as real. This is a deeper moment of the origin of reason. On account of it reason is not, as we shall see, a mode of intellection superior to naked intellection; rather, reason is reason by virtue of being grounded upon intellection and being a mode of it. Reason, by being intellection of what things give us pause to think in mere intellection, is an intellective progression determined by the inadequacy of this mere intellection. Only insofar as mere intellection does not intellectively know things adequately, only in this respect do things give us pause to think. And this thinking intellectively knows the reason of this "giving". Reason is always subordinate to primary intellection. But its origination has a yet deeper root.

3) What is it in the naked intellectual apprehension of real things which gives us to think? To think is to intellectively know reality beyond the field, in depth. Therefore it is because real things are intellectively known in the field manner as real that they give us to think. Reason, by being a mode of intellection in depth, is formally reason of the field, i.e., reason determined in the field sense to be reason. The origin of reason does not lie only in the fact that the real previously known intellectively gives us pause to think; it has an origin which in a certain respect is still deeper: the field-nature of the previous intellection of the real. The field is a physical moment of the real, the sensed moment of the world, of the respectivity of the real qua real. Therefore the field is eo ipso a physical moment of the {84} intellectively known real in its primordial apprehension, in its naked intellection. The field is not just a concept but is, I repeat, a physical moment of the real; and it is so precisely because respectivity within the world is a moment of reality itself as reality. That physical sense does not consist in being a "thing"—the field is not a thing which is intellectively known—but that in which and through which one intellectively knows one thing among others. Finally, this physical moment is not a "relation" but "respectivity", formally constitutive of the real qua real. In this "fieldness", the real is apprehended in a "toward", within the field and beyond the field. And this intellection of the real in the field manner "toward" what is beyond is what constitutes reason as intellection in search of something. Reason is reason that is originally field reason. Reason has its origin not just by being something given by real things and not just by being a mode of some previous intellection; rather, it has an origin because it consists in being field intellection in search of something. But its origin has a yet deeper root.

4) The field, in effect, is the sensed world as world, the sensed respectivity in the "toward". Now, to sense something as real is just sentient intellection. Sentient intellection is the intellection of which field reason is a mode. Sentient does not mean (as we have already seen) that its own object, primary and adequate, is sensible. If it were no more than that, the unity of intellection and sensing would be merely objective, and in such a case intellection would be "sensible". We are concerned with something much more significant, that intellection properly so-called is "sentient". We are not concerned then with sensible intellection, but with sentient intellection. So, the intellection of the real within a field in {85} the "toward" as depth is reason; and as this intellection is sentient, it follows that reason is formally sentient reason. Reason senses reality in the "toward", reality itself giving us pause to think. Its progression is a progression within a "toward" sensed, a sentient progression in the nature of the field real. Only because intellection is sentient, only because of that is it necessary to know intellectively, in the field manner, in reason; that is, reason is sentient. Reason has its origin not only by being something given by things, not only by being a mode of previous understanding, not only by being reason or explanation of what is in the field, but it has its origin primarily and radically by being a mode of sentient intellection, that is by being sentient reason. But it is necessary to clarify more the character of this origin, asking ourselves in what the formally sentient moment of reason consists.

5) The question cannot be justified further, because to say that reason is "sentient" seems to mean that what reason intellectively knows is something like the qualities sensed in a sensible perception. And that would be absurd. We are not dealing with anything like it at all. Reason is a mode of sentient intellection; therefore it is to sentient intellection itself that we must direct our attention in order to understand the idea in question. In what, formally, does the fact that intellection is sentient consist? What is the formally intellective part of sensing? To be sure, it is not in the nature of the sensed quality, i.e., not in the content of sensing; but rather in the type of its formality of otherness, in the formality of reality. The formally intellective part of human sensing is not in its content but in being an impression of reality. Intellection is one with sensing precisely and formally in the moment of otherness, in the moment of formality of sensing. The formal unity of sentient intellection is found in that the formal part (not just of the {86} intellectively known but of intellective knowing itself) is identically and physically the formal moment or formality itself of sensing, of impression. Therefore intellective knowing is sentient intellective knowing, and human sensing is intellective sensing. This unity is the impression of reality, which by being of reality is intellective and by being impression is sensed. The content of sensing is sensed reality only by being the content of an impression of reality. Now, reason is the mode of sentient intellection. And sensing the return to the world is how every impression of reality is transcendentally open. This openness, as we have already seen, is dynamic in two ways. First, in the form of dynamism toward other sensed things (the field), and second in the form of a search (the world). Every impression of reality is qua formality an open impression, not only in the dynamism of distance but also in the dynamism of searching. To see the color green as something de suyo is to be inchoatively seeing it toward other colors, and toward other realities. To apprehend something sentiently de suyo is a first step toward the world, a first primordial sketch of the search for the real in reality. As such, human sensing is already a primordial type of reason, and every form of reason is radically and primordially a mode of sensing reality. It is sentient reason.

Therefore reason as a search for the world in the field is not a question of concepts, nor even one of being, but a question of the impression of reality not qua impression of such-and-such a reality, but qua impression of mere reality, of pure and simple reality. Reason is a search for the world, an inquiring impression of reality. And now it is clear that the sentient part of reason does not refer to its own content, but to the impressive {87} character of that reality which reason intellectively knows in a particular way by progressing impressively in it; it is an impression of reality in progression. A transfinite number, an abstract concept, are not sensed qualities. But they are intellectively known as something real, and as such are constituted in the impression of reality as such. That reason is sentient means, then, that reason qua intellection is an intellective modulation of the very impression of reality. Intellection is mere actuality of the real in sentient intelligence; it is formally the impression of reality. And reason as a mode of intellective actuality is a mode of the impression of reality. Which mode?

In primordial apprehension or naked sentient intellection, sentient intelligence senses reality in itself and by itself in an impression as the formality of what is sensed. In the field intellection of the real which culminates in affirmation, the intelligence has the impression of reality of one thing among others, and the sensed formality then acquires the character of a field as the medium of intellection. But in reason, the intelligence has the impression of reality, of formality, as a measure of the real beyond the field in depth. Therefore strictly speaking reason not only moves "in" reality, but rationally "senses" the reality in which it moves, and senses rationally that it is moving therein. Reason does not search for reality but really searches for and dives into reality, precisely because it senses this reality and its own motion therein. The reality constitutive of reason is just reality in impression. Therefore reason is not primarily something merely logical, but rather it intellectively knows reality with that coercive force proper to the reality in which it is, i.e., with the force of sensing reality. In its inquiring, reason senses reality inquiringly. {88} In the primordial impression of reality, intelligence senses reality as naked formality; in affirmation, intelligence senses the impression of reality as a medium of intellection of the real; in reason, the intelligence senses the impression of reality as a measure or ground of the reality beyond the field. They are three modes or forms of the impression of reality.

Now, the impression of reality has a physical unity in accordance with which it is the impression of reality formally, medially, and by measuring. These are not three "uses" of the impression of reality, but three intrinsically necessary "modes" by virtue of being modes of a single sentient intellection—by virtue of being, that is, three "dimensions" of the actualization of the real in sentient intellection. These three modes are not constituted owing to the impression of reality, but "in" the impression of reality; they are that in which the very impression of reality unitarily consists. They are not derived from the impression of reality, but are the three dimensions constitutive of the primordial impression of reality. Conversely, these three dimensions of intellection (primodial apprehension, affirmation, reason) are distinguished only in being modes of sentient intellection. Of these three dimensions, the first, to wit, the impression of naked formality, can be given without the other two, but the converse is not true. And this is because the second, affirmation, is something essentially grounded upon the primordial impression of reality, and in turn reason essentially involves affirmative intellection. The unity of the impression of reality in these latter two dimensions is, ultimately, the "toward" of the naked impression of the formality of reality.

So when we say that reason is not only sensible but sentient, we are not talking about some sensualistic reduction of {89} affirmation and of reason, because "sensualism" means that the contents of judgement and reason are formally reduced to the contents of sensible impressions. And this is simply absurd. The fact is that in sensible impressions, philosophy has seen nothing but their content, and it has gone astray on the matter of their formal sensed moment of reality; i.e., it has not seen the impression of reality. Now, to reduce the contents of affirmation and of reason to those sensible impressions is absurd. But the formal moment of reality, the impression of reality, remains. And then to reduce the moment of reality of an affirmation and of reason to reality sensed in impression, to the impression of reality, is not sensualism. The moment of reality proper to affirmation and to reason is physically and numerically identical to the moment of reality impressively apprehended in primordial apprehension. We are not, then, dealing with a conceptual identity of that which we call ‘reality’ in the three modes of intellection, but with a moment which is formally physical and numerically the same in the three modes. The physical and formal unity of the moment of reality as impression is not therefore sensualism. It is, rather, sensism. And that is something quite different; it is one and the same impression of reality which in its physical and numerical sameness opens up the dimensions of affirmed reality and of reality in reason. Reason is sentient in this radical mode—and only there—, that of being a mode of the impression of reality.

The radical rise of reason is in the physically "unique" impression of reality. Reason is something which has an origin precisely and formally by virtue of being sentient. In virtue of this, I repeat, reason, like affirmation, is but a mode of intellection of primordial apprehension. Reason is not {90} something which by itself sits on top of everything sensed. On the contrary, reason itself is sentient, and rational intellection is a determinate mode of intellection of sentient intellection itself. Reason progresses in order to fill up insofar as possible the inadequacies of naked intellection. This progression, then, does not have supremacy over naked sentient intellection or primordial apprehension; it has, only in some respects, a certain superiority over it. This is superiority is only partial and within the narrow confines of reason. The progress of reason has a certain free and creative character with respect to the content of intellection. But it is, I repeat, a creation within very narrow confines. Nothing of what is intellectively known in reason is real without a ground—a ground which is necessary in principle—of what is intellectively known in primordial apprehension. But by virtue of being a ground, that which is intellectively known in reason is something real within that physical reality, something primary and unlikely to be lost of the impression of reality. Only primordial apprehension has radical supremacy in human intellection. The difference between naked intellection and reason is then given—and can only be given—in an intelligence which is sentient. It is what I call the ‘unprescriptive parsimony of reason’. And this is its power.

In virtue of that, the origin of reason, its radical origin, is in its sentient character. Reason is an act which modally concerns the impression of reality.

But this does not yet exhaust the problem of reason. The impression of reality, in fact, is but a moment, the moment of otherness of what is apprehended, the moment in accordance with which what is apprehended is, de suyo, what is present in apprehension. It is because of this that the real thus actualized is not only real but indeed has its own real content. The impression of reality is not a secondary {91} impression, but the formal moment of a single, unique impression of the real, of the impressive actuality of the real. Now, reason as a modulation of the impression of reality has thereby its own intellectively known contents, and does not leave them outside that impression. Reason is formally sentient by virtue of being a mode of the impression of reality; and on account of that, just like said impression, reason intellectively knows the proper contents of the real. Together with its impression of reality, these contents comprise a mode which is proper not only to the impression of reality, but also eo ipso a mode proper to intellectively knowing the real. Hence, having shown that reason modally concerns the impression of reality not only does not exhaust the problem of reason, but is the very point at which one poses the problem of what the rational intellection of the real consists. This is the problem of "reason and reality", the last of the three great problems which we posed to ourselves after having examined what reason is and what its origin is.





The "Problem" of Reason

We have seen that reason is a mode of sentient intellection, and that therefore it is intrinsically and formally sentient reason. This reason, like all sentient intellection, is {92} constitutively a mere actualization of the real. Therefore reason is not something which has to "achieve" reality; rather, it is something which is already constituted as reason within reality. We have examined how reality functions, so to speak, in its three dimensions of formality, mediality, and measure. Now it remains only to clarify that structure from another essential direction, something which we have sketched out in the last few pages. Reality, in fact, is not only actualized in intellection, but moreover by virtue of being so has possessed us. We are possessed by reality. What is this possession? The reader should excuse the monotonous repetition of ideas, but it is convenient to summarize what has been said.

Possession is not exclusive to intellection as such; it belongs to all intellection to be sure, but it does so because intellection is sentient. It is, then, to sensing that we must turn out attention, but very briefly so as to recap what has been said in Part I. Sensing is sensing impressions of things, or rather, impressively apprehending things. An impression has three moments which are not independent, but which are distinct from one another within their primary and indestructible unity. An impression is above all affection of the sentient. But in this affection there is an essential second moment: presentation of something else in and through the affection itself; this is the moment of otherness. But impression has still a third essential moment: the force, so to speak, with which the other of otherness is imposed on the sentient. This force of imposition is just being possessed by what is sensed. The unity of the three moments—affection, otherness, and force of imposition—is what comprises the intrinsic and formal unity of what we call impression. {93}

Impressions are quite varied. But this diversity has a very precise characteristic with regard to our problem. The other which is present in affection has above all a content of its own: color, sound, heat, taste, etc.; but it also has (as I have already said) its own formality. This is the mode by which those kinds of content are present to us, i.e., the mode by which they are "other". This formality is above all the formality of stimulation, the mode by which the other is formally other by triggering a response. The other is then merely a "sign". But the other can be present as other not in relation to possible responses, but in relation to what is present de suyo; this is the formality of reality. What is present then is not a "sign" but "reality". In these two types of impression, the other is imposed upon the sentient according to two different types of force of imposition. In the sign, the impression is imposed with the force of stimulation. In the formality of reality, it is with the force of reality. In the first case we have impression of a stimulus; in the second, impression of the real. Now, to apprehend something as real is what formally constitutes intellection. Therefore impression of the real is formally impression of a sentient intelligence.

Let us leave aside, for the moment, the content of this impression of the real, and attend only to the formality of otherness, which is what I have called impression of reality. If we call the act of intellectively knowing noein, as has been done since the time of the Greeks, it will be necessary to say that even since then this noein has been inadequately conceptualized. To be sure, the act, the noesis, has been distinguished from that which is present in us, the noema. But nothing more; philosophy has gone astray on the matter of the impressive character of the noein, i.e., {94} on its formal unity with the aisthesis, with sensing. The Greeks, then, and with them all of European philosophy, failed to realize that intelligence is sentient. And this has repercussions with regard to the very concept of noesis and noema. The noesis is not just—as has been said—an act whose terminus is merely intentional; rather, it is in itself a physical act of apprehension, i.e., an act whose intentionality is but a moment, the directional moment of the relational or apprehensive aspect of what is intellectively known in impression. On the other hand, the noema is not just something which is present to the intentionality of the noesis, but something which is imposed with its own force, the force of reality, upon the apprehendor.

In virtue of this, the noein is an ergon and therefore its formal structure is Noergia. ‘Noergia’ means at one and the same time that the noesis is relational, that it is impressively apprehenhending, and that the noema has the force of imposition proper to reality. This is the force of impression of reality.

Sentient intellection is possessed by the force of reality; i.e., the real is impressed upon us in three different ways. In the first place there is the force with which the real, as formality of what is apprehended in and by itself, is imposed as real. This is the primordial form of the impression of reality. Reality primordially sensed is not impressed upon us by any type of irrefutable evidence, but by something more than evidence: by the irrefragable force of being reality, by the primordial force of reality. The possible evidence—it is not, though, strictly speaking evidence—is but the expression of this primordial force. However in the second place, it can happen that the real is not sensed in and by itself, but only among other realities, i.e., at a distance. Then the impression of reality {95} adopts the form of an affirmation, and what is affirmed is but the reality apprehended in the impression of reality at a distance. What is apprehended is then imposed with its own force, which is demand or exigence, the exigent force of the real. Its noetic expression is evidence. Evidence is not constituted by the mere presence of the evident, but by the force of reality, by its exigent force. But the real, in the third place, can be sentiently apprehended in depth. This is the impression of reality in depth. Then reality is impressed upon us with its own force, the coercive force of reality in depth. Its noetic moment is just reason. Reason, affirmation, and primordial apprehension are but noergic modes of a single identical noergic impression of reality. Reason is modalization of affirmation, and affirmation is modalization of primordial apprehension. In turn, the otherness of the real in impression is imposed upon us with its own force, first in the irrefragable force of immediate formality, which is then turned into exigent evidence and later into the coercive form of reality. Affirmation and reason are but modulations of the impression of reality. They are noergic modes.

Reason, then, moves by its own force, by the force with which the real itself is impressed upon us as if it were a voice. This force is not some impulse in a vacuum. Just the opposite: it is a force which moves us but which constrains us to keep within the real. It is, then, a coercive force. What is proper to reason or explanation is not evidence nor empirical or logical rigor; rather, it is above all the force of the impression of reality in accordance with which reality in depth is imposed coercively in sentient intellection. The rigor of a reasoning process does not go beyond {96} the noetic expression of the force of reality, of the force with which reality is being impressed upon us, that reality in which we already are by impression. Therefore the problem of reason does not consist in investigating if it is possible for reason to reach reality, but just the opposite: how we are supposed to keep ourselves in the reality in which we already are. So we are not speaking about arriving at the state of being in reality, but about not leaving it.

This movement of reason is not just movement. Movement is dynamism, and moreover affirmation as such is dynamic. Reason is a movement, but different than affirmative movement; it is a movement of searching, a progression. It is a progression which arises from and is animated by the reality-ground, by reality in depth.

The progression itself is thus a movement in which one does not seek to reach reality but to intellectively know the real content of the voice of reality, i.e., the real. It is a search for what the real is in reality. The reality of the real is not univocally determined; this is indeed just the problematic of the real in the face of reason. In virtue of it, the progression is a movement within reality itself in order to describe what the real is in worldly reality just through the coercive force of reality. This force consists in constraining us so that the real which reason seeks is intellectively known as a content which does not draw us out of reality. What does this mean? We are not talking about maintaining ourselves in reality "itself" in some general way, i.e., formally consubstantial with reason. Even when what reason intellectively "knows" turns out not to be true, still, this not-truth is so within reality and through it. In this regard, the coercive force is a force which is formally constitutive of reason. Therefore when I am speaking about maintaining ourselves in reality I do not refer {97} only to something like a pretension of reason, i.e., to the fact that reason consists in pretending to move itself intentionally in reality. Rather, I refer to something much more important, to wit, that reason, effectively and not just presumptively, is already moving itself in reality. And this is absolutely necessary, with a physical necessity of the intellectively known itself, not of rational intellection qua intellection. What happens is that this is not enough. Without that formal and consubstantial immersion of reason in reality, there would be no rational intellection at all. But the problem lies in what reason can mean in its concrete form, because the voice of reality is a voice which cries out in concrete terms, i.e., it is the voice with which these real determinate things within the field constrain one to seek their reality in depth. Therefore they are a search and a coercive force which are both essentially concrete. One seeks the structure in depth of these concrete field realities, i.e., one tries to maintain himself in the in-depth reality of some very determinate things. And then it is quite possible that the immersion in reality, despite being consubstantial with reason, nonetheless draws us out of what these concrete things are in depth, and leaves us floating in a reality, physically real, but devoid of intellective content. It is not just a question of simply moving ourselves effectively in reality, but of not remaining suspended in it with respect to what concerns the determinate things in the field, whose in-depth intellection is sought.

It is to this concrete progression that we must now attend. The progression has a point of departure, viz. determinate realities within the field. In this progression reason has opened to its own ambit, one which is both distinct from {98} the previous field and in-depth. Finally, in this ambit the intellection of reason in its own character takes place. Let us examine these three aspects of the progression of reason.


The Support for the Progression of Reason

First, let us consider the point of departure of reason. Reason is not an intellection which only comes after other pre-rational intellections. Reason is an intellection determined by the intellection of real field things. If this were not so, there would be no possibility of a human reason. The determinant of rational intellection is previous intellection of what is in the field. What is this previous intellection? To be sure, it is not intellection qua intellective act. Classical philosophy has seen reason above all from the point of view of an intellection composed of prior intellective acts. The typical rational intellection would therefore be reasoning: the composition of the logoi, the syn-logismos or syllogism. But as I see it, this is not always true, and furthermore is never what is essential. The idea that the essence of reason is the reasoning process is unacceptable. The essential part of reason is not to be the combination of previous acts of intellection. The essential part of previous intellection is not intellection as an act, but what is intellectively known in the act or in previous acts. Reason, in fact, is not a composite intellection but a new mode of intellection determined by what was previous intellectively known. It is in-depth inquiring intellection. This new mode of intellection is not necessarily a composition of intellections. Each intellection is merely actuality of something real; but since {99} everything real is respective qua real, it follows that every intellection of the real is inquiringly referred, in depth, to other possible intellections. Reason consists in this formal referring process. Reason is not a composition of intellections; rather, there is composition of intellections because there is reason. That is, the process of reasoning not only isn’t reason, but moreover reason is the very possibility of all reason processes. This reason is the new mode of intellection. It is in this modal aspect, and only in this, that I say that reason starts from what was intellectively known in a previous intellection. What is this which was previously intellectively known?

The previously known is everything apprehended in the field manner. It is above all the real intellectively known in primordial apprehension. But it is also each thing which we have intellectively known at a distance in the field upon knowing what that thing is in reality. This intellection has two moments: the moment of simple apprehension and the moment of affirmation. I shall lump both moments together in the word ‘ideas’, in order to simplify the expression. That which has been previously known intellectively is, then, the field of the real and all the ideas and affirmations of what that real is in reality. These previous intellections do not have the character of "premises", first because rational intellection is not just theoretic, and second because reason is not formally ratiocination. Reason, when carrying out a reasoning process, is only a type—and not the most important type—of reason or explanation. But third and above all, they do not have the character of "premises" because the intellective set of the real, and of the ideas and affirmations about what the real is in reality, does not now function like a set of judgements, but like a set of intellections. Intellection is not formally judgement; just the opposite: judgement is what it is only be being affirmative intellection. Now, affirmation does not {100} function here like judgement, but like intellection, i.e., like intellective actualization of the real and of what this real is in reality. Affirmation itself is for our problem only a form of intellection. Whether or not it is affirmative, the intellection of what this real thing is in reality is an intellection. And it is as intellection that affirmations and ideas now intervene. Up to now, "real" and "in reality" have been but two moments of the field intellection of real things. Here this previous intellection has a new function, one which is modal. It does not intervene by virtue of its own intellective structure (primordial apprehension, ideas, affirmations), but in a new mode. This new mode consists in being the intellective support of the real in depth. Together with the real and what it is in reality, we have here reality in depth, what the real is in reality. Correlatively, the intellection of the real in primordial apprehension and in affirmation is now the voice of reality in depth. This new function is, then, the function of being the voice of reality. That which was previously intellectively known then has the modal function of being that in which this voice resounds. In what was intellectively known in the field resounds the voice of what the real is in depth. This resounding has two aspects. On one hand, it is the sound itself, i.e., the notes of what the field reality, as reality and in reality, is in depth. And this is not some vague metaphor, because to be resonant is in this sense to "notify" reality in depth. And notification is a mode of intellection. But on the other hand, the resonance has a second aspect. Things not only notify, but are also that in which what is notified resounds. They are not just resonances of the real in depth, but also the {101} resonators themselves. And qua resonators, these real things take on that new modal function which is to be principle and canon. Principle and canon are neither premises nor rules of reasoning. They are the field reality as resonator of what reality is in depth. This is the full force—and also the limitation—of rational intellection, of the intellection of the voice of reality in depth. This reality in depth is actualized in intellection in its own way, in the form of the ambit of resonance.


The Ambit of Rational Intellection

Ambit is always, in one form or another, an open ambit with respect to the things in it. But the ambit of rational intellection is open in a very special way. Let us see how.

Every field intellection is an open intellection: What a real thing is in reality is not fully actualized even in intellection or primordial apprehension, because this apprehension apprehends the real in and by itself; whereas to intellectively know what this something is in reality is to intellectively know it "among" other real things. Hence, when we intellectively know this something as real, what it is in reality is left open precisely and formally because the "among" of its reality is left open. This intellection culminates in affirmation. Every affirmation, then, takes place in an open ambit. And its openness is just the openness of the "among": only because something real is apprehended "among" other real things, only on account of this is this intellection open. This openness, then, {102} has a precise structure. It is an openness which is given only in the intellection of each thing, but with respect to other things actually apprehended already in the field in primordial apprehension. This "among" actualizes reality for us in the "toward". And just on account of that, the intellection of what this real thing is in reality is a movement which goes from the real toward other realities, and from them to the first reality. This is affirmative movement.

But in rational intellection the openness is different. Let us recall once again what was said earlier. To be sure, the entire field reality (i.e., real being and what these real things are in reality) sends us beyond the field. But it is beyond the whole field, not from one thing in the field to something else in it. Therefore intellection is not a movement from one real thing to another, but a progression from every field reality toward an in-depth beyond. Thus intellection is a special mode of movement, viz. a search in reality. And as such, it does not know if it is going to find something in this in-depth beyond. This is the openness not of the intellection of a thing with respect to others within a field, but the openness of all the field reality to a world, i.e., to reality. The openness of the world is not an "among" but the "respectivity" of the real qua real. Whence it is that the openness of the ambit of rational intellection is in a certain way absolute. And precisely for this reason its intellection is not simple movement but searching. Affirmative movement is movement in a field, but the searching, the rational movement, is a movement in the world, in reality. It is in this that the in-depth or profound nature of the real formally consists.

This openness, precisely on account of being openness in the world, is above all openness to other real things, but it is or can be {103} openness to other functions and modes of reality as well. This openness is absolute, because no matter how much we find, the searching never exhausts the openness of the world. And this is the essential point. In contrast to Leibniz and Kant, we must say that reason is neither total nor totalizing; rather, it is constitutively open. And this is not on account of the internal limits to reason but the very character of the real as impressively sensed. Reality is open qua reality, because its openness is but its constitutive respectivity. The task of reason is indefinite not only in the sense that it will never exhaust what concretely is proposed to it to intellectively know, but above all because what is intellectively known, viz. the real qua real, is formally and constitutively open, and therefore never closed and exhausted. In this open ambit, in this world, is where the intellective search of reason takes place; it is searching in reality. What is the character proper to this inquiring intellection?


The Character Proper to Intellective Search

We are dealing then with a search in a formally open world. But this does not mean that either the openness of the world or the search itself is not defined, because we are thrust into the search for real field things, and upon them we support ourselves in our search. Reason opens the ambit of intellection but only based upon real things. And this openness with support is what constitutes the character proper to intellective search. In what does this support consist? And what is it that is thus intellectively known? {104} These are the two points which we must summarily analyze. The questions overlap partially, and hence some repetition is inevitable. But despite that, it is necessary to examine the questions separately.

A) In what does support consist? One might think that it consists in the ground; then to say that reason is supported in what was previously intellectively known would mean that what is intellectively known in reason is something which has its ground in what was previously intellectively known in the field. If this were so, that which is intellectively known by reason would be only something which de suyo does not have reality; it would only be real insofar as it is grounded in some reality intellectively known in the field manner. To use a medieval formula, this is the classical idea that what is intellectively known in reason is by itself only objectivity—ens rationis—; only insofar as it has a fundamentum in re can it be said that what is rationally intellectively known is real. Now, said this way, and including all of its ramifications, this is not correct as I see it, because it is a conceptualization in which fundament and support are identified, and that identification is wrong. Every rational intellection has, in fact, two moments. One, that which is intellectively known; another, the character in accordance with which the intellectively known is intellectively known as real. And these two moments are not formally distinct; rather, they have essentially different characters.

The moment of reality, as we have already seen, is consubstantial with reason. Therefore reason cannot set itself the task of reaching reality, because it is already in reality. And this means, above all, that what is intellectively known by reason is not, in this respect, ens rationis but realitas ipsa. The reality in which reason moves is not based upon the reality of the field, but rather the reality itself of the field, in its physical numerical identity, is that in which reason moves. {105} To be sure, as I have already explained at length, the reality in which reason moves is ground-reality. And its function in rational intellection is "to be grounding". But grounding what? Why, just its content. The content of what is intellectively known rationally is based upon the content of what is intellectively known in the field manner. We shall see this forthwith. We earlier asked ourselves what a base or a support is. Support is always something formally "other" and also "prior" inasmuch as it conduces to the intellection of something different, but something called forth by the prior. The content of what is rationally intellectively known is based upon "the" reality in which reason moves consubstantially, i.e., without formal support. This character of support which the content has is therefore inscribed within the previous character of reality (when this character has as its function that of grounding). The character of reality is identical to the formality of the impression of reality. And therefore reason, even when it intellectively knows what is most inaccessible to the senses, is always and only sentient reason because it intellectively knows its contents within the moment of reality of an impression. The mode in which reality is grounding consists in being referred to the content of real field things as support of the content of what reason is going to intellectively know.

What is this which reason intellectively knows?

B) That which is intellectively known in reason thus has its own content, which is formally and identically inscribed in the character of reality of the field. This character or formality is just the open ambit of reality qua reality, an ambit already apprehended in the field manner. On the other hand, the content of what is going to be intellectively known in this ambit is what is based only upon the content of the field intellection. That content is not necessarily identical with nor is it {106} necessarily distinct from what is intellectively known in the field manner. What is different and new is the mode of intellection. Thus, for example, in ancient physics intellectively known elementary particles were corpuscles, i.e. something whose nature is identical to what bodies intellectively known in the field manner are. But the fact that the corpuscle of field intellection was a support and also a moment of intellection in-depth—this constituted a new mode of intellection. That which was intellectively known—the body—was the same, but it was different in its intellective function, i.e., the mode of intellection. The mode of rational intellection is just the mode by which reality itself is grounding the real. The mode of intellectively knowing a body is given. If one intellectively knows that what is in the world is a body, the content "body" is identical to the field content. But the fact that this content is a ground of the field, that is something new. What is new is that the field body, despite being a support of what is intellectively known rationally, might not be a ground of what is intellectively known. The particles (i.e. what is rationally intellectively known) are not bodies, but it is upon the body in the field that I have based myself precisely in order to intellectively know something which is not a body. Therefore in rational intellection reality itself is an open ambit in itself, i.e., an ambit which is open in the worldly sense, and moreover an ambit which leaves its mode of grounding free, so to speak, in openness, and therefore also leaves free the content of the grounded qua grounded. And this is what, ultimately, confers upon what is intellectively known in reason one of its own characters. Which one? Let us explain step by step.

a) Let us repeat: above all it is reality itself which imposes rational intellection upon us. This is the coercive force with which the impression of reality in depth is imposed upon us. All real things, we said, give us pause to think. {107} And this ‘give’ is the coercive force with which the intellectively real in depth is imposed upon us. Since the intellective moment of thinking is reason, it then follows that this mode of intellective knowing, reason, is something imposed by reality itself. Reality makes us intellectively know in reason.

b) But this which the real imposes upon us in depth—let us speak about it now from the opposite standpoint—is reality as mere ambit. And this being "mere ambit" has two faces. On one hand it has the most immediate face: forcing us to intellectively know the field real within the ambit as principle and canonic measure for grounding it. Under this aspect, what reality determines in intellection consists in reality adopting a rational form. That is, reality makes us to be in reason. The new mode of intellection is to be in reason. But to be merely an ambit also has another face. And this is that upon being in reality as mere ambit, its content as such remains indeterminate. Reality is imposed upon us with the force of having to endow it with some content. Now, it can happen that this content as real is given by real things which have been previously known intellectively; but the fact that this is a ground of the real in depth is something radically new, as we have said. On the other hand it can happen that the content is like that of field things. If being in reason is something imposed by reality, its rational content is never so; what the "grounding" structure of the real is, is not imposed. Whence it follows that the unity of the two faces of the imposition of reality is the necessary imposition of something which is what is not-necessary. This paradoxical unity is just freedom. The essence of reason is freedom. Reality forces us to be free. This does not mean that I can intellectively know just as I please, but that the determinant response of my intellection to the imposition of {108} the real in depth is to be necessarily free. I might not wish to intellectively determine the real in depth. That would be a negative act of reason, but still a negative act which is only possible through the free character of determining. The determination itself is not free, since it lacked nothing more, but its determining itself is free. Reality in depth is imposed upon us not in order to leave us in freedom, but to force us to be rightly free.

This does not happen in the same way in the case of reason and affirmation. Intellection of one real thing among others, the field intellection, intellectively knows—and I say it predicatively for greater clarity—that A is B. And this intellection, as we saw, is a movement in freedom. But the freedom is mediated by ideas (B) in order to apprehend the real thing (A). Affirmation is the realization of these free ideas (B) in the thing (A). In somewhat vague terms, we may say that B discharges a representative function: affirmation intellectively knows in a thing the realization of what is represented, an intellection which takes place in the medium of reality. On the other hand, the question changes when we are dealing with rational intellection, because then we are not talking about a field of reality but about in-depth reality itself, i.e., about the world. Intellection then falls back not upon the representative content of B but upon its grounding character. B now has a formally grounding function. Therefore the realization of B in A is now that of grounding A in B, whether realizing it or not. In virtue of this, the realization in depth is free in the sense that it freely creates the idea of the grounding character of B. Reason is not representation. In in-depth reality one deals with a realization but in the sense of grounding, and therefore something radically free. {109}

This unity (in freedom) of "the" open reality qua fundamenting and of fundamented content, is a unity of radical indetermination which confers upon the rational its own character, viz. that of being creation.

Rational creation does not mean arbitrary intellection; just the opposite: it is always a creation based upon and directed by that which is intellectively known in the field manner, in a progression from the field real toward in-depth reality, toward what a thing is in reality. Therefore it is a creation within very strict limits. It is a creation which has a principle and a canon, and in turn principle and canon are but principle and canon of rational creation. Things of the field are apprehended as they are; in-depth reality is found through principle and canon. And I am not limiting myself to apprehending what is given to me; rather, I am compelled to forge reasons, i.e., the ground of what is given and affirmed, regardless of what it is. Reason is creative intellection through principle and canon. This does not mean that reason does not contain truth and error; that is another question. I here affirm that something intellectively known in creative intellection is that in accordance with which or with respect to which reason contains truth or error. And this intellection, I repeat once again, is not necessarily a "representative" creation, but it is always a creation, let us say functional, i.e., of the fundamental and grounding character, of reality. I shall refer to this fundamental and grounding character, intellectively known concretely, as ‘content’ in this book, and not representation as such.

What is this creating? In what does creation by reason consist? What are its modes? Let us review summarily what was said about these three points in Part II of the book.

c) As the grounding character of content is not {110} univocally imposed by reality, one might think that what creative intellection does is to forge a "reason" or explanation in thought and attribute reality to it. Creation would then fall back formally upon the character of reality. As I see it this is not correct. Reality is physically consubstantial with reason. We are not dealing with an intentional consubstantiality but a physical one, and it is also formal and strict. To know intellectively and rationally is not to pretend that the content of this or that intellection is real, because reality is not a pretense of reality and still less a free pretense about it. The reality which reason intellectively knows is physically one and indentical with the reality intellectively known in every intellection preceeding the rational intellection. Reason does not have a pretense of reality but rather is already in reality itself. What reason pretends is that this reality has this or that determinate content, and therefore that this content, freely chosen, is a ground. We could call it grounding content. What is created is then not reality but the grounding content of in depth reality. In virtue of this, reason is not creation of reality but just the opposite: creation of the grounding content in reality.

In affirmation, a real thing A is actualized in the field B, and in turn the field B is realized in the real thing A. Realization and actualization are two unitary aspects of the intellection of something in a field. Of these aspects, realization is grounded upon actualization. Now, when intellection of the real in depth takes place, it has these same characteristics, but most probably in a much more complicated form since we are no longer dealing with the field but with the world. Rational intellection has two moments, viz. the moment of intellection of reality itself {111} as grounding principle, and the moment of intellective knowing of a real determinate content as grounded upon that ground.

The first is the intellection of in-depth physical reality as grounding principle. This physical reality is actualized in intellection and in its ideas; and its mode of being actualized, I repeat, is "to be grounding". In turn the content of previous intellections (ideas) takes on the character of the content of the real in the world. This is the realization of the content of the idea. The unity of these two moments is just creation. The in-depth reality is actualized in what was previously intellectively known, and in this actualization reality acquires its free content; this latter has been realized.

Hence the importance of reason: it is physical reality itself, in its grounding free content, which is in play. We have already found ourselves in an similar situation when we were studying field intellection. Field intellection is an intellection of the real as realization of something irreal. For just this reason the irreal inexorably has its "own" properties about which it is possible to debate. As I see it, this can only happen because the "created" is always and only the character of a content of physical reality itself. Physical reality actualized in a free system of ideas and previous affirmations can and does have more properties than those determined by the logical content of said ideas and said affirmations. And this is inexorable. Creation, then, radically and primarily concerns reason itself as intellection of the ground of something in depth.

But then we see clearly that this intellection {112} has, as I said a bit earlier, a second moment: the attribution of this "reason" or "explanation" freely created to a real thing. And this attribution is free. I can freely intellectively know that in-depth cosmic reality is the classical Hamiltonian ground, or the quantum field ground. And granting this, I intellectively know freely as well that a real field thing has in fact one or the other of those two grounding structures. This is the second moment of rational intellection, viz. that from the various grounds which I have freely created, I freely choose one as the ground of what I am trying to intellectively know in the field. The creation of grounding reason is the actualization of in-depth physical reality in what has been previously intellectively known. And this creation is prolonged in an intellective knowing of a concrete real thing with one or another ground: it is an actualization of the thing in one or another of them. This actualization constitutes the root of realization, the realization of the ground in in-depth reality, and the realization of this ground in the real thing which I want to intellectively know. Reason or explanation, then, is first an intellection of the real ground, and second an intellection of the fact that this ground is of a real thing which one is trying to ground, a ground realized in it. And these two moments taken unitarily in the reality of this thing in the world constitute the free creation of reason. And here we have the essence of reason as a free creation. In what, more concretely, does the rational character of this creation consist? That is the second question.

d) The free creation of content, whatever its nature, is supposed to have its own unity. It is not by chance that the creation is conceptual. One can intellectively know that that content has the "unity"—only apprehended poetically—of the metaphorical. It is not by chance that the content has a {113} type of unity which was fixed in advance. The rational part of this creation consists in being a creation in and of "grounding unity", of whatever type. When it is realized, this unity created by me takes on the character of a real in-depth structure: the system of centauric notes becomes a centaur, etc. And this structural unity is just grounding reason. The rational part of the creation is, then, precisely in the structure.

There is a type of structural unity that discharges a decisive function, viz. the structural unity which consists in being a "construct" system, i.e., a system in which none of its notes has its own reality as a note other than being intrinsically and formally "of" the others.[5] Being a construct system is the very essence of the real qua real. Whence its radical function. And it is on account of this that we are going to concentrate our reflection upon this structural unity. That system of notes should have, intellectively, its own coherent unity. And this unity can be established in many ways. The structural intellective unity of the notes can consist, for example, in being a definition. But it is not necessary that it be so. It can also be a system of axioms and postulates. This system of axioms and postulates is not just a system of definitions. What is unique about this intellective unity qua structural is being a "construct" unity. As intellective creation the unity is above all just coherent intellective unity. And this unity, I repeat, is not necessarily an intellection through definition. And it is not in the first place because definition is not the exclusive way of constructing intellective unities. Second, and especially, because definition is always a predicative logos. Now, predication is not the primary and constitutive form of the logos; before it there is a propositional logos which is the nominal logos. I leave aside for {114} now the fact that there is a form of logos prior to the propositional logos, viz. the positional logos. Now, the coherent intellective unity of the in-depth real is the intellective unity in a nominally constructed logos, i.e., in a nominal logos which affirms the notes in a construct state. When the logos falls back upon notes which presumably are ultimate and irreducible, we have the radical logos of in-depth reality. This unity is freely created.

The actualization of in-depth physical reality in this unity confers upon it the character of being the content of that in-depth reality. And in turn the coherent intellective unity has been realized in the in-depth reality. In virtue of this, the coherent intellective unity has acquired the character of primary coherent unity of the real: it is essence. Essence is the structural principle of the substantivity of the real. I have explained my views on these subjects at length in my book Sobre la esencia.[6] Essence is what reason has sought in this case. And in this search reason has freely created the essence, in the sense explained above. This is not the essence of reality itself, but reality itself in essence. Therefore the fact that the real has essence is an imposition of in-depth reality itself. But whether this essence has this or that content, however true my in-depth intellection is, will always be an open question. Every note, by being real, points to others in its physical reality, so that rational intellection of essence is constitutively open both insofar as my intellection never terminates, and insofar as the intellectively known itself, i.e., each note, in principle points to another. And we shall never know the amplitude of this pointing. What, in fact, does this amplitude mean?

Every real thing is a construct system of notes which {115} constitute it, and which I therefore call ‘constituent’. But among these notes there are some which are not grounded upon others of the system itself. And these notes are then more than constituent; they are constitutive, and what they constitute is the essence of the real thing. Their unity is, in fact, primary coherent unity. Now, amplitude is the difference between the constituent notes and the constitutive notes in the order of grounding of the in-depth real. And this is quite complex, because essence is what constitutes, as reality, the real thing of which it is the essence. And here is where the complexity of the problem begins.

The pointing, in fact, is grounded above all in the constitutive respectivity of the real qua real, i.e., is grounded in the fact that the real is constitutively in the world. This respectivity is what makes each thing not only real but constitutively a determinate form and mode of reality. In virtue of this, the reality of each essential note points to that which in the real thing in question is the radical and ultimate determinant of that mode of reality. Then ‘amplitude’ means the major or minor difference between some real notes and the ultimate and radical determinant in them of the mode of being in question. For example, the mode of being a person is radically different from the mode of being of any other apersonal reality. And this amplitude is opened up within the richness of these constitutive notes. However ultimate they may be, the cells or cellular components of a human organism are not what determine that this organism have a ultimate mode of being personal.

But this is a relatively exceptional amplitude, because all other real things, and even people themselves, before being modes of reality, are moments in such-or-such respectivity; they are forms of reality. Each thing is {116} respective not only to the world, to reality as such, but also to what other real things are in their physical suchness. This respectivity is no longer world but cosmos. And this cosmic respectivity determines a pointing not to modes of reality but to other real things, and to other forms of reality, to their structural notes. Then ‘amplitude’ does not mean the difference between some constituent notes and others which are ultimately determinant of the mode of reality; rather, it means the difference between some constituent notes and others which ultimately determine the cosmic respectivity of the thing and of its form of reality. Here the notes do not determine the mode of being of the real, but its formal inclusion in the cosmos.

Now, in both senses, the amplitude of the notes makes intellection of essence something constitutively open. This is not the place to investigate that question, because it isn’t the subject of the present book. I shall therefore limit myself to a summary indication of it.

Essence determines each real thing with respect to not only other real things but also to other forms and modes of reality. Each thing is "its own" reality. And this "its own" has two aspects. For one, it is a pointing to other forms and modes of reality; but for the other, it is the openness of that real thing towards its own reality. Only by virtue of the first aspect is respectivity pointing; by virtue of the second, it is constituting. Respectivity as pointing is grounded upon constituting respectivity. Constitutive notes, i.e. essence, make each thing "its own" reality, but within a prior unity which cannot be lost, viz. the cosmos. What is cosmos? One might think, following Aristotle, that cosmos is just an ordering, a taxis of things, the real. But one might also think that it is only the cosmos itself which has its own unity. Then {117} things would be parts or fragments of the cosmos, and therefore would not have an essence; only the cosmos as such would have it. Things would be only fragmentary essential moments of the cosmos. The unity of the cosmos would not be taxonomic but of a different character. In the case of the taxis the course of the cosmos would be a system of interactions of things. But if the structure of the cosmos is not taxonomic, then the course of the cosmos must be simply the variation of moments of a primary unity, something like the unity of the course of a melody. The moments of a melody are not found in interaction with other moments of it, and yet there is a melodic course which has a perfectly determinate structure. In this case the unity of the cosmos would not be taxonomic but melodic, following deterministic and statistical laws. The breakup of the cosmos into things which are really distinct does not, then, go beyond being a provisional breakup. And therefore the essence of each presumed thing is affected with a provisionality par excellence, with a radical openness.

What we have here, then, is how the intellection of that real in-depth moment is a constitutively open intellection in a creative sense. It is drawn from the sentient character of reason. Sentient reason must create what it is going to intellectively know by structural grounding and endow the real with this unity in order to convert it into primary coherent unity, i.e., into essence. And this, which culminates in the rational intellection of the essence of the real, completely characterizes all rational intellections: they endow reality with a freely created structural content by actualization of that reason in what is created.

How is this endowing brought about, i.e., how is the creative intellection of the real brought about? This is the third and last of the points which we must examine. {118}

e) Modes of rational creation. In its primary structure, as we said, reason is in-depth intellection of the previously intellectively known field reality. It is clear that, starting from what we might call ‘primary rational intellections’, reason follows its line of progress in-depth beyond the field. We shall see this below. But what is important to us here about this moment is the constitutive origin of reason, and this origin is found in what was previously intellectively known. In the previously known, reason has not only its point of departure but its intrinsic support. This support is ultimately the principle and canon of intellection with which reason measures in-depth reality. Reason is sentient. Its sentient part assures that what I intellectively know is reality; but the fact that this reality is the ambit of in-depthness or profundity is what opens up and constitutes the creative freedom of reason. This freedom concerns the content of in-depth reality. Insofar as I rationally know this content intellectively, reason is not of representative character but of grounding character; the content is created in order to endow reality with its concrete grounding character, because only from this latter does the content most proper to in-depth reality turn out to be "other" or even "opposite". I have here given the name ‘representation’ to everything previously intellectively known, not in the sense of being just simple apprehensions as opposed to affirmations, but in the sense that all these simple apprehensions and all these affirmations are what "re-present" real and true reality. This representation serves as principle and canon of rational intellection, i.e., of the intellection of the grounded character of content. But then it is clear, as I have already said, that although the grounding function is not formally the same as the representative function, {119} it is not completely independent of it. And this is because the fact that what has been previously known intellectively, the representative, can be the principle and canon of the ground indicates that this ground must have some support in that which is representative. The representative is the necessary base and support for reason, even though it may not be even close to adequate with respect to its grounding character.

Now, starting from this representation of what is effectively real in the field, rational creation tries to freely endow in-depth reality with its own grounding content. The mode of endowing is the mode of being supported in what was previously intellectively known for the free creation of the content of in-depth reality, i.e., it is the mode in which what was previously intellectively known gives reason or explanation of the real. What are these modes? As I see it, the endowing results in three principle modes.

First mode. In-depth reality can be endowed with a content in what I shall call free experience. In what does this free experience consist, and in what does the mode of endowing the in-depth reality in it with its own content consist?

First and most important, What is this free experience? Let us say what experience "is" here, what it "falls back" upon, "how" it does so, and in what this singular experience "consists".

What does "experience" mean here? Leaving aside for later the strict and rigorous concept of what experience is, it will suffice for now to appeal to the normal and common meaning of what is generally understood by experience. ‘To experience’ sometimes means in a tentative way to test or assay. In our case, this testing "falls back" upon the content which I have apprehended. And this is possible just because reality as ambit leaves {120} the content indeterminate, and therefore is the ambit of free creation. "How" experience falls back testing what was previously intellectively known is by testing in the form of freedom. Finally, what is freely tested regarding the previously intellectively known content "consists" in a modification of it; we test or seek to modify its content freely, not to be sure along the lines of its physical reality, but along the lines of its intellective physical actuality. Thus, for example, one takes the intellection of something which in the field sense is a "body", and freely modifies many of its characteristics, stripping it of its color, reducing its size, changing its form, etc. With this modification the body becomes a "corpuscle". The effort of free modification of the actuality of already apprehended content is wherein free experience formally consists. Free experience, then, moves in the actuality of physical reality itself. And the freedom of this movement concerns its content, a free movement based upon the principle and canon of what has been previously intellectively known.

It is useful to position this concept of free experience with respect to other philosophical systems, above all with respect to the idea of the experience of the fictitious. John Stuart Mill thought that together with what is commonly called ‘sensible experience’ or ‘perceptive experience’ there is an experience of imagination, i.e., an experience which is commonly called ‘image’ as opposed to perception. Mill tells us that this image is not reality. The idea has been coopted by Husserl in what he calls ‘fantastic experience’, which falls back upon the content of every perception when its character of reality has been neutralized. Now, what I call ‘free experience’ does not coincide even remotely with either of these two conceptions. In the first place, that upon which the free {121} experience relies is formally reality. And this reality is the physical reality of what has been previously intellectively known. Therefore this experience does not rely upon nor remake the image in the sense of imaginary reality; nor does it rely upon the fantastic qua neutralized in its reality. Just the opposite: free experience involves the moment of physical reality; it is not freedom from reality, but reality in freedom. And in the second place, this experience does not rely only upon the fictitious, but also upon perceptions and concepts, all of which formally comprise the intellective content of simple apprehensions. However experience does not rely only upon these simple apprehensions, but also upon all the affirmations of what has been intellectively known in the field manner.

Together with this conception of free experience as experience of a free jump from the empirical to the fictitious, the idea of freedom as the liberty to jump from the empirical to the ideal has often run its course in philosophy. In this view, freedom would consist in creating "ideal" objects. But that is impossible, because that upon which freedom relies here is not an "object" but "reality". And whatever may be the presumed "ideation", its formal principle and its outcome are always physical reality. Hence the so-called ‘ideal creation’ is not the creation of ideal reality, but creation of reality in an idea.

Free experience is neither experience of free fiction nor experience of free ideation. Free experience is a free modification of the content of what has been previously intellectively known, but a modification conducted in the ambit of physical reality itself.

Actualized in this free experience, i.e., in this modified representation, in-depth reality therein takes on {122} its content. How? What is the mode by which free experience endows in-depth reality with a content? The mode by which the content of free experience gives reason or explanation of the real consists in this content being a formal image or model of in-depth reality. It is understood that with this "model-like" content, in-depth reality gives reason or explanation of the real, and in many cases this is naturally true. But in many others we are witness to the historical unfolding of the collapse of this tendency to construct "models". In physics it was thought for centuries that in order to give an explanation of reality, it was necessary to rationally construct "models", for example Faraday’s lines of force, the mechanical model of the aether, the astronomical model of the atom, etc. In organic chemistry there is the celebrated model invented by Kekulé to explain organic molecules: the bonds between atoms, e.g. in the case of benzene hexagonal single and double bonds (Kekulé’s hexagon), etc. At one time it was thought by many that human embryology began from something like an invisible homunculus. Let us similarly recall the effort to take people as a model of in-depth reality; that was the "personification" of natural realities. In turn, men as well as all things were taken as vital souls, i.e., living things were taken as a model of in-depth reality. The list could be extended indefinitely. The effort was always to endow in-depth reality with a content that was the actualization in it of a model or formal image.

Here we have the first mode of endowing in-depth reality with its own content, viz. free experience. To be sure, the total or partial collapse of those models and above all the {123} rational profundization in them, led to other modes of explaining the real, to other modes of basing oneself upon what has been previously known intellectively, modes different than taking it as an image or model acquired in free experience. These other modes are, as I have already said, primarily two.

Second mode. That which has been previously known intellectively has not only its own notes but in addition these notes have among themselves a more or less precise structural unity. Here I take the word ‘structural’ in its widest sense, viz. the mode of systematization of the notes. This structure is something which has degrees of depth, from the simple unity of a mere group of notes to the primary coherent unity of essence, passing through all intermediate degrees. Here, then, ‘structure’ means the formal unity of notes. Now, in order to give explanation of the real I cannot rely upon the notes of field things themselves, but only upon their formal structure, in their mode of systematization. The mode of endowing in-depth reality with formal structure is what I call hypothesis. What is an hypothesis? What is the mode of endowing in-depth reality with content in this hypothesis?

‘Hypothesis’ is an expression which comes from the Greek hypotithemi, to collect, to establish something below something else. This "establishing below" has two aspects. One is the aspect of what is thus established; the other, the aspect of the act of establishing it. In English we call the first aspect what is "supposed" about something, the other, ‘supposition’. These two are not the same. Supposition is an act of mine, the supposed a moment of the real. Things supposed about this or that actuation, situation, or creation are not suppositions. The supposed is not primarily supposed by virtue of being the terminus of a supposition; on the contrary, the supposition is so {124} because that which is supposed in it is something supposed. The supposed is always primary. The Greeks called the supposed hypothema, and the supposition hypothesis. In English and other modern languages, only the second survives. Therefore the word ‘hypothesis’ is somewhat ambiguous: it commonly leads to believing that an hypothesis is a supposition, but it can also be the supposed itself. In our problem, the supposed, that which is "established below", is the formal structure of something. I therefore call it the ‘basic structure’. Hypothesis is the basic structure as something supposed of the real. The mode of the notes of the real being "systematized" is just basic structure, as opposed to a mere "diversity" of notes. This is the primary and radical aspect of hypothesis. Hypothesis (in English or Spanish) is not, then, mere supposition. If by ‘supposition’ one understands every conceptualization to be admitted more or less provisionally, then everything rational would be an hypothesis. But hypothesis is first of all the supposed of something, its radical structure. It is a moment of reality, what is established as the base of something, its basic structure.

Now, in what was previously intellectively known, I can freely attend to its basic structure and to its notes. In this last sense of notes, modification is free experience. But the hypothesis does not formally consist in free experience; rather it consists in being endowed with basic structure. Thus I intellectually knew what is supposed about the real in question independently of its notes. And then I could rely upon them in order to endow the in-depth real with basic structure. And I can call this endowing ‘hypothesis’, but now in the sense of supposition: it is the supposition that the supposed of the in-depth real consists in this or that thing supposed or basic structure. This endowing does not consist in supposing that my supposition is real, but in supposing that the real in which I am already here and now present, prior to all {125} supposition, has one determinate basic structure and not another. Repeating once again the formula, I shall say that we are not dealing with a supposition or hypothesis of reality, but of reality in suppostion or hypothesis. We are not dealing with hypothetical reality but with the hypothetical structure of the real in which I already really am. And in this lies all of the weight of the hypothesis, viz. in being what is supposed of the basic structure.

What is this matter of endowing the in-depth real with basic structure? What we are doing is to consider that the basic structure of the in-depth real is of the same nature as the basic structure of these or those field things. This is very different, as we shall see forthwith, from considering some field things as models of in-depth reality. Here we are not trying to model. We are trying to do something quite different, to homologize or make equivalent. The mode of endowing content to in-depth reality does not consist in endowing it with some model-notes, according to which the in-depth reality grounds something by being this or that model; rather, it consists in in-depth reality structuring the thing in question. To ground is here to structure. The structures of the in-depth real and of the field real are assumed to be homologous. This homology does not mean generalization. Generalization is an extension. And dealing with basic structures, there is to be sure a generalization, but one which is the consequence of a homology. Only because the structures are homologous can they be generalized. Therefore the equations of electrical potential are not a generalization of mechanical or thermal potential, but rather express a basic homologous structure, and only in this sense can one speak of generalization.

Let us take some more examples of homologies. A {126} social entity does not seem at all like an organism if we consider its notes; but since the beginning of the century it has been thought innumerable times in sociology that the basic structure of society, i.e., the mode of its "elements" being systematized is the same as the mode of systematization of the organs of a higher animal; this was the idea behind sociological organicism. Hence the idea of social "organization". This is the homology between the basic structure of in-depth reality of society and the field reality of living beings. It was also thought that the basic structure of the social is homologous not to that of living beings but to that of solid bodies; this was the idea of the in-depth reality of the social as "solidarity". Society is neither a dog (or other higher animal) nor a solid body; but it has been thought that the basic structure of in-depth social reality is homologous to the basic structure of a dog or of a solid body. Homology has intervened also in the physical sciences. Thus it is (or was) thought that elementary particles in some respects have structures homologous to that of bodies which rotate around an axis. But in elementary particles we are dealing only with homologous basic structures, because in these particles there is no rotation. Nonetheless, quantized angular momentum (without rotation) is attributed to these particles; this is ‘spin’. It is precisely because we are not dealing with modeling but with what I here term ‘homologizing’ that, in my view, it has been said for decades that elementary particles are not "visualizable". This does not mean the triviality that they are not "visible", but that they do not have notes which are the same as those of field bodies. This is clear in the case of spin, which represents purely and simply the homology of two structures, the {127} rotational structure of field bodies and the rotational structure without rotation of the elementary particles. Descriptively, light does not at all seem like electricity or magnetism; but it is known that the basic structures of light are identical to those of electromagnetism as expressed in Maxwell’s equations; this is the electromagnetic theory of light.

In summary, I can endow in-depth reality not with the notes of field things considered as models, but with a basic structure (hypothesis) which is homologous to that of something in the field.

Still, this does not exhaust the modes of endowing in-depth reality with content.

Third mode. Rational creation relies upon field reality in order to endow in-depth reality with its own structure, as we have seen. This field reality, by virtue of being an ambit, is something different from its content. And that requires the field ambit to be a field of freedom for the intelligence. This freedom can refer to the notes which constitute field things, i.e., the freedom to be able to change them within their own lines. Freedom can also refer not to the notes themselves but to their mode of systematization, their basic structure, in order to take it independently of the notes themselves. There is yet one further and more radical step of freedom. It consists in the ambit being the field of freedom in order to completely construct its content by constructing notes and basic structure at the same time. Then rational intellection can endow in-depth reality with this content which is freely constructed.

What is this construction? In what does the mode of endowing in-depth reality with grounding content by relying upon free construction consist? {128}

That this is free construction we have already seen some pages back when speaking about the creational character of reason. Free construction is the maximum degree of creative freedom, and therefore it would serve no purpose to repeat the details of what has already been said; it will suffice to review some ideas. I freely construct on the basis of percepts, fictional items, concepts, and above all of affirmations. That which is thus constructed, is constructed in reality, in physical reality itself; this is field reality qua physical reality and identical to the formality of reality apprehended as impression of reality in primordial apprehension. It is this reality which is actualized in my free constructions. ‘Free’ does not here mean that the act of realizing is free as an act, but that the realization itself is what, qua realization, is free. Here freedom does not concern only the constructing act, but also the formal nature of what is constructed itself. Freedom in this context is not only freedom to modify notes or to homologize structures; it is freedom or liberation from everything to do with the field in order to construct the content of in-depth reality. This free realization is not production, but a realization along the lines of actuality. Realization independent of the field and of production is free construction. That from which one is free is not being real, since reality is primarily and ineluctably given in every intellection since primordial apprehension itself (and therefore in the field, in field reality). What is free is the realization of a content as content of the real. The real, then, is not a thing like the things immediately sensed, but neither is it just something mental; it is rather a free thing. Upon being de suyo a free thing consists in reality, in being freely this or that. The construction, then, is not freedom of reality, but reality in freedom. {129}

In this free action, I am to be sure relying upon the content of the field real as previously intellectively known. But it is a reliance which has a radically free character: I rely upon the content of field things only in order to make the break of liberation from that content. Although my free construction adopts models or basic structures taken from the field, nonetheless the free construction is not formally constituted by what it adopts; if it does adopt it, it does so freely.

The free construction can be brought about in different ways. It should not be thought that to be rational is synonymous with "theoretical" construction, so to speak. Any free creation whatsoever, a novel for example, is free construction. I do not call it ‘fiction’ because in every free construction, however fictitious it is, percepts, concepts, and affirmations come into play as well as fictional items. Any novel is riddled with concepts and affirmations. But I can also bring about a free theoretical construction. This construction is not a novel, but the difference—about which I shall speak forthwith—concerns the construction itself. Every free construction, whether theoretical or not, is qua construction of the same nature; it consists in constructing, in reality, a content with full freedom regarding the whole content of the field.

Granting this, How is the reality of this free content endowed? The mode in which the freely constructed intellectively endows reality with its own content does not consist in modeling or in homologies; it is instead a radical postulation. In-depth reality is actualized in what has been freely constructed by postulation. This I have already explained in Part II. It is not truth which is postulated but real content. And this is so whether dealing with theoretical or {130} non-theoretical construction. It is not postulation of reality but reality in postulation. One postulates what belongs to something [suyo] but not the de suyo itself. Postulation is the mode by which in-depth reality is endowed with a freely constructed content. Reality is actualized in my free construction, which latter is thus converted into the content of the real; a content however free one may wish, but always the content of the real.

That which is freely constructed and realized by postulation can remain on its own; it is creation by creation. This is proper, for example, to a novel. But that which is freely constructed can be realized in the "ground-reality" as grounding the content of a field thing. Then that which is freely constructed is "grounded" content; it is theoretical postulation.

It is not difficult to adduce examples of postulation which are especially important and decisive. Above all, there is the rational intellection of the spatial reality of the perceptive field in its in-depth reality; this is geometry. All geometry consists in a free system of postulates (including the so-called axioms). In geometry one freely postulates that the in-depth reality of the space field has fixed, precise characteristics; this is the geometric space. The field space, i.e., perceptive space, is the pre-geometric space. Now, one postulates that this field space has, in its in-depth reality, fixed instrinsic characteristics which are quite precise. The existence of geometries with different freely selected postulates shows that the possibility of different contents applies to the in-depth reality of space, to geometric space. This diversity is more than meets the eye, because in my view, it discloses two things. First, {131} it shows that we are always dealing with "space", i.e., that we are always trying to give rational foundation to that which is the perceptive spatial field. This latter is not absolute space—that would be absurd—but neither is it a geometric space. Therefore I call it ‘pre-geometric space’. It is a space which does not possess strictly conceived characteristics, because when conceiving them it is necessary that this pre-geometric space become a geometric space. Geometric space is therefore an in-depth foundation of pre-geometric space. The diversity of postulates discloses that, above all, both spaces are in fact space, but that the pre-geometric space is different than the geometric space. In particular, it shows us in this way that Euclidean space is not, as has so often be claimed, "intuitive", i.e., it shows us that Euclidean space is a free creation of geometric space. Second, the mutual independence of the diverse postulates shows the dissociation of structural aspects of geometric space. It shows us that, as the systems of postulates are distinct, essentially different and even separate aspects may apply to geometric space. These include conjunction, direction, and distance. This revelation occurs based on the simple fact that the systems of postulates are mutually independent. Topology, affinity, and measure reveal, both in their total independence as well as their possible conditional unity in some cases, that the intrinsic rational intelligibility of the in-depth reality of space comes about in a free construction. This is also revealed by the independence of postulatable structures within each of those geometries. The geometries are postulation; the intellection of in-depth reality of space is therefore free creation. {132}

In physics, at the beginning of the modern age, there were two great free creative efforts to intellectively know rationally the in-depth reality of the universe. One consisted in the idea that the universe is a great organism whose diverse elements comprise systems by sympathy and antipathy. But this never had much success. The one which triumphed was the other conception. It was the free creation which postulates for cosmic reality a mathematical structure. That was Galileo’s idea in his New Science: the great book of the universe, he tells us, is written in geometric language, i.e., mathematics. For centuries this mathematicism took the form of mechanism, a free creation according to which universal mathematics is the mathematics of deterministic movement. But for the last century, physics has ceased to be mechanistic. The mathematical structure of the universe subsists independently of its earlier mechanistic form, which was too limiting. Mathematicism is not mechanism. And all of this is, without any doubt, a free creation for rationally intellectively knowing the foundation of all the cosmos. Its fertility is quite apparent. Nonetheless, the fabulous success of the idea of a mathematical universe cannot hide its character of free creation, of free postulation, which precisely by being free leaves some unsuspected aspects of nature in the dark.

Let us summarize what has been said. We were asking ourselves about the modes of free rational creation. We saw that there are three in particular. They rely upon three aspects of the field: the experience of notes, structure, and constructing. In these three aspects the creation which is of free character unfolds: free experience, free systematization, and free construction. By free experience in-depth reality is endowed {133} with a model-like content. By free systematization in-depth reality is endowed with a basic structure. By free construction in-depth reality is endowed with a completely created content. The mode of endowing in-depth reality with a consistent content by modifying certain field notes is what I call "modelizing"; the mode of endowing in-depth reality with a content of basic structure which relies upon the field is "homologizing"; and the mode of endowing in-depth reality with a completely constructed content is "postulating". These three are the three modes of rational creation. They are but modes of moving ourselves intellectively in a primary, identical, and ineluctable formality of reality. And as this formality is intrinsically and formally given in the impression of reality, it follows that the three modes of rational creation are three creative modes of sentient reason.

With that we have finished the second step of our investigation in this chapter. We set out to analyze the structure of the progression of intellection. For it we began by studying intellective activity qua activity; this is thinking. We then asked about thinking activity qua intellective: this is reason. And within reason we have seen, in the first place, what reason is; second, what is its origin; and finally the unity of reason and reality. Now it remains for us to study the fourth essential point of our investigation: What is the formal object of rational activity? {134}


[1] [This is the closest translation of the Spanish idiomatic expression dan que pensar; Zubiri is emphasizing the commonality of the word gives, da, in the two cases.-trans.]^

[2] [Readers should bear in mind that the Spanish word for reason, razón, like its Latin root ratio, has a broader meaning than just the reasoning process; it also encompasses what we in English would call 'explanation'. This should be borne in mind throughout the remainder of the book.-trans.]^

[3] [The Spanish word fundar is here translated as "to ground", in accordance with normal English usage; however, this makes it impossible to track all derivatives of the word in Spanish, since some of them must be translated differently into English, such as fundación, "foundation", which does not derive from "to ground".-trans.]^

[4] [The Spanish word for 'what' is qué, and the word for 'for' is por. The phrase por qué means 'for what?' or 'why?', but the compound porque means 'because'. This and the following text makes use of the Spanish word structure, which cannot be exactly reproduced in English.-trans.]^

[5] [Zubiri is drawing an analogy with a grammatical feature of the Semitic languages to which he frequently makes reference, the "construct state" that describes a type of unity similar to that discussed here.-trans.]^

[6] English translation, On Essence, by A. R. Caponigri, Catholic University of America Press, 1983.^