A Hermeneutic Inquiry
Section Two. ‘To be’ as transcendens. Philosophy and non-philosophy
The point of departure for our reflections are again the meanings of ‘to be’ that were mentioned above (pp. 193 ff.). It depends on the posing of the question as to the content and operation of the verb ‘to be’. Both together arise from transcendental interrogation. We have already (p. 211 ff.) raised the question as to the content of the transcendens ‘to live’ because the information provided by grammar seemed insufficient. What was earlier a marginal matter must now become central.
But what does talk of the content of this verb mean? ‘Being is obviously not a real predicate’, writes Kant in his Of the impossibility of an Ontological Proof of the Existence of God’ (Werke III, p. 401). This essential feature of the verb ‘to be’ now occupies the foreground. Therefore the following matters will have to be discussed:
The first chapter: Josef König’s distinction between modifying and determining predication. König would probably have demurred at the thought of his analyses being part of an ontological treatise. However, what we are attempting here is based on linguistic analysis. So it is remote from an ontology in the traditional sense. It is quite close to what he himself was aiming at.