CHAPTER II: DIALOGUE
Speaking and Self-Consciousness
A. Speaking as the Beginning of an Ontology as a Science 
The experience of speaking is the consciousness of being.. In the Prologue we began our discussion of hermeneutic ontology by allowing its subject matter, being, to come to the fore. We listened to being, and examined how being revealed itself in consciousness. The revelation gained from such listening was that being revealed itself as communication, or language, the dialectic of speaking, hearing, and loving. Although the Prologue discussed all three basic moods of consciousness, wonder, trust, and love and their counterfeits, the mood of the chapter itself was that of wonder,  since its purpose was to discover the principles of being by listening. By contrast, the mood of this chapter is trust,  since its intention is to be true to the experience of the moods by presenting a rationale, an explanation of the starting point of our ontology. This explanation is reflective in that it will mirror the experience of the mood of trust.
The fact that wonder is a listening mood does not preclude the fact that later moods include the former. Trust, even though it is a speaking, must include listening. Conversely, the mood of trust must be present in the first chapter, since this chapter is an expression of wonder. Indeed, the mood of the whole book is trust, and the difference between chapters one and two is that one is a reflection on wonder and two is a reflection on trust. The motto for trust is "I believed, and so I spoke"  so the first chapter was trust in, or reflection on the experience of basic intentionality or mood, whereas this present chapter is reflection on reflection. It articulates how speaking is true to intentionality.
The first point of reflection to be addressed in this chapter is the problem of a beginning itself. Although we have observed already at the beginning of the Prologue that ontology begins with listening to being as speaking, we repeat the point here because we intend to show that ontology is a science as well as an art, and need to consider the question of the beginning point of a science. Our discussion of science here will be elemental, however, because a full explanation of the nature of a science must be based on our ontology of being as speaking. This explanation is presented in Chapter VI.
What are the criteria for the beginning of an ontology as a science, and does our beginning meet those criteria? Despite the fact that "science" in English has come to have the connotation of natural (empirical) science, we use the term in its older sense of systematic knowledge. "System" comes from the Greek " sun ," meaning together and " sta, " the root of "istanai, " meaning set up. A system sets up a group of things as a complex unity. In the classic metaphor for knowledge, seeing, what determines the type of knowledge is the object, what is "seen." Likewise, with this metaphor, the method of knowledge can be expressed in terms appropriate to the act of seeing. For example, Descartes' rules for the proper method of proceeding in the sciences are expressed in terms of procedures to arrive at a clear and distinct idea of a reality.
The first was never to accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my judgement than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.
The second, to divide each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and as might be necessary for its adequate solution.
The third, to conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little and little, and, as it were, step by step, to the knowledge of the more complex; assigning in thought a certain order even to those objects which in their own nature do not stand in a relation of antecedence and sequence.
And the last, in every case to make enumeration so complete, and reviews so general, that I might be assured that nothing was omitted. 
"Idea" literally means thing seen, and Descartes' rules develop the metaphor of knowledge as vision, insofar as they are rules for removing distortion of light radiation from the object (clarity) and separation of the visual field into its components (distinctness). So with the seeing metaphor for systematic knowledge or science, the goal of science is to unite the mind with the complex unity that reality is. Complementing the visual metaphor in Descartes' rules, however, is the building metaphor, one that expresses the systematic nature of science in terms of discovery of composition. Descartes' second, third and fourth rules suggest a method of building -- beginning with the simplest parts of knowledge and placing them together properly to form a more complex construction that leaves nothing out. In both of these metaphors the subject, the seer, the knower, is a passive reflector of the objective order.  Mixing the metaphors, we understand that according to Descartes the task of science is to begin with an undistorted reflection of reality and to present the explanation of that reality by analyzing its reflection into its constituent parts .
This view of the beginning of a science does not express an ontology that begins with the act of listening to an infinite speaking. For the infinite speaking is not only the principle or beginning of the ontology, but it is also the end or goal. In the end, however, the infinite speaking is no longer received passively, but is mediated by the finite speaker who now participates actively in the infinite speaking. The "seeing" metaphor for knowing or understanding implies an experience that is confrontation of the subject and the object, whereas the experience of understanding and knowing realize an identity. 
In Aristotelian-Thomistic terms, what specified the sciences was the formal object, what the science principally treated. For Fichte it was the nature of a science to have one principle or beginning that was then explicated throughout the development of the science. More than one principle indicated more than one science.  From an Aristotelian point of view, ontology differed from other sciences in that their formal object cut off some part of being, e.g., natural science studied being as changeable, whereas ontology studied being as being.  For the beginning of his ontology, therefore, it was the characteristics that belonged to being as such that Aristotle was concerned to investigate. The prime characteristic of being was that it was substance.  Beginning with Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre or Science of Knowledge , however, the insight developed that substance was a subject, a speaker, so the prime characteristic of being was not simply its individuality but its self-expression.  Consequently, whereas the principle or law of being for Aristotle was "being (substance) is that which is not a group,"  for Fichte the first principle of ontology was "being expresses itself."  This shift from individuality to self-expression as the principle of ontology is reflected in the ambiguity of meaning of principle itself. For Aristotle a principle of ontology is a beginning ( arche ), which may be either a constituent of being itself (such as matter and form), or a law such as the principle of non-contradiction.  For Fichte, however, since the beginning or principle of all being is the self-expression of the Absolute Ego, all being, anything that exists, must be part of that expression. So the first principle or law of philosophy that "being expresses itself" is not an abstraction from the activity of the Absolute Ego but is itself an expression of that Absolute. It is a law, a logoV in the root sense of the word, a gathering. 
An understanding of being such as Aristotle's whose defining characteristic of substance is individuality will naturally reflect such understanding in its ontology. Analytic search for simples as the reality upon which an ontology must reflect to make its beginning did not end with Descartes' method. Consider Russell's logical atomism with its search for atomic propositions. And in contrast consider Leibniz' deduction that the ultimate simple or component of material being could itself have no components and must thus be immaterial. Though he brilliantly accounted for the reality of relationship by hypothesizing that each individual was holographic in that it represented the whole universe, he followed the Aristotelian tradition in making individuality the starting point of his ontology. 
If one characterizes a science as having a particular sort of object, then what determines the science is the object it investigates. But the discovery of our first chapter is that the object of hermeneutic ontology is an intentionality, not an individual. Since an intentionality is a saying something, the object of an hermeneutic ontology is a principle in the sense of a law, for a law is a saying something, a gathering. What sort of a saying something or principle is the object of ontology? Given the insight that ontology begins with a reflection on saying something, its saying something is circular in that it is a saying something about saying something.  It is this hermeneutic circularity that ensures that the science of ontology is not susceptible to a paradigm shift. 
Like the Wissenschaftslehre of Fichte, hermeneutic ontology begins with reflection on the activity of an infinite being expressing itself. Unlike the Wissenschaftslehre , however, hermeneutic ontology is free from focus on individuality by recognizing that the fundamental datum of consciousness is the communication between two persons. Also unlike the Wissenschaftslehre it does not derive the finite self from the necessity of self-expression of an infinite self.  Rather it sees itself as a reflection of or participation in the infinite speaking. As in the Monadology of Leibniz, for hermeneutic ontology representation of the infinite speaking, although not necessary for the existence of the infinite speaking, is what constitutes the existence of the finite speaker. Hermeneutic ontology is the reflection of the finite speaker on the representation of infinite that its existence is. 
In the view of hermeneutic ontology, with regard to its principle, ontology differs from other sciences. For they operate with principles, such as the principle of causality, which are presupposed, derived from other universes of discourse. Ontology, however, since it deals with being as being, can presuppose nothing, for nothing lies outside of its universe of discourse. It is characteristic of ontology, therefore, that it, unlike other sciences, can have no presuppositions; for there is nothing prior to being that is placed under it to ground it as its foundation. A science of being cannot derive its nature from some reality that lies outside of it. Furthermore, the metaphor of foundation belongs to a view of a science as a systematic building. The metaphor appropriate to an hermeneutic ontology, however, is a systematic unfolding of a principle, infinite speaking, that is a present concrete existence.
Hermeneutic ontology, depending neither upon abstract principle or abstract individual but on infinite communication is a presence of the speaking that it unfolds. Thus hermeneutic ontology is an art as well as a science, for it is the function of art to make present the reality to which it refers. In its activity of unfolding the reality of speaking, hermeneutic ontology reveals the presence of speaking as well as what is spoken about. It further reveals the presence of what is spoken about to the speaker and the presence of the speaker to himself and to other speakers.
The fact that ontology can have no presuppositions and is an art does not imply that it is unscientific in the sense that it has no principle from which to unfold all of its implications or conclusions. Since ontology must have a principle to be a science, yet because of its universal character can have no principle outside of its own horizon, the principal characteristic of ontology as a science may appear to be that it is self-grounding or self-positing. Hermeneutic ontology, however, is grounded in being as being, which is a being rather than an idea, and it is that being that is self-communicating. Of course, hermeneutic ontology only participates in the self-communicating nature of the being that is its source. Even if ontology were a complete expression of being, what it would be communicating would be being, not itself. It is not self-grounding.
If we apply the Aristotelian form-content metaphor, an examination of the content or object of consciousness in the Prologue has shown that being has a self-communicating nature. For being reveals itself as revealing, speaking, communicating. If we translate this fact into the form-content metaphor, we see that it is the peculiarity of an ontology that the form of its consciousness must match its content.  Because ontology is the investigation of being as such, in this science consciousness, the form, must manifest in itself the same self-communicating nature that it discovers in its content or object, being, for a consciousness, a self-conscious person, is also a being. While a self-conscious person is listening to being, therefore, it must itself also be communicating itself, or speaking. An examination of the method that a person uses to realize being must therefore lead us from an emphasis on the speaking to which consciousness is listening to the speaking that consciousness is itself performing  .
The primordial experience of consciousness is one of moods. But a mood is not some sort of pre-linguistic datum, but is rather proto-linguistic. As the etymology of the word mood itself suggests, a mood is an intention, a seeking after that is a saying.  This subjective intentionality that consciousness discovers in being and in itself is their bond of community. For finite human intentionality is a participation in the self-communicating, self-grounding nature of infinite communication or language. Language, or speaking, hearing, and loving, is a seeking, a continual process of self-discovery in expression or communication.
The examination of the primordial moods of consciousness has already implied the relations of consciousness, being, and speaking by showing that speaking was implied in the moods of consciousness to which we listened in the Prologue. The task of this chapter, however, is to show reflectively that an ontology must begin with the self-communicating character of speaking because there is no other place to begin. The method of this demonstration will involve a shift from reflection on the listening of wonder to reflection on the speaking of trust. In the Prologue the awareness of speaking evolved out of reflection on the moods from the viewpoint of listening to being. Now we must reflect on the nature of speaking by expressing what it is to say something. The experience of the subject speaking is the concrete datum to which we appeal in this chapter, just as the experience of listening to the object speaking was the concrete phenomenon of language in the previous chapter.
It is important to emphasize here why our investigation began in a listening mode and proceeds to a speaking mode. The human speaker, in encountering reality, is aware of himself as limited. He is not aware of himself as infinite or creative in the radical sense of being the source of all being, of grounding being by his own self-communication. In terms of speaking, this means that the human speaker must listen before he speaks. He can only speak the principle that he has already heard. Nevertheless, if the human subject does not himself speak, he has not really listened to being. For if being reveals itself as self-grounding communication, the human subject must participate in this self-communication in order to fully recognize himself as being. Therefore, while it is appropriate to begin an ontology with attention to the mode of listening, just as that mode must evolve with dialectical necessity  from listening to being to speaking, so ontology must follow this evolution in its presentation. Ontology must show how consciousness evolves to self-consciousness. All love or intersubjectivity realizes the unity of speaking and hearing. Ontology, however, makes the process of self-consciousness in love reflectively explicit. Self-Consciousness is the discovery of oneself in one's experience of speaking. Consequently, a study that presents the dialectic of being must proceed from presenting the intentionality or seeking that it hears in its moods to the intentionality that it speaks in its own communication. This speaking is both unique to the speaker and universal because it is inclusive of all hearers and potentially of every thing that can be said -- which is everything.
It is also important to emphasize here that at this point our concern is not the analysis of full intersubjectivity, or communication. Is it not obvious that one must understand what it is to be a subject before one can understand intersubjectivity? As a matter of fact, it is not so obvious. We do not discuss subjectivity before intersubjectivity because subjectivity is ontologically prior. Our investigation of being in the first chapter revealed that nothing in human consciousness is prior to the presence of communication. The finite subject, however, discovers its finitude in the fact that it must listen before it can speak,  that its speaking and hearing are not temporally identified. This means that for a finite speaker the dialectic of speaking, hearing, and loving must be played out temporally. In a temporal unfolding, not only does hearing precede speaking, but speaking precedes communication as well, even though the fact of communication in time does not establish such a priority. (That is, our temporal experience of speaking does not necessarily make us aware that we speak before we communicate -- speaking and communication may be simultaneous experiences.) So for us, who are observing the dialectic of communication from a finite point of view, it is natural to consider the moment of speaking before complete communication.
B. Speaking as Saying Something
We have said that the intentionality or mood that we reflect on in this chapter is trust, since we seek here to be true to the experience of being called into communication by recalling this speaking in our own speaking. As the first chapter said what it was to seek, the task of this chapter is to say what it is to say something. Seeking and saying something may be temporally sequential realities for the finite speaker.  Seeking is the immediate experience, the mood of saying something that may precede the finite speaker's verbal articulation.  Saying something, in turn, is the expression of seeking. Because we seek, because we experience ourselves as being called into communication, we say something. 
To say something authentically, that is, for oneself, is to understand it. Here we intend to understand the intentionalities or moods of being by saying their ground, by standing under them and giving their foundation. The ground of intentionality is discovered, however, in the realization that the moods are a saying of something. So an understanding of intentionality is achieved by saying what it is to say something.
Saying something is the activity of intellect. "Intellect" is a somewhat sophisticated  metaphor derived from the Latin inter, among, and legere, to gather and subsequently to read. For the mind speaking in Latin metaphor, like the mind speaking in Greek, the activity of intellect is a reading of reality that is understood in terms of the root symbol of gathering it up.  Therefore, to say that "saying something is the activity of intellect" is etymologically tautologous. For "saying something" expresses in English the same gathering metaphor that legere does in Latin and legein does in Greek. As we have seen, the root meaning of "thing" is an assembly or gathering,  and "some" has rich linguistic relations in "one" and "same." To say something, to act intelligently or intellectually, is to gather into a unity. 
1. Idea Formation
In English, the gatherings that the intellect does or the saying speaks are most commonly called "ideas." "Idea," from the Greek idein , to see, literally means the thing seen. As a visual metaphor for what is said, "idea" has the advantage of suggesting that what is said is not reducible to the activity of the speaker, and that it is something given to rather than produced by the speaker. Moreover, as things are seen only so long as they are activated by light, an idea may fruitfully be thought of as a thing or gathering that has reality only insofar and so long as it is the reception of an outer activity. The passive or receptive dimension of saying something is also emphasized in the Latin derived synonym for idea, "concept," or "conception." Literally signifying taking together, conceptio took on in Latin the meaning of embryo that remains in its English derivative, "conception." Getting an idea, like getting pregnant, is a gathering that has both a passive and an active dimension for the speaker. What is gathered is given, but the speaker has the activity of gathering it in a name. In so gathering, the name gives form to the content of the speaker's experience. Yet a name is not a form in the sense that the reality it gathers had no character before it was named; rather a name refers; it allows the speaker to recall a particular aspect of his experience of being. Since his experience of being was a call, his naming of it is truly a recall or a recollection.
"We are in the habit, I take it, of positing a single idea or form in the case of the various multiplicities to which we give the same name,"  says Socrates in Plato's Republic . The unity in multiplicity referred to in this suggestive Socratic statement on the relation of ideas to names is not the only unity, however, that naming requires. For in addition to the ideational gathering of what is in common to many particulars, there is also a gathering of name and named that is first evident in proper naming. In this act the speaker associates a sound or some other physical reality with some other reality and so designates it. Although the name is different from the reality that it names, it takes on the meaning of that reality, so a gathering or unity in difference is achieved. This gathering or positing of a unity of meaning for different realities is common to all instances of naming. Furthermore all naming, even proper naming, which is the most particular form of naming, requires a gathering even more elementary than that of the sign and signified. For there must be a gathering of many different sensory experiences in an image of a particular name in order for it to be used as a sign of the conceptual gathering that an idea is. The sound or other physical reality with which the speaker signs another reality itself requires a gathering, for the speaker must be able to recognize the sameness of the physical reality in different times in order to use it as a sign. A child may use the sound "Diga" to refer to a particular teddy bear, but in so doing he is gathering together into a unity not only his different experiences of the teddy bear through time, but also his different experiences of the sound that signs it. Therefore, reflection on Socrates' statement about the presupposition of naming reveals that even proper naming requires a gathering, not only of the signified but the sign as well.
Since common naming requires a threefold awareness of unity in difference, (the unity of the idea-- the reality that is signed, the unity of the sign, and the unity of sign and signified), its most fundamental requirement is an awareness of unity in difference. This awareness of unity, however, is not the awareness of a transcendental category that forms all of our experience.  It is rather the awareness of the self-communicating nature of being that we explored in the Prologue. Every naming, every substantification of reality, makes the implicit awareness of the ultimate substance or being explicit.  That substance is subject in the sense that it is self-communicating.
The power of expressing unity in difference develops, so that the speaker can also notice similarities between different things, or proper named realities, and use common names to designate those similarities. Here, however, it is not the meaning of or gathering of one thing that the name carries, but the relation between things, so the name has reached a new level of unity in difference or gathering.
This unity develops even more when the speaker symbolizes, uses one thing to stand for another of a differing nature. The reason for this symbolization is the awareness of a unity that goes beyond the more immediate manifestations of the object's nature that were expressed in common names. One becomes aware of one's friend Richard, for example, when one expresses the similarity of Richard to oneself and other speakers in the common naming "Richard is a human." But one becomes more aware of Richard when one expresses his similarity to an essentially different being in the symbolization "Richard is a lion." Of course, in a most general sense, any naming is a symbolization, for a name is a thing that stands for another. But in literal naming the only necessary similarity between the name and the thing it stands for is that they both exist.  In symbolization strictly so called, however, things that already have names are used to stand for other named things. With this activity of symbolization, the speaker is becoming more self-conscious about his own powers of speaking or recollecting being's self-communication. He also expresses the fact that the unity of things does not lie outside of the self-communicating nature of being that he is aware of.  A further explication of symbolic awareness is expressed in metaphor, which literally means "carry across," and is so named because it carries across to one reality the name, and therefore meaning, that properly belongs to another.
2. Fundamental or Ontological Ideas
To name is to say something, to gather reality together into a unity. The question for a beginning of an ontology therefore becomes "what something does ontology say?" And since there are different sorts of naming, we might also ask, "what sort of naming, proper, common, or symbolic, does ontology do?" The very name ontology suggests that it is a speaking or gathers being.  But the gathering of being presupposes that difference as well as unity is characteristic of being, otherwise gathering would be otiose, for a being that is not diverse cannot be conversed, gathered. Further, speaking about being by naming it shows the diversity of being, for speaking participates in being. Since being is diverse, then, an ontology requires a naming of its diversity and diverse ideas. One idea gathers together everything that can be used to name ideas. This idea is world, meaning the material universe as an ordered system.  The world, as the totality of sensible realities, is the totality of possible names, for sensible realities are used to name being and beings.  A second idea gathers together that which speaks and names. This is the idea of self. The third idea gathers together all ideas and has been called the idea of ideas  or the totality of all positive perfections or goods.  This is the idea of God. The idea of God must be an idea of a self, a speaker, or it could not gather together all ideas. Since He  is the infinite speaker, all communication or selfhood must be a participation in his selfhood.  Likewise, the idea of God must also be the idea of being, since all being is a participation in his being. 
An idea, as a saying something, or gathering, is an intentionality. But so is a mood an intentionality, a seeking of the unity of finite and infinite. How then do they differ? One might say that moods are finite awarenesses of God's intentionalities or sayings of something, whereas ideas are reflective expressions of the finite selves' responding in speaking. In a mood, the finite self does not yet name. It does not pick out one physical reality to refer to another reality but allows the flow of its sensations to stand for reality without memorizing one of them and consecrating it as a sign. A mood is a seeking that only becomes distinguished into separate moods through naming. Such naming gathers together different aspects of the seeking. The mood of wonder emphasizes the subjective aspect, the mood of trust emphasizes the objective aspect, and the mood of love the intersubjective. But it is not possible to have one mood without the other, for all are moments of the same intentionality or seeking. In a like manner, the fundamental ontological ideas of self, world, and God, which are in a sense reflections of the fundamental moods, cannot be separated from each other. As wonder focused on the speaking of the self, the idea of self gathers together all realities that speak. As trust focused on the movement to express objectively one's experience, the idea of world gathers together all sense experience as objective. As love focused on the reciprocity between self and other self in their final gathering, the idea of God gathers together that gathering. As the completion of intentionality, then, the idea of love and the idea of God are the same idea.
a. The Naming of the Idea of God
Is the naming of the ontological ideas proper or common, is it literal or figurative? It would seem that the name "God" must be a proper name.  For the idea to which it refers is an experience of one who gathers all reality into unity, since all reality is the expression of this speaker. Since there can be only one such speaker, its name must be proper to itself alone.  Is the name "God" literal or figurative? It might seem that "God" is the most literal of all names. For what makes a name literal is its direct reference to the thing named, and in the ordinary language of contemporary western culture not only is there only one reality to which "God" refers, but "God" does not seem to be metaphorical because it is not obvious that the word originally designates some other reality. The etymology of the English word "God," however, suggests that it is figurative in the strict sense of the word. For it is possible that "God" is derived from either of two Aryan roots, the one meaning to pour or offer sacrifice, and the other meaning to invoke.  If either of these etymologies are correct, and "God" literally means either "the one to whom it is poured out" or "the one who is invoked," then is not "God" a figurative name after all?  The figure would be synecdoche because a name that belonged to a class was being applied to a member of a class. On the other hand, one might argue that both etymologies are unique descriptors of God since He is the one to whom it is poured out (in sacrifice) and is the one who is invoked or called upon because all speaking is a recall or a response to His call.  As infinite, furthermore, the idea of God is the idea of a being that cannot be a member of a class, any more than it is a class.  The idea of God is the idea and therefore the gathering of that which gathers, pours itself out, calls into being. In naming the one who to whom it is poured out or the one who is invoked, then, the English word "God" literally names the idea of God, which is God.  For He is the one who pours Himself out and calls into being and therefore is the One who is invoked in all naming and to whom rightly belongs the name of the invoked or "God." The answer to our question of what sort of name the name of God is is that any thing that names God is a proper name, and moreover it is the most literal of all names, for insofar as it names or calls or gathers it primarily and directly belongs to Him. The English word "God," even if its literal meaning is the "one to whom it is poured out," or "the one who is invoked," is no exception to this rule but only makes it more obvious. All names of being as being literally belong to God, and the names of all other things are figures of Him, because He is the Naming, the Gathering. To call God the Gathering is to call him an idea, thing, or unity in difference.  The differences of which He is the unity must be that He is the Source of naming,  He is the Named, and He is the Naming, which is the unity of namer and Name. For God is the one who says Himself totally and perfectly. He is the Gathering who gathers Himself. Other speaking beings only partially express themselves and other beings by naming them, which naming is itself dependent on God's speaking.
b. The Naming of the Idea of Self
Since the idea of self gathers together every being who says something, the name of self literally belongs to God, who in saying Himself contains the name of everything. However, God is obviously not the only self. There are other selves who in naming themselves and other things share in God's self-communication. Naming God is dependent on God's self expression, so in naming God other selves become conscious of God and so also of themselves as namers. In recognizing that naming has its source in God, however, other selves than God must recognize that their naming is derivative, and that their naming of themselves as selves is figurative. Further, though the name of self is a proper name when it is applied to God because in its literal sense it is uniquely His, when it is applied to selves other than God it is common.  For selves other than God express themselves in names only by sharing in God's self-expression. They are expressed or gathered only in community, a word derived from the Latin cum , with and munire , to build. The community of selves other than God is built together by a mutual naming. The name calling that finite selves do to each other is not only not harmful but necessary to their existence as selves, as long as they are called the right names.
c. The Naming of the Idea of World
The boundary that expresses the finitude of finite material selves is their world. We have said that "world" names the idea of the totality of sensible realities  , and that sensible realities are used as names. Although sensation is a condition for human consciousness, there is no one sensation that is experienced as ever and everywhere present., Consequently, the naming that constitutes the finite self's reflection on sensation is limited by its instrument, sensation, and contributes to the self's awareness that it is not God, the ultimate source of expression and thus naming. The self in the world is never finished growing, has never said something completely, the final word. Finite expression, which is what reflection on the world through naming it must be, is a process that is suggested in the very etymology of the English word "world." For "world" is derived from a combination of the common Teutonic wer , meaning man, and old , itself derived from the Old Teutonic verb stem al , which shows up in the Gothic verb al-an , to grow up, and the Old Norse al-a , meaning nourish. The world is the growth of man, and man never stops growing in the world, but is in continual flux. "World," then, metaphorically names the finite self's process of naming. Because there is only one finite experience of naming, "world," like "God," is a proper name. And though the English word for world is figurative in its root meaning, still there could be a name for the idea of world that did not primarily refer to some other idea. Even so, any name for the idea of world must in some sense be figurative, insofar as it is self-referential. For as a name "world" is part of the naming totality that it is naming. As it cannot escape naming itself, "world" applies to itself the name that properly belongs to the totality of finite naming and so is figurative.
d. False Ontological Ideas
Our first chapter has discovered that even from a finite point of view we cannot consider any moment of being in abstraction from speaking or saying something, for everything that is must somehow present the structure of being, the structure of speaking. A separation of the moments of reality from speaking will yield pseudo-realities none of which are suitable for a beginning point of an ontology. The objectified moments of reality are reflective intentionalities or ideas. As we saw, they may be regarded as objective, subjective, and a transcendence that somehow goes beyond both. The totality of sensible realities, which may be used as names, may be called world. The namer, the one who says something, has been called consciousness, or self, and the transcendent self that speaks the sensible reality that may be used to name all reality has been called God. Separated from intentionality or saying something, these three realities that are truly distinct suffer on the one hand an unbridgeable separation from one another, and on the other hand become confused with one another. In this separation of reality from speaking, the moments of speaking cannot be used to understand reality, for as we saw, to understand is to speak, to say something, to gather reality into its fundamental moments or ideas. An idea that is separated from saying something is no longer a moment of reality, a movement, an intentionality, and is therefore false to the extent of not being an idea at all. All that is left of an idea that is separated from speaking is a reflective intentionality that intends nothing. An intention of nothing, however, does not differ from any other intention of nothing, and so investigation of false ideas will show that they collapse into the same nothingness, that of saying nothing at all. 
(1) False World
The idea that is perhaps most susceptible to separation from speaking is the idea of world. For as objective totality of sensible realities that can be used as names it can be regarded as a set of objective relationships rather than a complex of things said. As such the idea of the world becomes the idea of sheer otherness, an otherness that is imagined as a collection of interactions. In such an idea of world the idea of self becomes the idea of a part of the collection, a part that is special because it can passively represent some, or perhaps even all  of the interactions of the totality. The speaking of the self then becomes categorization, a mechanistic collection into sets, the goal of which is to reach a point where everything has been said and there is nothing left to say. For the ideas that the self has in such a view of the world are not moments, but static sets. The idea of the self then becomes the idea of a collection of sets rather than an actor who experiences reality by saying it. For those who have this idea of self, apart from its collection it becomes an empty set or class, because it isn't saying anything; it is an intention that intends nothing. And God, the self that gathers all into itself, must simply be identified with the world. 
The true idea of world was a reflection of trust, or perhaps we should say that it was a diffraction of trust into a never ending speaking, since in the mood of trust consciousness is open to all objective experience as the speaking of an infinite call. We cannot strictly say, however, that the false world is a reflection of doubt, since doubt is not a mood but a lack of it. Rather the false world is the exhibition of the false control that doubt exercises.  The false world is controlled by doubt in that it is an analysis of nothingness that gradually discovers the meaninglessness of doubt in chaotic complexity. As difference without unity, the false world is a nothingness that presents itself in an infinite series. The fact that it is controlled by doubt leads it to be out of control, and no account can be given of it.
(2) False Self
What is a self that does not say something? The first temptation in separating consciousness from speaking will be to think of consciousness as passive in the face of an active world that impresses itself on consciousness. Separated from speaking, however, the world's activity of impressing itself on consciousness becomes a mechanical determination rather than a communication. In this case consciousness, which starts out as a listener, has nothing to listen to since the world has nothing to say to it. So the subjectivity as well as the intentionality of consciousness is completely empty, since the subjectivity of a finite self comes from being a listener, and its intentionality comes from its experience of something being said. Of course as soon as consciousness expresses this position, it falls into performative self-contradiction, for if there is a self separate from saying something, then that self cannot be expressed in saying something. As we have seen in the first chapter, the self that says nothing is perpetually in flight from itself. On the one hand, separated from speaking it must regard itself as a mere object, determined by other objects in a meaningless world. On the other hand its consciousness of itself as meaningful, and therefore speaking, leads it to regard itself as self-determining, but its determination must be empty of content and have no relation to any other reality. For it has nothing to say, and nothing to say it about.
The false self, then, is the moment of subjectivity under the false control of dread. But dread becomes a doubt that seeks to control by flight, and yet it can never escape the meaninglessness that it flees, for its flight is no movement whatsoever. The flight of the false self is out of control, as is the false world. But this lack of control is a deeper defect in the idea of the self than it is in the idea of the world, for it is the nature of the self to speak rather than to be spoken. Even the true world cannot be expected to control itself in a good sense, to give an account of itself, but accounting for itself is the nature of the true self. And an account can only be an "account of itself" by saying something.
(3) False God
A God separated from speaking calls nothing, gathers nothing. As the ultimate self, whose nature it is to say something, then, a false or non-speaking God is the ultimate self-contradiction. A non-speaking God may be imagined at first as a reality beyond the world, but such an imagination is an imagination of nothing. Consequently, if the term God as non-speaking is to have any meaning at all, it is identified with the non-speaking world. But separated from speaking, the world is an infinite divisibility of parts, among which the false self is included. So the false God must be identified with each part of a chaos of infinite parts, each of which now becomes a false God. A non-speaking or false God is exactly the opposite of the idea of the true God who is not only one, but the unity of all reality. Turning one's mind to such falsity then divides reality rather than unifying it.
The idea of God not only was a reflection of the mood of love but was its very presence and so could be rightly called by its name. False Gods, however, are under the control of hatred, which appears with respect to intersubjectivity in the form of blasphemy. The counterfeit of intentionality, blasphemy, curses God and dies.  It curses God because it blames the false God for its own falsity or lack of understanding. Having identified God with an unreal, because unspeaking, transcendence, and then having confused Him with an infinitely divisible world, blasphemy rejects what it has projected, reality as non speaking. It is not the rejection of false Gods that is the blasphemy, however, but rather the involvement in the self-contradiction of identifying love with hatred. 
For one who accepts the false idea of God, being, which should be the source of all speaking, is an object, not a subject. Therefore being has nothing to say; it has no intentionality. Likewise God, or transcendence, cannot be understood as communication that is truly beyond all finite reality and yet present to it. A God apart from speaking is a God who does not communicate and whose transcendence becomes the otherness of an unreal beyond.
Why does consciousness make the mistake of separating its ideas from the saying something that constitutes them? On the one hand, such separation is made possible by the objectification that is a necessary part of saying something. If being is not diverse, then there is no conversation. However, otherness need not be alienation. The explanation, rather, must lie in the mood of dread that attempts to secure being, itself and other, by treating it as a mere object rather than a moment, a saying something. This attempt, as we have seen, is doomed to frustration, since false objectification destroys the very reality, speaking, that it attempts to preserve.
(4) Dialectical Counterpositions as Consequences of False Ideas
In Chapter I, confusion is associated with dread, counterposition with doubt, and contradiction with hatred.  Since this present chapter is a development of trust, whose counterfeit is doubt, it follows that the consequences of false ideas will be counterpositions. Reflection in the mood of trust produces true ideas, whereas reflection in the counterfeit mood of doubt produces false ideas that participate in doubt's dissolution into counterpositions. An idea is a posited mood or intentionality of the self. False ideas fracture intentionality and thus devolve into counterpositions.
Counterpositions most obviously follow from the false idea of self, since it is the self that posits itself. But any false idea is a false position from which counterpositions follow. Just as false moods led to dialectical counterpositions, so do false ideas, the transcendental ideas separated from speaking, exhibit the same seduction. Because self-consciousness is expressed in ideas or definitions, however, its dialectical counterpositions are reflective and take the forms of pseudo-intellectual positions rather than more immediate states of mood alienation.
(a) Counterpositions of False Intentionality--Naivete and Skepticism
Since every idea is a reflective intentionality, or a saying of something, to separate an idea from intentionality is to cause a division within the idea. This is the foundational division that is the source of dialectical counterpositions. This principle that dialectical counterpositions occur when an idea is separated from intentionality is explained by the fact that the dialectical counterpositions of false intentionality come from a saying something that says nothing.
The first counterposition of false intentionality is naiveté. The naive person, rather than experiencing reality as saying something, is confused in the immediate attitude that there is no differentiation in reality, it just is. The naive person does not need to appropriate anything, because he does not even recognize otherness, except as an extension of himself. For to recognize otherness would be to be aware that there was a reality, different from himself, which was saying something to him. This saying something is what the naive person misses. Because he misses it, when the time comes that he can no longer avoid the fact that reality is not an undifferentiated unity and must admit that there is a reality that appears to be other than himself, he is forced to doubt its existence. In other words, the naive person becomes a skeptic, passing from an unmediated identification of reality with himself to a mediated identification of reality with himself. What is common to both positions is the lack of intentionality: neither the naive person or the skeptic has anything to say. The naive person has nothing to say because he is neither aware of self or of any reality different from himself. The skeptic has nothing to say because he sees only the nothingness of difference. The mediation between naiveté and skepticism is therefore a false mediation, since true mediation is a saying of something. All further counterpositions are under the control of this false mediation, since what constitutes these counterpositions is the lack of intentionality. Every further counterposition, therefore, is either naive or skeptical.
(b) Counterpositions of False World -- Rationalism and Empiricism
Like the other two false ontological ideas, the false idea of the world is at first naive. The position that develops from this false idea is called rationalism. In this position the world is seen as an immediate objective unity. This is a naive idea because rather than something to be gathered by saying something the world has an inborn simplicity that makes it an individual by nature, making it divided from all else and ultimately indivisible in itself. The world is therefore simple or composed of simples.  This naive rationalist position, called dogmatic by Kant, has the fault that it does not distinguish intentionality from an objective reality. So the principle of sufficient reason, which is really the principle of intersubjectivy and thus includes the principle of intentionality, is taken as an objective given rather than an abstraction from communication.  The world, unlimited in itself, then becomes limited by an objective reason on which it is dependent. The world must be limited in time, because if it were not, there would be an infinite regress that would violate the unity of an objective reason. The world must be limited in space, because if it were not, an infinite time series would be implied.  For the rationalist, time is objectified intentionality, and as such is a limited infinite. Moreover, the dogmatist conceives of the world as a simple composed of simples, because if it could not be reduced to a collection of indivisible units, again there would occur an infinite regress in division that would violate objective reason. Further, the world must be determined by a reality that is not itself determined, otherwise it would have no objective explanation or reason.  And finally, this other reality that determines the world must be regarded as its cause or sufficient reason.  In summary, the dogmatic rationalist is naive because for him reality does not need to say something in order to explain. True, in an attempt to show mediation, he has set up a world of reason that determines and limits the world, but this world of reason as non-speaking is itself objectified and becomes part of the world it is meant to determine. So the dogmatic rationalist is left in the naiveté in which he started, that of an unexplained objective world.
The empiricist, skeptic that he is, is quick to point out the naiveté of the rationalist. For him, an intentionality that does not appear in the world is no intentionality at all. In order to explain the world the rationalist had to postulate an intentionality over against it, since the world itself did not speak. But the empiricist knows that if the world is separated from saying something, then saying something cannot be posited over against it, for the world is all that is the case.  Like the rationalist, however, the skeptical empiricist does not see his experience of the world as a saying of something. Consequently the unity that was objectified intentionality disappears for the empiricist, and the world becomes an infinite flux, no part of which is objective. Time, the objectified intentionality that was the limit of the world for the dogmatic rationalist, is identified with the world for the empiricist. An infinitely divisible flow, time allows for no discrimination of one part of itself from another. Consequently, there cannot be an empty time that differs from a filled time at the moment when the world began. So the world can have no beginning in time.  Time is the unity that is indistinguishable from the world.  The empiricist thus avoids the contradiction of the rationalist for whom time is both ideal and real: ideal in its unity and homogeneity and real in its difference. The difference in the time at which the world began contradicts the unity of time, in opposition to infinite regress, which the rationalist postulated as the explanation for the world's beginning. Avoiding the contradiction of a unity of time that is incompatible with its differences, the empiricist falls into an opposite contradiction. For the empiricist has postulated a difference, the flow of time that is identified with the world, which has no unity. The empiricist thus refers to nothing when he refers to time or the world, for time, or the world, is a succession of infinitely divisible moments of sensation. So the unity of time cannot be found in its composition of atomic units, nor can it be found in an experienced unity of its flow. Likewise, the empiricist will assert that the world is spatially infinitely divisible, and that there are no simples.  But as the rationalist knows, a world that can only have meaning as a collection of simples says nothing if there are no simples. Avoiding the rationalist contradiction of a simple world that is composite, the empiricist falls into the contradiction of a simple world that is nothing. Further, the rationalist contention that there is a condition for the world that is not conditioned by it is contradictory to the empiricist because it again implies an empty time. Time implies change, and for the empiricist anything that acts in time must itself be conditioned by that involvement.  The world for the empiricist is all that is the case, and if there is nothing unconditioned in the world, then there is no unconditioned at all. This implies, however, that there is no explanation of the world. It neither accounts for itself, for as a flow or pure change it has not unity, nor can anything else account for it, for there is nothing else.
We see, therefore, that an idea of the world separated from intentionality, the moment of language which thematizes unity in difference, falls into the naive contradictions of the rationalist and the skeptical contradictions of the empiricist. The rationalist is naive in thinking that there can be a unity without difference, which is what a world without intentionality is, and the empiricist is skeptical in thinking that there can be difference without unity. Such difference is nothing at all, and this is the conclusion that the skeptic eventually reaches when he realizes that he can say nothing at all about a world that is separated from intentionality. 
(c) Counterpositions of False Self -- Mechanism and Pelagianism
The naive self-consciousness identifies itself with the world. Since such naive consciousness interprets the world as non-speaking, it regards itself in the same light. If the world is seen as a substantial unity whose changes come about through its own self-determination, then the self is first seen as one of those determinations. Moreover, the determinations are mechanistic in that all change is reduced to local motion, change in the arrangement of parts. As a part of the world by which it is determined, the self is subject to the same problem from which the world separated from intentionality suffers. As a part of a divisible world whose very divisibility constitutes it, the self must also be divisible. But if it is so, then it has no unity and is not a self but a collection. The self-contradictory nature of a mechanistically determined self in unity with the world must therefore give rise to its counterposition, the idea of a self that is exclusively self-determined. 
We call the position that self-consciousness determines itself Pelagianism from the fourth century British monk Pelagius who thought that one determined one's own salvation. Since salvation for an hermeneutic ontology is hearing being speak in the world and responding to it, a Pelagian idea of the self signifies a consciousness that does not hear being speak but rather lives in the illusion that it knows itself and acts by itself. Skeptically doubting all being except itself, the Pelagian consciousness is trapped in the self-contradictory position that its consciousness is a consciousness of nothing at all. If it regards its self-determination as the accidental determination of parts of a mechanistic world, then it suffers the same problem as that world -- it allows for no explanation of unity. On the other hand, if it regards self-determination as an activity apart from the differentiation of parts, then its consciousness and self-determination become the determination of nothing at all. A human self apart from the determinations of the non-speaking world is just as empty as one that is an infinitely divisible part of such a world.
The naive mechanist, then, sees a unity of the self with a mechanistic world in terms of it being a part of the causal sequence of that world. The skeptical Pelagian, on the other hand, so differentiates the self from the causal sequence of the world that its self-determination is no determination whatsoever. It may seem strange that with regard to the self mechanism is seen as naive and Pelagianism as skeptical, for mechanism might seem to be associated with an empiricist view of the world, which we said was skeptical. By contrast, Pelagianism might seem to be associated with a rationalist view of the world, which we said was naive. But we must remember that when intentionality is removed contradictions occur that lead to reversals. Thus the naive world of the rationalist becomes the skeptical self of the Pelagian, and the skeptical world of the empiricist becomes the naive self of the mechanist. The naiveté and skepticism of the self of mechanism and Pelagianism are thus second order dysfunctions that include respectively the skepticism and naiveté of empiricism and rationalism.
(d) Counterpositions of False God -- Deism and Atheism
It might seem as though the naive position about God were some sort of primitive animism in which all things were full of gods. Naive though this position is in its failure to differentiate between the world and God, we do not consider it a position about God as such. Rather the naiveté that is our concern is that which arises after the idea of God is distinguished not only from the idea of world but also from the idea of self.  The false idea of God, as we have seen, is the self-contradictory notion of the ultimate gathering that does not say anything, and thus does not gather anything. Belief in such a God that exists apart from intentionality is naive. Such belief postulates a being whose only meaning for it could be something that is separated from the reality it supposedly unifies. This position may be called deism. As the self-contradiction of this deistic position becomes apparent upon reflection, its logical counterposition evolves--there is no God at all. Atheism thus asserts the necessary implication of the idea of a God who does not say something: such a God does not exist. For existence flows from intentionality. Atheism is skeptical in that it asserts the ultimate difference. A God without intentionality is different from all other being in that it is no being at all. This is the self-contradiction of a difference that makes no difference. For it does not make any difference whether a God who does not speak in everything exists or does not exist.
Stripped of its intentionality, the idea of God is not only the most self-contradictory of all ideas, but it also leads to dialectical counterpositions involving the other ideas.  As the false idea of God collapses, either the idea of the world or the idea of the self must take its place. The world as identified with a non-speaking God is the naive idol worship of sacralism. The world recognized as the ultimate unity taking the place of God is the skeptical blasphemy  of secularism. If the non-speaking God is identified with the self rather than the world, then the atheistic position of Pelagianism appears, a position, as we saw, which recycles into mechanism. For a God without intentionality, a God who does not speak, is the ultimate form of false self-determination.  Such empty self-determination is the radical self-contradiction that confuses all ideas, because without the unification of difference that is the function of intentionality or saying something, differentiation of ideas is lost..
C. Speaking as Dialogue
1. Intersubjective Beginnings for an Ontology -- God, Love, and Speaking
We have been concerned to show where an ontology must begin. Our investigation of the false ontological ideas has shown how they lead to false ontologies, false dialectics of positions that collapse into their antinomies. It remains now to show the connection between the true ontological ideas as the foundational dialectic that constitutes ontology. What is the most fundamental principle of being that contains and from which will unfold all subsequent articulations of being? Having seen the difficulties inherent in beginning with any one of the moments of reality separate from communication, we are moved in the direction of beginning with a principle that somehow unites all of these moments. What is the principle that can gather together the subjective and objective moments of consciousness without transcending them in a manner that leaves them alternately separate and confused?
There are three words used to name a reality that makes itself present as the unity of consciousness and being, that transcends the subject-object division: love, or intersubjectivity, the ultimate unity of all selves in their mutual existence; speaking, or communication, the expression or existence of selves that consists in their reciprocal speaking and hearing; and God, not considered as an infinite transcendence that is totally other than finite reality but that is the source and conclusion of all communication. All of these basic presences might seem to be suitable starting points for an ontology in that each of them implies the other two. In each of them the finite self experiences a union of finite and infinite that is not possible without the presence of the other two realities. Is there any distinction between them, however, which makes it appropriate to begin an ontology with one of these realities rather than an other? Since all of these realities transcend a subject-object division, it is clear that we cannot choose among them according to the principle of which of them can be identified with objective being. For objective being, as well as subjective consciousness, is included in the horizon of each of their presences. The principle of distinction among them must flow from a hermeneutic methodology, rather than merely express objectivity. Since each of these presences implies their ultimate unity, which is ultimately what we must identify with being, the question of the beginning point of an ontology must be which of these realities' discussion will allow us best to articulate dialectically all the dimensions and relations of being. Having identified the true horizon of being with love, language, and God  , we must ask: which is the fundamental ontology: charitology, logology, or theology? Is it necessary to develop one of these sciences before it will be possible to develop the others?
It would seem that a science of God, in the sense of God defined above as the source and conclusion of all communication, must be the most fundamental of all sciences of being. The very etymology of the word "God" presents the foundational character of this presence. For we have seen  the probability that the word God is derived from Aryan roots meaning either the one who is invoked, or the one to whom it is poured out, sacrificed. One invokes or calls in God as the source of all being, or one pours oneself out to God as the source of all being. He is the beginning and the end. Why not then begin with the beginning in an ontology, especially if the presence of the beginning is also the presence of the end?
In a sense, it is impossible not to begin any discussion of being with God. For if one is to be true to being, one must listen to its source before one speaks, and one must also, when speaking, have the intention of that ultimate communication that is God. This is why, in the Prologue, we have begun our ontology with a listening to the moods that reveal the source of being as it is present to our consciousness. It was that listening that discovered the intentionality of ultimate communication and enabled one to speak. Is a foundational ontology then a theology, does it present being under the aspect of its ultimate source and intention, does it speak about being as present in hearing and loving?
There is a problem in identifying theology with fundamental ontology in that the idea of God seems to be the most mediated rather than the most immediate of all ideas, and one would like the principle of one's ontology to be immediately evident.  A case can be made for the immediacy of the idea of God through reasoning that God, as the source and goal of all communication, is most present to any communication, even though that presence is not immediately apparent. However, the reasoning process that one uses to arrive at that conclusion is itself evidence that God is not an immediate presence to us in the sense that we are aware of him outside of communication. As we have seen,  the reasoning process includes a naming process, which is a participation in the speaking of God, a process that creates distinctions. It is through this naming that finite consciousness becomes self-conscious. Not only are we are not aware of God outside of communication, but we also have no knowledge of him outside of naming Him, referring to Him with sensible and therefore finite signs. By contrast, an attitude of immediate identification with God, without the naming process, is reducible to false wonder,  a false mood that is reflectively expressed in a false idea of God. Both our true moods and our reflection indicate that the presence of God is not immediately explicit to our consciousness. Although God is implicitly present to consciousness, to unfold this implicit presence we must begin with the act of unfolding.
It must be noted, however, that the problem of beginning an ontology with God is not that He must be regarded as absent.  The absent God, the infinite being who is separate from communication and not implied in its every act, is not only an improper beginning point for ontology but can never be discovered. Such a notion of God leads logically to atheism.  With justice modern consciousness reacts negatively to the self-contradictory God of false wonder, but this just reaction does not preclude the discovery of a present God who is not noticed.
It is not even the fact that God can go unnoticed that makes Him an inappropriate starting point for a fundamental ontology. Being in any of its presences can go unnoticed. A person can become so unaware that his self-consciousness is founded on love that he can fall into alienation and self-destruction. A person can become so unaware that his self-consciousness is founded on language that he can fall into self-contradiction. If the reason that these presences can go unnoticed is that they are implicit, then love and language become just as inappropriate for the beginning investigation of fundamental ontology as God is .
Is love, however, implicit? Is it not the most immediate of all realities? Even though there are few who might have the temerity to claim that they are immediately united with perfect love so as to have full knowledge of it, our analysis of mood in Chapter I suggests that for a human to be conscious at all it must have the experience of love in its beginning state of desire.  Love, then, is immediately present to consciousness at least as a goal for which one seeks. And how can one seek for what one does not know?  Is the goal of complete unity in our mutual self-expression not proleptically present in any love to the extent that we know what perfect unity would be? Yet if we do know what love is, and it is what we seek, how can we make mistakes about love, how can we fail to love? Further, is not God properly called love? Is there any legitimate distinction to be drawn between "the ultimate unity of all selves in their mutual expression" or love, and God considered as "the goal of all communication?" If the tendency to identify God and love is correct, then love suffers the same problem of implicitness that God does. The goal that love is may be implicitly present in any consciousness of being, but should ontology not properly begin with the presence of being that is the means to unfolding that presence?
The beginning of a fundamental ontology cannot, therefore, be an analysis of the presence of being as source or goal: ontology must begin neither in the beginning nor in the end, but in the middle. It begins in medias res , where res , reality, is speaking or communication itself. Ontology is not a theology, a speaking of the source of speaking, nor is it a charitology, a speaking of the goal that is loving, rather it is hermeneutic in that it is in the circle of speaking about speaking. This is an appropriate beginning point for ontology because it is only through speaking that the presence of being in all of its dimensions, including hearing and loving, is made manifest. The principle character of the presence with which we must begin an ontology is not, therefore, that this presence be fully explicit and recognized in its true nature. As was noted, we can be unaware of the implications of language even while we are speaking. However, when language speaks of itself authentically, it cannot avoid unfolding its implicit character with the resulting self-awareness of the speaker. Even if God or love were the starting point for an ontology, they could become known only through their expression in speaking, or communication. In its self-reflection, however, speaking shows what God and love must be in order to be known or spoken. In this process, the content, that of which language speaks, and the form, that by which it speaks, are one. So the goal of a dialectic, the gathering together into unity, is best achieved when logos gathers itself together.
a. Speaking about Speaking
In the Prologue we asked the question "what is being?" and discovered that the nature of being is to speak. Consequently, in this chapter we have been concerned to show reflectively that one must begin an ontology with a presentation of the nature of speaking. How does logos gather itself together, what is it to speak about speaking? We have already seen the gathering of logos in its activity of naming. But now, given the different types of speaking as naming, of expressing unity in difference, which type of speaking do we unfold when we are involved in a hermeneutic ontology, when we speak about speaking? Our investigation is not of proper naming, a semantics of how one reality signifies another. For while a unity in difference is achieved in proper naming, the speaking is incomplete because the meaning is found only in the signified, not in the relation between sign and signified. The deeper structure of language does not fully appear in the surface structure of proper or common naming. Can we speak about speaking through genus and species, understand it by finding the name that it has in common with other realities, and seeing it in relation to them? This would not seem possible for a hermeneutic point of view, which sees speaking as the ultimate horizon because it is the prime characteristic of being. Nothing lies outside of speaking with which we could compare and understand it through unity and difference. Must our speaking about speaking therefore be metaphorical? Our answer to this rhetorical question is yes, for metaphor means a carrying across,  and this is what speaking about speaking does -- carry the meaning of one expression in relation to another expression. We therefore begin our hermeneutic ontology with an examination of metaphors that speak it.
(1) Metaphors for Speaking
There are many metaphors that may be used to express the self-reflective nature of an hermeneutic ontology. Self-reflection itself suggests a bending back on oneself, and has the advantage of expressing the fact that hermeneutics is circular, that the object of investigation does not lie over against the process of investigation, but is identified with it. The metaphor has the disadvantage, however, of suggesting that there is a being, a self, outside of speaking that would bend it back on itself. In a common physical example of reflection, a mirror bends light back upon its source. But there can be no reality outside of speaking to bend it back upon itself. If there were, there would be a being beyond speaking, and we have already noted the self-contradictory presupposition that this hypothesis involves.  Nor can we imagine, without contradiction, the self somehow stepping beyond communication to turn it back on itself and investigate it. For the self can no more be a reality beyond communication than being can. So in the self-reflection of communication, it is the communication that is bending back on itself.
Another difficulty of the metaphor of self-reflection is that confusion may arise here with the use of the word self, because a communication involves at least two selves. When we say that communication or speaking reflects upon itself, it sounds as though the communication were a self, a subject, a speaker that is the source of the investigation. 
None of the metaphors used to express the circular nature of hermeneutic ontology can get beyond the problem of dealing with speaking as a self, which it is not, but some of them express more clearly than others the fact that there is no reality beyond speaking. "Self-determination" indicates that speaking sets its own boundaries or limits. This metaphor, however, brings to the fore the question of the relation between the infinite and the finite, or unlimited and limited. In what sense can speaking be regarded as limited? Is it a process that is ever finished, that has reached its boundaries? On the other hand, if it has no limits, not even those set by itself, why is infinite communication not totally present in any communication? The problem lies in the ambiguity of “determination.” It can indicate either coming to an end in the sense of completeness, or it can mean a setting of limits. An infinite act could be complete and thus determined in the first sense,  while a finite act can be determined in both senses as it can be both complete and limited. Human speaking is determined in the second sense as it is limited even when it is complete. We humans cannot say everything in one speech act, even though we may something perfectly, just right.
The metaphor of self-expression does not have the sense of suggesting that communication has a sort of terminal point to which it proceeds. Language just presses itself out. But the metaphor of pressure hints at some sort of internal tension or limitation that must be overcome within communication in order for it to unfold.
Other metaphors such as self-discovery, revelation, development, explication, explanation, and manifestation share the problem of self-expression. What limitation is there to communication that it must take its cover or veil away, as discovery or revelation suggest,  that it must unfold itself or make itself plain or level, as development, explication, and explanation suggest, that it must strike us with its hand as manifestation suggests? What is it about communication that makes it hidden or unnoticed? This limitation is spoken even in those most radical metaphors, self-posit and self-presentation. Why must language put or place itself? Is it somehow absent from us that it must make itself present, place itself before us?
Each metaphor that we use to express the nature of speaking brings us up hard against a central characteristic of that nature. While we recognize that the being that is the source of speaking itself is unlimited and totally present, each of our expressions of that presence is limited. Each of these expressions taken singly both opens us up to one aspect of the infinite and closes us to the others, reveals yet hides. No one metaphor can adequately express the totality that speaking is, and each metaphor must be recognized as having the fullness of its meaning or intention only in that total speaking or communication. Predication about language, such as "language is self-revealing," is not itself the totality of language but a partial revelation or expression of it.
Every metaphor for speaking to which we have referred is itself part of the horizon of speaking, and is properly understood in terms of speaking rather than vice versa. It is only through our awareness of what it is to be a speaker that we can understand what physical reflection, determination, expression, discovery, positing, and presenting are. We can understand these realities fully by understanding speaking, for there is nothing present in them that is not present in speaking . On the other hand, it is what they have in common with speaking that allows them to express validly the nature of the act of speaking at all; but because what they have in common with speaking is only part of its nature, they can only partially express that nature.
There is a paradox, however, in saying that we can understand the metaphors for speaking only by understanding speaking. For what does it mean to say that we understand speaking? There is a sense in which we can understand it when we listen. But there is another sense in which it is speaking that understands us, stands under, is foundational to us. If we could fully understand what speaking is, we would truly have a foundational ontology, a basis for understanding ourselves and all sorts of philosophical issues. The problem is that we can never fully understand in the strict sense what speaking is. Because to so understand is to understand everything about everything. We can never understand what speaking is, because speaking grounds understanding. Yet there is a sense in which if we can realize that speaking understands us, we can solve the paradox. For in recognizing the foundational character of speaking, we can understand all of its metaphors.
Is there any metaphor for speaking that is adequate to its total horizon? The Prologue presented us with the fact that every speaking is also a hearing and a loving. Speaking is a hearing because it is a re-presentation of the communication that reality is. It is a loving because it is an achievement of communication. But a human speaking is in the middle of hearing and loving, and as such it is primarily a seeking, or an intentionality. It moves towards expressing the totality of communication that it hears. One understands a seeking by understanding its origin and its goal. Since the origin and the goal of speaking are both communication, we can understand speaking only through understanding the structure of communication, of unity in difference. So even in the Prologue, where we began with the reality of hearing, we were not beginning outside of speaking, but were expressing it metaphorically in terms of its beginning.  As we now progress to understand the act of speaking as communication, love, or intersubjectivity, we are not leaving speaking, our point of mediation, but unfolding it metaphorically in terms of its goal. Hearing and loving, then, are metaphors that are truly adequate to express what speaking is. If a speaker listens to speaking, that is, if he performs the ultimate listening, he will hear what speaking is, and will be led to speak himself. And if he speaks about speaking, he must be speaking about speaking’s goal of complete communication. Speaking, then, is a symbolization, symbolization is an intentionality or a seeking, and a seeking can be understood only in terms of its goal. Yet, while hearing and loving are adequate to speaking, because they present the same horizon that they share in common with it, they are truly different moments or aspects of that horizon, and in their relation to speaking express unity in difference.
God, who is first present to the finite consciousness in hearing, language, which is becomes explicitly present to the finite consciousness in its speaking, and love, which is explicitly present to the finite consciousness in its sharing or communication of reciprocating hearing and speaking with God, are all symbolic realities insofar as they are discoveries of a self in another self.  These realities can be distinguished according to which term of the relation, which self, is understood as the symbol or expression of the other self, and whether the terms of the relation are finite or infinite. If a speaker is infinite and its hearer is infinite, then the hearer recognizes himself to be the symbol of the speaker. But he cannot recognize this, he has no unity with the speaker unless he also speaks. And he has nothing to speak except what he hears from the original speaker. The speaking of this unlimited mutual symbolization would be  an infinite love. The totality of this infinite speaking, hearing, and loving is the reality called God. If the speaker is infinite and the hearer is finite, the hearer recognizes that itself is a symbol of the infinite, but a limited or finite one. Consequently, the speaking of the finite hearer is limited in the sense that its speaking can never transcend the limitations that itself has. However, the speaking of even a finite speaker is infinite in the sense that it intends to express the infinite reality that it hears, and so its speaking is never at an end. Also, the relation between finite and infinite must be an infinite communication or love, otherwise the finite speaker would have to be regarded as the source of the relation between finite and infinite. But whether the relation is considered as creation, with the finite being the expression of the infinite, or prayer, with the finite discovering itself in the infinite, the relation between finite and infinite must be regarded as infinite.
(a) The Metaphor of Friendship as Dialogue
Hermeneutic ontology is a communication or intersubjectivity in which both speaker and hearer are finite. Like creation, it has an infinite speaking as its ultimate source. Like prayer, it has perfect communication as its ultimate goal. As in creation and prayer, the relation between speakers is infinite, for in discovering himself in the other, the finite speaker hears the infinite that is his source and seeks the infinite that is his goal. The other speaker reciprocates this experience, and the communication that exists between them is the final symbolization of the infinite symbol, the infinite word. The proper metaphor for hermeneutic ontology is thus friendship, a communication that ultimately is a speaking about the relationship between the friends. Although the relation between infinite speaker and hearer, or between infinite speaker and finite hearer  could also be called friendship, it is only through the mediation of friendship between finite speakers that infinite friendship is known for the finite speaker. So speaking about speaking is speaking about a metaphor, but the only metaphor adequate to metaphorical process  is that of friendship, and the friendship with which we must begin is finite friendship.
The word friend comes from the past participle of the Anglo-Saxon verb freon , to love, and thus means the loved one. The etymological root meaning of the suffix ship is creation. The compound word friendship therefore has the primary sense not so much of a state as a project of creation of love. What is the process of creating love, and how is it achieved?
Just as the only adequate metaphor for the project of speaking about speaking is friendship, the only adequate metaphor that will lead us to a full understanding of the creation of a friend is that of speaking about speaking. The creation of a friendship therefore involves the moments of speaking, hearing, and reciprocal speaking or dialogue. Although it may seem viciously circular to explain friendship in terms of speaking, and speaking in terms of friendship, in reality the circle of mutual elucidation of friendship and speaking is productively hermeneutic. For, as we saw, there are partially adequate metaphors for speaking that could be misinterpreted to suggest that speaking is an activity of the self that could exist outside of friendship. Despite appearances, however, one cannot reflect on oneself, express oneself, discover oneself, etc., without a friend. The partial metaphors of speaking all suggest mediation, and the metaphor of friendship makes it explicit that the mediation of speaking is not an immediate mediation of the isolated self but a true mediation of another self. That is, the friend only knows itself as a self in its communication with its friend, its other self.
As a self cannot mediate or differentiate itself in speaking without the other self of friendship, friendship cannot achieve the unity of love without the creation of differentiation that occurs in speaking. The metaphors for friendship can be just as misleading as those of speaking. In general, these metaphors mistake the differentiated unity of love for the unity of undifferentiated desire. In desire,  the other self is not truly recognized as another self. The unity between selves is conceived metaphorically in physical terms as spatial presence. Thus desire tries to express love as a longing for something that is physically absent. The satisfaction that love is is seen as some sort of possession or belonging that will ensure physical presence. Mere physical presence, however, is presence unmediated by consciousness, and tends toward confusion of selves rather than true unity.
Speaking, while it unifies, makes distinctions that remove confusion, and so it creates friends. As we saw in the Prologue, however, for the finite speaker speaking begins with hearing. This is as true when the finite self encounters another finite self as when it listens to the infinite voice of being. Speaking, for the finite self, is not something that it creates so much as something that is given to it and in whose creation it participates. The finite speaker becomes conscious of itself in the true self-differentiation of loving speech of other finite selves. So, when it speaks, it is participating in the dialogue that was the dawn of its self-consciousness. To the extent that it hears, it hears the only thing that can be said, communication or friendship. A friend is one in whose speaking I can hear the speaking of the infinite, love and truth. A finite friend is recognized as one who is not the source of the speaking of the love and truth that he speaks.
A finite friend speaks only what he hears, and he hears only in the speaking of finite selves.  In the Prologue we tried to listen to infinite being, but we must now recognize that we were not listening to it as though it presented itself to us in some unmediated fashion. In reality we listen to infinite being by turning our consciousness to the meaning of the language of finite selves. Then we speak what we hear. So, in every friendship, as soon as there is a true hearing, there is a speaking, and the speaking is not just the speaking of the original speaker, but also of the hearer. To think that one must control physical signs in order to speak is to reduce friendship to desire. Only to the extent that one realizes that listening is speaking is one a friend, can one be the participating source of meaning in physical signs. For even as the expressor of meaning in signs, the speaker must listen to the one to whom he speaks, the other finite self. He must listen to find the words that will reveal the infinite to that hearer. Only to the extent that the speech of the speaker presents no obstacle to the infinite will the hearer be able to hear, so the speaker must listen to what the hearer is able to hear. In thus listening to the hearer, the speaker is listening to his true self. That self is present when his speech can be heard by all other finite selves, when speaker and all possible hearers can hear the infinite through each other.
Is it possible to speak a language that all finite selves can hear? If it is true that a self can only be self-conscious, can be a self to the extent that it hears, then every self knows implicitly what speaking is. Since it is the project of this book to speak about speaking, we speak about that which is common to all finite selves. In speaking about speaking, we characterize the enterprise as friendship, because in the unity in difference that speaking is, all the dimensions of finite friendship are present.
In the Prologue, then, we listened to being to discover that hearing is a speaking. This chapter, Dialogue, was devoted to developing the truth that all true speaking is the speaking together of friends. Chapter three and the rest of the book will seek to be a syllogue  of friendship, a speaking about speaking with which every finite self can identify.
 Hume and Kant, skeptical about the ability of the subject to be united with objective reality in true knowledge, give a more active role to the imagination to the extent that even the idea of God may be its product, rather than a reflection of infinite communication. Both neglected the fact that finite consciousness itself was constituted by infinite intentionality.