Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Herman Philipse on the question of being.
In Einführung in die Metaphysik [GA 40] of 1935, Heidegger tries to move from the question concerning beings to the question of Being. Traditional metaphysics would not ask this latter question, for it seeks the ground of beings in another being, God. This holds also for Aristotle, so that Aristotle already lived in “oblivion of Being” (Seinsvergessenheit). Asking the question of Being “means nothing less than to retrieve the beginning of our historical-spiritual Dasein and to transform it into the other beginning.” Heidegger claims that the saying of Being (Sagen des Seins) by thinkers and poets “founds” (Gründen und Stiften) the historical Dasein of a people. Consequently, only the philosopher and the poet may know about the “inner greatness” of the National Socialist movement. The German people, which finds itself in the middle, so that it has most neighbors and is most endangered, is also the metaphysical people, which has to decide to renew the Greek beginning of Being. But again, where should the German people find the original revelation of Being, if even Plato and Aristotle did not ask Heidegger’s question of Being as distinguished from the question concerning beings? In Einführung in die Metaphysik Heidegger discovers the original Beginning mainly in Parmenides’ saying that noein (“to think”) and einai (“to be”) belong together. Having elucidated this saying by means of a comparison with Sophocles’ Antigone, he concludes that in Parmenides’ vision, the essence of man is grounded in the opening (Eröffnung) of the Being of beings. Dasein as such is the place (das Da) where Being reveals itself. Being reveals itself by means of the original distinction between Being and beings, which is the source of history. After Parmenides and Heraclitus, Greek thought allegedly has fallen away (Abfall) from this original revelation of Being, and Heidegger sees Plato and Aristotle both as the End of the Beginning and as the Beginning of the End. In the process of falling away from the original revelation of Being, human thought would have gained supremacy over Being. Consequently, Being became concealed. The question of Being aims at restoring Being to its primacy.

Pp. 187-8
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