Introduction to Metaphysics

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An Introduction to Metaphysics Fourth Edition (GA 40). Translated by James Manheim, New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1984.


Introduction to Metaphysics (GA 40). Translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 2000, 2014.

This book contains the lectures from the summer semester, 1935, course of the same name.

The second edition revises the translation, and adds two appendices and the editor's afterword from GA 40.

Heidegger begins by asking: "Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?" He is not looking for a theological answer.

[A]nyone for whom the Bible is divine revelation and truth already has the answer to the question "Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?" before it is even asked: beings, with the exception of God Himself, are created by Him. God Himself "is" as the uncreated Creator. One who holds on to such faith as a basis can, perhaps, emulate and participate in the asking of our question in a certain way, but he cannot authentically question without giving himself up as a believer, with all the consequences of this step. He can only act "as if"--. On the other hand, if such faith does not continually expose itself to the possibility of unfaith, it is not faith but a convenience. It becomes an agreement with oneself to adhere in the future to a doctrine as something that has somehow been handed down. This is neither having faith nor questioning, but indifference--which can then, perhaps even with keen interest, busy itself with everything, with faith as well as with questioning.

Now by referring to safety in faith as a special way of standing in the truth, we are not saying that citing the words of the Bible, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth, etc.," represents an answer to our question. Quite aside from whether this sentence of the Bible is true or untrue for faith, it can represent no answer at all to our question, because it simply cannot come into such a relation. What is really asked in our question is, for faith, foolishness.

Philosophy consists in such foolishness.

P. 7-8


In 2014 a revised second edition was published, with ancillary material.

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A Companion to Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics. Edited by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 2001.

In his essay Thomas Sheehan, addresses several critical matters in Heidegger's way of thinking, that are prerequisites to understand his works. He explains that Heidegger used several terms for his fundamental question.

The tertium quid that makes possible the correlation of (a) the givenness of entities and (b) intentional comportment as the dative of this givenness -- the central topic of Heidegger's thought -- goes by a host of titles, all of which, in spite of their distinct nuances, are fundamentally the same: Da, Welt, Offene, Zeit, Lichtung, Ereignis, Kehre, Seyn, Sein, Ermöglichung der Offenbarkeit des Seienden , and the list goes on. We emphasize again: None of these titles directly names being as the givenness/availability of entities (ἡ παρουσία τοῡ παρόντος, ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῡ ἀληθοῡς), much less as the mere ontological thereness of entities (τὸ εἶναι τοῡ ὄντος). What these titles designate is not the availability of entities but what brings that about. They refer not to παρουσία but to its origin.

P. 9

tertium quid: some third thing similar to two opposites but distinct from both
Da: there
Welt: world
Offene: open one
Zeit: time
Lichtung: clearing
Kehre: turn
Seyn: beyng
Sein: being
Ermöglichung der Offenbarkeit des Seienden: the making possible the obviousness of what there is
ἡ παρουσία τοῡ παρόντος: the presence of the present
ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῡ ἀληθοῡς: the truth of the true
παρουσία: coming

The popular notion that the Kehre refers to a change Heidegger's thinking in the 1930s is addressed directly.


Inasmuch as it is the same as Ereignis, the turn cannot be an event that took place in Heidegger's thought. In fact, it is not an event at all in the usual sense of that term. One can certainly date when Heidegger's insight into the turn led to die Wendung im Denken, the reorientation of his thinking (namely, 1930-1938, and especially 1936-1938). But it is a very different matter with the turn itself. When Heidegger was asked how the turn took place ("ist geschehen") within his thinking, he did two things. First he denied the premise: "There is no particular kind of happening connected with the turn." And then he located the turn where it properly belongs: "The supposed 'happening' of the turn," he wrote, "'is' Seyn as such," that is, Ereignis, the opening up of Dasein.

P. 13

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Created 2005/11/20
Last updated 2024/4/18