GA 35


Der Anfang der abendländischen Philosophie (Anaximander und Parmenides) (SS 1932)

The Beginning of Western Philosophy

These lectures return to Western thinking’s beginning, not as it has been handed down, but as something hidden yet closer to us than anything else. The search for the beginning coincides with “the end of metaphysics on the basis of questioning, in a primordial way, the ‘sense’ (truth) of historical being” (1, 40ff, 237). The lectures are divided into three parts: (1) a close reading of the Anaximander fragment as articulating the essential power of being and its difference from beings (22, 32, 47), (2) an intermediate consideration addressing our unrelatedness to our beginning— a self-deception that only Nietzsche could ascertain (45f)—and recommencing the originary beginning by re-asking the question of being “as the ground of the possibility of our existence,” i.e. our freedom (100), and (3) an interpretation of Parmenides’ poem, including glosses of the “three paths” announced by the “goddess of unhiddenness,” the unspoken fourth path (129), the “negative” and “positive” aspects of being, especially being as one (ἕν) (146f), and being as presence as such and unhiddenness (182).