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BASIC WRITINGS

not know the nothing, assuming that the "Absolute" excludes all nothingness.

This cursory historical review shows the nothing as the counterconcept to being proper, that is, as its negation. But if the nothing becomes any problem at all, then this opposition does not merely undergo a somewhat more significant determination; rather, it awakens for the first time the proper formulation of the metaphysical question concerning the Being of beings. The nothing does not remain the indeterminate opposite of beings but reveals itself as belonging to the Being of beings.

"Pure Being and pure Nothing are therefore the same." This proposition of Hegel's (Science of Logic, vol. I, Werke III, 74) is correct. Being and the nothing do belong together, not because both—from the point of view of the Hegelian concept of thought—agree in their indeterminateness and immediacy, but rather because Being itself is essentially finite and reveals itself only in the transcendence of Dasein which is held out into the nothing.

Assuming that the question of Being as such is the encompassing question of metaphysics, then the question of the nothing proves to be such that it embraces the whole of metaphysics. But the question of the nothing pervades the whole of metaphysics since at the same time it forces us to face the problem of the origin of negation, that is, ultimately, to face up to the decision concerning the legitimacy of the rule of "logic" in metaphysics.

The old proposition ex nihilo nihil fit is therefore found to contain another sense, one appropriate to the problem of Being itself, that runs: ex nihilo omne ens qua ens fit [From the nothing all beings as beings come to be]. Only in the nothing of Dasein do beings as a whole, in accord with their most proper possibility—that is, in a finite way—come to themselves. To what extent then has the question of the nothing, if it is a metaphysical question, implicated our questioning Dasein? We have characterized our existence, experienced here and now, as essentially determined by science. If


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) On the Essence of Truth - Basic Writings (1993)