Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics

find it? There is no such body. There is also no experiment that could ever bring such a body to direct perception. But modern science, in contrast to the mere dialectical, poetic conception of medieval Scholasticism and science, is supposed to be based upon experience. Instead, it has such a law at its apex. This law speaks of a thing that does not exist. It demands a fundamental representation of things that contradict the ordinary.

The mathematical is based on such a claim, i.e., the application of a determination of the thing which is not experientially derived from the thing and yet lies at the base of every determination of the things, making them possible and making room for them. Such a fundamental conception of things is neither arbitrary nor self-evident. Therefore, it required a long controversy to bring it into power. It required a change in the mode of approach to things along with the achievement of a new manner of thought. We can accurately follow the history of this battle. Let us cite one example from it. In the Aristotelian view, bodies move according to their nature, the heavy ones downward, the light ones upward. When both fall, heavy ones fall faster than light ones, since the latter have the urge to move upward. It becomes a decisive insight of Galileo that all bodies fall equally fast, and that the differences in the time of fall derive only from the resistance of the air, not from the different inner natures of the bodies or from their own corresponding relation to their particular place. Galileo did his experiment at the leaning tower in the town of Pisa, where he was professor of

Martin Heidegger (GA 41) Basic Writings (1993)