24 INT. I
Being and Time

By considering these prejudices, however, we have made plain not only that the question of Being lacks an answer, but that the question itself is obscure and without direction. So if it is to be revived, this means that we must first work out an adequate way of formulating it.


¶ 2. The Formal Structure of the Question of Being

The question of the meaning of Being must be formulated. If it is a fundamental question, or indeed the fundamental question, it must be made transparent, and in an appropriate way.1 We must therefore explain briefly what belongs to any question whatsoever, so that from this standpoint the question of Being can be made visible as a very special one with its own distinctive character.

Every inquiry is a seeking [Suchen]. Every seeking gets guided beforehand by what is sought. Inquiry is a cognizant seeking for an entity both with regard to the fact that it is and with regard to its Being as it is.2 This cognizant seeking can take the form of 'investigating' ["Untersuchen"], in which one lays bare that which the question is about and ascertains its character. Any inquiry, as an inquiry about something, has that which is asked about [sein Gefragtes]. But all inquiry about something is somehow a questioning of something [Anfragen bei ...]. So in addition to what is asked about, an inquiry has that which is interrogated [ein Befragtes]. In investigative questions-that is, in questions which are specifically theoretical—what is asked about is determined and conceptualized. Furthermore, in what is asked about there lies also that which is to be found out by the asking [das Erfragte]; this is what is really intended:3 with this the inquiry reaches its goal. Inquiry itself is the behaviour of a questioner, and therefore of an entity, and as such has its own character of Being. When one makes an inquiry one may do so 'just casually' or one may formulate the question explicitly.

1 '... dann bedarf solches Fragen der angemessenen Durchsichtigkeit'. The adjective 'durchsichtig' is one of Heidegger's favourite expressions, and means simply 'transparent', 'perspicuous', something that one can 'see through'. We shall ordinarily translate it by 'transparent'. See H. 146 for further discussion.

2 '... in seinem Dass- und Sosein'.

3 '... das eigentlich Intendierte ...' The adverb 'eigentlich' occurs very often in this work. It may be used informally where one might write 'really' or 'on its part', or in a much stronger sense, where something like 'genuinely' or 'authentically' would be more appropriate. It is not always possible to tell which meaning Heidegger has in mind. In the contexts which seem relatively informal we shall write 'really'; in the more technical passages we shall write 'authentically', reserving 'genuinely' for 'genuin' or 'edit'. The reader must not confuse this kind of 'authenticity' with the kind, which belongs to an 'authentic text' or an 'authentic account'. See H. 42 for further discussion. In the present passage, the verb 'intendieren' is presumably used in the medieval sense of 'intending', as adapted and modified by Brentano and Husserl.

Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger