133 I. 3
Being and Time

involvements, it seems as if the Being of these entities has in fact been clarified or has at least become a problem. But by taking extensio as a proprietas, Descartes can hardly reach the Being of substance; and by taking refuge in 'value' -characteristics ["wertlichen" Beschaffenheiten] we are just as far from even catching a glimpse of Being as readiness-to-hand, let alone permitting it to become an ontological theme.

Descartes has narrowed down the question of the world to that of Things of Nature [Naturdinglichkeit] as those entities within-the-world which are proximally accessible. He has confirmed the opinion that to know an entity in what is supposedly the most rigorous ontical manner is our only possible access to the primary Being of the entity which such knowledge reveals. But at the same time we must have the insight to see that in principle the 'roundings-out' of the Thing-ontology also operate on the same dogmatic basis as that which Descartes has adopted.

We have already intimated in Section 14 that passing over the world and those entities which we proximally encounter is not accidental, not an oversight which it would be simple to correct, but that it is grounded in a kind of Being which belongs essentially to Dasein itself. When our analytic of Dasein has given some transparency to those main structures of Dasein which are of the most importance in the framework of this problematic, and when we have assigned [zugewiesen] to the concept of Being in general the horizon within which its intelligibility becomes possible, so that readiness-to-hand and presence-at-hand also become primordially intelligible ontologically for the first time, only then can our critique of the Cartesian ontology of the world (an ontology which, in principle, is still the usual one today) come philosophically into its own.

To do this, we must show several things. (See Part One, Division Three.)1

1. Why was the phenomenon of the world passed over at the beginning of the ontological tradition which has been decisive for us (explicitly in the case of Parmenides), and why has this passing-over kept constantly recurring?

2. Why is it that, instead of the phenomenon thus passed over, entities within-the-world have intervened as an ontological theme?2

3· Why are these entities found in the first instance in 'Nature'?

4· Why has recourse been taken to the phenomenon of value when it has seemed necessary to round out such an ontology of the world?


1 This Division has never been published.

2 'Warum springt für das übersprungene Phänomen das innerweltlich Seiende als ontologisches Thema ein?' The verbal play on 'überspringen' ('pass over') and 'einspringen' ('intervene' or 'serve as a deputy') is lost in translation. On 'einspringen' see our note 1, p. 158, H. 122 below.


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger