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Being and Time

was no accident) cognition was conceived in terms of the 'desire to see'.1 The treatise which stands first in the collection of Aristotle's treatises on ontology begins with the sentence: πάντες ἄνθρωποι τοῦ εἰδέναι ὀρέγονται [171] φύσει. The care for seeing is essential to man's Being.2 This remark introduces an investigation in which Aristotle seeks to uncover the source of all learned exploration of entities and their Being, by deriving it from that species of Dasein's Being which we have just mentioned. This Greek Interpretation of the existential genesis of science is not accidental. It brings to explicit understanding what has already been sketched out beforehand in the principle of Parmenides: τὸ γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι.3 Being is that which shows itself in the pure perception which belongs to beholding, and only by such seeing does Being get discovered. Primordial and genuine truth lies in pure beholding. This thesis has remained the foundation of western philosophy ever since. The Hegelian dialectic found in it its motivating conception, and is possible only on the basis of it.

The remarkable priority of 'seeing' was noticed particularly by Augustine, in connection with his Interpretation of concupiscentia. " Ad oculos enim videre proprie pertinet ." ("Seeing belongs properly to the eyes.") " Utimur autem hoc verbo etiam in ceteris sensibus cum eos ad cognoscendum intendimus ." ("But we even use this word 'seeing' for the other senses when we devote them to cognizing.") " Neque enim dicimus: audi quid rutilet; aut, olfac quam niteat; aut, gusta quam splendeat; aut, palpa quam fulgeat: videri enim dicuntur haec omnia ." ("For we do not say 'Hear how it glows', or 'Smell how it glistens', or 'Taste how it shines', or 'Feel how it flashes'; but we say of each, 'See'; we say that all this is seen.") " Dicimus autem non solum, vide quid luceat, quod soli oculi sentire possunt ." ("We not only say, 'See how that shines', when the eyes alone can perceive it;") " sed etiam, vide quid sonet; vide quid oleat; vide quid sapiat; vide quam durum sit ;" ("but we even say, 'See how that sounds', 'See how that is scented', 'See how that tastes', 'See how hard that is'.") " Ideoque generalis experientia sensuum concupiscentia sicut dictum est oculorum vocatur, quia videndi officium in quo primatum oculi tenent, etiam ceteri sensus sibi de similitudine usurpant, cum aliquid cognitionis explorant ." ("Therefore the experience of the senses in general is designated

1 '... nicht in der verengten Orientierung am Erkennen, das schon früh und in der griechischen Philosophie nicht zufällig aus der "Lust zu sehen" begriffen wird.' The earlier editions have '... am Erkennen, als welches schon früh ...'

2 While the sentence from Aristotle is usually translated, 'All men by nature desire to know', Heidegger takes εἰδέναι in its root meaning, 'to see', and connects ὀρέγονται (literally: 'reach out for') with 'Sorge' ('care').

3 This sentence has been variously interpreted. The most usual version is: 'For thinking and being are the same.' Heidegger, however, goes back to the original meaning of νοεῖν as 'to perceive with the eyes'.

Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger