7 INT. I
Being and Time

it—being.* This being [Seiende], which we ourselves in each case are and which includes inquiry among the possibilities of its being, we formulate terminologically as Dasein. The explicit and lucid formulation of the question of the meaning of being requires a prior suitable explication of a being (Dasein) with regard to its being.

But does not such an enterprise fall into an obvious circle? To have to determine beings in their being beforehand and then on this foundation first pose the question of being-what else is that but going around in circles? In working out the question do we not "presuppose" something that only the answer can provide? Formal objections such as the argument of "circular reasoning," an argument that is always easily raised in the area of investigation of principles, are always sterile when one is weighing concrete ways of investigating. They do not offer anything to the understanding of the issue and they hinder penetration into the field of investigation.

But in fact there is no circle at all in the formulation of our question. Beings can be determined in their being without the explicit concept of the meaning of being having to be already available. If this were not so there could not have been as yet any ontological knowledge. And probably no one would deny the factual existence of such knowledge. It is true that "being" ["Sein"] is "presupposed" in all previous ontology, [8] but not as an available concept—not as the sort of thing we are seeking. "Presupposing" being has the character of taking a preliminary look at being in such a way that on the basis of this look beings that are already given are tentatively articulated in their being. This guiding look at being grows out of the average understanding of being in which we are always already involved and which ultimately belongs to the essential constitution of Dasein itself. Such "presupposing" has nothing to do with positing a principle from which a series of propositions is deduced. A "circle in reasoning" cannot possibly lie in the formulation of the question of the meaning of being, because in answering this question it is not a matter of grounding by deduction, but rather of laying bare and exhibiting the ground.

"Circular reasoning" does not occur in the question of the meaning of being. Rather, there is a notable "relatedness backward or forward" of what is asked about (being) [Sein] to asking as a mode of being of a being. The way what is questioned essentially engages our questioning belongs to the innermost meaning of the question of being. But this only means that the being that has the character of Dasein has

* Da-sein: as held out into the nothingness of beyng [Seyn], held as relation.

† But the meaning of being is not drawn from this being.

‡ i.e., from the beginning.

Martin Heidegger (GA 2) Being & Time (S&S)