8 INT. I
Being and Time

a relation to the question of being itself, perhaps even a distinctive one. But have we not thereby demonstrated that a particular being has a priority with respect to being and that the exemplary being that is to function as what is primarily interrogated is pregiven?" In what we have discussed up to now neither has the priority of Dasein been demonstrated nor has anything been decided about its possible or even necessary function as the primary being to be interrogated. But certainly something like a priority of Dasein has announced itself.

§ 3. The Ontological Priority of the Question of Being.

The characterization of the question of being, under the guideline of the formal structure of the question as such, has made it clear that this question is a unique one, such that its elaboration and even its solution require a series of fundamental reflections. However, what is distinctive about the question of being will fully come to light only when that question is sufficiently delineated with regard to its function, intention, and motives.

Up to now the necessity of a retrieval of the question was motivated [9] partly by its venerable origin but above all by the lack of a definite answer, even by the lack of any adequate formulation of the question. But one can demand to know what purpose this question should serve. Does it remain solely, or is it at all, only a matter of free-floating speculation about the most general generalities—or is it the most basic [prinzipiellste] and at the same time most concrete question?

Being is always the being of a being. The totality of beings can, with respect to its various domains, become the field where particular areas of knowledge are exposed and delimited. These areas-for example, history, nature, space, life, human being, language, and so on-can in their turn become thematized as objects of scientific investigations. Scientific research demarcates and first establishes these areas of knowledge in a rough and ready fashion. The elaboration of the area in its fundamental structures is in a way already accomplished by prescientific experience and interpretation of the domain of being to which the area of knowledge is itself confined. The resulting "fundamental concepts" comprise the guidelines for the first concrete disclosure of the area. Whether or not the importance of the research always lies in such establishment of concepts, its true progress comes about not so much in collecting results and storing them in ''handbooks'' as in being forced to ask questions about the basic constitution of each area, these questions being chiefly a reaction to increasing knowledge in each area.

* Again as above (H 6-7), an essential simplification and yet correctly thought. Dasein is not an instance of being for the representational abstraction of being; rather, it is the site of the understanding of being.

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