25 INT. II
Being and Time

which show themselves in and for this making present and which are understood as genuine beings, are accordingly interpreted with regard to the present; that is to say, they are conceived as presence (οὐσία).

However, this Greek interpretation of being comes about without any explicit 􀃁owledge of the guideline functioning in it, without taking cognizance of or understanding the fundamental ontological function of time, without insight into the ground of the possibility of this function. On the contrary, time itself is taken to be one being among others. The attempt is made to grasp time itself in the structure of its being within the horizon of an understanding of being which is oriented toward time in an inexplicit and naïve way.

Within the framework of the following fundamental elaboration of the question of being a detailed temporal interpretation of the foundations of ancient ontology—especially of its scientifically highest and purest stage, that is, in Aristotle—cannot be offered. Instead, we offer an interpretation of Aristotle's treatise on time,2 which can be taken as a way of discerning the basis and limits of the ancient science of being.

Aristotle's treatise on time is the first detailed interpretation of this phenomenon that has come down to us. It essentially determined all the subsequent interpretations of time, including that of Bergson. From our analysis of Aristotle's concept of time it becomes retrospectively clear that the Kantian interpretation moves within the structures developed by Aristotle. This means that Kant's fundamental ontological orientation—despite all the differences implicit in a new inquiry—remains Greek.

The question of being attains true concreteness only when we carry out the destruction of the ontological tradition. By so doing we can prove the inescapability of the question of the meaning of being and thus demonstrate what it means to talk about a "retrieval" of this question.

In this field where "the matter itself is deeply veiled,"3 any investigation should avoid overestimating its results. For such inquiry is constantly forced to face the possibility of disclosing a still more original and more universal horizon from which it could draw the answer to the question: what does 'being' mean? We can discuss such possibilities seriously and with a positive result only if the question of [27] being has been reawakened and we have reached the point where we can come to terms with it in a controlled fashion.


2. Aristotle, Physics IV.10.217b29-14.224a17.

3. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B 121.


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