II
CONVERSATION ON
A COUNTRY PATH
ABOUT THINKING*


Scientist: Toward the last you stated that the question concerning man's nature is not a question about man.

Teacher: I said only that the question concerning man's nature makes a consideration whether this is the case unavoidable.

Scientist: Even so, it is a mystery to me how man's nature is ever to be found by looking away from man.

Teacher: It is a mystery to me too; so I seek to clarify how far this is possible, or perhaps even necessary.

Scientist: To behold man's nature without looking at man!

Teacher: Why not? If thinking is what distinguishes man's nature, then surely the essence of this nature, namely the nature of thinking, can be seen only by looking away from thinking.

Scholar: But thinking, understood in the traditional way, as re-presenting is a kind of willing; Kant, too, understands


* This discourse was taken from a conversation written down in 1944-45 between a scientist, a scholar, and a teacher.


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Discourse On Thinking (GA 13) by Martin Heidegger