Unlike this type of investigation, proper inquiry must be a dialogue in which the ways of hearing and points of view of ancient thinking are contemplated according to their essential origin, so that the call [Geheiss] under which past, present, and future thinking—each in its own way—all stand, might begin to announce itself. An attempt at such inquiry should first direct its attention to the obscure passages of the ancient text, and should not settle upon those which give the appearance of easy intelligibility. To focus on the latter would end the dialogue before it has begun.

The following discussion limits itself to working through the cited text by a series of individual commentaries. These may help to prepare a thoughtful translation of early Greek speech by advancing a thinking which is awake to beginnings.


The topic under discussion is the relation between thinking and Being. In the first place we ought to observe that the text (VIII, 34-41) which ponders this relation more thoroughly speaks of ἐόν and not—as in Fragment III—about εἶναι. Immediately, and with some justification, one concludes from this that Fragment VIII concerns beings rather than Being. But in saying ἐόν Parmenides is in no way thinking "beings in themselves," understood as the whole to which thinking, insofar as it is some kind of entity, also belongs. Just as little does ἐόν mean εἶναι in the sense of "Being for itself," as though it were incumbent upon the thinker to set the nonsensible essential nature of Being apart from, and in opposition to, beings which are sensible. Rather ἐόν, being, is thought here in its duality as Being and beings, and is participially expressed—although the grammatical concept has not yet come explicitly into the grasp of linguistic science. This duality is at least intimated by such nuances of phrasing as "the Being of beings" and "beings in Being." In its essence, however, what unfolds is obscured more than clarified through the "in" and the "of." These expressions are far from thinking the duality as such, or from seriously questioning its unfolding.

"Being itself," so frequently invoked, is held to be true so long as it is experienced as Being, consistently understood as the Being of beings.