39
§11 [58-60]

μετά has a further meaning in Greek, however, which is connected with the first. If I go behind a matter and go after it, in so doing I move away from one matter and over to another, i.e., I turn myself 'around' in a certain respect. We have this meaning of μετά in the sense of 'away from something toward something else' in the Greek word μεταβολή) (changeover [Umschlag]). In condensing the Greek title τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά into the Latin expression metaphysica, the μετά has altered its meaning. The meaning of changeover, of 'turning away from one matter toward another', of 'going from one over to another', came out of a purely positional meaning. τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά now no longer means that which comes after the doctrines on physics, but that which deals with whatever turns away from the φυσικά and turns toward other beings, toward beings in general and toward that being which properly is. This turnaround happens in philosophy proper. The πρώτη ϕιλοσοϕία is metaphysics in this sense. This turning away of philosophy proper from nature as one particular domain, from any such domain at all, is a going over beyond individual beings, over to this other.

Metaphysics becomes the title for knowledge of that which lies out beyond the sensuous, for the science and knowledge of the suprasensuous. This may be clarified from the Latin meaning. The first meaning of μετά, after, means post in Latin, the second means trans. The technical title 'metaphysics' now becomes a designation for πρώτη ϕιλοσοϕία with regard to its content. Metaphysics in this meaning with respect to content now assumes a particular interpretation and conception of πρώτη ϕιλοσοϕία. The business of classifying in scholastic philosophy-and above all its embarrassment-is the cause of a quite specific interpretation to which philosophizing proper as metaphysics is henceforth subject. Hitherto—apart from the unsatisfactory elucidation of the developmental history of the word—insufficient attention has been paid to the fact that this changeover is by no means as inconsequential and harmless as it may appear. This changeover in the title is by no means something trivial. Something essential is decided by it—the fate of philosophy proper in the West. The questioning of philosophy proper is conceived in advance as metaphysics in its second meaning with respect to content, it is forced in a particular direction and into particular approaches. Thus the title 'metaphysics' has given rise to analogous word-formations which are correspondingly thought of with respect to content: meta-logic, meta-geometry, which ranges beyond Euclidian geometry; Baron von Stein called people who construct practical politics based upon philosophical systems metapoliticians. There is even talk of a meta-aspirin whose effects go beyond those of conventional aspirin.1 Roux speaks of the metastructure of protein. Metaphysics itself however comes to be installed as


1. Cf. J. Wackernagel, Vorlesungen über Syntax mit besonderer Berücksichtigung von Griechisch. Lateinisch und Deutsch . Second edition (Basel, 1 928). Zweite Reihe, p. 248.