Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics [313-14]

this issue in a particular respect dictated by the overall context in Being and Time, §15ff.

If this is the case, then it is questionable whether we should attempt to grasp organisms as instruments or machines. And if this approach is excluded in principle, then it is also impossible to endorse that procedure in biology which begins by treating the living being as a machine and then goes on to introduce supra-mechanical functions as well. This procedure certainly does greater justice to the manifestations of life than any purely mechanistic theory. Yet it still misrepresents the central problem which we repeatedly find ourselves forced to confront: that of grasping the original and essential character proper to the living being and determining whether the thesis 'the animal is poor in world' helps us to accomplish this task, at least insofar as it actually opens up the way toward a concrete interpretation of the essence of life in general.

Even if the organism cannot be grasped either as an instrument or as a machine, characterizing the essence of equipment and machines will allow us to define the organism more precisely in relation to these other kinds of beings. From which perspective and in what manner the organism is to be determined positively is of course a further question. Without having recourse to a detailed interpretation, let us try and elucidate these connections with some simple examples which you can develop further yourselves.

The hammer is an instrument, i.e., an item of equipment in general. It belongs to the essence of equipment to serve some purpose. In its proper ontological character it is 'something for . . . ' and in this case something for producing, repairing, or improving something. The hammer can also serve to destroy certain works such as the material works of craftsmanship. Yet not every piece of equipment [Zeug] is an instrument [Werkzeug] in the proper and narrower sense. For example, the fountain pen is a piece of equipment for writing [Schreibzeug], the sledge is a piece of equipment for transport, a vehicle [Fahrzeug]-yet neither is a machine. Not every piece of equipment is an instrument, and even less is it the case that every instrument and every piece of equipment is a machine. On the other hand, a vehicle certainly can be a machine, like a motorbike or an aeroplane [Flugzeug], but it need not be. Equipment for writing can certainly be a machine (a typewriter, for example) but again it need not be. Generally speaking this means that every machine is a piece of equipment although not every piece of equipment is a machine.

Yet if every machine is a piece of equipment, that does not mean in turn that every machine is an instrument. Thus a machine is not identical with an instrument, nor is an instrument identical with a piece of equipment. Consequently it is already impossible to understand the machine as a complex of instruments or as a complicated kind of instrument. And if the organism is as different from a machine as the machine is from a piece of