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Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics [411-12]

'as a whole'. Yet it was this peculiar 'as a whole' which remained so enigmatic for us when we brought the interpretation of profound boredom to a provisional conclusion. This 'as a whole' is not merely something initially ungraspable for conceptuality, but for our everyday experience as well. And indeed it is so ungraspable not because it lies in some remote and inaccessible realm which could only be reached by the highest speculation, but because it is so close to us that we have no distance from it that would allow us to catch sight of it. We ascribe this 'as a whole' to beings, and more precisely, to the manifestness of beings in each specific case. From this we can conclude once again that the concept of world initially introduced was completely inadequate and that it here comes to be further determined. Proceeding from the naive concept of world we can lay down a particular sequence of steps that will also establish how the investigation has proceeded.

The naive concept of world is understood in such a way that world basically signifies beings, quite undifferentiated with respect to 'life' or 'existence', but simply beings. In characterizing the way and manner in which the animal lives we then saw that if we can speak meaningfully of the world and world-formation of man, then world must signify something like the accessibility of beings. But we also saw in tum that with this characterization we get caught up in an essential difficulty and ambiguity. If we determine world in this way, then we can also say in a certain sense that the animal has a world, namely has access to something that we, for our part, experience as beings. But then we discovered that while the animal does have access to something, it does not have access to beings as such. From this it follows that world properly means accessibility of beings as such. Yet this accessibility is grounded upon a manifestness of beings as such. Finally, it was revealed that this is not a manifestness of just any kind whatsoever, but rather manifestness of beings as such as a whole.

Thus we are now in possession of a provisional delimitation of the concept of world which performs a methodological function in the sense that it prescribes for us the individual steps of our present interpretation of the phenomenon of world. World is not the totality of beings, is not the accessibility of beings as such, not the manifestness of beings as such that lies at the basis of this accessibility—world is rather the manifestness of beings as such as a whole. We now wish to begin our investigation from that aspect which already impressed itself upon us in our interpretation of fundamental attunement, namely this remarkable 'as a whole'.

In however obscure a manner, world always has a characteristic wholeness, something somehow rounded out or however we initially wish to express it. This 'as a whole'—is it a property of beings in themselves, or is it only an aspect of the manifestness of beings, or is it neither of these? Let us ask more provisionally: even if it does not signify the sum-total of beings, does 'beings as a whole' mean precisely the whole of beings in the sense of the totality of


Martin Heidegger (GA 29/30) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics

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