§ 4. Preparation for the listening to the Λόγος

a) On the meaning of λόγος as speech, saying, and assertion. The necessity of a renewed questioning concerning the inceptual meaning of the Λόγος

We ask: what does λόγος mean? This oft-used word, and also that which it names, remain obscure. Nevertheless, ‘logic’ already emerged with the Greeks. Aristotle is called the “father of logic,” and with some justification. (The previously cited words of Kant also come to the same conclusion.) But if ‘logic’ is itself mistaken in how it understands the essence of λόγος, then must the Greek thinkers themselves already have been mistaken in their understanding of the essence of λόγος? Are we even justified in suspecting this? Are we latecomers now going to presume that we ourselves are more knowledgeable than the Greek thinkers who, in thinking through and from out of their language, should, aft er all, be those who alone know what λόγος is? Plato and Aristotle are indeed the thinkers through whom the thinking of the Greeks consummated itself, and they are the thinkers whose thinking has become the symbol for Greek thinking as such and for Occidental thinking more generally. However, the Greeks had already thought before Plato and Aristotle, and one of these ‘pre-Platonic’ thinkers had even already thought about λόγος. However, even this does not guarantee that λόγος was being experienced in its true essence. The more originary a thinker thinks, the more distant he is from what remains for thinking the [239] to-be-thought, and the more he knows himself to be at such a distance. But suppose that the distance that opens itself here in such thinking were precisely that deepness in which what is deepest could suddenly be thought aft er all? These considerations attest