The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics • 21

The “introduction to metaphysics” attempted here keeps in view this confused condition of the “question of Being.”

According to the usual interpretation, the “question of Being” means asking about beings as such (metaphysics). But if we think along the lines of Being and Time, the “question of Being” means asking about Being as such. This meaning of the expression is also appropriate both in terms of the matter at stake and in terms of language; for the “question of Being” in the sense of the metaphysical question about beings as such precisely does not ask thematically about Being. Being remains forgotten.

But this talk of the “oblivion of Being” is just as ambiguous as the expression “question of Being.” One protests quite rightfully that metaphysics does indeed ask about the Being of beings, and that therefore it is manifest foolishness to charge metaphysics [15|21] with an oblivion of Being.

But if we think the question of Being in the sense of the question about Being as such, then it becomes clear to everyone who accompanies us in thinking that it is precisely Being as such that remains concealed, remains in oblivion—and so decisively that the oblivion of Being, an oblivion that itself falls into oblivion, is the unrecognized yet enduring impulse for metaphysical questioning.

If one chooses the designation “metaphysics” for the treatment of the “question of Being” in an indefinite sense, then the title of this lecture course remains ambiguous. For at first it seems as though the questioning held itself within the purview of beings as such, whereas already with the first sentence it strives to depart this zone in order to bring another domain into view with its questions. The title of the course is thus deliberately ambiguous.

The fundamental question of the lecture course is of a different kind than the guiding question of metaphysics. Taking Being and Time as its point of departure, the lecture course asks about the “disclosedness of Being” (Being and Time, pp. 21f. and 37f.).

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