26 • The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics

For what more are we supposed to ask about Nothing? Nothing is simply nothing. Questioning has nothing more to seek here. Above all, by bringing up Nothing we do not gain the slightest thing for the knowledge of beings.20

Whoever talks about Nothing does not know what he is doing. In speaking about Nothing, he makes it into a something. By speaking this way, he speaks against what he means. He contra-dicts himself. But self-contradictory speech is an offense against the fundamental rule of speech (λόγος), against “logic.” Talking about Nothing is illogical. Whoever talks and thinks illogically is an unscientific person. Now, whoever goes so far as to talk about Nothing within philosophy, which after all is the home of logic, deserves all the more to be accused of offending against the fundamental rule of all thinking. Such talk about Nothing consists in utterly senseless propositions. Moreover, whoever takes Nothing seriously takes the side of nullity. He obviously promotes the spirit of negation and serves disintegration. Talking about Nothing not only is completely contrary to thought, it undermines all culture and all faith.

20. Compare Heinrich Rickert, Die Logik des Prädikats und das Problem der Ontologie, <Heidelberg: Carl Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung> 1930, p. 205. <Heidegger’s note; present only in the Gesamtausgabe edition. On p. 205 Rickert, Heidegger’s former teacher, writes: “With the help of the relative Nothing, we at best reach a distinctive alternative to the world, whose epistemic meaning does not seem to be essential for the Being of the world. On the one side of this alternative we have, then, the world that is, in its totality; on the other side, in contrast, we have only Nothing as the notBeing of the world. What does this alternative tell us as regards knowledge of the world? One will want to answer simply: nothing, and nothing other than just nothing! The world remains exactly what it was, and what it is, if we oppose Nothing to it as not-the-world.” Rickert goes on to argue that there are, however, important logical points to be explored regarding the concept of Nothing. He concludes his book (pp. 226–36) with an analysis of Heidegger’s “What Is Metaphysics?” in which he identifies Heidegger’s “Nothing” with “the Other of the knowable world” (p. 229). In Rickert’s reading of Heidegger, “the Nothing is the something for which we have no predicates” (p. 231).>

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