104 • The Restriction of Being

6. The sequence in which we listed the terms already gives an indication of the order of their essential connection and of the historical sequence in which they were shaped.

The two distinctions we named first (Being and becoming, Being and seeming) already get formed at the very inception of Greek philosophy. As the most ancient, they are also the most familiar.

The third distinction (Being and thinking), which was foreshadowed in the inception no less than the first two, unfolds definitively in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, but first takes on its real form at the beginning of modernity. In fact, it plays an essential part in this beginning. In accordance with its history, this distinction is the most complex and, with regard to its intent, the most questionable. [This is why it remains for us the most worthy of question.]1

The fourth distinction (Being and the ought) belongs thoroughly to modernity; it is prefigured only distantly by the characterization of ὄν <being, what is> as ἀγαθόν <good>. Since the end of the eighteenth century, it has determined one of the predominant positions of the modern spirit toward beings in general.

7. Asking the question of Being in an originary way, in a way that grasps the task of unfolding the truth of the essence of Being, means facing the decision <Entscheidung> regarding [73|102] the concealed powers in these distinctions <Unterscheidungen>, and it means bringing them back to their own truth.

All of these preliminary remarks should remain continually in view during the following considerations.

1. In parentheses in the 1953 edition.

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