The Restriction of Being • 221

—that which can be experienced according to the sciences, which now include the sciences of history and economics. Due to the predominance of beings, the ought is endangered in its role as standard. The ought must assert its claims. It must attempt to ground itself in itself. Whatever wants to announce an ought-claim in itself must be justified in doing so on its own basis. Something like an ought can emanate only from something that raises such a claim on its own, something that in itself has a value, and itself is a value. Values as such now become the ground of the ought. But since values stand opposed to the Being of beings, in the sense of facts, they themselves cannot be. So instead, one says that they are valid. Values provide the measure for all domains of beings, that is, of what is present at hand. History is nothing but the actualization of values.

Plato conceived of Being as idea. The idea is the prototype, and as such it also provides the measure. What is easier now than to understand Plato’s ideas in the sense of values, and to interpret the Being of beings on the basis of the valid?

Values are valid. But validity is still too reminiscent of validity for a subject. In order to prop up yet again the ought that has been raised to the level of values, one attributes a Being to values themselves. Here, Being at bottom means nothing other than the presence of what is present at hand. It is just not present at hand in as crude and tangible a way as tables and chairs are. With the Being of values, the maximum in confusion and deracination has been reached. Yet since the expression “value” is starting to look worn out, especially since it also plays a role in economic theory, one now calls values “totalities.” With this term, however, just the spelling has changed—although when they are called totalities it [152|207] is easier to see what they are at bottom, namely, half-measures.

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