is a thinking. The fundamental trait [or basic draft: Grundzug] of thinking hitherto is perceiving [or receiving: das Vernehmen].25 The capacity for that is called ‘reason’ [heißt die Vernunft].26

What does reason perceive? In which element does perceiving abide, such that thereby a thinking happens? Perceiving [Vernehmen] is the translation of the Greek word νοεῖν, which signifies: to notice something that presences [or is present: Anwesendes], to take it into one’s awareness [vornehmen], to take it on [or accept it: annehmen] as what presences. This perceiving that takes into awareness is a re-presenting [or placing-before: Vor-stellen], in the simple, broad, and at the same time essential sense that we let what presences stand and lie before us as it does lie and stand.27

That one among the early Greek thinkers who determines the essence of Western thinking until now by measuring out a standard for it nevertheless, whenever he deals with thinking, in no way solely and never at first attends to what we would like to call mere thinking. Rather, the essential determination of thinking consists precisely in this: that its essence remains determined by what thinking as perceiving perceives – namely, what-is in its being.

Parmenides says:28

ταὐτὸν δ' ἐστὶ νοεῖν τε καὶ οὕνεκεν ἔστι νόημα.
οὐ γὰρ ἄνευ τοῦ ἐόντος, ἐν ᾧ πεφατισμένον ἐστιν,
εὑρήσεις τὸ νοεῖν

The same, however, is perceiving [Vernehmen] and also (that)

for the sake of which perceiving29 is.

Not, namely, without the being of what-is,

in which it (viz., perceiving) is as has been said,

will you find perceiving.

Out of these words of Parmenides, something steps clearly into the light: thinking receives its essence as perceiving [Vernehmen] from out of the being of what-is.

25 Third edition, 1967: the ‘as’

26 ratio (λέγειν)

27 not yet ‘object’ [Gegenstand, standing over against]

28 [Diels, Fragment 8]

29 Third edition, 1967: (Hearing [Vernehmung])