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Yet what does the being of what-is mean [heißt] here, and for the Greeks, and, consequently, for the entirety of Western thinking until this very hour? The answer to this question, a question which previously was never posed because it was all too simple, runs: the being of what-is means [heißt] presencing of what presences, the presence of the present.30 The answer is a leap into the dark.

What thinking as perceiving perceives is what is present in its presence [das Präsente in seiner Präsenz]. Thinking takes it on as the measure for its essence as perceiving. Accordingly, thinking is that presentation of what is present [Präsentation des Präsenten] which places toward [or delivers: zu-stellt]31 us and thus places before us [or represents: stellt vor] what presences in its presence [das Anwesende in seiner Anwesenheit]. Therefore, we can stand before [stehen vor] and endure [ausstehen] this standing from within it. As this presentation, thinking delivers [stelltzu] what presences into relation to us, places it forth and back toward us. Therefore, presentation is re-presentation.32 The word repraesentatio is the name that later became common for representing [das Vorstellen].33

The fundamental trait [or basic draft: Grundzug] of prior thinking is representing [das Vorstellen]. According to the ancient doctrine of thinking, this representing [Vorstellung] is accomplished in λόγος, which word here signifies statement [Aussage], judgment. That’s why the doctrine of thinking, of λόγος, is called [heißt] logic. Kant takes up, in a simple manner, the traditional designation of thinking as representing when he defines the fundamental act of thinking, the judgment, as representing a representation of the object (Critique of Pure Reason, A68/B93).34 If we judge, e.g., ‘this path is rocky,’ then in judgment the representation of the object, i.e., of the path, gets represented in turn, namely, as rocky.35

The fundamental trait of thinking is representing. Perceiving is unfolded in representing. Representing itself is re-presentation. Yet why does thinking consist in perceiving? Why does perceiving unfold in representing? Why is representing re-presentation?



30 [Heidegger gives two different versions of the same formula, the first one using terms proper to German (the ones he usually uses in this situation: Anwesen des Anwesenden), the second one using what Germans call loan-words, those transposed more directly from Latin (Präsenz des Präsenten).]

31 [Zustellen means to deliver but also to block or to obstruct.]]

32 Third edition, 1967: Reflection

33 the moment [Moment] of presenting [Praesentierens] and presence [Praesenz] – disappears! A “present” [Präsent]: a “gift.” little attention

34 [The initial representation of the object is an intuition (sensibility); representing that representation – judgment or cognition – is subsuming the intuition under a concept (intelligibility).]

35 Third edition, 1967: Cf. “Kant’s Thesis on ‘Being’” [GA 9:445-480/Pathmarks 337-363.]


What Does Thinking Mean? - Lectures and Essays (GA 7)