Metaphysics of Principle of Reason [178-180]

Once the analysis of temporality has first received its direction from the basic metaphysical problem, the previous interpretation of time, from Aristotle through Augustine to Bergson, can be highlighted in its decisive contents and appropriated. And it would be remarkably naive to reject the aid to be found in Aristotle, be it only indirect, for Aristotle defined the problematic of time for every subsequent thinker, and not least of all for Bergson.

But why is time connected with the understanding of being? This is not obvious. Yet there are suggestive references to and indications of this connection-since nothing accessible is hidden, pure and simple, otherwise it would not be accessible at all for finite Dasein. Before following up on these indications. we present here a recollection which will serve to give us a sharper formulation of the problem of the understanding-of-being.

Parmenides had already recognized and focused on the correlation between εἶναι and νοεῖν: τὸ γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι (Frag. 3). Here it is important to first eliminate misunderstandings. There were attempts in the nineteenth century to claim this statement for various conceptions in the theory of knowledge. In it was seen "the first glimmerings of idealism." as if Parmenides had held that the subject is what first posits beings as beings, or as if Parmenides had thought, as one takes Kant to hold, that objects order themselves according to our knowledge. All this contains a certain kernel of truth. inasmuch as it was first stated by Parmenides that being is related to the subject. But here it is important to realize that the εἶναι correlated with the νοεῖν is not yet clearly differentiated from the ὄν; but this certainly does not mean the ὄν would only be a being insofar as it were caused and produced by a νοεῖν. There is no causal ontic dependency or "positing" intended. It would be just as premature to seek in Parmenides the so-called predeliction for critique, i.e., epistemological intent in the sense of the Copernican revolution, which. moreover. rests on a misunderstanding of Kant.

Opposing interpretations of this sort, one can point out that there is no such idealism in all of ancient philosophy. To this it must be added, however, that interpretations of Parmenides' thought as "realism" are equally untenable. For we are not dealing with a position taken regarding the relation of beings as such to a subject that has being, but rather we have here the first dawning of the real metaphysical problem of being as such. The point is not whether the subject posits beings or whether it, as knowing subject, directs itself toward beings, but the point is rather the way in which the human being as such understands anything like