THE AGE OF THE WORLD PICTURE
Never. For in every essential respect, what determines the two fundamental metaphysical positions with equal necessity is different. What is essential to a fundamental metaphysical position embraces:
(1) The manner and way in which man is man, that is, himself: the essential nature of selfhood which by no means coincides with I-ness, but is rather determined by the relationship to being as such.
(2) The essential interpretation of the being of beings.
(3) The essential projection of truth.
(4) The sense in which, in any given instance, "man is the measure."
None of the essential moments of the fundamental metaphysical position can be understood apart from the others. Each, by itself, indicates the totality of a fundamental metaphysical position. For what reason, and to what extent, just these four moments bear and structure a fundamental metaphysical position in advance is a question which can no longer be asked or answered out of or through metaphysics. To ask it is already to speak out of the overcoming of metaphysics.
For Protagoras, to be sure, beings remain related to man as έγώ. Of what kind is this relation to the I? The έγώ stays, in the sphere of that which is apportioned to it as this particular unconcealment. Accordingly, it apprehends everything that presences within this sphere as in being. The apprehending of what presences is grounded in this staying within the sphere of unconcealment. The belonging to the I to what presences is through this staying alongside what presences. This belonging to what presences in the open draws the boundary between what is present and what absent. From out of this boundary man receives and preserves the measure of that which presences and that which absences. In his restriction to that which is unconcealed at a particular time, man gives himself the measure which confines a self in each case to this and that. Man does not set the measure to which all beings in their being here have to accommodate themselves, out of a detailed I-ness. One who stands in the Greeks' fundamental relationship to beings and their unconcealment is μέτρον (measure) insofar as he accepts restriction to the sphere of unconcealment limited after the manner of the I; and, as a consequence, acknowledges the concealment of beings and that their presence or absence, together with the visible appearance of what is present, lies beyond his power of decision. This is why Protagoras says (Fragment 4 in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker) περί μέν θεών οΐκ 2χω εΐδέναι, οΰθ' ώς εισίν, οΰθ' ώς ούκ εΐσίν, οΰθ' όποΐοί τινες ἰδέαν "Concerning the gods, I am, admittedly, not in the position to know (i.e., for the