since Plato been understood as "philosophy," and later received the title "metaphysics."


In the thinking of Being the liberation of human beings for ek-sistence, the liberation that grounds history, is put into words. These are not merely the "expression" of an opinion but always already the ably conserved articulation of the truth of beings as a whole. How many have ears for these words matters not. Who those are that can hear them determines the human being's standpoint in history. However, in the same period in which the beginning of philosophy takes place, the marked domination of common sense (sophistry) also begins.

The latter appeals to the unquestionable character of the beings that are opened up and interprets all thoughtful questioning as an attack on, an unfortunate irritation of, sound common sense.

However, what philosophy is according to the estimation of common sense, which is quite justified in its own domain, does not touch on the essence of philosophy, which can be determined only on the basis of relatedness to the original truth of beings as such as a whole. But because the full essence of truth contains the nonessence and above all holds sway as concealing, philosophy as a questioning into this truth is intrinsically discordant. Philosophical thinking is gentle releasement that does not renounce the concealment of beings as a whole. Philosophical thinking is especially the stem and resolute openness that does not disrupt the concealing [95] but entreats its unbroken essence into the open region of understanding and thus into its own truth.

In the gentle sternness and stem gentleness with which it lets beings as such be as a whole, philosophy becomes a questioning that does not cling solely to beings yet that also can allow no externally imposed decree. Kant presaged this innermost need that thinking has. For he says of philosophy:

Here philosophy is seen in fact to be placed in a precarious position, which is supposed to be stable - although neither in heaven nor on earth is there anything on which it depends or on which it is based. It is here that it has to prove its integrity as the keeper of its laws [Selhsthalterin ibrer Gesetze], not as the mouthpiece of laws secretly communicated to it by some implanted sense or by who knows what tutelary nature. (Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten. Werke, Akademieausgabe vol. IV, p. 425)

With this essential interpretation of philosophy, Kant, whose work introduces the final turning of Western metaphysics, envisages a domain