the Greek ζῷον λόγον ἔχον, but rather a metaphysical interpretation of it. This essential definition of the human being is [154 {GA 9 322}] not false. But it is conditioned by metaphysics. The essential provenance of metaphysics, and not just its limits, became questionable in Being and Time. What is questionable is above all commended to thinking as what is to be thought, but not at all left to the gnawing doubts of an empty skepticism.

Metaphysics does indeed represent beings in their being, and so it also4 thinks the being of beings. But it does not think being as such,5 does not think the difference between being and beings. (Cf. "On the Essence of Ground" [1929], p. 8; also Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics [1929], p. 225; and Being and Time, p. 230.) Metaphysics does not ask about the truth of being itself. Nor does it therefore ask in what way the essence of the human being belongs to the truth of being. Metaphysics has not only failed up to now to ask this question, the question is inaccessible to metaphysics as such. Being is still waiting for the time when It itself will become thought-provoking to the human being. With regard to the definition of the essence of the human being, however one may determine the ratio of the animal and the reason of the living being, whether as a "faculty of principles" or a "faculty of categories" or in some other way, the essence of reason is always and in each case grounded in this: for every apprehending of beings in their being, being in each case6 is already cleared, it is7 propriated in its truth. So too with animal, ζῷον, an interpretation of "life" is already posited that necessarily lies in an interpretation of beings as ζωή and φύσις, within which what is living appears. Above and beyond everything else, however, it finally remains to ask8 whether the essence of the human being primordially and most decisively lies in the dimension of animalitas at all. Are we really on the right track toward the essence of the human being as long as we set him off as one living creature among others in contrast to plants, beasts, and God? We can proceed in that way; we can in such fashion locate the human being among beings as one being among others. We will thereby always be able to state something correct about the human being. [155 {GA 9 323}] But we must be clear on this point, that when we do this we abandon the human being to the essential realm of animalitas even if we do not equate him with beasts but attribute a specific difference to him. In principle we are still thinking of homo animalis — even when anima [soul) is posited as animus sive mens [spirit or mind], and this in rum is later posited as subject, person, or spirit. Such positing is the manner of metaphysics. But then the essence of the human being is too little heeded and not thought in its origin, the essential provenance that is always the essential future for historical mankind. Metaphysics thinks of the human