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The Principle of Reason [41-43]

to make such an assessment, but it will be something quite different to ponder the extent to which the human being today is subjugated not only to technology, but the extent to which humans must respond to the essence of technology, and the extent to which more original possibilities of a free and open human existence announce themselves in this response. The technico-scientific world-construct deploys its own specific claims on the shaping of all available resources which, in such a world, throng into its daylight . What one names with the ill-suited title "abstract an" thus has its legitimate function in the domain of this technico-scientific world-construct. In making this observation I intentionally make use of words understood around the globe [which are not of German origin.][13]

If we now refer to the homologous use of axioms, Principles, and fundamental principles and thereby take into consideration the fact that this use serves the axiomatic securing of calculative thinking, then we move towards a reflection in which a few things must be resolved.

It would be both short-sighted and presumptuous if we wanted to disparage modern axiomatic thinking. But it would also be a childish and pathetic notion if we were to believe that this modern thinking would let itself be bent back upon its great and open origin in the thinking of the Greeks. The only fruitful path leads through and beyond modern axiomatic cognition and its concealed grounds. First of all, this cognition persists in the commonplace representation of axioms, Principles, fundamental principles, and their roles. We must reflect upon how we relate to the supreme fundamental principles. It is clear: we adhere to them without reflection.


We hardly give a second thought to where there might be things like axioms, Principles, and fundamental principles, where they may reside, where they come from. Principles—that seems to be a matter of Reason,[14] and fundamental principles to be what pertains to our understanding, that is, the son of thing that we carry around in our heads. Besides, the formulae of these fundamental principles show their apparent universal validity; yet these principles also remain hollow as long as we are not capable of thinking about their contents on the basis of the essential plentitude of that about which they speak.

About what does the fundamental principle of reason speak? To what does it belong? From where does it speak?

These questions are not completely irrelevant, although they give the impression that their discussion can contribute little to the promotion of the sciences, and that their discussion will even seduce philosophy into overlooking the pressing needs of the contemporary era.

Such apprehensions are justified. Therefore, before we attempt a discussion of the principle of reason, we might give one more of those characterizations that only hovers, as it were, around the exterior of the principle. The following


The Principle of Reason (GA 10) by Martin Heidegger