The Principle of Reason [155-156]

who attempt to ask it. This points up a difference between the sciences and philosophy. In the former, one has the excitement and stimulation of the ever-novel and successful; with the latter, one has the consternation of what is simply the same, of what does not admit of success since nothing can follow from it-this because thinking, insofar as it ponders being, thinks back into ground/ reason, that is, its essence as the truth of being.[50]

Yet what the word Grund and the corresponding names name can be exhibited only with even greater difficulty, especially when we seek to bring into view what is the same that is touched upon in previously used names like Grund [reason], ratio, causa, Ursache [cause], "condition for the possibility."

In order to blaze a path here we must make the best of the fact that our exposition has come to a standstill in a crude form. What was noted concerning the understanding and saying of the word "being" holds equally in regard to what is to be thought via the word Grund [ground/reason]. In the previous sessions, all of us have understood the often mentioned word Grund in some manner. Hence we were able to set aside what we are now no longer able to pass over: the discussion of the word Grund and the names in the history of thinking that name what is generally characterized by the German word Grund.

So that we do not stray from the path with these discussions, we should recall what it is we want to achieve. It is an insight into the fact that and how "being" and "ground/reason" "are" the same. In other words, we want to hear what the principle of reason says in the second tonality as an utterance of being. Such a hearing does not simply bear something in mind. Rather, if it occurs correctly, a hearing [Hören] that thinks experiences that to which we always already, that is genuinely, belong [ge-hören].

When we ask what is called Grund, then we at first mean what the word signifies; the word signifies something; it gives us something to understand and does so because it speaks to us of something.

Seen wholly apart from the historical character of the polysemy of a word, language nevertheless has an essentially historical character such that it appears to us to be a complex of words whose words, as one says, are the bearers of meaning and thereby have a meaning. That such is the case with words—that there are word-mean—we hold as being as obvious as the fact that beings appear to us as Objects. Hence both of these representations are also related in a way. Apropos of this ordinary representation of words, namely that they have a meaning, we find various meanings of the word Grund. When we ask after the fundamental meaning [Grundbedeutung] of the word Grund, we have, with this very question, already answered, that means introduced, what we mean by Grund, namely the basis, the fundus upon which something rests, stands, and lies. We speak of foundation walls [Grundmauern], of a fundamental rule [Grundregel], of a fundamental principle [Grundsatz].