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The Principle of Reason [164-166]

of sufficient reason and brings this response to language. But Vernunft [Reason], just as much as Grund [grounds] speak as translations of the one word, ratio. In historical terms this means that the critique of pure Reason is the thinking that thinks in the light of the principle of sufficient reason, a thinking from out of which the word ratio speaks with its dually singular utterance that, in a single stroke, names both "Reason" and "grounds." Ratio and that which is thought in it is passed along in such a speaking. The passing-along meant here is what moves genuine history. Under hazard of appearing to exaggerate, we may even say that if ratio did not speak in modern thinking with the double sense of "Reason" and "grounds," then there would not be Kant's critique of pure Reason as the circumscription of the conditions for the possibility of the object of experience.

So it may be that our assessment that the word Grund is the translation of ratio has lost its character as a platitude. It should be suggested only in passing that the classical sources for the insight into the passing along, as a legacy of the Geschick, of ratio as "grounds" and "Reason" to modern thinking are Paragraphs 29 to 32 of Leibniz's Monadology. The Monadology is said to be one of the last writings of Leibniz. It deals with the Principles of philosophy. The ninety paragraphs of this text allow the scaffolding of Western-especially modern- metaphysics to be more clearly discerned than almost any other work of thinking in the age before Kant. This text of Leibniz, originating in the year 1714, was first published in 1840 in the original French text from the Hannover Library by a student of Hegel, Johann Ed. Erdmann.43

Grund is the translation of ratio. What Grund names and what the principle of reason speaks about passes along what is experienced and thought in the dually singular utterance of ratio. We must inquire into this. We can only do so here in a sketchy way We will hold our itinerary in view so that it doesn't come down to a random word-clarification; for it merits bringing into view that and how being and ground/reason "are" the same. This means that it merits taking up and recalling the extent to which the sameness of being and ground/ reason announces itself at the commencement of the history of being, and indeed announces this only then to remain, as this sameness, unthought and unheard over a long period of time. Yet at the same time, what is unheard [Ungehörte] is what is unprecedented [Unerhörte]-what is unique in the history of being and its commencement.

Ratio speaks in the word Grund and indeed does so with the dual sense of Reason and grounds. Being a ground/reason also characterizes what we call a cause, in Latin causa; this is why the principle of reason, as we have frequently mentioned, also reads: Nihil est sine causa. In step with a long tradition and habit of thinking and speaking, we no longer find anything exciting about the fact that ratio simultaneously names "Reason" and "grounds." Thinking carefully, we nevertheless must agree that what Grund means-namely, depth and earth


The Principle of Reason (GA 10) by Martin Heidegger