The Question Concerning Technology

responsible play? What is the source of the unity of the four causes? What, after all, does this owing and being responsible mean, thought as the Greeks thought it?

Today we are too easily inclined either to understand being responsible and being indebted moralistically as a lapse, or else to construe them in terms of effecting. In either case we bar to ourselves the way to the primal meaning of that which is later called causality. So long as this way is not opened up to us we shall also fail to see what instrumentality, which is based on causality, actually is.

In order to guard against such misinterpretations of being responsible and being indebted, let us clarify the four ways of being responsible in terms of that for which they are responsible. According to our example, they are responsible for the silver chalice's lying ready before us as a sacrificial vessel. Lying before and lying ready (hypokeisthai) characterize the presencing of something that presences. The four ways of being responsible bring something into appearance. They let it come forth into presencing [An-wesen].7 They set it free to that place and so start it on its way, namely, into its complete arrival. The principal characteristic of being responsible is this starting something on its way into arrival. It is in the sense of such a starting something on its way into arrival that being responsible is an occasioning or an inducing to go forward [Ver-an-lassen].8 On the

7. By writing An-wesen, Heidegger stresses the composition of the verb anwesen, translated as "to presence." The verb consists of wesen (literally, to continue or endure) with the prepositional prefix an- (at, to, toward) . It is man who must receive presencing, man to whom it comes as enduring. Cf. On Time and Being, trans. Joan Stambaugh (New York : Harper & Row, 1972), p. 12.

8. Ver-an-lassen is Heidegger's writing of the verb veranlassen in noun form, now hyphenated to bring out its meaning. Veranlassen ordinarily means to occasion, to cause, to bring about, to call forth. Its use here relates back to the use of anlassen (to leave [something] on, to let loose, to set going), here translated "to start something on its way." Anlassen has just been similarly written as an-lassen so as to emphasize its composition from lassen (to let or leave) and an (to or toward) . One of the functions of the German prefix ver- is to intensify the force of a verb. Andre Preau quotes Heidegger as saying : "Ver-an-Iassen is more active than an-lassen. The ver-, as it were, pushes the latter toward a doing [vers un faire] ." Cf. Martin Heidegger, Essais et Conferences (Paris : Gallimard, 1958), p. 16 n.

Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays