The Question Concerning Technology

comparing the new science with the old solely in terms of degree, from the point of view of progress.

The essence of what we today call science is research. In what does the essence of research consist?

In the fact that knowing [das Erkennen] establishes itself as a procedure within some realm of what is, in nature or in history. Procedure does not mean here merely method or methodology. For every procedure already requires an open sphere in which it moves. And it is precisely the opening up of such sphere that is the fundamental event in research. This is accomplished through the projection within some realm of what is—in nature, for example—of a fixed ground plan6 of natural events. The projection sketches out in advance the manner in which the knowing procedure must bind itself and adhere to the sphere opened up. This binding adherence is the rigor of research,7 Through the projecting of the ground plan and the prescribing of rigor, procedure makes secure for itself its sphere of objects within thE?' realm of Being. A look at that earliest science, which is at the same time the normative one in the modern age, namely, mathematical physics, will make clear what we mean. Inasmuch as modern atomic physics still remains physics, what is essential—and only the essential is aimed at here—will hold for it also.

Modern physics is called mathematical because, in a remarkable way, it makes use of a quite specific mathematics. But it can proceed mathematically in this way only because, in a deeper sense, it is already itself mathematical. Τὰ μαθήματα means for the Greeks that which man knows in advance in his observation of whatever is and in his intercourse with things: the corporeality of bodies, the vegetable character of plants, the animality of animals, the humanness of man. Alongside these, belonging also to that which is already-known, i.e., to the mathematical, are numbers. If we come upon three apples on the table, we

6. Grundriss. The verb reissen means to tear, to rend, to sketch, to design, and the noun Riss means tear, gap, outline. Hence the noun Grundriss, first sketch, ground plan, design, connotes a fundamental sketching out: that is an opening up as well.

7. "Binding adherence" here translates the noun Bindung. The noun could also be rendered "obligation." It could thus be said that rigor is the obligation to remain within the realm opened up.