The Question Concerning Technology

That which follows in fact and indeed from such a doing is the factual [Tatsächliche].11 The word "factual" today connotes assurance, and means the same thing as "certain" and "sure." Instead of "It is certainly so," we say "It is in fact so," and "It is really so." Nevertheless, it is neither an accident nor a harmless caprice in the change in meaning of mere terms that, since the beginning of the modern period in the seventeenth century, the word "real" has meant the same thing as "certain."

The "real," in the sense of what is factual, now constitutes the opposite of that which does not stand firm as guaranteed and which is represented as mere appearance or as something that is only believed to be so. Yet throughout these various changes in meaning the real still retains the more primordially fundamental characteristic, which comes less often and differently to the fore, of something that presences which sets itself forth from out of itself.

But now the real presents itself in the taking place of consequences. The consequence demonstrates that that which presences has, through it, come to a secured stand, and that it encounters as such a stand [Stand] . The real now shows itself as object, that which stands over against [Gegen-Stand].

The word Gegenstand first originates in the eighteenth century, and indeed as a German translation of the Latin obiectum. There are profound reasons why the words "object" and "objectivity" [Gegenständlichkeit] took on special importance for Goethe.

11. Das in der Tat solchen Tuns Erfolgten ist das Tatsächliche. Tatsächlich (actual, factual), based on the word Tat (deed), from tun (to do), here makes the connection Heidegger intends in a way that cannot be duplicated in English.