Science and Reflection

Through such observation, historiography grasps the history of the science that it itself is. But through doing this historiography never grasps its essence as historiography, i.e., as a science. If we want to assert something about mathematics as theory, then we must leave behind the object-area of mathematics, together with mathematics' own way of representing. We can never discover through mathematical reckoning what mathematics itself is.

It remains the case, then, that the sciences are not in a position at any time to represent themselves to themselves, to set themselves before themselves, by means of their theory and through the modes of procedure belonging to theory.

If it is entirely denied to science scientifically to arrive at its own essence, then the sciences are utterly incapable of gaining access to that which is not to be gotten around holding sway in their essence.

Here something disturbing manifests itself. That which in the sciences is not at any time to be gotten around—nature, man, history, language—is, as that which is not to be gotten around [Unumgängliche], intractable and inaccessible [unzugänglich] for the sciences and through the sciences.29

Only when we also pay heed to this inaccessibility of that which is not to be gotten around does that state of affairs come into view which holds complete sway throughout the essence of science.

But why do we call that which is inaccessible and not to be gotten around the inconspicuous [unscheinbare] state of affairs?30

29. Unumgängliche and unzugänglich are built on the stem of the verb gehen (to go) . In this passage Heidegger uses several forms of gehen itself : eingehen (to arrive at), zugehen (to gain access to), gehen (to move), übergehen (to pass over) . And subsequently das Übergangene, translated with "that which is passed over," will also be used. In most cases it has been impossible to translate these words so as to show the close connection existing among them. Hence this passage carries in the German a fore<' arising out of repetition, which the translation cannot reproduce. And it evinces, in that repetition, the interrelated unitariness of that about which Heidegger is speaking.

30. Unscheinbar means literally, "not shining," "not bright." The verb in the sentence that follows here, auffallen, means not only to strike as strange, but first of all, to fall upon, to fall open. Heidegger clearly intends that the meanings that the translation here displays should be heard as primary in these two words at this point. But at the same time both also contain connotations of self-manifestation, which he will bring out as the discussion proceeds.