What is called thinking? The question sounds definite. It seems unequivocal. But even a slight reflection shows it to have more than one meaning. No sooner do we ask the question than we begin to vacillate. Indeed, the ambiguity of the question foils every attempt to push toward the answer without some further preparation.

We must, then, clarify the ambiguity. The ambiguousness of the question, "What is called thinking?", conceals several possible ways of dealing with it. Getting ahead of ourselves, we may stress four ways in which the question can be posed.

"What is called thinking?" says for one thing, and in the first place: what is it we call "thought" and "thinking," what do these words signify? What is it to which give the name "thinking"?

"What is called thinking?" says also, in the second place : how does traditional doctrine conceive and define what we have named thinking? What is it that for two and a half thousand years has been regarded as the basic characteristic of thinking? Why does the traditional doctrine of thinking bear the curious title "logic"?

"What is called thinking?" says further, in the third place: what are the prerequisites we need so that we may be


Martin Heidegger (GA 8) What Is Called Thinking?