"What is called thinking?" in the decisive way. However, our explanation has itself constantly been talking about thinking. We already have, then, an understanding of the words "thought" and "thinking., in their broad outlines, even if it be only the vague meaning that by thinking we understand something that is done by an act of the human spirit. We speak of acts of will, but also of acts of thought.

Precisely when we ask, "What is it that calls on us to think?," we reflect not only on the source of the calling, but with equal resolution on what it calls on us to do--we reflect on thinking. Thus, when we are called upon, we are not only commanded and called upon to do something, but that something itself is named in the call. In the wording of the question, the word "think" is not just a sound. All of us have already had some ideas about the word "think," however vague. True, all of us should be greatly embarrassed if we had to say, straight out and unequivocally, what it is that the verb "to think" designates. But, luckily, we do not have to say, we only are supposed to let ourselves become involved in the question. And if we do, we are already asking: what is it to which the word "thinking" gives a name? Having started with the decisive fourth question, we find ourselves involved in the first question as well.

What is it to which the word "thinking" gives a name? hear the words "think," "thought," "thinking." As the saying goes, we attach a meaning to them. What comes to our minds here is at first fleeting and blurred. Most of the time, we can leave it at that. It satisfies the demands of common speech in usual communication. Such communication does not want to lose time tarrying over the sense of individual words. Instead, words are constantly thrown around on the cheap, and in the process are worn out. There is a curious advantage in that. With a worn-out language everybody can talk about everything.

But what if we ask specifically what it is to which the

Martin Heidegger (GA 8) What Is Called Thinking?