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Kant's Manner of Asking About the Thing

is the genuine essence of learning, the μάθησις· The μαθήματα are the things insofar as we take cognizance of them as what we already know them to be in advance, the body as the bodily, the plant-like of the plant, the animal- like of the animal, the thingness of the thing, and so on. This genuine learning is therefore an extremely peculiar taking, a taking where he who takes only takes what he actually already has. Teaching corresponds to this learning. Teaching is a giving, an offering; but what is offered in teaching is not the learnable, for the student is merely instructed to take for himself what he already has. If the student only takes over something which is offered be does not learn. He comes to learn only when be experiences what he takes as some.thing be himself already has. True learning only occurs where the taking of what one I already has is a self-giving and is experienced as such. Teaching, therefore, does not mean anything else than to let the others learn, i.e., to bring one another to learning. Learning is more difficult than teaching: for only he who can truly learn—and only as long as he can do it—can truly teach. The genuine teacher differs from the pupil only in that he can learn better and that he more genuinely wants to learn. In all teaching, the teacher learns the most.

The most difficult learning is to come to know all the way what we already know. Such learning, with which we are here solely concerned, demands sticking rather closely to what appears to be nearest at hand; for instance, to the question of what a thing is. We steadfastly ask, considering its usefulness, the same obviously useless question of what a thing is, what tools are, what man is, what a work of art is, what the state and what the world are.

There was, in ancient times, a famous Greek scholar who traveled everywhere lecturing. Such people were called Sophists. Once this famous Sophist, returning to Athens from a lecture tour in Asia Minor, met Socrates on the street. It was Socrates' habit to hang around on the