﻿ What Is a Thing? 88 88
WHAT IS A THING?

The Essence of the Mathematical Project
(Entwurf)22
(Galileo's Experiment with Free Fall)

For us, for the moment, the question concerns the application of the First Law, more precisely, the question in what sense the mathematical becomes decisive in it.

22 Perhaps the best insight as to what Heidegger means by "project" is Kant's use of the word in the Critique of Pure Reason. "When Galileo experimented with balls whose weight he himself bad already predetermined, when Torricelli caused the air to carry a weight which he had calculated beforehand to be equal to that of a definite column of water, or, at a later time, when Stahl converted metal into lime and this again into metal by withdrawing something and then adding It, a light broke in on all investigators of nature. They learned that reason only gains insight into what it produces itself according to its own projects (was sie selbst nach ihrem Entwurfe hervorbringt); that it must go before with principles of judgment aceording to constant laws, and ccmtrain nattire to reply to its questions, not content to merely follow her leading-strings" (B XIII).

Literally Entwurf means "a throwing forth"; from werfen (to throw) and ent- (incUcating separation or severing in the sense of "out," "away," "from," "forth"). In present day use it is a sketch, and the word "sketch" is sometimes used in this translation, as well as "project" and "projection." Originally a textile term referring to the building of a frame, in the seventeenth century it (entwerfen) took the sense of a preliminary or preparatory sketch. As Heidegger uses it in SZ 145, it is a sketching which is a throwing forth of Dasein in which it "throws before itself the posbility as possibility and as such allows it to be." It is through understanding as project that the structure of the being of entities, including Dasein, becomes accessible. Project is constructive in that it allows the possibilities of entities to be; in the case of Dasein to achieve its openness to its own being (See KM, pp. 209-10). Trans.