From Destruktion to the History of Being

William McNeill

In his late, 1962 lecture “Time and Being,” Heidegger pointed to an intrinsic connection between the task of Destruktion, which was central to his conception of fundamental ontology in the 1920s, and his later thought of the history of Being.1 In the period surrounding Being and Time , Destruktion was conceived as a dismantling (Abbau) of those concealments which, in the history of ontology, had covered over the initial, Greek sense of the meaning of Being as presence. In “Time and Being,” Heidegger stated the following:

Only a dismantling [Abbau] of these concealments – this is what is meant by “Destruktion” – affords thinking a precursory insight into what then reveals itself as the destining of Being. Because people everywhere regard the destining of Being only in terms of history and represent the latter as a happening, they attempt in vain to interpret such happening in terms of what is stated in Being and Time about the historicality of Dasein (not of Being). By contrast, the sole possible way for thinking to anticipate the later thought of the destining of Being coming from Being and Time is to think through what is presented in Being and Time concerning the Destruktion of the ontological doctrine of the Being of beings.2

One must take Heidegger’s hint seriously here, when he tries to direct our view away from the historicality of Dasein and toward the disclosure of Being itself within the perspective of Destruktion in Being


and Time. And yet, this retrospective indication, coming from the later perspective of the history of Being, oversimplifies what is at stake in the historicality of Dasein, and in particular conceals a key element in what is at stake in understanding the transition from the historicality of Dasein to the history of Being. For what Heidegger states here in 1962 implies that one could separate the issue of the historicality of Dasein from the task of Destruktion, something that is emphatically not the case in Being and Time. There, the theme of Destruktion is introduced explicitly in terms of the historicality of Dasein: Insight into the essential historicality of Dasein indicates that the question of Being – as an ontic possibility of Dasein – is itself characterized by historicality, and so the unfolding of the question of Being must inquire into its own history (the history of ontology) by itself becoming historiological, so as to accomplish a “positive appropriation” of its own past and to “take full possession of its ownmost possibilities of questioning.”3 It is this historiological inquiry that is characterized as Destruktion, and its ground and necessity are rooted in and understood from out of the historicality of Dasein itself.

It is this intrinsic connection between Destruktion and the historicality of Dasein that I would like to pursue in these remarks, with a view to better understanding just how the fundamental ontology of Dasein anticipates and opens onto what would later be called the history of Being. My underlying thesis – and it is, I hope to show, an uncontroversial one – can be stated straightforwardly: Heidegger’s later thinking of the history of Being in terms of the destining of Being (Geschick des Seins) is nothing other than a renewed thinking of what, in Being and Time, is intimated at a decisive point as “the quiet force of the possible” (die stille Kraft des Möglichen).

To begin with, let us undertake a brief survey of how Destruktion is understood by the early Heidegger in some of his lectures that predate Being and Time. Following this, I shall turn to Being and Time itself, and finally to the “Letter on ‘Humanism’.”

Heidegger developed his conception of Destruktion well before Being and Time.4 Although the first appearance of the term “Destruktion”


is a mention of the term in the course on The Basic Problems of Phenomenology from winter semester 1919-2",5 the theme is already anticipated the previous semester, in his course on Phenomenological and Transcendental Philosophy of Values (SS 1919),6 where Heidegger insists on the critical import of phenomenology. The idea of phenomenological critique, which would soon become understood as Destruktion, was, however, not to be taken in a negative sense, Heidegger insisted. Although Heidegger here presents the concept of phenomenological critique in Husserlian terms – its criterion is “… the evidentiary understanding of lived experiences, of living in and for itself in the Eidos” – it is concerned neither with logical proof and refutation, nor with theoretically imposed criteria, but rather with historical questions of provenance (Herkunft) and motivation.7 By the summer semester of 192", in his course on Phenomenology of Intuition and Expression, the idea of phenomenological critique had become what Heidegger explicitly called that of “phenomenological-critical Destruktion.”8 A couple of years later, in his treatise Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle (1922), Heidegger further clarified his notion of historical critique intrinsic to phenomenology in terms of the need for a “critique of the present”: “Critique of history is always only critique of the present. […] History gets negated not because it is ‘false,’ but because it still remains effective in the present without, however, being able to be an authentically appropriated present.”9 The phenomenological hermeneutics of facticity, Heidegger insists in the same text, can occur “only on the path of Destruktion”; and the latter is conceived as essentially regressive, as a “deconstructive regress” (abbauenden Rückgang) that will penetrate into the “original motivational sources” underlying the traditional concepts and categories used to interpret factical life. Destruktion is “ ‘historical’ knowing in the radical sense of the term…”; it is philosophy’s “destructive [destruktive] confrontation with its own history.” As such, it is not a return to the past, but “the authentic path upon which the present needs to encounter itself in its own basic movements.”10

It is in the summer semester 1921 course Ontology (Hermeneutics of Facticity) , however, that Heidegger provides the fullest delineation of


what is entailed by Destruktion. Phenomenology as a distinctive “how” of research that seeks to make present its thematic object, Dasein itself in its facticity, must proceed beyond the initial givenness of its object, which is permeated by tradition and conceptual concealments, to “a grasping of its object [Sacherfassung] that is free of concealments.” This entails the disclosure of the history of those concealments itself. “The tradition of philosophical questioning,” writes Heidegger, “must be pursued back to the original sources [Sachquellen]. The tradition must be dismantled [abgebaut].”11 For this going back, this regressive movement (Rückgang) alone can once again bring philosophy before the decisive issues. That philosophy as phenomenology must be regressive means that it must assume historical critique (historische Kritik) as its fundamental task, and resist the ahistorical appeal to “naïve evidence” that characterizes Husserlian phenomenology. It must take its point of departure from the present day (das Heute), and resist the tendency toward system. “Not every era needs to have a grand system,” Heidegger remarks. This “critical dismantling of the tradition,” more specifically, means a regress “to Greek philosophy, to Aristotle,” to show how an originary phenomenon falls into decline and concealment, a decline in which we still find ourselves today. The dismantling must retrieve and unfold anew the original position, and is thus a retrieval of “something different and yet the same.” Hermeneutic phenomenology in this sense must be preparatory: it has the task of preparing the path (of access), as a “critical-cautionary guidance of seeing in the movement back, by way of a dismantling of critically ascertained concealments.” Its ultimate task is to bring Being itself to a phenomenon, to show itself.12

While in the 1921 course itself, Heidegger’s favored term is Abbau, dismantling, it is clear that he is here sketching nothing less than what would eventually become Destruktion in Being and Time. The notes that form the appendix to this volume, which may stem from a later period, are quite explicit in naming Destruktion: “Hermeneutics is Destruktion!” declares Heidegger, and it must proceed on the basis of concrete investigations, and safeguard against the closure of a philosophical system.13 The “destructive interpretation” must first


seek out ontology – and vice versa: ontology needs Destruktion. What is originary, Heidegger insists, is not something in the past, but “facticity itself,” facticity as encompassing “an equiprimordial multiplicity of movements, interpretations, and objects,” a multiplicity to be understood in its unity, that is, on the basis of facticity itself.14

This sketch of Destruktion in the 1921 course anticipates in its fundamental outlines the essential project announced several years later in Being and Time. In section 6 of the Introduction to his magnum opus, Heidegger again depicts the task of Destruktion in terms of a regression to the original sources from which the dominant concepts and categories of ontology were drawn, a going back that undoes the concealments of the history of ontology and that performs a critical role in relation to the present. The preparatory interpretation of Dasein in its everydayness will reveal a twofold tendency toward concealment, a twofold “falling” that afflicts Dasein’s understanding of Being: on the one hand, Dasein has the tendency to interpret its own Being in terms of the Being of those beings that it is not, namely, the present-at-hand and ready-to-hand; on the other hand, and “together with this” ( in eins damit ),15 Dasein falls prey to tradition, which takes away from Dasein its own initiative, questioning, and choice. Although they are both at work in Dasein’s understanding of Being, these two concealments, Heidegger seems to imply, even though they go together, are not the same: the first is implicitly due to an ontological structure intrinsic to Dasein’s Being in general, and would not be something that could be overcome: it would be a kind of fatality, rather, inevitably inscribed within the very movedness (the falling, that is, ultimately the in-authentic historicality) of Dasein’s Being; while the second, which is due to the force of tradition, and indeed of a very specific tradition, is something that nevertheless both can and must be undone or dissolved (via a historiological Destruktion undertaken from out of Dasein’s authentic historicality). This point, I shall later suggest, is of particular significance in understanding the fate of Destruktion itself.

Since questioning concerning Being in general – the guiding task of Being and Time – is an ontic possibility of Dasein, and since


Dasein’s Being is intrinsically constituted by temporality and historicality, such historicality is necessarily intrinsic to the very unfolding of the question concerning Being and to its very necessity. Thus, Heidegger insists, the question of Being must inquire into its own history [Geschichte], that is, become historiological [historisch] so as to secure its ownmost possibilities of questioning through a “positive appropriation” of the past.16 Heidegger’s question of Being itself arises from, and in response to, the history of ontology initiated by the Greeks and in particular by Aristotle. Now the tradition that comes to dominance here, Heidegger suggests,

at first and for the most part makes that which it “transmits” [namely, a specific understanding of Being] so little accessible that it instead conceals it. It delivers what has been passed on to the status of self-evidence and blocks access to the original “sources” [“Quellen”] from which the traditional categories and concepts were drawn, in part in a genuine manner. The tradition even brings such provenance [Herkunft] in general into oblivion. It gives rise to an absence of any need to understand the very necessity of such a regression [Rückgang].17

As a consequence, Being itself has been forgotten, has concealed itself in its questionability, concealed itself as a question – and such is the predicament from which the project of Being and Time notoriously begins. It is Greek ontology itself that is thus responsible for such concealment, Heidegger insists: “Greek ontology and its history, which, through manifold twists and turns [Filiationen und Verbiegungen] still today determines the conceptuality of philosophy, is proof of the fact that Dasein understands itself and Being in general in terms of the ‘world’ [i.e., entities present-at-hand within the world], and that the ontology that has thus arisen sinks [verfällt] to the status of tradition….”18 Greek ontology interprets the Being of beings in terms of “world” or “nature,” conceived and experienced as that which lies independently present


before us, and thus understands the meaning of Being as presence, as παρουσία or οὐσία, thus in terms of a particular mode of time, the present.19 Greek ontology, Heidegger here implies, is itself a consequence of Dasein’s falling.

It is ancient Greek ontology and its heritage, therefore, that face the initial task of Destruktion. Heidegger writes:

If transparency regarding its own history is to be attained for the question of Being itself, then what is needed is a loosening up of the congealed tradition and a liberation from the concealments it has brought about. We understand this task as the Destruktion of the transmitted content of ancient ontology, accomplished by way of the guiding thread of the question of Being, to arrive at the original experiences from which the initial and subsequently leading determinations of Being were acquired.20

The goal here, as Heidegger stipulates, is transparency regarding the history of the question of Being itself. Yet that history is a non-history, insofar as the question of Being has not been explicitly posed as a question ever since the Greek beginning: the meaning of Being, rather, has been presupposed, implicitly understood as the presence of what lies before us; and this non-history – the history of this covering-over – which would be the result of Dasein’s intrinsic tendency to understand itself in terms of the “world,” or “nature” in the broadest sense: in short, in terms of παρουσία or οὐσία – this history of concealment would now, following the Destruktion, become transparent in what it really is and was.

Such are, in outline, the task and framework of Destruktion as presented in Being and Time, a project that will be maintained at least over the next two years, as documented in the 1927 Basic Problems of Phenomenology and 1928 Metaphysical Foundations of Logic. And yet, there is something naïve about this very project. Heidegger himself later – much later – concedes as much. In his Zähringen seminar of 1921, he makes the following remark:


In Being and Time, however, there was as yet no genuine recognition of the history of Being, and from this there arose the inappropriateness and, strictly speaking, the naiveté, of the “ontological Destruktion.” Since then, the unavoidable naiveté with regard to what had yet to be experienced has given way to an insight.21

The inappropriateness and naiveté of Destruktion, Heidegger indicates, lay in its failure to recognize and experience the history of Being. And yet, as Heidegger suggested in “Time and Being,” Destruktion itself prepares for and anticipates this very experience: only the Destruktion “affords thinking a precursory insight into what then reveals itself as the destining of Being,” that is, into the essence of the history of Being itself as destining. What, then, is the path that leads from the Destruktion to a precursory insight into the destining of Being? The path, I want to suggest, cannot simply be a delineation of the project of Destruktion itself, but must entail reflection upon the insight that gives rise to and grounds the necessity of Destruktion: the historicality of Dasein itself, and how that historicality is conceived in Being and Time. The key reflection here, I would propose, is found in section 76 of Being and Time . This section, entitled “The Existential Origin of Historiology From Out of the Historicality of Dasein,” has the explicit task of “preparing for an ensuing clarification of the task of a historiological Destruktion of the history of philosophy.”22

The central question of this section concerns what exactly constitutes authentic historiology and what is to be its theme. Since historiology is a possibility grounded in the historicality of Dasein, and presupposing such historicality, authentic historiological inquiry into Dasein’s own history must evidently be grounded in authentic historicality itself, that is, in the historical unfolding of Dasein’s possible authenticity. And its theme is Dasein itself, being-in-the-world itself as having been there, and as transmitted through its traces: historical remains, documents, reports, monuments, and the like. Authentic historiological inquiry must therefore thematize its object, Dasein that has been there, in terms of Dasein’s ownmost possibility of existence – that is, in terms


of Dasein itself as possibility. It must have as its object nothing other than the possible, possibility itself. Heidegger thus writes: “Because existence in each case is only as factically thrown, historiology will disclose the quiet force of the possible all the more incisively, the more straightforwardly and concretely it understands and ‘merely’ presents having-been-in-the-world in terms of its possibility.”23 Authentic historiology is thus at once grounded in the authentic historicality of Dasein, temporalizing itself from out of Dasein’s ownmost possibility of Being, and it has such possibility as its object or theme: it is concerned with such possibility itself. Such historiological inquiry is undertaken not out of mere historical interest, for the purposes of disclosing what was or was not possible in the past, but as an openness toward and retrieval of possibility to come. As Heidegger puts it, such historiology discloses the history that has been there “in such a way that in this retrieval, the ‘force’ of the possible impacts factical existence, that is, approaches it in its futural character.”24

What is critical here, I think, is Heidegger’s acknowledgment of a “force” (Kraft) of the possible, a force pertaining to the possible itself, a force that Dasein does not project, but at most discloses, and that thus approaches it from beyond the horizon of Dasein’s own projective activity. For what becomes apparent here is that Dasein does not project itself – does not project its own Being as possibility – and that to suggest that it does (as in fact occurs in the hermeneutic phenomenology of Being and Time) is not only phenomenologically inaccurate and misleading, but inevitably attributes to Dasein a kind of subjectivity: not the classical subjectivity of modernity, to be sure, but still a subjectivity that attributes too much power to the activity or action of Dasein as source of its Being, of its giving birth to itself (as historical). The projection and configuring of possibility belongs, rather to Being itself as such, as a happening to which Dasein (or the Being of the human being) is exposed in advance – an antecedent happening or “event” (Ereignis) that “destines” Being in this or that historical manner. The “history of Being” is the history of what has thus been destined (in a non-dialectical, non-causal manner) and has


come to language in the history of philosophy as the metaphysical representation of Being. The human being’s actions are always primarily responsive: responsive to what is historically destined by Being (and such destining is the very opening of freedom: cf. “The Question Concerning Technology”25). The destining of Being is the historical unfolding of the “quiet force of the possible.”

The significance of this insight within Being and Time itself is attested to by Heidegger’s own retrieval of precisely this theme and by his renewed appeal to “the quiet force of the possible” at the beginning of what is arguably his most important text from the 1940s, the “Letter on ‘Humanism’” (1946). “When I speak of the ‘quiet force of the possible,’” Heidegger there writes, “I do not mean the possibile of a merely represented possibilitas, nor potentia as the essentia of an actus of existentia; rather, I mean Being itself….”26 Possibility is now thought not on the basis of Dasein’s projective activity, but in terms of the quiet force of the possible as that of Being itself, as the “element” that “enables” (ermöglicht) thinking – a thinking that is more originary than philosophy as determined by the Greek beginning. From the perspective of the “Letter on ‘Humanism’,” we can now appreciate that it is this element, from out of which the historical Destruktion of the history of philosophy itself comes to pass, that was first uncovered and exposed as such through the analytic of Dasein in Being and Time. In the “Letter,” the essence of the possible is conceived in terms of an enabling (Vermögen) that refers, not to the capability to accomplish something, as the ability belonging to Dasein or to a “Subject,” but to a more originary “embracing,” a “loving,” a “bestowal,” a “favoring” – thus in each case to the felicitous giving of a gift, an excess that first gives rise to the possible, that constitutes its very emergence:

Thinking is – this says: Being has embraced its [i.e., thinking’s] essence in a destinal manner in each case. To embrace a “thing” or a “person” in their essence means to love them, to favor them. Thought in a more original way, such favoring means the bestowal of their essence as a gift. Such favoring [Mögen] is the proper

essence of enabling [Vermögen], which not only can achieve this or that, but also can let something essentially unfold in its pro-venance [Her-kunft], that is, let it be. It is “by force” [“kraft”] of such enabling by favoring that something is properly able to be. This enabling is what is properly “possible” [das “Mögliche”], whose essence resides in favoring. From this favoring Being enables thinking. The former makes possible [ermöglicht] the latter. Being is the enabling-favoring, the “may-be” [das “Mög-liche”]. As the element, Being is the “quiet force” of the favoring-enabling, that is, of the possible.27

Here, the “quiet force” of the possible is thought as the propriative force of Being that, in a destinal manner, lets thinking itself be, that is, lets it arrive in its very coming, its provenance. Heidegger here hyphenates the German word for “provenance,” Her-kunft, to indicate once again the primacy of that coming (Kunft), of that originative force that, in Being and Time, was thought in terms of the priority of the futural ekstasis in which Dasein comes toward itself. Here, in the “Letter,” however, this coming is thought in terms of the arrival of Being itself as the element of the possible. Heidegger’s discussion of the “quiet force of the possible” in terms of favoring, embrace, and bestowal here, moreover, unfolds what, in Being and Time, remained relatively undeveloped within this invocation of a “quiet” or “gentle” force: namely, that the word Kraft, which in German does not carry the overtones of violence that the English “force” may suggest, is not to be understood in terms of any metaphysical or modern conception of potentiality, power, or energy, but rather in terms of a gentle strength or resourcefulness that comprises the hidden preserve of Being.28

What, in Being and Time, is identified as “the quiet force of the possible” that “comes toward,” approaches and thus addresses Dasein in its futural character – that is, in the futural character of the force of the possible itself – is thus, as Heidegger himself later declares, nothing other than the approach or address of Being itself, as it announces itself to thinking in its destinal character. Yet it is important to see


that this destinal character of Being becomes manifest only in and through a projection of authentic historiology and its rootedness in the authentic historicality of Dasein. Dasein’s futural character, its coming toward itself, is, more originally conceived, the destinal force of Being itself, and such force is disclosed to thinking only in and through the historiological presentation that, in Being and Time, is conceived as the Destruktion of the history of philosophy. On the one hand, this implies that insight into the destinal character of Being cannot, therefore, come about via reflection on the project of Destruktion alone, but entails an appreciation of how Destruktion, as a historiological project, is grounded in the historicality of Dasein. On the other hand, it implies that the later thought of the history of Being as destinal cannot itself be thought without historiological presentation of the history of philosophy, of the traces left by Dasein that has been there.29

To return, by way of conclusion, to an earlier question: What does Heidegger mean when he later refers to the “naiveté” of the ontological Destruktion? In what does such naiveté consist precisely? It is important to remember that in Being and Time, the Destruktion of the history of philosophy was not yet fully accomplished, but only intimated in its necessity by reference to the Greek beginning and its subsequent transformations, and projected for Part Two of the investigation. It is projected as an undoing (Ablösung) of those concealments that find their origin in the Greek beginning and that are perpetuated by the subsequent transformations in the tradition of the history of philosophy that proceeds from that beginning. The dismantling of such concealments, however, contrary to what Being and Time suggests, does not lead us back to “original ‘sources’”30 or “original experiences”31 from which the Greek understanding of Being derives, and which would now be fully revealed, as it were, beyond all concealments.32 Nor does it lead to an ultimate “proof” of Dasein’s tendency to fall prey, not merely to tradition, but to the “world” of its concern and to understand its own Being and Being in general in terms of “nature” – as if such an understanding were a kind of inevitable fact or fatality, beyond all historical determination. It leads, rather, to an insight into Dasein’s


ekstatic temporality as exceeding the horizon of presence that determined the Greek beginning, and thereby to an insight into the historical determination of presence itself – that is, into the history of Being itself as the destinal sending of presence. The Destruktion is not simply the dismantling of those concealments of Being that comprise the history of philosophy; rather, it can now be seen as “the dissolution, the dismantling of that which has destined itself [sich zuschickt] as Being since the beginning in the uninterrupted sequence of transformations that the history of philosophy presents.”33 The concealments of Being that constitute the history of philosophy, in other words, are not mere concealments. Rather, as concealments, they are at the same time the manifold ways in which Being has destined itself positively, not beyond, but in and through its very withdrawal, its self-concealment. In showing that the horizon of our understanding of Being exceeds that horizon of presence that was determinative for the Greek beginning, Heidegger noted in his Le Thor seminar of 1969, the analytic of Dasein enables us to delimit the meaning of Being in its non-metaphysical sense. With this, he states, the Destruktion has attained its goal. But now, he continues,

it becomes visible that the various concealments of the incipient [anfänglich] meaning of Being maintain an essential relation to that which they conceal. The history of metaphysics thereby receives a fundamentally different significance. Its diverse fundamental positions can henceforth be understood positively as a sequence of ever new transformations of the incipient meaning, transformations that belong together in the unity of a singular destiny – hence the name “destiny of Being” to designate the epochs of Being.34

In other words, it can now be seen that the sequence of concealments that constitute the history of philosophy are not a fault or shortcoming of philosophy: they are not a result of the history of philosophy, but first enable and give rise to that very history, and for this reason alone can


be read in and through that history as belonging to the history of Being itself. Nor are those concealments the result of Dasein’s falling, of some kind of failure or inauthenticity on the part of Dasein. Not only that, however: The history of Being can itself be thought and is thinkable only by virtue of the trace of Being’s self-concealment that manifests itself as the history of philosophy – by virtue, that is, of that oblivion of Being that first called forth the original project of Destruktion. Being’s oblivion, was, from the beginning, never sheer oblivion: it always was, and always will have been, the “quiet force” of the possible.



1 I leave the term Destruktion untranslated in the present essay, since clarification of the full scope of its meaning constitutes a central aim of the essay.

2 Zur Sache des Denkens, 9.

3 SZ 20-21. Pagination cited for Sein und Zeit follows that of the first edition (Halle a. d. S.: Niemeyer, 1927).

4 On Destruktion in the early Heidegger and its Lutheran origins see in particular Benjamin D. Crowe, Heidegger’s Religious Origins: Destruction and Authenticity. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

5 GA 58: 139.

6 GA 56/57: 119-203.

7 GA 56/57: 115-26. See, in particular, ibid., 126: “Phenomenological critique is not refuting, bringing proofs to the contrary; rather, the statement to be criticized is understood in terms of where it takes its provenance from, in keeping with its meaning. Critique is a positive hearing-out of genuine motivations. Non-genuine motivations are no motivations at all, and can be understood as non-genuine only in terms of the genuine. What is phenomenologically genuine demonstrates itself as such, it does not need some further (theoretical) criterion.”

8 GA 59: 29.

9 “Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles (Anzeige der hermeneutischen Situation).” Dilthey Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Geschichte der Geisteswissenschaften 6 (1989): 239. Citedas ‘PIA’. Translated by John van Buren in Supplements: From the Earliest Essays to Being and Time and Beyond, edited by John van Buren. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 114.

10 PIA 245/124.

11 GA 63: 75.

12 GA 63: 76.


13 GA 63: 105.

14 GA 63: 108-09.

15 SZ 21.

16 SZ 20-21.

17 SZ 21.

18 SZ 21-22.

19 SZ 25.

20 SZ 22.

21 Vier Seminare, 133 = Four Seminars, 78, tm.

22 SZ 392.

23 SZ 394.

24 SZ 395.

25 “For the human being indeed first becomes free insofar as he belongs in the realm of destining.... Freedom is the realm of destining that on each occasion brings a revealing onto its path.” Die Technik und die Kehre, 24-25.

26 GA 9: 316-17.

27 GA 9: 316.

28 It is no accident that in rethinking the essence of possibility and potentiality in 1931 in dialogue with Aristotle, Heidegger chooses the word Kraft to translate Aristotle’s δύναμις and to ponder anew its essence and actuality. See GA 33.

29 This point has been convincingly argued by Robert Bernasconi from the perspective of the later Heidegger’s history of Being. See his essay “Descartes in the History of Being: Another Bad Novel?” In: Heidegger in Question: The Art of Existing (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1993), chapter 9.

30 SZ 21.

31 SZ 22.

32 It is important to note that in the lectures immediately following the publication of Being and Time, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology and The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, the appeal to “primordial experiences” is conspicuously absent. The point is noted by Robert Bernasconi in his essay “Repetition and


Tradition: Heidegger’s Destructuring of the Distinction Between Essence and Existence in Basic Problems of Phenomenology.” See Reading Heidegger From the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought, eds. Kisiel & van Buren (Albany: SUNY, 1994), chapter 7, note 8.

33 Vier Seminare, 133 = Four Seminars, 77-78, tm.

34 Vier Seminare, 77 = Four Seminars, 43, tm.