HEIDEGGER (MARTIN) Typed letter signed ("M. Heidegger"), discussing the question of being and not-being, 1962
Lot 84
HEIDEGGER (MARTIN) Typed letter signed ("M. Heidegger"), discussing the question of being and not-being, 1962
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Typed letter signed ("M. Heidegger"), in German, to David Rayfield, an American graduate student, discussing the question of being and not-being: "Not-being consequently means: stepping out of that emerged permanence: [gr.] existasthai – 'existence', 'to exist' means just; not-being. The thoughtlessness and arrogance, in which one uses 'existence' and 'existing' as a term for being, again verifies the alienation from the being and from an originally powerful and certain interpretation"; and explaining that a passage in his Introduction to Metaphysics dealing with these concepts in classical Greece was not meant, as Rayfield seems to have thought, as a criticism of Plato's teachings ("...To the contrary – unlike the contemporary concept of existence, it contains an 'originally powerful and certain' experience of being, namely as presence and as resulting 'permanence'. Plato's great discovery is the insight that also the non-being in the sense of [gr.] me on 'is' in its own way – namely in the sense of a variation of presence – i.e. as non-presence, which has the role in all 'becoming' in the way of not-yet-being-present and of the no-more-being-present..."); finally positing an explanation of how this misunderstanding might have come about, and referring him to Nietzsche II, p. 355ff., one page, folds, 4to; plus translation into English, Freiburg, 1 June 1962 (2)


  • HEIDEGGER ON 'BEING' AND 'NOT-BEING': The 'question of being' (most famously encapsulated in the term Dasein), lay of course at the heart of Heidegger's work: his magnum opus, Being and Time, opening with a quotation from Plato's Sophist, in which the Eleatic stranger addresses the youth Theaetetus with the remark: 'for manifestly you have long been aware of what you mean when you use the word "being"'.

    The Introduction to Metaphysics (Einführung in die Metaphysik) was originally delivered as a course of lectures in 1935. It was, in 1959, the first book-length work by Heidegger to be translated into English, three years before a translation of Being and Time itself: 'In effect, the Introduction to Metaphysics introduced Heidegger to the English-speaking world' (Introduction to Metaphysics, Yale edition, translated by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, 2000, p. viii). It opens: 'Why are there beings at all instead of nothing? That is the question'.
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