What Is Metaphysics?  

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"What is to be investigated is being only and—nothing else; being alone and further—nothing; solely being, and beyond being— nothing. What about this Nothing? . . . Does the Nothing exist only because the Not, i.e. the Negation, exists? Or is it the other way around? Does Negation and the Not exist only because the Nothing exists? . . . We assert: the Nothing is prior to the Not and the Negation. . . . Where do we seek the Nothing? How do we find the Nothing. . . . We know the Nothing. . . . Anxiety reveals the Nothing. . . . That for which and because of which we were anxious, was 'really'—nothing. Indeed: the Nothing itself—as such—was present. . . . What about this Nothing?The Nothing itself nothings." --What Is Metaphysics?, 1929, Martin Heidegger

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"What Is Metaphysics?" (German: Was ist Metaphysik?) is the inaugural lecture by Martin Heidegger given on July 24, 1929.


"Elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language" (1931) by Rudolf Carnap illustrates some important differences between "analytic" and "continental" styles of philosophy. It argues that "What Is Metaphysics?" violates logical syntax to create nonsensical pseudo-statements (Scheins├Ątze). Moreover, Carnap claimed that many German metaphysicians of the era were similar to Heidegger in writing statements that were not merely false, but devoid of any meaning.

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