In his “Introduction to Metaphysics”, Martin Heidegger starts the book by asking what he presents as the fundamental question of metaphysics. In the Portuguese translation (Ed. Tempo Brasileiro, translated by Carneiro Leão), the question is shown as: “Por que há simplesmente o ente e não antes o nada?”
In the English translation (Yale Nota Bene, translated by Fried and Polt), it comes up as: “Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?”
There is a subtle difference in connotation between both translations, so I went to the original. Here it is, from “Einführung in die Metaphysik“: “Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts?”
And here is the word-by-word translation; reconstructing the phrase is up to you:
- Warum - why
- ist - is
- überhaupt - at all, even, actually…
- Seiendes - that which exists, being
- und - and
- nicht - not
- vielmehr - rather, in fact
- Nichts - nought, nonentity, nothingness…
From what I gather, the English translation seems closer to the original.
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