How does it stand with being?

The above is a question Martin Heidegger asks in his Introduction to Metaphysics. What does it mean? Does it mean ‘how does/has being start/started?’Or does it mean “how is being?”

  • 1
    It looks like a poor translation to me. Without context, I have no idea what it means.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 16:15
  • 2
    How does it stand with England? Well, my lord! Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 16:20
  • 1
    These questions are about translations from the German. And the least one needs, is a full sentence or paragraph.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 16:26
  • Heidegger joined the NSDAP ('Nazi Party') on 1 May 1933. Donatella di Cesare asserts in her book Heidegger and the Jews that "metaphysical anti-semitism" and antipathy toward Jews was central to Heidegger's philosophical work. Heidegger, according to di Cesare, considered Jewish people to be agents of modernity disfiguring the spirit of Western civilization; he held the Holocaust to be the logical result of the Jewish acceleration of technology, and thus blamed the Jewish genocide on its victims themselves. Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 19:50
  • @MichaelWokeHarvey That is a negative fact about Heidegger’s life, but does not have anything to do with my question!
    – Sasan
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


Heidegger is asking 'What is the status of the concept of 'being'?

"How does it stand with [something]?' is a rather old-fashioned and formal way of asking 'How are things with [something]?' or 'What is the situation with [something]', or (also old-fashioned) 'How goes it with [something]?'.

In his 1935 summer semester lecture course at the University of Freiburg, entitled "Introduction to Metaphysics," Heidegger asks a seemingly innocuous question: "How does it stand with being?," or, translated in a colloquial sense: "How's it going with being?" The answer is: not well. Today, humankind is consumed by an instrumental relationship with beings; we have closed off other world-views, forcing all beings—including humans—to show up or reveal themselves in only one way, as objects to be efficiently manipulated and controlled. The prognosis, according to Heidegger, is bleak.

Heidegger's Project (State University of New York Press)

An Introduction to Metaphysics. MARTIN HEIDEGGER. Trans. by Ralph Manheim. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959. Pp. xi, 214.

The unifying theme of the four very unequal essays composing this book is nothing less than the meaning of Being. This theme has a semantic aspect: What is the meaning of the term 'Being' (das Sein) over and against the term 'being' (das Seiende, 'essent' in Manheim's otherwise well thought-out translation). But it also and primarily represents the convergence of all sorts of issues that might be expressed, confusedly enough, in the following two ways: for any being, what are the conditions and consequences of its having a concept of Being; and for Being, what are the conditions and consequences of its being conceived by a being? Questions which Heidegger himself throws at us as, "How does it stand with Being?" (p. 39). Profound, monumental, and hopeless. The union of the semantic with the hopeless questions is a hallmark of H.'s philosophy from the very first page of Son and Zeit to his latest publications. However, readers unaccustomed to H., will find that An Introduction to Metaphysics offers the advantage of focussing occasionally on the semantic-linguistic aspect of the question of Being. The first essay begins with what is affirmed to be the fundamental question of traditional metaphysics : why are there any beings rather than nothing? In asking this, metaphysics has been forgetful of the even more basic question: how does it stand with Being? This forgetfulness, which is metaphysics, began with Plato and is the true reason for the Western spirit's degeneration into Russo-American technocracies. In preparing German soul and soil for a renewal of the questioning of Being, H. believes himself to be preparing Germany's historical mission, first in conjunction with and later independent of Hitler's conception of that mission.

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (part of 1961 review)

stand verb (STATE) C1 [ I, L only + adj ] to be in, cause to be in, or get into a particular state or situation:

Stand (Cambridge Dictionary)

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