Martin Heidegger enjoyed a lifelong obsession with Being and its negation, Nothing. Is Being everything, or is there something called Nothing besides?
Every proposition in truth is about Being. Even the special sciences of various kinds of beings ultimately have a mutual end in Being, for special beings are forms of Being.
The human being is a being that sets itself apart from Being to assert its particular being as well as Being, the ultimate genus which it invasively divides into special beings that the nature of their existence or essence erupts into man’s consciousness. Man does this “in such a way that in and through this irruption beings break open and show what they are and how they are.”
In this way, beings are related to man, are in effect “for” man’s self-consciousness, which of course implies the existence of a world to which he belongs. Modern science is, then, despite its rejection of metaphysics and its subject, Being, concerned with what is and nothing else, i.e. Being. But that is to assume that there is, generally speaking, something other than Being, or Nothing, an assumption that many thinkers from Parmenides onward have considered too logically absurd for consideration.
“Precisely what is remarkable is that, precisely in the way scientific man secures to himself what is most properly his, he speaks of something different. What should be examined are beings only, and besides that – nothing; beings alone, and further – nothing; solely beings, and beyond that – nothing. What about this nothing?”
Since this general nothing is rejected by science, given up as nothing but Nothing, are not scientists conceding that Nothing exists by deliberately abandoning it? It would seem that Nothing does exist in the sense of something standing apart (existere) from Being.
“If science is right, then only one thing is sure: science wishes to know nothing of the nothing…. But even so it is certain that when science tries to express its proper essence it calls upon the nothing for help. It has recourse to what it rejects.”
So Heidegger returns to the question, which presumes the existence of nothing and thus violates the fundamental logical principle of non-contradiction, “What is Nothing?”
Quoted: What is Metaphysics, Martin Heidegger