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Altman, Megan E.
Praxis and theoria :
b Heidegger's "violent" interpretation
h [electronic resource] /
by Megan E. Altman.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
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Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This paper attempts to mark out new ground in the connections between the philosophical writings of Martin Heidegger and Aristotle by posing an interesting question that has never been addressed. Both writers devote much of their early thoughts to questions concerning human beings' practical ways of understanding. However, in their later thoughts Heidegger and Aristotle suddenly seem to completely change the subject to ideal or transcendental ways of understanding. At first glance these ideal modes of human apprehension seem to have nothing to do with each other. Yet, Heidegger and Aristotle seem to have similar motives for turning away from the practical realm and towards a transcendental realm, and they seem to have similar outcomes. My investigation of their respective motives and outcomes has led me to believe that although there are some similarities that are thought provoking, they are not strong enough to conclude that Heidegger's later writings are connected to his recovery of Aristotelian ideas. Given that the core of Heidegger's early questions of Being can be interpreted as a retrieval of Aristotle, to be able to demarcate the point at which Heidegger ceases his attempts at this recovery may allow us to examine the differences in Heidegger's later thought concerning Being.
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Advisor: Charles Guignon, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Praxis and The ria : HeideggerÂ’s Â“ViolentÂ” Interpretation by Megan E. Altman A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts Department of Philosophy College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Charles Guignon, Ph.D. Stephen Turner, Ph.D. Michael Gibbons, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 28, 2009 Keywords: Aristotle, Besinnung Gelassenheit Logos Authenticity Copyright 2009, Megan E. Altman
Dedication For my caring and supportive parent s, Heather and Benjamin Altman. For my courageous brother, Rudy Altman. In loving memory of P. Altman.
Acknowledgements It seems appropriate to begin by thanki ng my advisor, Professor Charles Guignon, to whom I owe my interest in philosophy. Th anks to his patience and guidance I have been able to find a home in this field. There are many other professors at the University of South Florida that have contributed to my philosophical edu cation and life. Though I cannot name them all, I would like to th ank Michael Gibbons and Stephen Turner for contributing to the completion of my thesis. My successful defense would not have b een possible without various sorts of support from my friends in the philosophy depa rtment. I am grateful to Adam Buben for teaching me about humility and tranquility. Sin ce I began my graduate education he has encouraged me to find my philosophical vo ice. I owe a great am ount of gratitude to Jessica Williams and Liz Victor for those endless nights of wine and philosophical discussion. I should also thank Hans Peders on, West Gurley, William Koch, Elena RuizAho, and Professor P. Christopher Smith fo r productive conversations related to my thesis. And finally, I must acknowledge Kate McLean for always walking beside me.
i Table of Contents Abstract ii Preface 1 Chapter One: An Introduction to the Hermeneutical: Situation of Heidegger and Aristotle 5 Chapter Two: AristotleÂ’s Ways of Understanding: Essence and Existence 16 Kinetic Ontology: Phusis and Ousia 16 The Telos of Being Human: Logos, Ergon and Aret 23 The Telos of Human Being: Virtues of Di scursive Awareness 26 Chapter Three: What Heidegger Recovers From Aristotle 34 Poi sis : The Inauthentic Way of Being 41 Praxis: Authentic Understanding of DaseinÂ’s Being 49 Chapter Four: Contemplating Contemplation 57 AristotleÂ’s Later Turn to The ria in the Nicomachean Ethics 60 HeideggerÂ’s Later Turn to Besinnung 64 The ria vs Besinnung 70 Chapter Five: Conclusion 75 References 76 Bibliography 78
ii Praxis and The ria : HeideggerÂ’s Â“ViolentÂ” Interpretation Megan E. Altman ABSTRACT This paper attempts to mark out ne w ground in the connections between the philosophical writings of Martin Heide gger and Aristotle by posing an interesting question that has never been addressed. Both writers devote much of their early thoughts to questions concerning human beingsÂ’ practical ways of un derstanding. However, in their later thoughts Heid egger and Aristotle suddenly seem to completely change the subject to ideal or transcendental ways of understandi ng. At first glance these ideal modes of human apprehension seem to have nothing to do with each other. Yet, Heidegger and Aristotle seem to have similar motives for turning away from the practical realm and towards a transcendental realm, a nd they seem to have similar outcomes. My investigation of their respective motives and outcomes has led me to believe that although there are some similarities that are thought provoking, they are not strong enough to conclude that HeideggerÂ’s later wr itings are connected to his recovery of Aristotelian ideas. Given that the core of HeideggerÂ’s early questi ons of Being can be interpreted as a retrieval of Aristotle, to be able to demarcate the point at which
iii Heidegger ceases his attempts at this recovery may allow us to examine the differences in HeideggerÂ’s later thought concerning Being.
1 Preface The title of this paper is inte ntionally vague and suggestive, a nd I would like to take this time to clarify a few aspects of HeideggerÂ’s method. The first aspect to be addressed pertains to what I mean by Â“violentÂ” interpre tations. Heidegger often says that authentic interpretation requires doing Â“violenceÂ” to the te xts, which is mainly due to the fact that this kind of reading is attent ive to what an author does not say.1 HeideggerÂ’s writings are frequently referred to as Â“vio lentÂ” or radical interpretations of the traditional philosophy, insofar as they consist of his attempt to re turn philosophical questions to their Â“properÂ” origin. Heidegger claims that the tradition is full of mis understandings of what it means for being (e.g. a human being, a thing, theory, language) to be. These traditional misunderstandings, according to Heidegger, ar e perpetuated by the fact that Western philosophy is rooted in assumptions about human beings and the world that fail to fully account for the being of beings, but beco me sedimented through time as truth. For example, Plato assumes that there are underl ying universal princi ples that govern the phenomena of all that is, and one may gr asp these principles through a detached theoretical viewpoint. PlatoÂ’s way of unders tanding human beings and the way they relate to things consists of seeing beings as independently existing entities. HeideggerÂ’s goal is to clear away these assumptions in orde r to return to or retrieve Â“what was already vigorously pursued in Western philosophy from the very beginning.Â”2 1 Martin Heidegger, Being and Time translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1962) 359. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“BT.Â” 2 Martin Heidegger, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology translation, introduction, and lexicon by Albert Hofstadter, revised edition (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1982) 21 Henceforth this work will be abbreviated as Â“BP.Â”
2 The second aspect of HeideggerÂ’s method has to do with his Â“appropriationÂ” of philosophers. In his attempt to return philosophy to a prim ordial way of understanding beings, Heidegger appropriates the fundament al ideas that have formed our background of cultural understand ingsÂ—Â“his thought weaves togeth er many different historical strands.Â”3 His writings call into question the thoug hts of traditional philosophers such as, the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Deascart es, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Husserl. Heidegger goes to historical sources in order to Â“formu late an alternative to the assumptions that make up the tradition,Â” that is, to appropria te the underlying thoughts that have formed the tradition (Guignon, Introduction 2). His appropriation may be described as a way of situating or setting philosophersÂ’ fundamenta l ideas into our curre nt understanding of human being and the human lived-world. The third aspect to be discussed pertai ns to HeideggerÂ’s tr ipartite method of Â“reduction, construction, and de struction.Â” Generall y, HeideggerÂ’s main concern with the tradition is how it breaks apart the phenomena of the ways things appear to us. The tradition begins with an ontological investigation of being, Â“but then, in a precise way, it is lead away from that being and led back to its being Â” (Heidegger, BP 21). In other words, the tradition assumes that we can never know things in themselves, or the being of entities, so an investigation of the being of entities turns out to be an investigation of what human beings can know about these enti ties. Heidegger suggests that in order to return to the phenomena of things we must begin with a Â“phenomenol ogical reductionÂ” of the traditional question of being, that is, we must reduce the question to how things are 3 Charles Guignon, Â“Introduction,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger 2nd ed., edited by Charles Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 2. Henceforth I will be referring to this work as Â“Introduction.Â”
3intelligible to us. This reduction of th e traditional mode of apprehension is simultaneously a Â“constructionÂ” and Â“destruc tionÂ” of traditional concepts. Generally, Heidegger deconstructs or reformulates th e questions embedded in the tradition and in human beings, as inheritors of this tradition, in an effort to reconstruct or recover the primordial way things enter into our intelligibility. Heidegger believes that Aristotle was the last philosopher who had the Â“energy and tenacity to continue to force inquiry back to the phenomenaÂ” (BP 232). HeideggerÂ’s early lectures (1921-24) were explicitly dedicated to a rigorous exegesis of the Aristotelian corpus. During the time of thes e lecture courses Heidegger was also working on publishing a manuscript for promotion to university chair. Hi s publication proposal consisted of an introduction and overview of Aris totle, and this is commonly referred to as his first draft of Being and Time (1927). So it is no surpri se that there are strong connections between HeideggerÂ’s Being and Time and Aristotelian ideas. However, in HeideggerÂ’s later writings (post 1935) he seem s to veer away from his intensive recovery of Aristotle. This paper attempts to mark out ne w ground in the connections between the philosophical writings of Martin Heide gger and Aristotle by posing an interesting question that has never been addressed. Both writers devote much of their early thoughts to questions concerning human beingsÂ’ practical ways of un derstanding. However, in their later thoughts Heid egger and Aristotle suddenly seem to completely change the subject to ideal or transcendental ways of understandi ng. At first glance these ideal modes of human apprehension seem to have nothing to do with each other. Yet, Heidegger and Aristotle seem to have similar motives for turning away from the practical
4realm and towards a transcendental realm, a nd they seem to have similar outcomes. My investigation of their respective motives and outcomes has led me to believe that although there are some similarities that are thought provoking, they are not strong enough to conclude that HeideggerÂ’s later wr itings are connected to his recovery of Aristotelian ideas. Given that the core of HeideggerÂ’s early questi ons of Being can be interpreted as a retrieval of Aristotle, to be able to demarcate the point at which Heidegger ceases his attempts at this recovery may allow us to examine the differences in HeideggerÂ’s later thought concerning Being.
5 Chapter 1: An Introduction to the H ermeneutical Situation of Heidegger and Aristotle Martin HeideggerÂ’s (18891976) phenomenological interpre tation of AristotleÂ’s (384 B.C.E.-322 B.C.E.) texts has been the fo cus of scholarly work for many years. HeideggerÂ’s Being and Time is often considered a violen t interpretation of AristotleÂ’s Nicomachean Ethics that is, Being and Time may be understood as an appropriation (or Â“misappropriationÂ”), of the Aristotelian id ea that there is a distinction between poi sis, production, and praxis action. Heidegger refers to his ap propriation of Aristotelian ideas as a significant part of his attempt at a Â“destructionÂ” of the Western tradition of metaphysics and ontology. Basically Heidegger is suggesting that a destruction of the tradition is a way to get back to, or to recover, the orig in of the tradition, and he recognizes AristotleÂ’s thought as part of th is origin. John Caputo discusses HeideggerÂ’s method of destruction when he says, Â“Â‘dest ructionÂ’ of the tradition Â– which does not mean to level or raze but rather to break through the conceptual surface of traditional metaphysics in order to Â‘retrieveÂ’ or recover.Â”4 According to Heidegger, the purpose of this destruction is to recover the Â“primordia l experiences in which we achieved our first ways of determining the nature of BeingÂ—t he ways which have guided us ever sinceÂ” (BT 44).5 He goes on to say that this destruction is a way of Â“demonstrating the origin of our basic ontological concepts by an investigation in which their Â‘birth certificateÂ’ is displayedÂ” (44). It seems that Heidegger re cognizes the Aristotelian distinction between 4 John D. Caputo, Â“Heidegger and Theology,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger 2nd ed., edited by Charles Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 328. 5 It seems important to mention that Heidegger regards this Â“destructionÂ” as having a positive aim insofar as it is a rebuilding, and not a destroying, of the tradition (44).
6poi sis and praxis to be an original way of unders tanding oneÂ’s different modes of existing in the world (48). Before one can understand HeideggerÂ’s a ppropriation of Aristotelian ideas, it seems necessary to give a description of Aris totleÂ’s account of natu re and existence. In the second chapter I will examine this account as it is laid out in his Physics and Metaphysics and I will proceed to discuss his i nvestigation of human being, which is found in the Nicomachean Ethics According to Aristotle, of those things that exist some are able to be other than what they are while others are not able to be otherwise, and this ability is dependent on the originating source (the first principles) of the thing that exists. Aristotle discusses this when he states, Â“[th ere are] beings whose principles do not admit of being otherwise than they are, and [Â… th ere are] beings whose principles admit of being otherwise.Â”6 In the second chapter I will discuss the kinds of knowledge that Aristotle associates with these abilities of being, but for now I am concerned only with introducing the latter. Aristotle suggests that all activities have a telos which is understood here as an end or goal. In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle says that the activity of poi sis aims at a telos outside of or separate from the movement itself, but that the telos of the activity of praxis is always contained in the movement itself. In Â“Book VIÂ” of Nicomachean Ethics, techn is a form of knowledge (Â“intellectual excellence), or way of understandin g that is traditionally translated as Â“craft knowledge,Â” or Â“know-how,Â” and poi sis is the process that Aristo tle associates with this knowledge (1140a10-17). Techn is concerned with knowing-how to make or produce 6 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Translated by Terence Irwin, 2nd edition (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999). 1139a7-9. Throughout the rest of this paper Bekker numbers will be used when referring to AristotleÂ’s works.
7something, which may also be referred to as the know-how of the movement of poi sis Aristotle says that techn is a way for one to know how to produce beings (those things that exist) that Â“admit of being otherwiseÂ” (1140a1), and he describes the beings of techn in this way due to the fact that the orig inating principle of th ese beings Â“is in the producer and not in th e productÂ” (1140a14). Aristotle seems to sugge st that this way of understanding beings that can be otherwise is limited to the coming-to-be of these beings. In other words, knowing how to build a hous e is not knowledge about the actual house, but is only knowledge of how to bring the house into existe nce. However, the end, or telos of this process of poi sis is being (existence) insofar as it is no longer coming to be, so the telos of techn may be understood as a product that is separate from the activity of production. Since this telos is separate from the know-how that is actually used in the production, the knowledge grasped by poi sis is also separate from the telos itself, the product. Aristotle suggests that the movement of human life is quite different from that of production, because the structure of the movement of human life is such that the producer and the product of the activ ity are one and the same. In the second chapter I will continue to show that praxis (action) is the distinctive activity that Aristotle associ ates with human being, and phron sis practical wisdom, is the knowledge that corresponds to this activity. The telos of this way of knowing is internal to the action of human being insofar as it concerns th e human being itself. That is to say, when the understanding of human being is associated with practical wisdom, then human being is both the beginning (the first principle) and the end of its action. Aristotle describes phron sis as a relation to human affairs wh en he says, Â“It seems proper to a prudent person to be able to deliberate finely about things that ar e good and beneficial for
8himself, not about some restricted areaÂ—about what sorts of things promote health or strength, for instanceÂ—but about what sorts of things promote living well in general.Â” (1140a26). Furthermore, knowledge of living well in general is extremely different from knowing-how to build a house. Although, fo r example, I can follow step-by-step instructions on how to build a house and after many failed attempts I can eventually build a house, there are no instructions for me to follow in order to live well in general. Moreover, making a mistake during the producti on of a house is not the same as making mistakes in the actions of my life. Failing to build a house is not a reflection on me as a person but only speaks to my skills as a house builder. However, when I fail to act well in general such action is a commentary on th e quality of my life as a human being. In the third chapter I will focus on the features of the first division of Being and Time that bring forth the Aristotelian idea of poi sis Generally in Â“D ivision IÂ” of Being and Time Heidegger devotes his tim e to interpreting the diffe rent ways a human being lives, or acts, in the world. Whereas Aristo tle examines human being in terms of the nature, or first principles, of activity, Heidegger describe s how human being understands itself in its world of activity. He shows how Dasein (being-there, or, roughly, human being) for the most part, understands itself as a Â“they-self.Â” The Â“theyÂ” determines the meaningful situation that Dasein finds itself i n, and the Â“theyÂ” is the source of DaseinÂ’s understanding of its world. Â“The theyÂ” is essential to determining Dasein as a Â“placeholderÂ” in a social nexus. As Heide gger states, Â“The Â‘they,Â’ which is nothing definite, and which all are, though not as th e sum, prescribes the kind of Being of everydaynessÂ” (164). In other words, for me to be is for me to exist in my roles in day to day life, and in order for me to do this, I must do what one does: one goes to work, one
9pays oneÂ’s bills, one acts in particular ways (according to social norms) with others, and so on. The way human being lives most of the time dispersed, distracted and lost in the variety of its different social roles in which human being is simply drifting or falling into doing what one does. In the everyday world Da seinÂ’s understanding of itself is not its own, because its activities and language belong to an abstract everyone, the Â“they.Â” This is not DaseinÂ’s most proper way of understa nding itself, which will be characterized by AristotleÂ’s poi sis in the third chapter. In the third chapter I will continue to examine HeideggerÂ’s destruction of Aristotelian ideas in regards to praxis As Heidegger points out, in doing what one does, Dasein is falling into a kind of Â“busy-nessÂ” of activity, which is basic to oneÂ’s culture, but this falling can hide the fact that Dasein is an individual (167). Towards the end of Â“Division IÂ” and for all of Â“Division IIÂ” He idegger suggests that what is essential to DaseinÂ’s Â“Being,Â” its identity, is the deep sense of Â“careÂ” that Dasein has for its own Being. Charles Guignon says that the phenomenon of care, for Heidegger, shows that Â“Dasein is the entity whose Being is in quest ion or at issue for it. Â” Guignon continues to discuss Dasein as Â“careÂ” when he says, Â“D asein cares about what it isÂ—it cares about where its life is going and how it will go right up to the end. Because it cares about its Being, it takes up possibilities of Being and enacts them in undertaking its life as a whole.Â”7 Dasein is Â“careÂ” and HeideggerÂ’s phe nomenological understanding human being allows him to uncover the possibility for Dase in to confront itself as an authentic individual. Though the structure of Â“careÂ” is essential to und erstanding the authenticity of DaseinÂ’s Being, in the third chapter I will ex amine this mode of Being in regards to 7 Charles Guignon, Â“HeideggerÂ’s Â‘Being and TimeÂ’,Â” in John Shand, ed., Central Works in Philosophy, Vol. 4, The Twentieth Century: Moore to Po pper (Chesham, Bucks, UK: Acumen, 2006) 10.
10HeideggerÂ’s notion of Â“authentic temporality,Â” and how he reconstr ucts this notion in terms of Aristotelian praxis Though Aristotelian ideas can be seen at the foundation of HeideggerÂ’s works, there seems to be a crucial yet unexamined similarity between HeideggerÂ’s later (after 1935) emphasis on Gelassenheit releasement or letting-be-ness, and AristotleÂ’s later (tenth book of Nicomachean Ethics ) use of the ria contemplation. Both activities seem to be described as higher ways of underst anding that go beyond ordinary language and reveal human beingÂ’s understanding of itself in terms of wholeness. In the fourth chapter I will suggest that though Heidegger and Aristo tle turn to an idea of something close to the divine for different reasons, their uses or implications for this turn are similar insofar as they call for a distinctive understanding as ways to unify and simplify the life of human being. In the fourth chapter I will provide an interpretation of AristotleÂ’s Nicomachean Ethics that connects the kind of understanding that human bei ngs are capable of and the kind of understanding that the gods are capable of. In Aristotelian terms, I will try to connect what he says in the sixth book about the practical the rein (contemplative activity) of dianoein (discursive understanding) with wh at he says in the tenth book about the divine-like ( theion ), the pure the rein of pure nous (non-discursive understanding).8 Some may disagree with this interpretation, be cause at first glance Ar istotle does seem to 8 The connection I am trying to draw between the sixth and tenth books concerns the detachment between the practical way of understanding and the divine-like way of understanding. John Cooper suggests that in the tenth book Aristotle advocates a conceptio n of human identity that is in accord with the contemplative activity of oneÂ’s pure nous and this has little to do with the virtuous actions that Aristotle discusses in the sixth book. Cooper explains this when he says, Â“The nous with which we are urged to identify ourselves in book X is the intellect [ nous ] in its theoretical [ the rein ] aspect alone, carefully di stinguished not only from the inclinations and desires [that are found in the se cond book] but even from the action-guiding activities [ dianoien ] of itself [that are found in the sixth book].Â” John M. Cooper, Reason and Good in Aristotle (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1986) 174.
11say that human beings are capable of practical the rein and that only gods are capable of pure the rein (1178b22, 1179a24).9 In other words, this latter interpretation seems to imply that humans can in no way participate in the activities of th e gods. In the fourth chapter, I will suggest this interpretation flounders wh en one takes into account AristotleÂ’s description of eudaimonia (human flourishing), which he examines as the ultimate goal, or overriding purpose, of a ll human actions (1176a32). The pinnacle of eudaimonia particularly as seen in the tenth book, is the pure contemplative activity of non-discursive understanding, and this has little to do with the ends of oneÂ’s practical life that are examined in the sixth book. This conception of human identity is qu ite complicated and cannot be adequately explained at this moment; however, at this time two things should be mentioned. First, Aristotle does not explicitly say why he leaves the practical realm of understanding and turns to a transcendental real m of understanding. John Cooper sa ys that at times Aristotle is too Â“abstract to be informativeÂ” (146). C ooper continues to give a plausible suggestion that perhaps Aristotle turns to divinity as a way to Â“make it appear both impious and stupid for anyone not to regard hi mself as a purely intellectual [ noien ] being: impious because in doing so one prefers to deny hi s kinship with the gods [Â…], and stupid because he willingly foregoes the quasi-divine bl iss that could have been hisÂ” (177). I do not think that the uncertainty as to why Aristo tle turns to divinity will be a hindrance to my explanation as to how he combines divi nity with his concepti on of human identity. Second, AristotleÂ’s god is simple in nature and one in form. That is to say, divinity is 9 I would like to note that whenever I refer to Â“pure the ria Â” I am will always be simultaneously referring to Â“pure nous ,Â” because it seems, for Aristotle, that the c ontinuous activity of pure contemplation must always involve the non-discursive understanding that is characteristic of pure nous In the proceeding chapters I will avoid using the word Â“understandingÂ” when referring to pure nous because the modern use of this word seems to imply a discursive function.
12simple in that it Â“has a ce rtain natureÂ” (1072a34), and the nature of that which is most divine is moving without being moved. And though there may be many things that are considered to be divine, according to Aristo tle, the many applies to things that have matter, but the divine is Â“the primary essen ce has not matter; for it is complete realityÂ” (1074a36). Divinity, for Aristotl e, is Â“that which cannot be otherwise but can exist only in a single wayÂ” (1072b13). In my fourth chapter I will suggest that the divine-like contemplation ( the ria ), which Aristotle advocates in the tenth book, may be a way of understanding the simplicity and solita ry features of oneÂ’s life. Similar to AristotleÂ’s pure the ria HeideggerÂ’s Gelassenheit is a way of understanding that is deeper than our ordinary notions of discursive thinking. Our ordinary notions of discursive or reflective, thinking suggest s that discourse is rational and controlled in such a way that it can be understood as somethi ng that human beings create. Caputo suggests that Gelassenheit does not reflect on data or sensory experience. Heidegger is interested in a primordial understanding of Being and Â“Being is not something that human thinking can conceive or Â‘graspÂ’ ( be-greifen con-capere ) but something that thinking can only be Â‘granted Â’Â” (Caputo 337). According to Heidegger, discourse, or language, is not human beingÂ’ s possession, but rather it grants, or it Â“distinguishes the human being as a human being.Â”10 In other words, the ability to think in a discursive way is not something that one comes up with on oneÂ’s own, but is more like a Â“giftÂ” in that it is given to human bei ng. This gift consists of the various ways in which humans understand Being. Generally, a life of Gelassenheit is a way of remaining 10 Martin Heidgegger, Â“The Way to Language,Â” in Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings edited by David Farrell Krell (New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1993) 397. Henceforth this work will be abbreviated as Â“WL.Â”
13open to receiving what is given; it is a way of Â“letting things beÂ” so they can show up as what they are (Guignon, Introduction 35). Gelassenheit as a mode of comportment, or receptivity, is an ideal mode of human understanding that corresponds to Heid eggerÂ’s notion of divi nity, which Hubert Dreyfus and Julian Young describe as someth ing that is transce ndental and unifying.11 This transcendental quality cap tures HeideggerÂ’s view that the divine is not something created by human beings, but is given to hum ans. Young discusses how the receptivity of Gelassenheit may open human being to the transcende nt when he says, Â“The gods of later Heidegger [Â…], by being who they are, they give voice to that which is most sacred to us. As members of a given community, and whethe r we heed their inspiring example or not, we live our lives in light of our godsÂ” (375). In a sense, Gelassenheit for Heidegger, is a receptivity, or openness, to the changing manife stations of the way things show up for human being as mattering. Dreyfus says that the tr anscendental quality of Gelassenheit pertains to the way human beings may return to a meaningful life of commitment. He states, Â“Heidegger comes to see the recent undermining of commit ment as due not so much to a failure of the individual as to a lack of anything in the modern world that could solicit commitment from us and sustain us in itÂ” (347). Dreyfu s continues to sugges t that according to Heidegger, only a Â“godÂ” can save us from such a meaningless and uncommitted way of understanding (366). In the four th chapter I will show how, in its connection to that which is given, Gelassenheit is similar to AristotleÂ’s the ria because both are ways of 11 Hubert Dreyfus, Â“Heidegger on the Connection Be tween Nihlism, Art, Technology, and Politics,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger 2nd ed., edited by Charles Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 345-372. He nceforth I will refer to this work as Â“Connection.Â” Julian Young, Â“The Fourfold,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger 2nd ed., edited by Charles Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 373-392.
14tapping into that which gives, as a unifyi ng, or simplifying, and transcendental event. Both are modes of receptivity that allow for a higher way of understanding human life that go beyond the ordinary, or ever yday, understanding of human life. Gelassenheit and the ria are non-discursive ways of understanding that make ordinary thinking and language possible, so I find it difficu lt to clearly and precisely examine the implications of Gelassenheit and the ria with this language. In HeideggerÂ’s later ways of thinking he turns away from ordinary language, because, everyday language is one-dimensional: it aspires to be eindeutig (unambiguous) (Young 376). Poetic language, on the other hand, does not point t o, or represent, one particular meaning. Heidegger shifts to the language of poe try to express all that goes along with Gelassenheit because this language uncovers or shows many meanings. Young discusses the multiplicity of meanings given through poe try when he says, Â“If I name my love poetically, I think of her as a foundation, a blessing, a grace, a rose, a summerÂ’s day, aÂ… What is important here are the dots. [F]or He idegger, they bring to experiential presence of the fact that many-faced Being transcends infinitely, anything of which our language is capableÂ” (377). In the f ourth chapter I will examine how Heidegger uses poetic language, with an emphasis on metaphor s, in an attempt to show how Gelassenheit uncovers the many meanings of Being, and how this phenomenon appears as a Â“bindingÂ” experience.12 Moreover, in the fifth chapte r I will ask whether AristotleÂ’s the ria can be understood as an experience that is similar to that experience of Gelassenheit By positing this question I may not come to a decisi ve answer, but hopefully it may serve as a 12 Heidegger describes this experience as Â“bindingÂ” in Martin Heidegger, Â“The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking,Â” in Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings edited by David Farrell Krell (New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1993) 427-459.
15beginning question for more philosophical inqu iry of the hermeneutical situations of Heidegger and Aristotle.
16Chapter 2: AristotleÂ’s Ways of U nderstanding Essence and Existence In this chapter I intend to discuss the Aris totelian ideas that will remain pertinent throughout the discussion of the hermeneutical situations of Aristotle and Heidegger. I will be looking into AristotleÂ’s works on physics, metaphysics, and ethics in an effort to give a clear and consistent in terpretation of his ideas. I will not be engaging with these works as a whole. I am proceeding in accord with the method of previous Aristotle scholarship that consists of an investigation of themes that are found in his works. In Terrence IrwinÂ’s Â“IntroductionÂ” to his translation of AristotleÂ’s Nicomachean Ethics Irwin discusses the reason for a thematic, rath er than historical, investigation when he says, Â“We cannot tell how many of his treatises Aristotle regarded as finished. We probably ought not to treat them as finish ed literary works. [Â…] We can follow the development of AristotleÂ’s argument if we examine the main themes.Â”13 Moreover, I have selected the particular themes based on HeideggerÂ’s emphasis on them, and I have interpreted them in a similar, but not exactly the same, fashion in an effort to eventually achieve a unified account of the connections between Aristotle and Heidegger. I. Kinetic Ontology: Phusis and Ousia Walter Brogan refers to Aristo tleÂ’s understanding of being as Â“kinetic ontology,Â” which, he says, accounts for the Â“centricity of motion in the meaning of being.Â”14 In an effort to understand BroganÂ’s interpretation of Aris totelian ontology, as being centered on 13 Terrence Irwin, introduction, Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999) xiv-xvi. 14 Walter A. Brogan, Heidegger and Aristotle: The Twofoldness of Being (New York: State University of New York Press, 2005) xi.
17movement, I will begin by unraveling the meani ng of the key terms that Aristotle uses in the Physics and Metaphysics which are: phusis ousia and kin sis BroganÂ’s claims can be understood only after such an inquiry has b een complete, so I will return to BroganÂ’s interpretation at the end of this section. The Greek term Â“ phusis Â” is usually translated as Â“nature,Â” but this English translation does not carry w ith it the deep meaning that phusis has for the Greeks. The word Â“natureÂ” comes from the Latin word Â“n atura,Â” which means birth, nature, or quality. The modern understanding of Â“n atureÂ” in the Western world is as something that is not Â“man-made,Â” and it refers to the phenomen a of the physical world collectively, which includes plants and animals, but is opposed to humans or human creation. However, for the Greeks, especially Aristotle, phusis accounts for the essence of all beings in general. I should mention that this way of Â“deconstruc tingÂ” the Greek terms is something I borrow from HeideggerÂ’s method of interpreting AristotleÂ’s works. Brogan discusses HeideggerÂ’s emphasis on returning to the origin al Greek meaning when he says, Â“One of HeideggerÂ’s great contributions is to return the reader constantly to a philosophical concern with the Greek words themselves, and to free the interpretation of Aristotle from its bondage to a translated vocabulary de rived from the LatinÂ” (xii). Following HeideggerÂ’s lead, I will now turn to Aristo tleÂ’s works in order to give a richer interpretation of phusis and all the terms that follow. Aristotle begins the Physics with an explanation of the kind of inquiry, and its corresponding knowledge, that science is concer ned with. He says, Â“When the objects of an inquiry, in any department, have princi ples, conditions, or elements, it is through acquaintance with these that knowledge, that is to say, scientific knowledge, is
18attained.Â”15 Aristotle continues to point out th at the reason for grasping scientific knowledge ( epist m ) in this way is due to the comm on belief that Â“we do not think that we know a thing until we are acquainted with its primary conditions or first principlesÂ” (184a12-14). So far, Aristotle has shown that the study of phusis as a science is concerned with inquiring into the first principles (the archai ) of the objects of phusis But what are the objects of phusis ? In the second book of the Physics Aristotle distinguishes between natural things and non-natural things. He says, Â“Of things th at exist, some exist by nature, some from other causes. [Â…] All the thi ngs [that exist by nature] pres ent a feature in which they differ from things which are not constituted by nature. Each of them has within them a principle of motion and of stationarinessÂ” (192b1-15). Ar istotle has not yet given a definition of phusis but he has shown that what makes a thing an object of phusis is its causal feature or power. AristotleÂ’s definiti on of natural things is not yet complete, because when looking at products of art one no tices that these objects have the ability to change. Aristotle refers to a coat and a be d as examples of products of artisanship ( techn ) that do change over time, but he emphasi zes that this ability is not an Â“innate impulse to change.Â” Rather, the materials of th e coat and bed that exist by nature are what contain the impulse to change Aristotle now sees that phusis can be defined as Â“a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest in that to which it belongs primarily, in virtue of itself and not in virtue of a concom itant attributeÂ” (192b22-24). Phusis may now be understood as the arch of motion, and its co rresponding objects, insofar as they exist, are natural beings that have the arch of motion in themselves. 15 Aristotle, Physics in The Basic Works of Aristotle edited by Richard McKeon, introduction by C.D.C. Reeve, translated by R.P. Ha rdie and R.K. Gaye (New York: Random House, 2001), 184a9-11.
19Since Aristotle has defined phusis as the cause of motion he proceeds to examine the causal principle of things, which is traditi onally identified as his doctrine of the Four Causes. In the third chapter of the second book of the Physics Aristotle says that he must now turn to an investig ation of the causes or aitia because an aition answers the Â“whyÂ” question. He states, Â“Knowledge is the object of our inquiry, and men do not think they know a thing till they have gras ped the Â‘whyÂ’ of it (which is to grasp its primary cause)Â” (192b20). He continues to distingu ish between the four types of aitia which are: matter, form, the principle of motion, and the for-somet hing. These are traditi onally referred to as the material, formal, efficient, and final cau se, respectively, but Aristotle himself does not use the last two labels.16 When posing different Â“whyÂ” questions about objects, specifically natural beings, Aristotle can uncover different explanations for or of these objects. According to Aristotle, the material cause e xplains Â“that out of which a th ing comes to be and perishes to beÂ” (194b25), and this must be something natural or of phusis because phusis has already been shown to be the only arch with this power. In AristotleÂ’s standard example of a bronze sphere the bronze is the material cause, because the sphere has been made out of this object of phusis and its physical change or decay is dependent on the bronze. The formal cause (the eidos ) is what the Â“matter acquires in coming to be,Â” e.g., the bronze is a bust of Plato (Irwin and Fine 336).17 The for-something (the telos ) is the Â“that for the sake of which a thing is doneÂ” (Aristotle 194b32), which for the statue would be to 16 See Terence Irwin and Gail FineÂ’s, glossary, Aristotle: Introductory Readings by Aristotle (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1996) 330. 17 Also in this passage, Irwin and Fine explain the several different ways Aristotle uses eidos throughout his works. I am explaining the eidos in this way, because I am trying to give a unified account of AristotleÂ’s four causes in general. Phusis as the arch of motion is the focus of this section, so I will soon turn my attention to the principle of motion.
20represent Plato. The principle of motion or m ovement describes Â“the primary source of the change or coming to restÂ” (194b30), and in the example of the bronze statue the craftsman is this efficient source of the statue. Each of the four causes is an arch Since, by definition, phusis and its respective objects are the arch of motion I will now turn to an analysis of motion, or wh at Aristotle refers to as kin sis .18 Aristotle devotes most of his time in the third book of the Physics to inquiring about the scientific elements of kin sis Rather than sifting through all of his investigations of kin sis I will proceed to examine kin sis in terms of energeia Â— actuality, fulfillment, or activityÂ—and dunamis Â—capacity or potentialityÂ—because these features seem to be the basis for AristotleÂ’s understanding of motion ( kin sis ) in accordance with the cause of motion ( phusis ). Aristotle defines motion ( kin sis ) in terms of actuality ( energeia ) and potentiality ( dunamis ) in the three following ways: (1) Â“The fulfillment of what exists potentially, in so far as it exists potentially is motion,Â” (2) Â“It is the fulfillment of what is potential when it is already fully real and operates not as itself but as movable that is motion,Â” and (3) Â“it is the fulfillment of what is potential as potential that is motionÂ” (201a 10-b5). Generally, it seems that, for Aristotle, whether it be (1) the actuality of potentiality, (2) actuality th at functions as potentiality, or (3) pure potentiality, motion ( kin sis ) is potentiality. In terms of natural beings, which are the causes of motion (the archai of kin sis ), Aristotle seems to be saying that the essence of motion is potentiality, because motion is no longer occurring when potentiality becomes pure actuality, that is, when it loses all potentiality. 18 In regards to this relationship between phusis and kin sis Aristotle says, Â“Nature has been defined as a Â‘principle of motion and change,Â’ and it is the subject of our inquiry. We must therefore see that we understand the meaning of Â‘motion;Â’ for if it were unknown, the meaning of Â‘natureÂ’ too would be unknownÂ” 200b12.
21For example, when an acorn is in th e process of becoming an oak tree its movement is kin sis because its movement is char acterized by its potentiality ( dunamis ) of becoming. However, when the dunamis is fulfilled, the acorn is no longer in the process of becoming. This pure actuality or activity, as energeia is incomplete, according to Aristotle, because the fulfillment or actualization of the potentiality ( dunamis ) does imply a loss of the potentiality ( dunamis ). Irwin discusses the difference between an incomplete and a complete energeia Â—actuality, fulfillment, or activityÂ—when he says, [ Kin sis ] is an incomplete activity. The degree of activity is consistent with the retention of the [ dunamis ] realized in the activity, where the completion of this activity implies the loss of the [ dunamis ]. A complete activity, however, does not imply the loss of the [ dunamis ] that is actualized in this activity.19 For example, the motion that ch aracterizes artisanship, or what Aristotle refers to as the kin sis of techn is an incomplete activity due to the fact that when the object of artisanship has been made, the potentiality ( dunamis ) of the becoming of a statue no longer exists. In Ar istotelian terms, kin sis is an incomplete energeia due to the fact that it can only Â“beÂ” as dunamis In the Metaphysics Aristotle continues to investigate the meaning of phusis but here he is trying to unde rstand it in terms of why and how what there is is whereas he was previously only focused on answering the Â“whyÂ” question. In the Physics Aristotle establishes that the essence or Â“what it isÂ” of phusis is motion ( kin sis ), and it seems that he brings this fundamental meaning of phusis to the discussion of ex istence or Â“that it isÂ” in the Metaphysics He says that earlier thinkers have neglected the ques tion of motion or movement ( kin sis ), which is an inquiry that studies Â“whence or how it [ kin sis ] is to 19 Terrence Irwin, glossary, Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999) 316.
22belong to things.Â”20 Not only has the question of kin sis been neglected, but the Â“so-called special sciencesÂ” have also made the mist ake of Â“cutting off a part of being and investigating the attri bute of this partÂ” (Aristotle 1003a 25). For example, Aristotle says that mathematics studies being qua quantities and physics studies being qua moving (1061b20-35). Metaphysics, as the first philo sophy, is concerned with wisdom or sophia of being as a whole and not just parts of it. The study of beings must be in regards to being, Â“beings qua being.Â” Moreover, due to Aristotl eÂ’s explicit incorporation of motion ( kin sis ) in his ontological investigation, it seem s that BroganÂ’s aforementioned assertion that AristotleÂ’s invest igation of being may be understood as a Â“kinetic ontology,Â” is an appropriate way to descri be the inquiry of the Metaphysics (Brogan xi). For Aristotle, the study of Â“beings qua beingÂ” is just the study of phusis as ousia (beingness). I have already shown that phusis is the essence of all (natural) beings, beings as a whole. Moreover, Jonathan Barnes says that the word Â“ qua Â” is used by Aristotle to Â“indicate the manner or mode in which [beings] are to be investigated. The word Â‘ qua Â’ means something like Â‘insofar as they areÂ’.Â”21 Accordingly, Â“beings qua beingÂ” may be interpreted as Â“ phusis insofar as they are beingness.Â” No w there are two ways to interpret what Aristotle means by Â“beings qua beingness.Â” The first is as Â“ phusis insofar as they are ousia ,Â” and the second is as Â“what-it-is (essence) insofar as it is that-it-is (existence).Â” Aristotle examines Â“beings qua beingnessÂ” in the latter way when he says, Â“And similarly 20 Aristotle, Metaphysics in The Basic Works of Aristotle edited by Richard McKeon and introduction by C.D.C. Reeve, translated by W. D. Ross (New York: Random House, 2001) 985b17-19. He specifically says, Â“The question of movementÂ—whence or how it is to belong to thingsÂ—these thinkers, like the others, lazily neglected.Â” Some thinkers that he explicitly men tions or seems to be referri ng to are: Plato, Thales, Anaximenes, Diogenes, Hippasus, Heraclitus, Anaxagorous, Parmenides, Empedocles, Democritus, and Leucippus (984a5-985b15). 21 Jonathan Barnes, Â“Metaphysics,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle edited by Jonathan Barnes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.66-108) 70.
23the [so-called special] sciences omit the quest ion of whether the genus with which they deal exists or does not exist, because it belongs to the same kind of thinking to show what it is and that it isÂ” (1025b15). He re Aristotle seems to be sayi ng that metaphysics, as first philosophy, is concerned with understa nding the world in terms of both phusis which is Â“what it is,Â” and ousia which is Â“that it is.Â” Thus far all that has been examined is beings in terms of the principle of motion, kin sis In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle turns to practical philosophy to inve stigate the movements of ousia in terms of the telos the for the sake of which. II. The Telos of Being Human: Logos, Ergon and Aret AristotleÂ’s search for what constitutes the teleological movements of ousia begins with an inquiry into the particular capacities of ousiai I have previously explained that dunamis is what is realized in energeia and this relationship sti ll holds when investigating ousia However, in the Nicomachean Ethics AristotleÂ’s concern with ousia qua human being leads him to distinguish betw een the different kinds of ousiai on the basis of their respective capacities or potentialitie s. For instance, a plant, as an ousia has the capacity for growth and nutrition. Aristotle says that since the capacity ( dunamis ) of growth and nutrition is shared with plants, it is no t particular to Â“the special function [ dunamis ] of a human beingÂ” (1098a1-3), and he sets this capacity aside. He continue s to look into the capacity of aisth sis (sense) perception. Aristotle says th at Â“this too is apparently shared with horse, ox, and every animal Â” (1098a3-4), and this capacity is then disregarded in his search for the dunamis that distinguishes ousia as human being. Aris totle concludes that reason and discourse ( logos ) is the distinctive capacity ( dunamis ) of human being when
24he says, Â“The remaining possibility, then, is so me sort of life of acti on of the [part of the soul] that has reason. [Â…] We have found, th en, that the human function is activity of the soul in accord with reason or requiring reasonÂ” (1098a4-9).22 Leaving aside the part shared with plants, Aristo tle refers to discourse ( logos ) as one part of the soul, and the other part, which is shared with ev ery animal, does not contain discourse. In an effort to understand phusis or beings as the causes of motion (the aitia of kin sis ), I previously examined energeia as complete and incomplete activity, in terms of potentiality or capacity ( dunamis ). When Aristotle inquires in to the movements of human being, he focuses on the telos the for the sake of which, of the activity, and identifies human activity in terms of its corresponding end ( telos ). I think he examines them in this way because, whereas phusis is pure potentiality, ousia is a combination of potentiality and actuality. In other words, there is something that is already actualized in ousia as being human, but there is nothing actualized in phusis as a process or motion. For Aristotle, when action, or praxis is in accord with discourse ( logos ), it is then considered a rational action, and Irwin suggests that rational action is its own telos which is to say that Â“it is not done exclusivel y for the sake of some end be yond itÂ” (315). When action is done for its own sake, which is to say that the telos is internal to the movement, this is what Aristotle calls a complete movement or praxis Conversely, Irwin says that an 22 In De Anima Aristotle explains the soul ( psuch ) as the first activity, energeia of a living body. Accordingly, plants, animals, and humans have a soul. He then distinguishes the Â“powersÂ” of the soul as phenomena, such as: Â“self-nutrition, sensation, thinking, and motivity.Â” In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle into divides the phenomena of the soul into no nrational and rational, and the latter part of the soul is what distinguishes being as human being. Aristotle, Â“De Anima,Â” in The Basic Works of Aristotle edited by Richard McKeon and introduction by C.D.C. Reeve (New York: Random House, 2001) 413a20-413b15. There are numerous translations for the Greek logos such as: account, argument, discussion, conversation, speech, words, and ratio. I have chos en to translate it as Â“reason,Â” beca use after Aristotle the tradition of metaphysics relies on human reason and rationality to understand beings. Moreover, Heidegger prefers to interpret logos as: speech, discourse, discussion, and sentence, and he shows how identifying logos as reason is one of the fundamental mistakes of the tradition. This specific translation of logos can be found in Martin Heidegger, PlatoÂ’s Sophist translated by Richard Rojcewi cz and Andr Schuwer (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1997) 472. Henceforth I will be using PS as an abbreviation for this work.
25Â“action may also have some end beyond itÂ” (315), and here the telos is external to the movement, which makes it an incomplete moveme nt. Aristotle refers to this movement as poi sis (producing or making). Th is teleological feature of the movements of human being will be discussed more thoroughly in the following expl anation of the virtues. For the sake of clarity I will follow Aristotle in using praxis to describe human action when the telos is internal to the movement, and poi sis to identify human action when the telos is external to the movement. Before discussing the praxis of human being, it seems important to comment on the term Â“functionÂ” or Â“workÂ” ( ergon ) that Aristotle uses when he distinguishes the human ergon as the activity of the soul in accord with logos .23 Irwin suggests that the ergon to which Aristotle is referring, Â“is conne cted with its essen ce [what it is] and its virtue [ aret ], and in animate beings the ergon corresponds to the type of soul [ psuch ]Â” (331). I have previously stated that the essence of ousia is phusis and the particular feature of the psuch of ousia that renders it being human is logos In other words, the function or characteristic ac tivity that shows beingness as human being, is reason or discourse. Aristotle discusses the connection between the function ( ergon ) and virtue ( aret ) when he says, Â“Each function is completed well by being completed in accord with the virtue proper [to that kind of thing]Â” (1098a15). The ergon of human being is logos and according to this passage, the ergon of human being is complete when it is in accord with its proper aret This understanding of the human beingÂ’s ergon as logos and the relationship of the ergon to its aret allows for the aret to be grasped as the telos of ergon as logos In other words, the human beingÂ’s function corresponds to the part of 23 Please refer to the bottom of p. 14. Ergon may be interpreted as: function, product, result, and achievement (Irwin 331).
26the soul that differentiates this being from other beings, which is discourse or reason, so in a sense the human beingÂ’s function can be understood as reason. Moreover, a virtue is a reflection of the performan ce of the function. The intimat e relationship between reason and its corresponding virtue(s), or excellence(s) allows for Aristotl e to understand that oneÂ’s reason is performing properly when it is done for the sake of virtue. III. The Telos of Human Being: Vi rtues of Discursive Awareness I previously mentioned that Aristotle dis tinguishes between two parts of the human psuch : that which pertains to logos and that which does not. In attempting to understand the praxis and poi sis of human being he investigates the aret that correspond properly to both parts of the psuch The virtues of character pertain to both parts of the psuch whereas, the virtues of th ought relate to only the logos I will only be concerned with the virtues of thought and not the virtues of char acter for two reasons. First, in the next chapter I will be focusing on HeideggerÂ’s deconstruction of the former. Second, in the tenth book of the Nicomachean Ethics which is a main focus of my inquiry and will be discussed in the fourth chapter, Aristotle dismisses the virtues of character from the discussion.24 The Greek word for Â“thought,Â” or Â“understanding,Â” is nous and can be understood as non-discursive, direct awareness. When nous is grasped by the logos of human being it is referred to as discursive awareness or dianoein William McNeill discusses nous as dianoein when he says, Â“Human apprehending [awareness] is not a pure nous but a nous that in order to disclose itself (w hether to itself or to others), must 24 John Cooper notes this when he says, Â“The Â‘intellectual lifeÂ’ discussed in the tenth book does not, then, involve the possession of any moral virtuesÂ” (165).
27pass through the logos that is, a nous that is a dianoein .Â”25 Its corresponding virtues are commonly referred to as dianoetic virtues, because nous (non-discursive awareness) is being actualized in them and they involve discourse or reas on. Aristotle identifies these virtues as techn the kind of know-how pe rtaining to artisanship, epist m theoretical or Â‘scientificÂ’ knowledge, phron sis practical wisdom, sophia wisdom in the highest sense or theoretical wisdom, and nous immediate awareness (1139b15-1142a30).26 For Aristotle there are two ways of understanding logos with respect to these virtues: logos concerning the virtues of the scie ntific or epistemic faculty ( epist m and sophia ) and logos concerning the virtues of the deliberative faculty ( techn and phron sis ). McNeill suggests that the distinction between the two f aculties is Â“made on the basis of the kind of knowledge that each providesÂ” (32). McNeill con tinues to clarify the distinction when he says, Â“The epistemic faculty is c oncerned with the contemplation ( the rein ) of those things whose archai are invariable, the deliberative f aculty with those things that are variableÂ” (32). I will proceed to examine the dianoetic virtues that correspond to the epistemic faculty, and will end with a discussion of the dianoetic virtues of the deliberative faculty. According to Aristotle, the object that epist m is concerned with knowing Â“does not admit of being otherwise, is known by necessity, and is ingenerable and indestructibleÂ” (1139b20-24). I ta ke this passage to mean th at scientific knowledge is 25 William McNeill, The Glance of the Eye: Heidegger, Aristotle, and the Ends of Theory (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999) 38. 26 I have adopted the English translations from McNeill (1). Aristotle does include nous in this list of the dianoetic virtues, and this nous is not pure nous insofar as it is part of the human capacity. Like all Greek words, nous has several different meanings, and Aristotle uses this word in both loose and strict senses. Irwin explains that AristotleÂ’s different uses can define nous as Â“ dianoia Â” ( nous applied generally to logos ), Â“ noein Â” (notice), Â“theoretical nous Â” (concerning the first principles and universals), and Â“practical nous Â” (a grasping of the particulars of things that can be otherwise) (351). For sake of clarity, when I am referring to nous as a dianoetic virtue it should be maintained that this is human nous and if it is nous as nous itself then I will refer to it as pure nous
28about necessary and invariant truths of necessary and invariant beings.27 The being that epist m inquires into, as McNeill says, Â“must remain constant even when the object is not being observed or contemplated Â” (32). Moreover, for Aristotle, epist m is teachable by deduction, but not through induction. Both ways of teaching Â“require previous knowledge,Â” due to the fact that Â“all teaching is from what is already known;Â” however, the former Â“proceeds from the universalÂ” (1139b30), which is the principle or arch whereas, the latter leads from particulars to the arch Since epist m is teachable, and subsequently learnable, by deduction, the arch of its being is presupposed. For example, when I teach geometry, the student and I must assume that all triangles have three sides. Furthermore, epist m does entail a kind of the rein in that knowledge of the being is grasped only when the being is observed and attended t o. One way Aristotle distinguishes the rein from pure the ria is by identifying pure the ria as an ongoing, continuous activity of contempla ting the particulars of being w ithin the whole structure of being. McNeill says that the c ontemplation of theoretical or scientific knowledge (the the rein of epist m ) is deficient Â“due to the fact that it necessarily refers to objects that lie beyond immediate observation ( ex tou the rein ).Â” For example, human being is a being that can be otherwise, so when I contemplate about beings that cannot be otherwise, I am separating my activity of contemplation from my own being. He continues to say that due to this deficiency the the rein of epist m cannot be pure the ria (34). 27 To clarify what Aristotle means by Â“necessityÂ” he says, Â“Whenever what admits of being otherwise escapes observation, we do not notice whether it is or is not. Hence, what is known scientifically is by necessityÂ” (1139b23). I take this passage to mean th at when Aristotle is using the term Â“necessityÂ” ( anank ) he is simply indicating that the being cannot be otherwise.
29In epist m the archai are assumed and this knowledge is teachable by deduction. Nous on the other hand, is immediate awareness of the archai and is knowable through induction. Aristotle says that the archai are given through the immediate awareness of nous (1139b29, 1141a4-9). Yet, as McNeill points out, these archai can only be demonstrated with logos and what can be demonstrated can also be scientifically known (38).28 Demonstration, or deduction, is the method of epist m It seems that the acrhai, which are given through nous lose their meaning, or are sepa rated into particulars in an effort to identify them as something, when logos is involved. Sophia which is the other virtue that be longs to the epistemic faculty, is a combination of epist m and nous Aristotle seems to suggest that since sophia is both epist m and nous Â“[ sophia ] is the most exact form of scientific knowledge.Â” Accordingly, sophia is knowledge about all things that cannot be otherwise, the universals. This knowledge is Â“derived from the principles of a science,Â” and it Â“grasps the truth about the principlesÂ” (Aristotle 1141a15-20). In other words, sophia is a direct awareness of the archai and it consists of deduction, which means that it involves logos as well. Sophia is the combination of the direct aw areness of being as a whole and the demonstration of being of particular beings so it may be understood as knowledge of the particulars and the universals of be ings that cannot be otherwise. According to Aristotle, the the rein of sophia is the human activity that is closest to pure the ria Aristotle begins the Metaphysics by saying that Â“All men by nature desire to knowÂ” (980a1), and I have already shown that this knowledge is about the causes, the archai In the previous analysis of the Metaphysics I focused on the principle of motion, but at this poin t I am concerned with the telos the for the sake of which. In 28 Aristotle, 1140b30-1141a1.
30regards to sophia McNeill discusses the connection between sophia and the aitia particularly the telos when he says, Â“ Sophia is to see the causes, and thereby able to see itself as self-caused, existing for the sake of itself and having no cause beyond itselfÂ” (28).29 Insofar as sophia is for the sake of itself, the activity of this knowledge is a distinctive the rein which is contemplation, or obse rvation, in the purest sense. The the rein of sophia is not concerned with studying princi ples in order to find answers, nor with observing beings for the sake of praxis or poi sis The contemplative activity of sophia which is contemplation for the sake of wi sdom in the highest sense, is a deficient the rein insofar as it involves epistemic know ledge. Since I have examined the dianoetic virtues of the epistemic faculty, I will now look into those of the deliberative faculty. Techn and phron sis are knowledge about beings th at can be otherwise, and according to Aristotle, Â“what admits of being otherwise includes what is produced and what is achieved in actionÂ” (1140a1). Techn is the know-how knowle dge that is for the sake of poi sis There is a certain the rein involved in techn because prior to poi sis the artisan studies the form, or eidos of the object in order to see how the finished product will look. For instance, I begin making a books helf by looking at a previously made bookshelf to learn the bluepr int of the product. I then apply knowledge from this observation to my know-how of making, and pr oceed to build a books helf. McNeill says that the the rein of techn is deficient, in just the same way as the the rein of epist m because Â“the end product may not accord in its being ( eidos ) with the eidos seen in advanceÂ” (34). This implies th at the product, or being, of techn does not necessarily correspond to techn itself. In the example of the bookshelf, I may know how a bookshelf is supposed to look, but something goes wrong in the process of ma king it so that the 29 See Aristotle, 982b5.
31bookshelf ends up looking like a table.30 Moreover, the telos of poi sis is something other than poi sis itself (Aristotle 1140b5-10) McNeill describes this when he says, Â“the finished work lies outside ( para ) the productive processÂ” (34).31 The other discursive or dianoetic virtue of the deliberative faculty, phron sis (practical wisdom), is not knowledge of the process of production, but rather is knowledge about action or praxis Aristotle says that the phronimos the person of practical wisdom, does not deliberate about how to make or produce something, but essentially deliberates about action in regards to itself. McNeill examines this when he states, Â“In techn knowledge is directed toward th e finished product as the end or telos of that knowledge. In phron sis on the other hand, knowledge is directed toward action itself as constitutive of the being of the phronimos Â” (35). In deliberation the person of practical wisdom is deliberating about her acti on in such a way that herself and her action are one and the same, so one may say that th e origin and the end of this action are the human being In this sense, it seems that, through dianoein (discursive awareness), a human being is aware of itself as the arch (origin) and the telos (end) of praxis (Brogan 174). In other words, human beingÂ’s discursive aw areness makes knowledge of human being as the origin and end of its ac tion possible; discursive awar eness makes practical wisdom possible. Aristotle says, Â“A human being would seem to be a principle of action. Deliberation is about the actions the human be ing can do, and actions are for the sake of other things; hence we deliberate about things that promote an end, not about the endÂ” 30 This example can also pertain to wh y Aristotle says that the object of techn corresponds to chance and luck (1140a20-25). 31 Aristotle, 1094a6.
32(1112b35).32 As a person of practical wisdom, for in stance, I am aware of myself as the originator of my actionÂ—there is a proper relationship between my self and my actionÂ— so I deliberate about myself and not about the effects that this action may produce. Generally stated, practical wisdom is not the result of deliberation, but rather the source, or principle, of practical wisdom is human beingÂ’s discursive awareness. At first glance it may seems strange to say that I do not delibera te about action in terms of the effects of my action, because I can think of numerous times when I have done just this. However, for Aristotle, phron sis is a special way of knowing due to the fact that the arch and telos are both contained in the activ ity of this knowledge. In other words, the phronimos is aware that her actions belong to her being, and this relationship is fundamental to understanding phron sis McNeill examines the intrinsic relationship of phron sis and praxis when he states, Â“ Phron sis is a seeing (Â“knowingÂ”) of oneself as an acting self as the self that is acti ng in any particular situation, and not a seeing of oneself as an object whose very being is other than that of oneselfÂ” (35-36). It seems that the discursive awareness of phron sis may be understood as knowledge of oneself as the origin ( arch ) and end ( telos ) of its own action ( praxis ). In other words, one is aware of oneself in terms of oneÂ’s actions in such a way that knowledge of th ese actions is really knowledge of oneself. Insofar as phron sis and praxis are internally related, which is to say that human beingÂ’s practical wisdom is about human being, the the rein of phron sis Â—the contemplative activity of practical wisdomÂ—i s distinctive as well. Human being with 32 In regards to the nous of praxis of the phronimos Aristotle says, Â“There is nous not a rational account [i.e., without logos ], both about the first terms and the last. In demonstration nous is about the unchanging terms that are first. In [premises] about action nous is about the last term, the one that admits of being otherwise. These last terms are the beginnings of the [end] to be aimed atÂ” (1143a35-1143b5).
33practical wisdom contemplates about the acti ons or ends of human beings, and not about ends that are separate from human beings. Aristotle says, Â“t he ones whom we regard as [ phrominos ] are able to study [ the rein ] what is good for themselves and for human beingsÂ” (1140b10). Unlike the the rein of epist m and the the rein of techn where there is a removal from human beingÂ’ s contemplation and human beings, the the rein of phron sis is not a knowledge or contemplati on independent of human being as praxis However, the theor in of phron sis does not seem to be what Aristotle describes as pure the ria Brogan discusses the Aristotelian idea of pure the ria when he says, Â“It is this sense of staying with what one observes that Aristotle calls the ria contemplation or pure observing of the being as such, for its own sake. Inasmuch as it is a freeing, a questioning, and a projecting beyond, this divine-like the ria is a pure movement and the highest movementÂ” (177). In this pass age Brogan seems to suggest that the the rein of phron sis is considered pure when the phronimos is contemplating about its own being as praxis On the other hand, sometimes the phronimos is concerned with praxis as an end beyond its own being, and in this case the the rein of phron sis is not pure
34Chapter 3: What Heidegger Recovers From Aristotle HeideggerÂ’s return to Aristotelian ideas is motivated by his overarch ing concern with the Western metaphysical tradition. According to Heidegger, philosophy has forgotten what the question of Being is a ll about, and this forgetfulness is due to numerous Â“presuppositions and prejudices, which are constantly reimplanting and fostering the belief that an inquiry into Being is unnecessaryÂ” (BT 22). One of these presuppositions is that the Being of what-is Â“must be a material substance that is c ontinuously present in space throughout timeÂ” (Guignon 3).33 In other words, reality is believed to be made up of physical objects that exist Â“out thereÂ” in the world. For instan ce, a plant or chair is real due to the fact that it is material and take s up space in time, but a flying pig is not real because it does not actually show up as a material object taking up space in time (Guignon 3). Another presupposition, according to Heidegger, stems from the fact that the Western tradition maintains that the Â“concep t of Â‘BeingÂ’ is indefinableÂ” as something real (BT 23). So in an effort to avoid de fining Being the traditi on has reduced talking about Being to Â“talk about physical objects and their causal inte ractionsÂ” (Guignon 4). The last presupposition of the Western tradition ho lds, which Heidegger refers to, is Â“that Â‘BeingÂ’ is of all concepts the one that is self-evidentÂ” (BT 23). According to Heidegger, these three presuppositions have allowed the tr adition to discard the question of Being as unanswerable, and to turn its attention to a leveleddown, or average, mode of questioning. 33 Guignon explains what Heidegger means by Â“being of what-isÂ” when he says, Â“Heidegger constantly reminds us that Being is always the Being of what-i s: it is not something different from beings, floating above them or underlying them, but is rather that in beings that determines that they are what they areÂ” (2).
35HeideggerÂ’s project is to get back to the original question of Being that was asked by the Greeks and to ask it in a more primordi al way, which means that he must begin his investigation of Being in a Â“p re-theoreticalÂ” way. The traditi onal theoretical approach to the question of Being, according to Heidegger, regards the thinker and the object of its thought as being indifferently detached from one another.34 Guignon examines this Â“detached standpoint of theoreti cal reflectionÂ” when he says, Â“when we step back and try to get an impartial, objective view of thi ngs, the world, so to speak, does dead for us Â– things lose the meaningfulness definitive of their being in the everyday life-worldÂ” ( Introduction 4). Â“Pre-theoretical,Â” then, is a ma nner of understanding Â“the way things show up in the flux of our everyday prereflective act ivitiesÂ” (Guignon, Introduction 5). When Heidegger posits the question of Being in a Â“pre-theoreticalÂ” way, he attempts to recover the original meaning of Being. Heidegger turns to the Greeks because the question of Being Â“is one which provided a stimulus for the researches of Plat o and Aristotle. And what they wrested with the utmost intellectual effort from the phe nomena, fragmentary and incipient though it was, has long since been trivializedÂ” (Heidegger, BT 21). The trivialization that Heidegger is referring to is la rgely due to viewing being as a substance, or an object, that is separate from the life of the human bei ng, or subject. Dreyfus discusses HeideggerÂ’s concern with this traditional view of Being when he states, From the Greeks we inherit not only our assumption that we can obtain theoretical knowledge of every domai n, even human activities, but also our assumption that the detached theore tical viewpoint is superior to the involved practical viewpoint. Accord ing to the philos ophical tradition, 34 Please see Dorothea Frede, Â“The Question of Being: HeideggerÂ’s Project,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger 2nd ed., edited by Charles Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 58.
36whether rationalist or empiricist, it is only by means of detached contemplation that we discover reality.35 When Dreyfus and Guignon speak of the Â“theoret ical,Â” they are referring to a mode of understanding that Â“objectifies ontology;Â” the detached theoreti cal viewpoint is a way of seeing Â“the world as consisting of primary substances with accidents.Â”36 In a sense, HeideggerÂ’s project in Being and Time is to situate the questi on of Being, which was first asked by the Greeks, in a pre-theoretical unde rstanding of what it means to talk about being. In an effort to do so, Heidegger turn s to an inquiry into the being that has a relationship with its Being, and this being is Dasein (being-there). Heidegger identifies this relationship when he says, Â“Dasein is an entity which does not just occur among other entities. Rather it is ontic ally distinguished by the fact that, in its very Being, that Being is an issue for itÂ” (BT 32).37 Here Heidegger seems to be suggesting that Dasein is trying to understand Being because it wants to understand what its Being means for it. By posing the question of DaseinÂ’s Being, Heide gger attempts to avoid questioning from a detached theoretical viewpoint. Some Heidegger scholars, such as Franco Volpi and Dorothea Frede, think that HeideggerÂ’s rejection of the theoretical pe rspective is also hi s way of discrediting AristotleÂ’s the ria but it seems to me that this line of thought is not consistent with HeideggerÂ’s interpretation of the ria Frede suggests that according to Heidegger the theoretical stance leads to a splitting of the phenomena into two independently existing 35 Hubert L. Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on HeideggerÂ’s Being and Time, Division 1 (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1991) 6. Henceforth I will refer to this work as Â“Commentary.Â” 36 Charles Guignon, Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1983) 156. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“HPK.Â” 37 The translators of this edition of Being and Time John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, explain the difference, for Heidegger, between ontology and ontical when they state, Â“Ontological inquiry is concerned primarily with Being ; ontical inquiry is concerned primarily with entities and the facts about themÂ” (32, footnote 3).
37realms of subject and object (61).38 She continues to associate the ria with this splitting, or isolating, effect when she says, Â“Because in the ria we merely Â‘gazeÂ’ at what appears as an isolated object, we are lead to take this Â‘reificationÂ’ as the natural way of being of that Â‘object.Â’ Such a dissociate d perspective is quite justified for the Â‘theoretical view.Â’Â” (61-62). However, Frede continues to say that this perspective, according to Heidegger, is not justified for a pre-theoretical view. McNeill and Brogan, on the other hand, seem to suggest that this straightforward account of interpreting HeideggerÂ’s use of the ria as a theoretical view, may be misleading insofar as it seems to neglect Heid eggerÂ’s destruction of Aristotelian ideas. According to McNeill, Â“HeideggerÂ’s impending project of a Â‘destructionÂ’ of the history of ontologyÂ” focuses on the devastating eff ects of the way the tradition has separated the ria from praxis (53). McNeill discusses HeideggerÂ’s concern with th is division when he says, Â“The emergence of the rein as an independent praxis is, after all, precisely what happens in the subsequent history of philo sophy and science. And it is this tendency toward separation that Heidegger is implicitly criticizing [Â…]Â” (53). Heidegger in PlatoÂ’s Sophist suggests that for Aristotle pure the rein Â“is a simple onlooking and exposing, where it [understanding] is no longer a matter of [use]Â” (46).39 I take this passage to mean that human beingÂ’s pre-theoretical understandin g pertains to a mode of utility, and human beingÂ’s genuine understanding occurs when there is no longer a need for utility. In other 38 Heidegger explains the effects of the theoretical viewpoint as splitting the phenomena in BT 170. VolpiÂ’s explanation of the ria is similar to FredeÂ’s account insofar as he characterizes the ria as present-at-hand ( vorhandenheit ). Franco Volpi, Â“ Being and Time : A Â‘TranslationÂ’ of the Nicomachean Ethics ?,Â” translated by John Protevi, in Reading Heidegger From the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought edited by Theodore Kisiel and John van Buren (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994) 195-212. 39 In the Â“TranslatorÂ’s ForwardÂ” of PlatoÂ’s Sophist Richard Rojcewicz explains the connection of HeideggerÂ’s PlatoÂ’s Sophist and Being and Time when he says, Â“The text [in PlatoÂ’s Sophist ] is a reconstruction of the authorÂ’s lecture course delivered under the same title at the University of Marburg in the winter semester 1924-25. It is one of HeideggerÂ’s major works, because of its intrinsic importance as an interpretation of ancient philosophy and also on account of its relation to Being and Time Â” (xxv).
38words, on HeideggerÂ’s reading of Aristotl e, DaseinÂ’s authentic understanding, as pure the ria is not for the sake of its usefulness, but is for the sake of understanding itself, which is praxis According to Heidegger, only in its relationship to sophia which includes epist m does the rein turn into Â“a completely autonomous comportment of Dasein, not related to anything whatsoeverÂ” (PS 88). It seems that Heidegger is rejecting the the rein of sophia and epist m but not pure the ria which is the continuous activity of praxis In the following discussion of authentic ity, as found in the second division of Being and Time I will examine how Heide gger dissociates AristotleÂ’s the ria in its relation to praxis from the Western tradition of a th eoretical detachment from objects in the world. As previously stated, AristotleÂ’s inquir y into ontology consists of a theoretical grasping of Being ( phusis or nature) in terms of the archai or origins, of entities. HeideggerÂ’s investigation, when compared to the ontology of Aristotle, starts from the Â“pre-ontological.Â” Heidegger explicitl y distinguishes between ontology and preontological when he states, Â“So if we s hould reserve the term Â‘ontologyÂ’ for that theoretical inquiry whic h is explicitly devoted to the meaning of entities, then what we have had in mind in speaking of DaseinÂ’s Â‘Being-ontologicalÂ’ is to be designated as something Â‘pre-ontologicalÂ’Â” (32). On Heide ggerÂ’s account, the preontological is that which precedes all inquiry; it is the tac it background of understa nding that all human beings have. That is to say, when Heidegger inquires into the preontological, he does not question the meaning of separate, or indiffere nt, entities but rather examines Dasein, as the entity within a nexus of Â“directly given and fundament al experience of involvementÂ” (Dreyfus, Commentary 42).
39Heidegger says that his inquiry of the pre-ontological questions the meaning of the Being of Â“an entity whose Being is de fined as Being-in-the-worldÂ” (BT 116). The entity called Being-in-the-world that Heidegger is referring to in this passage is Dasein, and the existence that most properly belongs to Dasein is Being-in -the-world. Being-inthe-world is not nature due to the fa ct nature can exist without Dasein.40 Whereas Aristotle, and the Western trad ition thereafter, is looking at Be ing in an attempt to grasp the ontological structures of Being, Heidegge r shifts to an inve stigation of the preontological insofar as he is looking at the entity that is looking at Being. Guignon examines how HeideggerÂ’s shift to the meani ng of Being incorporates human being when he says, Â“What Heidegger has done is to shif t the questioning from ontology per se to a question about how we encounter or gain access to entitie s in their Being. This shift in questioning indicates that we need to see how entities enter into our intelligibilityÂ—how they are accessed by usÂ” ( Summary 4). According to Heidegger, in order for philosophy, as ontology, to be able to inquire into the Being of entities, philosophe rs must first have an understanding of what its Being means, or consists of. Heidegge r discusses the importance for philosophy of a fundamental ontology of Being when he stat es, Â“Basically, all ontology, no matter how rich and firmly compacted a system of categor ies it has at its dispos al, remains blind and perverted from its ownmost aim, if it has not first adequately clarified the meaning of Being, and conceived this clarification as its fundamental taskÂ” (BT 31). I have placed an emphasis on the word Â‘fundamentalÂ’ in this pa ssage to point out that, for Heidegger, a 40 In The Basic Problems of Phenomenology Heidegger explains the difference between Â“natureÂ” and Â“worldÂ” when he says, Â“World is only if, and as long as Dasein exists. Nature can also be when no Dasein existsÂ” (170). This book is based on HeideggerÂ’s lect ure course from 1927, whic h is the same year that Being and Time was published.
40pre-ontological investigation is part of the task of Â“fundamental ontology.Â” In a sense, fundamental ontology, as Guignon says, Â“clarif ies the meaning (i.e., conditions of intelligibility) of things in generalÂ” ( Introduction 5). Generally, fundamental ontology, for Heidegger, is the preparatory inve stigation of what clarifies meaning. Though Heidegger is struggling to re lease philosophy from the bonds of the Western tradition and Aristotle is part of this tradition, he maintains a great sense of admiration for and indebtedness to Aristotle. Heidegger expresses this gratitude when he says, Â“Aristotle was the last of the great philosophers who had eyes to see and, what is still more decisive, the energy and tenacity to continue to force inquiry back to the phenomena and to the seen and to mistrust from the ground up all wild and windy speculations, no matter how close to the heart of common senseÂ” (BP 232). Before proceeding to discuss how Heidegger recovers some of the fundamental Aristotelian ideas in Being and Time it seems helpful to mention why Heidegger admires Aristotle for continually forcing inquiry back to the phenomena. I previously mentioned that Heideg ger recognizes that the tradition is epistemologically breaking down Being into a subject-object re lationship, and the tradition is also maintaini ng a detached theoretical pe rspective of Being. Dreyfus describes how Heidegger returns to th e phenomenology of Being, which is what Heidegger considers Aristotle to be doing, as Â“a way of letting something shared that can never be totally articulated and for which there can be no indubitable evidence show itselfÂ” ( Commentary 30). In an effort to combat the tr aditional tendency to Â“break apartÂ” the phenomenon of Being, Heidegger begins with an interpretation of DaseinÂ’s Â“facticity.Â” DaseinÂ’s factic ity is defined by its Â“thrownness,Â” which Guignon discusses
41when he says, Â“Dasein always finds itself Â‘t hrownÂ’ into a concrete situation and attuned to a cultural and historical context where th ings already count in determinate ways in a relation to a communityÂ’s practicesÂ” ( Introduction 8). This pre-theoretical and pre-reflective wa y in which Dasein understands itself is what Heidegger describes as the Â“hermeneu tics of facticity.Â” Heidegger says, Â“The relationship here between hermeneutics and facticity is not a relation between the grasping of an object and the obj ect grasped [Â…]. Rather, inte rpreting is itself a possible and distinctive how of the char acter of being of facticity.Â”41 Generally, hermeneutics may be understood as an attitude or a stance of openness and revise-ability. HeideggerÂ’s analysis of the hermeneutics of facticity seems to develop in to a method of sorts that is always open to change. Heidegger develops his hermeneutical Â“methodÂ” as a way to return to the phenomenon of Being. I will contin ue to show that in the first division of Being and Time Heidegger examines the shared phenomenon of Being in terms of poi sis and in the second division he then interprets the phenomenology of DaseinÂ’s Being in terms of praxis I. Poi sis: The Inauthentic Way of Being For the most part HeideggerÂ’s project of f undamental ontology has two steps. Heidegger refers to the first as the Â“existential analytic of DaseinÂ” (BT 34), which Guignon discusses as Â“an analysis of human existence aimed at showing those essential structures of human existence that make it po ssible for us to grasp beings as what they areÂ” ( Summary 5). The second step, which follows from th e analytic of Dasein, is to Â“confront 41 Martin Heidegger, OntologyÂ—The Hermeneutics of Facticity translated by John van Buren (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999) 12.
42the cardinal problemÂ—the question of the mean ing of Being in generalÂ” (Heidegger, BT 61). Fundamental ontology, for Heidegger, ta kes the being that ha s any understanding whatsoever of Being is involved in, which is Dasein, as the Â“ontical foundation of ontologyÂ” (BP 19). Since the meaning of Bei ng, in a sense, originates in DaseinÂ’s involvement in the world, Heidegger inqui res into DaseinÂ’s ways, or modes, of understanding Being. Heidegger suggests that authenticity and inau thenticity are two modes of Being that Â“are both grounded in th e fact that any Dasein whatsoever is characterized by mineness [Jemeinigkeit],Â” i. e., mineness is always a given (BT 68). Jacques Taminiaux proposes that the analytic of Dasein is an investigation that is Â“structurally governed by the distinction between what prop erly belongs to Dasein, as [its] own [ Eigenlichkeit ], and what is not [its] own [ Uneigenlichkeit ].Â”42 It seems to me, following Taminiaux, that HeideggerÂ’s distin ction between these two modes Â“coincides with a specific retrieval of the Greek [specifically Aristotelian] praxis poi sis distinctionÂ” (140). In this section I will attempt to show how Heidegger brings forth poi sis as the inauthentic way, or activity, of unde rstanding the Being of Dasein. Heidegger initially discovers the features of the meaning of Being by examining DaseinÂ’s average, everyday understanding of the Being of entities. The pre-theoretical understanding of Being is what Heidegger desc ribes as DaseinÂ’s average Â“everydayness,Â” which Guignon describes as the Â“e veryday practical lifeworldÂ” ( Summary 5), and according to Heidegger the phenomenon of ev erydayness indicates that Dasein always already has some average pre-understanding of Being. Dreyfus discusses why Heidegger begins by understanding Being on the basis of everydayness when he states, Â“[Heidegger] 42 Jacques Taminiaux, Â“Poiesis and Praxis in Fundamental Ontology,Â” in Research in Phenomenology 17 (1987) 140.
43introduces the idea that shared everyday skil ls, discriminations, and practices into which we are socialized provide the conditions nece ssary for people to pick out objects, to understand themselves as subjects, and generally to make sense of the world and of their livesÂ” ( Commentary 4). As a human being, my involvement in the world is not initially mine because these everyday activitie s, or ways of understanding, are al ways already part of a shared way of going about everyday life. Entities show up for me as such and such because I have been socialized, or taught, to understa nd them as such and such. For example, a table shows up for me as a table, because I have been taught to use it as a table and not as a weapon. I understand the Being of entities from my everyday involvement of knowinghow ( techn ) to use them. Heidegger suggests th at oneÂ’s most fundamental way of dealing with entities is by gr asping them. He examines th is grasping when he says: In the domain of the present analysis, the entities we shall take as our preliminary theme are those which show themselves in our concern with the environment. Such entities ar e not thereby objects for knowing the Â‘worldÂ’ theoretically; they are simply what gets used, what gets produced, and so forth (BT 95). Heidegger seems to be suggesti ng that in oneÂ’s ordinary way of encountering entities one encounters them as equipment to be used for making or producing ( poi sis ). Equipment is not to be understood as Â‘object.Â’ Equi pment is a holistic to tality of functional interconnections, so it is not a collection of th ings but is an aggregat e of relations (97). HeideggerÂ’s classic example of hammeri ng with a hammer illustrates that the Being essential to the hammer is its possibility to be used as a hammer (to be set in motion as a hammer). He identifies this possi bility that is particular to equipment as Zuhandenheit (readiness-to-hand). Heidegger discusses readiness-to-hand when he states,
44Â“The kind of Being which equipment possessÂ— in which it manifests itself in its own rightÂ—we call Â‘readiness-to-handÂ’ [ Zuhandenheit ]. Only because equipment has this Â‘Being-in-itselfÂ’ and does not merely occur, it is manipulable in the broadest sense and at our disposalÂ” (98). In regards to this passa ge it seems that a hammer is a hammer insofar as it is usable for hammering. A hammer is most genuinely a hamme r when one does not have to think about it (Heidegger, BT 99) When everything is functioning properly, when everything is going the way it ought t o, one does not notice the hammer, but one does Â“seeÂ” through it to what one is aiming at Dreyfus discusses the transparency of equipment when he says, Â“I am not aware of the determinate characteristics of the hammer or of the nail. All I am aware of is th e task, or perhaps what I need to do when I finishÂ” ( Commentary 65). In other words, in everydayne ss I understand Being in terms of a means-ends relationship. This way of gr asping Being is similar to AristotleÂ’s poi sis due the fact that the Being of equipment is for the sake of something other than equipment. It seems, for Heidegger that focusing on the use of equipment in everydayness is a way of grasping the self as a producer in rela tion to equipment, that is, if we think of ourselves at all in the mode of everydayness. The Being of DaseinÂ’s everydayness is may be described as a mode of production and making ( poi sis ) wherein Dasein Â“seesÂ” through, or forgets, its own Being. Heidegger suggests that forgetting is an essential mode of Being when he says, Â“The Self must forget itself if, lost in the world of equipment, it is to be able Â‘actuallyÂ’ to go to work and manipulate somethingÂ” (BT 405). In everydayness Dasein does not understand itself as its ow n Being, because its way of
45understanding itself as its own is forgotte n, or lost, in the busyness of everydayness. Heidegger discusses DaseinÂ’s loss of selfunderstanding in everydayness when he states, We understand ourselves in an everyday way or, as we can formulate it terminologically, not authentically in the strict sense of the word, not with constancy from the most proper and mo st extreme possibilities of our own existence, but inauthentically our self indeed but as we are not our own as we have lost our self in thi ngs and human while we exist in the everyday (BP 160). Aforementioned was that any Dasein is characterized by mineness (Jemeinigkeit), so when DaseinÂ’s understanding of itself is not its own (uneigentlich) Heidegger seems to mean that its understanding is determ ined in its everyday activities of poi sis DaseinÂ’s everyday understanding of its Being takes the form of poi sis because its understanding is for the sake of something other than its Being. For example, my everyday activities of fulfilling my roles as a student, mentor, and lover are performed in regards to something other than my own understanding of myself e.g., in regards to how my professor understands my performance as a student. Dr eyfus says that DaseinÂ’s understanding of itself in these involved everyday activities c onsists of Â”awareness but no self-awarenessÂ” ( Commentary 67). That is to say, inauthenticity is th e mode of Being of the self, but it is a mode where we are not a self. My everyday roles, on HeideggerÂ’s acc ount, are inauthentic when I do not understand them as my own, but rather, as anyone or Â“they,Â” understands these roles. Dreyfus suggests that for Heidegger Dasein Â’s everydayness, as a they-self, is an inauthentic mode of understandi ng that refers to the social nexus of cultural norms when he states, Â“Although norming activity [everyda y activity] depends on the existence of human beings, it does not depend on the exis tence of any particular human being but rather produces particular human beingsÂ” ( Commentary 162). Following from what
46Dreyfus says, everyday activities, or produc tions, are not definitive of the Being of Dasein, because DaseinÂ’s understanding of itself, as a they-self, is an inauthentic mode of Being. HeideggerÂ’s description of the inauthenticity of Da seinÂ’s everydayness appears similar to AristotleÂ’s understanding poi sis because in everydayness the end, which in this case is the Being of Dasein, is se parate from DaseinÂ’s everyday mode of production.43 According to Heidegger, a detached theore tical attitude may arise when there is a breakdown in the production proce ss. In regards to the Bei ng of equipment, Heidegger suggests that a breakdown occurs when the eq uipment being used, such as a hammer and a nail, is broken and no longer available for use. In this breakdown one does not understand the hammer as a tool, but instead encounters it as a thing that needs to be examined and fixed, as Vorhandenheit (present-at-hand). When a breakdown occurs there is a Â“change-overÂ” in oneÂ’s understanding of the Being of entities, which Guignon describes when he states, Â“When such a ch ange-over occurs, things are momentarily frozen: they show up as mere things Â‘onhand,Â’ occurrent objects, with no inbuilt meanings or functions. Forced to step back from our activities, we look around to see how to fix the problemÂ” ( Summary 7). As present-at-hand the hammer is treated as an object for philosophical discussi on or theoretical inspection. For Heidegger, the changeover from ready-to-hand to pr esent-at-hand is an essent ial feature of Being that philosophy traditionally has forgotten. On He ideggerÂ’s account, it is only in this 43 Another way to understand this similarity is that in everydayness the activity, or roles, I have chosen to produce are not my own choices, because these choices belong to anyone. In other words, in everydayness I am living the life of anyone. HeideggerÂ’s description of the Â“they-selfÂ” resembles AristotleÂ’s claim that Â“Each person seems to be his [or her] understanding. It would be absurd, then, if [human being] were to choose not its own life, but something elseÂ’sÂ” (1178a5). However, Heidegger does not describe the Â“theyselfÂ” as an absurdity, but rather, as an e ssential way of DaseinÂ’s understanding.
47breakdown that one encounters things as philosophy has long de scribed them, which Guignon describes as Â“things that present themselves to us as meaningless, only contingently related objects in a space/time coordinate systemÂ” (7). In other words, the Western tradition has always discussed Being as a brute object with properties, which could then be invested with value (BT 79, 170). Heidegger suggests that Western philosophy, understood as a detached theoretical science, is rooted in understanding Being as present-at-hand, a nd it has subsequently forgotten the Being of readyto-hand. McNeill describes the implications of interpreting Dasein as a meaningless, physical object that is present-at-hand when he says, Â“When it comes to interpret itself [in terms of the presence of things], it tends to regard itself as yet another object of the theoreti cal contemplation that is i ndeed now extracted from its former embeddedness in techn Â” (96). When Western philo sophy treats Being as an entity that is present-at-hand, according to Heidegger, it forgets the everyday involvements of Dasein and, consequentl y, Western philosophy takes the Being of Dasein as a mere thing that exists indepe ndently of its involvement in the world. I previously stated that in everydayness Dasein inauthentically understands itself as ready-to-hand and in doing so Â“the self forgets itselfÂ” (BT 405). Heidegger suggests that when one treats itself as a meaningless object that is present-at-hand one Â“not only forgets the forgotten but forgets the forg etting itselfÂ” (BP 290). By forgetting the forgetting of itself, this form of inauthenticity, which treats human being as a mere thing, deprives human being of any understanding wh atsoever, of its mineness, and depicts human being as a self-subsistent object that is capable of being acted upon, of being
48fixed. Guignon suggests that in this extreme form of inauthenticity there is an Â“alienation from oneself, an inability to see anything as really mattering and feelings of futility.Â”44 In a sense, the tradition of philosophy, as a theoretical scienc e, has interpreted human being as an aggregate of objects, or s ubstance, that can be defined and explained with mathematical formulas and scientific la ws. As I mentioned in the introduction of this chapter, Volpi and Frede equate HeideggerÂ’s understanding of theore tical science, which may now be referred to as the st udy of the present-at-hand, with the ria According to Volpi, Â“ the ria is the comportment of observing and describing knowing, [Â…] whose specific knowing is sophia ,Â” so the the rien of sophia is present-at-hand insofar as Â“it is not an originary comportment, but merely a derivative mode of poi sis [ready-to-hand]Â” (201-202). I agree with Volpi that He idegger does recognize a form of the ria in the traditional understanding of Being as present-at-hand, and that this is the the rien of sophia which includes epist m However, it seems misleading when one interprets HeideggerÂ’s project as a ssociating these forms of the ria with pure the ria because this interpretation could imply that in Being and Time Heidegger is rejecting the Aristotelian priority of the ria In the following discussion of HeideggerÂ’s description of praxis which is DaseinÂ’s authentic way of understa nding Being, I will show how in the second division of Being and Time Heidegger preserves AristotleÂ’s the ria as Â“the most continuous activityÂ” that humans, as beings of praxis are capable of (1177a22). 44 Charles Guignon, Â“Authenticity, Mora l Values, and Psychotherapy,Â” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger 2nd ed., edited by Charles Gui gnon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) 281. Henceforth this work will be abbreviated as Â“AMP.Â”
49II. Praxis: Authentic Understanding of DaseinÂ’s Being According to Heidegger, in everydayness Da seinÂ’s understanding is dispersed, distracted, and lost in the variety of its different social roles, and due to its absorption in the Â“theyÂ” Dasein is simply drifting or falling into doing what one does. For example, in my everydayness I am falling into an understanding of myself that is defined by the choices I make in the everyday practical lifeworld. However, Heidegger suggests that this movement of falling is intensified, and b ecomes a fleeing, when I am tranquilized in trusting and assuming that as a they-self I am Â“leading and sustaining a full and genuine lifeÂ” (BT 222). Recall for a moment that DaseinÂ’s inauthenticity ( Uneigenlichkeit ) is characterized by the choices, or possibilities, of the Â“they,Â” so the life of a they-self is made of up the possibilities of the Â“they.Â” On HeideggerÂ’s account, DaseinÂ’s tendency to fall into the movement of the Â“theyÂ”Â—D aseinÂ’s tendency to be consumed by and entangled in the busyness of everydaynessÂ—constitutes DaseinÂ’s way of fleeing from its own Being. In other words, in everydayne ss I am Â“plunging into the turbulence of constant frenzied activityÂ” (Guignon, Summary 11), and this intense movement of falling alienates me from my own unde rstanding, from authenticity ( Eigenlichkeit ). The experience of anxiety makes Dasein aw are that it is a particular human being who is choosing its choices al l the time. According to Heid egger, this individuality is carved out from a complete absorption in th e Â“they.Â” In HeideggerÂ’s description of anxiety, he proposes that the movement of fleei ng, which is an intense form of the falling of everydayness, suggests that Dasein is Â“fleeing in the face of itself and in the face of its authenticityÂ” (BT 229), but why is Dasein fleei ng in the face of itself? Guignon says that DaseinÂ’s fleeing is Â“motivated by an unconsci ous desire to avoid facing up to something,
50something we find deeply unsettling and th reatening. We are using the demands of everydayness as an excuse to run away fr om something we find threatening and do not want to faceÂ” ( Summary 12). Dasein is fleeing in the face of its authenticit y because it is threatened by its own potentia lity-for-Being, and this threatening is Â“s o close that it is oppressive and stifles oneÂ’s breath, and ye t is nowhereÂ” (BT 231) In this passage, Heidegger is suggesting that Dasein is not threatened by definite entities within the world, but rather is threatened in the face of the indefiniteness of being-in-the-world. While fear flees from entities within the worl d, anxiety flees in the face of something that seems to be nowhere in the world. In the experience of anxiet y all the things that Dasein feels that it is accomplishing, it is producing, by doing what one doesÂ—all the things that it thinks justify and prove the Being of its lifeÂ—will suddenly collapse. According to Heidegger, in this collapse, everything Dasein has pr oducedÂ—its relations w ith other people, its projects, and all these things that it ho lds ontoÂ—suddenly stand before Dasein as completely contingent. Of course these Â“p roductsÂ” were always contingent, but in everydayness they hold a weight of necessity for DaseinÂ’s Being. DaseinÂ’s trust and conviction that all these means-ends activities prove that it is a succe ssful human being in the world no longer speaks to it, or as Heid egger states, Â“the Â‘worldÂ’ [of the they] can offer nothing moreÂ” (BT 232). Guignon examines the experience of anxiety when he says, Â“What I encounter in anxiety is the fact that worldly things cannot provide a ground for my existence, and as a result, I am br ought face-to-face with my own being-in-theworld as something I have to realize and ground by myselfÂ” ( Summary 12). The result of
51this experience is that Dasein is confront ed with itself as Â“individualized, pure, and thrownÂ” (BT 233). Heidegger says that in the experien ce of anxiety, Â“Dasein finds itself face to face with the Â‘nothingÂ’ of the possibl e impossibility of existenceÂ” (310). In other words, in the experience of anxiety authentic Dasein r ecognizes its Â“being-towards-death,Â” and is Â“forced to confront [its] own finitudeÂ” (Guignon, AMP 282). Heidegger says, Â“Death is the possibility of the absolute impossibility of DaseinÂ” (BT 294) Heidegger is not referring to the common, or existentiell understanding of the event of death, which consists of the physical Â“demiseÂ” of human be ing, but rather, he is referring to death in the existential sense, which is really Â“a way to beÂ” (291, 289). This is a complicated matter, which need not be gone into in great detail at this point, but basically grasping oneÂ’s Being as being-towardsdeath allows for an Â“understanding of the ontological structures of existence, that is, of what it is to be DaseinÂ” (Dreyfus, Commentary 20). The ontological structures of existence are sh eer possibilities without expectations of fulfillment. In other words, being-towardsdeath reveals that sheer possibilities, or existential possibilities, are what it is to be Dasein: as a being-towards-possibilities, Dasein is possibilities th rough and through. Richard Polt discusses HeideggerÂ’s description of existential possibilities when he says, Â“My possibilities are not just alternative ways for me to be present; they dir ect my involvements in the world, making sense of who I am. They have everything to do with my being, even though they can never be reduced to a type of presence.Â”45 45 Richard Polt, The Emergency of Being: On HeideggerÂ’s Contributions to Philosophy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006) 208.
52Aware of oneÂ’s being as being-towards-death, authentic Dasein realizes the limitations of its own potentiality-for-Being, and avoids Â“the endless multiplicity of possibilities which offer themselves as cl osest to oneÂ—those of comfortableness, shirking, and taking things li ghtlyÂ—and brings Dasein into the simplicity of its [Â…] possibility which it has inhe rited and yet has chosenÂ” (H eidegger, BT 435). In this description of being-towardsdeath, Heidegger seems to be suggesting that authentic Dasein does not rise above or live a life se parate from the choices that it has inherited from the Â“they.Â” Rather, authentic Dasein, as being-towards-death, Â“takes overÂ” these possibilitiesÂ—Dasein chooses to choose its choicesÂ—by way of its Â“resoluteness,Â” which Â“means that in anticipating death it unders tands itself unambiguously in terms of its ownmost distinctive possibility Â” (Heidegger, BT 435). That is to say, in resoluteness Dasein takes over its possibili ties by becoming the source of its possibilities, of its choices. Guignon discusses how DaseinÂ’s anticipatory resoluteness, its confrontation with its own finitude as being-towards-death, can transform its understa nding when he says, Â“Facing death, one is pulled back from the di spersal, distraction, and forgetfulness of everydayness. [Â…] Authentic self-focusing, understood as a resolute reaching forward into a finite range of possibili ties, gives coherence, cohesive ness, and integrity to a life courseÂ” (AMP 282). The temporal structure of the inauthenticity of everydayness, according to Heidegger, is characterized by DaseinÂ’s disengaged and disjointed meansends activities, and in this inauthentic tem porality the Being of Dasein is regarded as Â“making-present.Â” Heidegger suggests that the temporal structure of making-present indicates that irresolute Dase in Â“at times lacks a futureÂ” (BP 288). In other words, in
53everyday existence I understand my identity in terms of an endless series of nowmoments. Authentic temporality, on the othe r hand, makes me understand the wholeness of my identity. Guignon discusses HeideggerÂ’s description of the temporal structure of authentic Dasein when he states, Â“an authentic life is lived as a unified flow characterized by cumulativeness and directionÂ” (AMP 282). Another way to understand HeideggerÂ’s di scussion of inauthentic and authentic temporality is to see its relation to DaseinÂ’s actions on the basis of the Aristotelian poi sis praxis distinction.46 Authentic temporality, according to Guignon, Â“might become clearer if we contrast two di fferent ways of under standing the relation of actions to the whole of lifeÂ” (AMP 283). Inauthenitc tempora lity occurs when Dasein sees the actions of its life in terms of poi sis (making-present), then it treats the ends of its actions as being separate from its life. Guignon says, Â“T his stance treats life as a matter of finding the means to achieving endsÂ” (AMP 283). He idegger says that si nce the end of the activityÂ—the finished productÂ—is a referen ce to something other than the activity itselfÂ—human beingÂ’s lifeÂ—the st ructure of this activity of poi sis can then be viewed as a Â“for the sake of somethi ngÂ” (PS 29). The activity of poi sis is structured in such a way due to the fact that understanding oneÂ’s actions as ends that are separate from oneÂ’s own life is a mode of understanding that refers to something other than Dasein itself. Heidegger discusses the structure of poi sis when he says, Â“it is Â‘for the sake of something,Â’ it has a relation to something else It is Â‘not an end pure and simpleÂ’Â” (PS 29). Heidegger seems to be suggesting that when Dasein understands itself in this way of poi sis it sees, or identifies, itself as a refere nce to something other than itself. For 46 Describing the differences between authentic and inauth entic temporality in this way was first brought to my attention by Guignon (AMP 283).
54example, when a person understands herself as a student in this way, she identifies herself as a student for the sake of so mething other than her role, or herself, e.g., for the sake of receiving a degree. Guignon suggests that wh en treating oneÂ’s life as a dispersal of means-ends activities, Â“life tends to be expe rienced as an episodic sequence of calculative strategies lacking any cumulative or over-riding purposeÂ” (AMP 283). On the other hand, when human being sees its actions in accord with the entirety of its life, its actions may be described as praxis because the end is in ternal to the action and the action is done for the sake of itself. In other words, the actions in the structure of praxis are not for the sake of something, but are Â“ for the sake of being Â” (Guignon, AMP 283). Heidegger says that authentic temporality consists in seeing oneÂ’s actions in terms of praxis which is to say that human beingÂ’s identity, or Being, is Â“a Being which essentially can have no involvement, but which is rather that Being for the sake of which Dasein itself is as it isÂ” (BT 160). It seems that in this passage He idegger is saying that Dasein, as authentic temporality, understands its actions not in order to fulfill a Â“role,Â” but for the sake of its own Being. For example, as authentic temporality, I am a friend for the sake of being a friend. Guignon says that praxis for Heidegger, Â“reflects an experience of life in which oneÂ’s ac tions are an integral part of being a person of a certain sort,Â” which Â“makes us realize that wh at we are doing at this moment just is realizing the goals of livingÂ” (AMP 284). In the previous chapte r I discussed how the contemplative activity ( the rien ) of theoretical knowledge ( epist m ) and knowledge of know-how ( techn ) are deficient due to the fact that both forms of knowledge refer to somethi ng other than the activity of knowing, or understanding, itself. It seems that for Heidegger a similar deficiency may be
55applied to the contemplation ( the ria ) of inauthentic Dasein, which I just examined in terms of poi sis The the rien of poi sis can be described as a contemplation of human being identified as something other than human being itself. For example, I may contemplate my identity as a student in or der to achieve something other than my ownmost understanding of my self as a student, e.g., to see how I compare to other students, or to see if I am meeting my prof essorÂ’s expectations of me as a student. On HeideggerÂ’s account, when contemplating my life on the basis of poi sis I step back from my involvements and absorpti on in the world Â“in the sense of standing back and Â‘thinking aboutÂ’Â” myself (McNei ll 130). According to Aristotle, pure the ria is the most continuous and complete activity that does not require any sort of detachment from oneÂ’s involvements and absorpti ons (1177a23-1177b5). Taking his cue from Aristotle, Heidegger seems to suggest that the the rien of poi sis is discontinuous insofar as this contemplative activity of means-ends li ving is an activity that is as dispersed and episodic as the life that it is contemplating. Heidegger maintains that the contemplative activity of authentic Dasein, of the human being of praxis is as continuous and as unified as the life of authentic Dasein. The the rien of praxis is not deficient due to the fact that in this activity Dasein is not separate from its understa nding, but rather Dasein is its understanding. This proper relation of Dasein and understa nding may be seen in Heide ggerÂ’s account of AristotleÂ’s pure the ria and praxis HeideggerÂ’s reading of Aristotle seems to suggest that there is no distinction between pure contemplation and praxis Heidegger states, Â“Our human mode of Being entails that we are able to live more unbrokenly in the mode of pure onlooking
56[Â…]Â” (PS 120).47 Whereas the the rien of poi sis is concerned with Dasein for the sake of something other than Dasein, the the rien of praxis is for the sake of Dasein itself. McNeill suggests that Heidegger does not make an invidious contrast between the ria and praxis McNeill says, Â“[Â…] pure the rien as one form of such seeing, is, as HeideggerÂ’s reading suggests nothing other than pure praxis and the two cannot yet be distinguishedÂ” (130). It now seems plausi ble to endorse the view that throughout HeideggerÂ’s reconstruction of traditiona l ontology he upholds the importance of AristotleÂ’s the ria 47 In PlatoÂ’s Sophist Heidegger translates the ria as Â“pure onlooking.Â”
57Chapter 4: Contemplating Contemplation There are obvious similarities between Heidegger and Aristo tleÂ’s thoughts. By now it is especially obvious that in Being and Time Heidegger devotes much of his early thought to reconstructing the tradition and recoveri ng some important Aristotelian ideas. His attention to the Aristotelian distinction between poi sis and praxis we noted earlier, has been the subject of scholarly work for years. Some of the scholarly work dealing with the similarities between Heidegger and Aristotle suggests that Heidegger does not distinguish between the ria (contemplation) and praxis (action). According to HeideggerÂ’s account, authentic DaseinÂ’s understanding of itself does not Â“entail any explicit self-reflection [Â…] or theoretical contemplationÂ” (McNeill 102) Theoretical contemplation, which McNeill is referring to, is quite different from the ria as contemplation: wh ile the former involves a mode of human apprehension that is det ached from human action, the latter is not detached from human action. In other wo rds, on this view DaseinÂ’s ownmost understanding of itself is not detached from its activities, so when Dasein engages in contemplation, its thoughts or ways of unde rstanding itself are not separate from its involvements. Â“As Heidegger later puts it, to represent beings in the manner of the outside spectator is like forgetting to include oneself in the being of the worldÂ” (McNeill 226). I would like to suggest that there might be formal si milarities, which have not been examined, between Heidegge rÂ’s later (post 1935) use of Gelassenheit and Besinnung and AristotleÂ’s conception of pure the ria as presented in the tenth book of the Nicomachean Ethics Though Heidegger does not reco ver the original meaning
58AristotleÂ’s pure the ria per se, his later writings turn to a way of thinking that is similar to AristotleÂ’s contemplation. Guignon says that in HeideggerÂ’s later writings he uses the word Gelassenheit (releasement or letting-be-ness) to convey the ability of human being to Â“move toward an ideal mode of co mportment,Â” which is Â“a nonmanipulative, nonimposing way of Â‘letting th ingsÂ’ be what they areÂ” ( Introduction 35). Heidegger states that letting something be s hould not be understood in the ne gative sense of Â“letting it alone, of renouncing it, of i ndifference and even neglect.Â”48 Letting something be or to be more exact, letting beings be, for Heidegger, is the opposite of th e negative sense that may be associated with this activity. He says that the Â“first step towardÂ” a mode of thinking ( Denken ) that lets beings be Â“is the step back from the thinking that merely representsÂ—that is, explainsÂ—to the thinking that responds and recalls.Â”49 This subtle point will be clarified later, but for now I w ould like to use this pa ssage to suggest that releasement is not a negative releasement-from, but is a positive releasement-for. It is a releasement for or first step towards Â“refl ection,Â” or what Heidegger refers to as Besinnung which is a possible mode of comportmen t of receptivity that lets beings be what they are, and this mode of compor tment goes beyond the ordinary modes of human apprehension and receptivity.50 48 Martin Heidegger, Â“On the Essence of Truth,Â” in Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings edited by David Farrell Krell (New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1993) 125. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“ET.Â” 49 Martin Heidegger, Â“The Thing,Â” in Poetry, Language, Thought translations and introduction by Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Ro w Publishers, 1971) 181. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“Thing.Â” 50 HeideggerÂ’s Besinnung is difficult to translate into English, an d translating it as Â“reflectionÂ” seems to be inadequate. William Lovitt says, Â“Â’ReflectionÂ’ is the translation of the noun Besinnung which means recollection, reflection, consideration, delib eration. The correspon ding reflexive verb, sich besinnen means to recollect, to remember, to call to mind, to think on, to hit upon, Although Â‘reflectionÂ’ serves the needs of translation best [Â…], the word has serious inadequacies. [Â…] The reader should endeavor to hear in Â‘reflectionÂ’ fresh meaning. For Heidegger Besinnung is a recollecting thinking-on, that as though scenting it out, follows after what is thought.Â” See Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays translated with an introduction by William Lovitt (New York: Harper & Row Publishers,
59Similar to contemplation ( the ria ), Besinnung is a mode of comportment that Â“has no result,Â” and Â“it has no effect ,Â” but rather is performed for the sake of itself. Generally, Besinnung and the ria are ways of thinking that are pe rformed for the sake of thinking.51 In this chapter I hope to show how Besinnung and the ria are formally similar insofar as they are both possible modes of comportm ent that go beyond our ordinary modes of human apprehension and receptivity. The que stions in both cases are: why do both authors turn from the practical realm to the transcendental realm of action? Why do Heidegger and Aristotle introduce these m odes of human appreh ension that go beyond the practical, or ordinary, ways of human understanding? And are there any similarities between their conceptions of an alte rnative way of comportment? In this chapter, when examining the similarities between Heidegger and AristotleÂ’s later turns, I will proceed with caution, because the formal and structural similarities that I just pointed out may be very weak. There are profound differences in their intimations of the divine, which will be made explicit in what follows.52 Another important difference lies in the fact that Aristotle may be using contemplation ( the ria ) as a mode of human receptivity to some thing eternal and unchanging, but Heidegger seems to be describing Besinnung as a mode of receptivity to changing manifestations of meaning. Despite all these differences, I hope that the proceeding examination of the 1977) 155. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“QCT.Â” I would also like to mention that whenever I discuss Besinnung I am simultaneously referring to Gelassenheit which is due to the fact that Gelassenheit is the first step toward or enables Besinnung 51 Martin Heidegger, Â“Letter on Humanism,Â” in Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings edited by David Farrell Krell (New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1993) 259. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“LH.Â” 52 It seems important to mention that Heidegger always discusses something divine or sacred in terms of the plural Â“gods,Â” and this is not a polytheistic use. Basically, the plurality refers to the immeasurability of existential possibilities (Polt, 207-208). The importance of the plural gods, for Heidegger, will be examined later in this chapter.
60similarities between HeideggerÂ’s use of Besinnung and AristotleÂ’s conception of the ria may serve as a basis for more philosophical inquiry into Heidegge r and Aristotle. I. AristotleÂ’s Later Turn to The ria in the Nicomachean Ethics I will now present four aspects of Aris totleÂ’s later (the tenth book of the Nicomachean Ethics ) writings, especially his conception of contemplation ( the ria ), which I will try to connect to HeideggerÂ’s la ter (post 1935) use of Besinnung in the following section. First, the ria is a non-discursive mode of comportment that is not limited to practical human action, or what Aristotle refers to as praxis In the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle examines the end of human praxis as that which is Â“the good [ agathos ] that is achievable in action,Â” and Â“if there are more e nds than one,Â” then the one that is most complete in and of itself is the ultimate end that constitutes the ultimate good (1097a2227). He continues to identify the ultimate or highest good of human praxis as eudaimonia which I translate as human flourishi ng, and it may be understood as human action ( praxis ) for the sake of living well.53 John Cooper suggests that one should not Â“explain the idea of an ultimate end by giving examples of dominant-end conceptions of flourishingÂ” due to the fact that Aristo tleÂ’s account of human flourishing is not Â“dominated by a single end,Â” but rather, is inclusive of a nu mber of good ends (99). That 53 Eudaimonia has traditionally been translated as Â“happiness,Â” which, as John Cooper explains, is derived Â“from the medieval Latin translation, felicitas ,Â” but this rendering of eudaimonia Â“tends to be taken as referring exclusively to a subjective psychological state, and indeed one that is often temporary and recurrentÂ” (89). Interpreting eudaimonia as Â“happinessÂ” seems to neglect the importance, for Aristotle, of its complete and continuous features, or transcendent al qualities, that allow it to be something that only gods and human beings are capable of (1099b15). I am following CooperÂ’s interpretation of eudaimonia as human flourishing, because I agree with his suggestion that Â“flourishingÂ” captures the transcendental qualities that Aristotle subscribes to eudaimonia
61is to say, human flourishing, as the ultimate end of human action, includes, but is not limited to, practical action. All practical virtues, for Aristotle, must contain discourse, or wh at Aristotle refers to as logos in such a way that human being is able to dissect its particular situation in order to decide which end or action to pursue. That is to say, in its practical mode of apprehension, human being uses discourse to br eak apart the wholeness of its lifeÂ—it sees its life as a series of particular situations and episodic eventsÂ—in an effort to choose the right action for its life. On the other hand, non-discursive aw areness, or what Aristotle refers to as nous cannot be a practical virtue insofar as it is the non-discursive element in human being, which does not correspond to the end of human beingÂ’s practical life, but rather relates to the ultimat e end of human flourishing ( eudaimonia ). Furthermore, Aristotle says that contemplation ( the ria ) is the activity of n on-discursive awareness ( nous ), that is, contemplation may be desc ribed as a mode of comportment that corresponds to human beingÂ’s non-discur sive awareness. In other words, the ria is not an ordinary way of seeing certain aspects of oneÂ’s life, but it is a Â“higherÂ” way of grasping the oneness of oneÂ’s life. The second aspect of AristotleÂ’s conception of the ria pertains to understanding contemplation as a Â“higherÂ” mode comportment of receptivity that goes beyond our ordinary human modes of receptivity. Ordina ry human modes of receptivity attempt to break apart the wholeness of wh at-is (Being) in efforts to ex plain or reproduce things. For example, the natural sciences investigate th e phenomena of the weather in efforts to explain why the climate has dramatically increased and to predict future changes in the weather. Polt says, Â“The natural sciences em brace reproducibility as an essential part of
62the correct method of knowing. If the rele vant conditions of an experiment are reproduced, the same product must resultÂ—and this is the sign of a lawÂ” (118). Aristotle seems to suggest that a Â“higherÂ” sort of c ontemplation gives us a non-discursive grasp of the wholeness of what-is (Being). According to Aristotle, this Â“higherÂ” sort of contemplation ( the ria ) is not an ordinary human mode of receptivity that tries to explain and reproduce what is being contemplated. The contemplator is Â“no more interested in explainingÂ” the wholeness of what-is than she is in providing Â“a set of rules or principlesÂ” from which specific features of the wholeness can be reproduced.54 Aristotle suggests that contemplation Â“seem s to be liked because of itself alone, since it has no result beyond havi ng studied. But from the virtues concerned with action we try to a greater or lesser extent to gain something beyond the action itselfÂ” (1177b15). In this passage Aris totle seems to be sayi ng that contemplation ( the ria ) is always an end in itselfÂ—it is complete and self-suffi cientÂ—due to the fact that nothing can be gained or lost from having contemplate d, whereas the ordinary modes of human apprehension, which are concerned with prac tical action, may not always be ends in themselves. Amlie Rorty suggests that thes e qualities of contem plation indicate its demarcation from ordinary or practical mode s of human receptivity when she says, Â“No one engages in the ria in order to perfect the practical li fe. It has to be done for its own sake to be done at allÂ” (386). Rorty continues to say, Â“Not only is it [ the ria ] done for its own sake, but it is complete in its vey ex ercise: there is no unfolding of stages, no development of consequences from premises. It is fully and perfectly achieved in the very actÂ” (378). 54 Amlie Oksenberg Rorty, Â“The Place of Contemplation in AristotleÂ’s Nicomachean Ethics ,Â” in Essays on AristotleÂ’s Ethics edited by Amlie Oksenberg Rorty (Berkeley: University of California Press 1980) 378, 382.
63The third aspect of AristotleÂ’s conception of the ria pertains to why he advocates for this alternative mode of com portment. In the tenth book of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle gives six reasons to support his view that the ria is the most continuous activity, which humans are capable of, that corresponds to human beingÂ’s non-discursive awareness of the whole of what-is (Being) (1177a18-b26).55 On AristotleÂ’s account, the wholeness of Being is something that is eternal and universal (1141b1), and contemplation ( the ria ), as the most continuous mode of human receptivity, enables human beings to live their life that is as Â“eternalÂ” and unifi ed as the wholeness of Being. That is to say, contemplation is a mode of comportment of receptivity that may Â“continue in the midst of political disaster and practical blindness;Â” it may extend beyond the limitations and dispersals of th e human lived-world (Rorty 39 2). Aristotle says that the ordinary modes of human receptivity engage in apprehending contingent or mundane human affairs, such as war and politics, in their efforts to control or impose meaning on the wholeness of what-is (Being). For exampl e, Â“no one chooses to fight a war, and no one continues in it, for the sake of fighting a war,Â” but what seems to cause human beings to engage in war is their belief that th ere is value in figh ting a war (1177b7-10). Contemplation ( the ria ), on the other hand, is a mode of comportment of receptivity that Â“surpasses everything in power and valueÂ” (1178a2). Brogan suggests that AristotleÂ’s the ria captures a sense of continuity and affinity to the wholeness of Being. Brogan says that the ria is a way of Â“staying with what one observes,Â” that is, it is a Â“pure movement [Â…], a movement that stays with itself, as, for example, the tautological movement of thought and thinking itselfÂ” (177). When one is contemplating the wholeness of what-is, one may be able to see oneÂ’s life as an Â“et ernal and unified self55 Cooper (156).
64contained wholeÂ” (Rorty 388). In other words, when one is able to Â“receiveÂ” the wholeness of Being, one may Â“respondÂ” to this wholeness in an essential and transformative way. The fourth aspect of AristotleÂ’ s conception of contemplation ( the ria ) to be examined is his vague intimations of the divine. AristotleÂ’s the ria (contemplation) is an activity of human thinking th at goes beyond the ordinary m ode of human apprehension insofar as it thinks about wh at is divine. According to Ar istotle, something divine is immaterial and only exists in form. When divi nity is the object of thought, the object and the thought are one and the same. Aristotle st ates, Â“Since, then, t hought and the object of thought are no different in the ca se of things that have no matter, the divine thought and its object will be the same, i.e. the thinking will be one with the object of its thoughtÂ” (1075a3-5). Moreover, Aristotle sa ys that the structure of so mething divine is thought due to the fact that Â“divine th ought thinksÂ” (1074b33). Since the object of the activity of contemplation is something divine, and the stru cture of divinity is thought, the activity of contemplation and its object are one and the same. So one may grasp AristotleÂ’s the ria as Â“a thinking on thinkingÂ” (1074b34). II. HeideggerÂ’s Later Turn to Besinnung I will now proceed to examine four aspects of HeideggerÂ’s use of Besinnung (reflection) in conjunction with the four point s of AristotleÂ’s conception of the ria First, Besinnung is a non-discursive mode of comportment of receptivity that transcends or goes beyond practical human action. For Heidegger, Besinnung has Â“no resultÂ” and Â“it has no effect,Â” but rather its goal is internal to the action (Heidegger, LW 259). Si milar to contemplation
65( the ria ), Besinnung does not effect our practic al actions, that is, it is not a Â“directive that can be readily applied to our active livesÂ” (Heidegger, LW 25 9). According to Heidegger, it seems that our ordinary m odes of human apprehension attempt to impose a grid of intelligibility onto changing manifestations of the wholeness of what-isÂ—Being as a totalityÂ—in order to categorize and reproduce features of these manifestations. As Polt says, Normally we live in the realm of the reproducible. I ride the bus to work, just as anyone would ride it; I am one more reproducer of a widely shared pattern of practice. [Â…] Reproducibility is also central to everyday thought and language. We usually traffic in well-worn words and ideas, use them as anyone would use them, apply them in the same way we have applied them before (117). Besinnung on the other hand, is not a willful imposition of our or dinary ways of grasping things. Besinnung may be described as open refl ection on the whole meaning ( Sinn ) of what-is; it is a mode of comportment of receptivity that remains open to the unfolding, changing nature of Being. The second aspect of Besinnung which seems similar to AristotleÂ’s conception of contemplation ( the ria ), pertains to Heidegge rÂ’s description of it as a Â“higherÂ” mode of comportment that goes beyond our ordinary modes of human apprehension. Heidegger says that ordinary human thinking, which is di scursive, is a mode of apprehending beings that attempts to explain. This ordinary discur sive thinking that attemp ts to explain beings falls short of the ability to apprehend the whole of what isÂ—the totality of Being. Heidegger says, Â“As soon as human cognition here calls for an e xplanation, it fails to transcend the worldÂ’s nature, and falls short of it. The human will to explain just does not reach to the simpleness of the simple onefold of worldingÂ” ( Thing 180). Here Heidegger
66seems to be suggesting that the limits of the ordinary modes of human apprehension correspond to the limits of the human will. The human will, on HeideggerÂ’s account, consists of Â“all conceptual or Â‘representationalÂ’ thinking,Â” which are ways of human thinking that impose meanings onto things (Caputo 337). Representational th inking, Heidegger says, Â“brings something before us, represents it [Â…] In representing, we think upon and think through what is represented by analyzing it, by la ying it out and reassembling it.Â”56 Through representational thinking human being breaks apart the wholeness of Being in an effort to re-create the meaning of what-is, or to make it into something other than what it is. The ordinary modes of apprehension fall short of gr asping the totality of Being due to the fact that these ways of thinking do not allow things to show up as what they are. That is to say, ordinary human thinking attempts to grasp Being as something that is represented or reproduced by human thinking. For instance, a jug may ordinarily appear as an Â“independent, self-supporting th ingÂ” that was created by humans and is used for holding and pouring wine (Heidegger, Thing 167). The human thinking that grasps the jug in this way, according to Heidegger, simultaneously covers over the possibility for the jug to show up as anything else. In a sense, the or dinary modes of human apprehension seem to cover over any future possibility of an original way of encountering things. On HeideggerÂ’s account, ordinary human thinking cannot grasp the wholeness of Being, because Being is not something th at is created by human thinking, but is Â“something that thinking can onl y be Â‘grantedÂ’Â” (Caputo 337). At this point Heidegger is concerned with human beingÂ’s relation to la nguage. When the ordinary modes of human 56 Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics translated by Gregory Fr ied and Richard Polt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000) 125. Hen ceforth this work will be abbreviated as Â“IM.Â”
67apprehension see language as something th at is created by humans, these modes of apprehension fail to grasp human beingÂ’ s deep relation of belonging to language. Heidegger says, Â“Our relation to language is defined by the mode according to which we belong to [the event], we who are needed and used by itÂ” (WL 425).57 In this passage, Heidegger seems to be suggesting that disc ursive thinking is not something that one creates or comes up with on oneÂ’s own, but, ra ther, is made possible by oneÂ’s belonging to a historical and cultural background.58 The whole of Being is this historical and cultural background that one belongs to. Polt says, Â“We are primarily familiar with the whole; we inhabit it. It is our own in the sens e that we are comfortable in it, as a fish is comfortable in the sea.Â” (25). According to Heidegger, language or disc ourse is not oneÂ’s possession, but rather, it grants or it Â“distinguishes the human bei ng as a human beingÂ” (WL 397). Discursive thinking is more like a Â“giftÂ” that is given to human beings. Caputo discusses the gift of discursive thinking, saying, Â“Thoughts come to us; we do not think th em up. Thinking is a gift, or a grace, an event that overtakes us, an address visited upon usÂ” (337-338). In the sense that thinking is a gift, Heidegger turns to Er-denken (roughly translated as Â“thinking throughÂ” or Â“thoroughly thinkingÂ”) as a way of thi nking that is a thanking (WL 57 Krell translates the German word Ereignis as Â“propriation.Â” I modified his tr anslation, because I prefer to use Macquarrie and RobinsonÂ’s translation of Ereignis as Â“eventÂ” (BT 509). 58 It seems important to mention that later Heidegger may have introduced an ideal mode of human comportment that brings forth the importance of the historicity of human being, because this may have been lacking in his earlier account of modes of comportment. As Polt sa ys, Â“If the hermeneutic phenomenology of Being and Time falls short, it is not because it falls prey to relativism but because it does not penetrate far enough into the historicity of being-there and be-ing. It does not fully live up to its claim that being-there is profoundly historical, and it runs the risk of objectifying be-ing. What Heidegger is now seeking is a way of thinking that is truly Â‘be-ing histor ical,Â’ that not only speaks out of but participates in the event of appropriationÂ” (108-109).
68425).59 Er-denken involves Gelassenheit Â—thinking through is a letting-be. Gelassenheit is a way of remaining open to the receiving of wh at is given; it is a way of Â“letting things beÂ” so they can show up as what they are (Guignon, Introduction 35). As a mode of comportment of receptivity, Besinnung enables human being to remain open to the changing manifestations of Being ( Ereignis ) as they present themselves to us when we stop trying to re-create or reprodu ce them via discursive thinking. The third aspect of HeideggerÂ’s use of Besinnung which is formally similar to AristotleÂ’s conception of contemplation ( the ria ), pertains to why Heidegger advocates for this alternative mode of comportment. Aforementioned was that Aristotle suggests a Â“higherÂ” mode of comportment may give hum an beings a non-discu rsive grasp of the wholeness of what-is, that is, contemplati on is a possible way for human receptivity to extend beyond the limitations and dispersals of the human lived-world. Similar to Aristotle, Heidegger seems to say that Besinnung is a possible way for human receptivity to Â“ventureÂ” out beyond the limitations of the ordinary and mundane level of innerworldly existence. Besinnung seems to be a way for human being to Â“receiveÂ” and Â“respondÂ”Â—to Â“co-respondÂ”Â—to changing manifest ations of Being. For example, when creating a genuine work of art, such as a poem, the poet does not merely represent and render the meaning of something that was Â“thereÂ” before the work began. Rather, according to Heidegger, human being may only Â“createÂ” a genuine work of art by letting 59 Polt discusses HeideggerÂ’s use of Er-denken saying, Â“ Erdenken ordinarily means to think something up, to invent it ( erfinden ). Heidegger seems to be daring us to raise some typical objections to his thought: it is fantastic, arbitrary, nonobjective. The conception of truth as correct representation looks inventiveness with suspicion: creativity must be subordinated to the way things are. The very word Er-denken then, is part of HeideggerÂ’s assault on representational thoughtÂ” (109).
69Â“something emerge as a thing that has been brought forth.Â”60 Besinnung as a Â“higherÂ” mode of comportment of receptivit y, may be described as poetic due to the fact that it Â“is not planning or willing, it is a venturesome openness to an experien ce in which the artist himself may be transformedÂ” (Polt 111). Besinnung as an ideal mode of comportment of receptivity, is a Â“thinking that responds and recalls,Â” or what Heidegger refe rs to as Â“co-responds,Â” to the things that show up for us as things ( Thing 181). With his use of Besinnung Heidegger seems to suggest that when human being co-responds to the shared and historical meanings a community, human being is able to understand itself as a Â“receiver of understandings of beingÂ” (Dreyfus, Connection 365). As Polt says, Besinnung Â“is a process of mutual adjustment and simultaneous emergenceÂ—a matchmaking and a marriage, not a representational correspondenceÂ” (114). Heidegger often refers to Besinnung (reflection) as a mode of comportment that of receptivity is preparatory. He says, Â“reflection would have to be content only with preparing a readiness for the exhor tation and consolation that our human race today needsÂ” (QCT 182). The fourth and final aspect of Besinnung to be discussed, which is formally similar to AristotleÂ’s con ception of contemplation ( the ria ), is later HeideggerÂ’s vague intimations of something divine or sacre d. Young discusses Heid eggerÂ’s notion of the gods, saying, Â“By being who they are, they give voice to that which is most sacred to us. As members of a given community, and whethe r we heed their inspiring example or not, we live our lives in light of our godsÂ” (375). That is to say, the gods, on HeideggerÂ’s 60 Martin Heidegger, Â“Origin of the Work of Art,Â” in Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings edited by David Farrell Krell (New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1993) 185. Henceforth I will abbreviate this work as Â“OWA.Â”
70account, name what is important for a comm unity. The gods are not something created by human beings, but rather they name that wh ich matters to a community. Polt suggests that the gods are manifestations of meaning that Â“inform a peopleÂ’s interp retation of itself and the world around itÂ” (208). Polt continues to say that the gods, for Heidegger, Â“need not be dogmatic blinders that restri ct us to one possible worldvie w; precisely as possibilities that illuminate the world, they must be ope n toÂ” the changing manifestations of meaning or Being (208). It seems that Heidegger alludes to the gods and turns to human beingÂ’s relation to the gods as a way to name what is important for a community. According to HeideggerÂ’s account, the gods Â“bindÂ” the comm unity together. As Polt says, Â“The gods would then serve as a vibrant center of our interests and interpretations, a re-ligion that would bind a community together and bind it ba ck to the world at large. The gods would matter to us by enabling everything to matter to usÂ” (208-209). The gods, for Heidegger, name the changing manifestatio ns of meaning or Being, and Besinnung is open reflection on the whole meaning ( Sinn ) of Being. III. The ria vs. Besinnung I will now turn to an examination of tw o profound differences between Aristotle and HeideggerÂ’s ideal modes of human comportmen t. The first striking difference is that Aristotle has a notion of something eternal a nd universal, whereas Heidegger is always opposed to this idea. For Aristotle, the divi ne is something that endures; god is pure actuality. HeideggerÂ’s intimation of the divine on the other hand, is something that is always changing, that is pure possibilities. Th is first dissimilarity lies in Heidegger and AristotleÂ’s notion of the whole of what-is, or the totality of Being. For Aristotle, the
71totality of Being seems to be something eter nal and universal, that is, something that endures throughout the changing manifestations of what-is. On AristotleÂ’s account, the totality of Being consists of something divine, and Â“the divine is unchanging, a permanent and essential featur e of the universeÂ” (Irwin 332). Aristotle says, Â“It does not matter if human beings are the best among the an imals; for there are other beings of a far more divine nature than human beingsÂ—most evidently, for instance, the beings composing the universeÂ” (1141b1). Aristotle seems to suggest that the tota lity of Being consis ts of divine-like features, which are eternal and universal. By regarding the totality of Being as eternal universals, Aristotle might be thinking of so mething that gives lasting value to beings. Contemplation, or what Ar istotle refers to as the ria then, might be an ideal mode of human apprehension that enables human be ings to transcend the changeable and particular features of their ordinary ways of und erstanding. Contemplation seems to be a way for human beings to go beyond their ordinary modes of apprehension and to be receptive to the eternal and universal features of the totality of Being. For Heidegger, on the other hand, Besinnung is an ideal mode of comportment that opens human beings to the possibili ty of receiving the changing and unfolding manifestations of the totality of Being. Besinnung is a mode of comportment of receptivity to the changing manifestations of Being as they present themselves to human beings, that is, when human beings stop tryi ng to impose their own eternal meanings unto things. In regards to the to tality of Being, as something that is divine or sacred, HeideggerÂ’s intimations of the gods seems to be something that is also changing and unfolding. In other words, Besinnung is not a way for human beings to remain open to the
72eternal universals. Rather, it is a way fo r human beings to receive the changing manifestations of the gods, but to do so in term s of an order of wholen ess that is not just given in what-is. Whereas Aris totle connects the god to the esse ntial element in all things that remains unchanged, Heidegger connects the gods to the sheer possibilities of things, which may never be reduced to so mething eternal and universal. Another way to understand the differences between Heidegger and AristotleÂ’s intimations of the divine is by speaking of them (the divine ) in terms of actuality and possibilities. Aristotle us es the word Â“actualityÂ” ( energeia ) to express the wholeness of what-is (1049b23). Something that is pure actu ality will not transition from becoming to being, or from being to not being, because it is that which always is In other words, something that is sheer actuality does not tr ansition from possibility to actuality, but rather, always exists in actuality. For Aristo tle, godÂ—the whole of what-isÂ—is the only thing that may be said to be pure actualit y (1072b25). For Heidegger, the gods are sheer possibilities, which cannot be pure actuality. Polt says, Â“T he possibilities [the gods] cannot be converted into pure actuality; they are irreducibly possible, so they remain open to questionÂ” (208). As I pr eviously discussed, sheer possibi lities are, for Heidegger, fundamental to the whole of what-is. The w hole of what-is is c ontinually changing and unfolding in such a way that it should neve r be reduced to something that always is Polt continues to say, Â“[Sheer] possibilities beco me effective not by being converted into actualities, but by letting us re spond creatively to our conditionÂ” (209). That is to say, the gods, as sheer possibilities, become effective by human beingsÂ’ openness or receptivity to their changing manifestations. Though Aristotl e and Heidegger present possible modes of
73comportment of receptivity to the whole of wh at-is, their notions of this wholeness may appear to be profoundl y different. The second important difference that will be examined is the fact that, for Aristotle, the divine does not necessarily require human beings but, on HeideggerÂ’s account, the gods and human being require each other (Polt 211). This last difference pertains to the relation of the totality of Being to human beings. According to Aristotle, the totality of what-is, of Being, Â“is so mething which is eternal and immovable and separableÂ” (1026a10); it is an eternal universal that may exist separate from beings. The totality of Being, or what Aristotle refers to as god, Â“producesÂ” all movements in such a way that it is not independent of the world, but rather, is always Â“at workÂ” in all the things that it Â“pr oducesÂ” (McNeill 257).61 Human beings, then, in so far as they are beings that are produced by the totality of Being, contai n features of this totality or divinity. That is why in the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle refers to the divi ne element in human beings (1177a15-1178a5). However, something divi neÂ—the wholeness of BeingÂ—does not, on AristotleÂ’s account, necessarily involve human beings. As Aristotle implies in the above quote, the wholeness of Being is separabl e from human existence (1026a10). Basically, for Aristotle, the whole of what-is does not necessarily include human beings; it would be Â“thereÂ” without human beings (1177b27-1178a1). Conversely, the totality of Being, for Heide gger, is something that is essentially human; it is something that necessarily relate s to human beings. According to Heidegger, 61 See Aristotle (1071b5-1072b10). At this point I woul d like to emphasize that the Â“possessionÂ” that Aristotle is referring to is simply a way of thinking, or understanding, which seems to be different than the modern use of Â“possession,Â” as a way of holding or c ontrolling. In a summary of the ninth chapter of the twelfth book of the Metaphysics W.D. Ross, the translator, explains that the nature of divine thought is such that its thought and the object it Â“possessesÂ” ar e one and the same. Ross states, Â“The divine thought [ nous ] must be concerned with the most divine object, wh ich is itself. Thought and the object of thought are never different when the object is immaterialÂ” (687).
74the totality of Being and human being require each other. The totali ty of Being is Â“an indispensible source of meaningÂ” that can on ly show up as such when human being Â“is taking placeÂ” (Polt 211). Heidegger says, Â“Man does not decide whether and how beings appear, whether and how God and the gods or history and nature come forward into the clearing of Being, come to presence and depart The advent of beings lies in the destiny of BeingÂ” (LH 235). It seems that Heidegger is generally saying that the totality of Being produces a clearing in which things show up as what they are; that the totality of Being makes it possible for things to s how up as meaningful (Dreyfus, Connection 352). Dreyfus states, Â“We do not produce the clearing. It produces us as the kind of human beings we areÂ” ( Connection 352). At the same time, the totality of Being needs human being as this clearing in order to give Â“sen se to our acts and experiences;Â” this totality requires human being, Â“as the granting of the import of what-isÂ” (Polt 211). For Heidegger, there is an essential relations hip of belongingness betw een the totality of Being and human being, whereas, for Aristotle, the latter only contingently belongs with the former.
75Chapter 5: Conclusion After having acknowledged these differences be tween the later writings of Aristotle and Heidegger, I would like to conclude by suggesting that this examination reveals something about HeideggerÂ’s later method. In his early writings He idegger is concerned with reconstructing the Western tradition of philosophy, and he aims at recovering fundamental Aristotelian ideas. HeideggerÂ’s earlier writings mainly consist of his appropriation of historical sour ces in an effort to authentically interpret what was left unsaid. His early writings coul d be characterized as an at tempt to bring philosophy back to the original question of Being and to situ ate it within the livedworld of human beings. However, his later thoughts seem to turn away from these attempts to recover the traditional ways of understanding Being, and turn towards a unique and original way of understanding philosophy. His later writings se em to be governed by a look towards the future of philosophy. Rather than trying to r ecover the origin of the question of Being, HeideggerÂ’s later method seems to be concerned with how human beings can remain open to the possibility of an event that may Â“give a new meaningful direction to our livesÂ” (Dreyfus, Connection 367).
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