§ 4. Manifoldness and unity of being

Since τὸ ὄν and τὸ ἕν belong together in this way, it follows that λέγεται δ' ἰσαχῶς τὸ ὄν καὶ τὸ ἕν (I [X] 2, 1053b25). "Being and one are said in equally multiple ways."

Ιt is certainly true, one might say, that Aristotle maintained the primordial affinity of being and oneness; certainly, one may further acknowledge, Aristotle also constantly refers at the same time to the πολλαχῶς· But nothing is thereby accomplished toward resolving the decisive question: How then is ὄν (εἶναι) ᾗ πολλαχῶς λεγόμενον, being as said in many ways, κοινόν τι, somehow held in common for the many?

Is this one being [Sein] something before all unfolding, that is, something that exists for itself, whose independence is the true essence of being? Or is being in its essence never not unfolded so that the manifold and its foldings constitute precisely the peculiar oneness of that which is intrinsically gathered up? Is being imparted to the individual modes in such a way that by this imparting it in fact parts itself out. although in this parting out it is not partitioned in such a way that. as divided, it falls apart and loses its authentic essence, its unity? Might the unity of being lie precisely in this imparting parting out? And if so, how would and could something like that happen? What holds sway in this event? (These are questions concerning Being and Time!)

Neither Aristotle nor those before or after him asked these questions. nor did they even seek a foundation for these questions as questions. Instead, only the various concepts of being and "categories" would later be systematized in accordance with the mathematical idea of science; see Hegel's comment in the second foreword to the Science of Logic: the material-is ready.

And yet Aristotle was also clearly concerned with the question of the unity of the πολλαχῶς λεγόμενα. For we lind him attempting to respond to the question. And this attempt pressed against the very limit of what was at all possible on the basis of the ancient approach to the question of being.

We will see and understand this, however. only when we have first freed ourselves from the picture of Aristotle's philosophy drawn by

Martin Heidegger (GA 33) Aristotle's Metaphysics θ 1-3