INTRODUCTION

The Philological Purpose of the Lecture and
Its Presuppositions


§1. The Philological Purpose of the Lecture: Consideration of Some Basic

Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy in Their Conceptuality

The purpose of this lecture is to gain an understanding of some basic concepts of Aristotelian philosophy, specifically through an engagement with the text of the Aristotelian treatises.

Basic concepts--not all, but some, and so presumably the primary matters with which Aristotelian research is occupied. As for the selection of these basic concepts, we are in a favorable position since a treatise has come down to us from Aristotle himself that consists simply of definitions of these basic concepts: the treatise has come down to us as Book 5 of the Metaphysics. Still, we cannot depend on this favorable situation as we are not in a position to understand Aristotle in the way that his students did.

The following enumeration is given in order to provide a preliminary grasp of the basic concepts treated in Book 5. The first chapter concerns ἀρχή. The second chapter treats of αἴτιον, and the third of στοιχεῖον, or “element.” The fourth chapter deals with φύσις, the fifth with ἀναγκαῖον, or “necessity” as a determination of being; and the sixth with ἕν, the seventh with ὄν, and the eighth with οὐσία, or “being-there.” The ninth chapter is concerned with ταὐτά, or “sameness,” and the tenth with ἀντικείμενα, or “being-other.” The eleventh chapter treats of πρότερα and ὕστερα, not only in a temporal sense but also in a concrete sense--the concrete πρότερον being that which goes back to the “origin” (γένος), and the concrete ὕστερον being “that which is added on later,” for example, συμβεβηκός. The twelfth chapter concerns δύναμις, the thirteenth concerns ποσόν or “how many,” the category of “quantity,” and the fourteenth concerns ποιόν, the category of “quality.” The fifteenth chapter deals with πρός τι, “modes of relation,” and the sixteenth with τέλειον, “completedness,” that which determines beings as “the completed” in their “being-completed.” The issue in chapter 17 is πέρας, while that of chapter 18 is τὸ καθό, or “the in-itself.” Chapter 19 treats of διάθεσις, “position,” “occasion”; and chapter 20 treats of ἕξις, “having-in-itself,” or “being positioned thus and so” toward something. Chapter 21 is concerned with πάθος, “condition,” “disposition,” and chapter 22 with στέρησις, the determination of a being that is fulfilled by what the being does not have. This στέρησις, “not-having,” determines a being


Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy page 3

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