§6. Preliminary Clarification of λόγος [18-20]

way you can see where, if definition is a λόγος, the matter of definition has its ground insofar as λόγος is the basic determination of the being of the human being. The λόγος as ὁρισμός addresses beings in their οὐσία, in their being-there. Therefore, we must gain an understanding of οὐσία.17

§6. Preliminary Clarification of λόγος

The conceptuality meant in the basic concepts is a concretely giving basic experience, not a theoretical grasping of the matter. That which is so experienced is addressed to something. What is thus experienced and posited in this regard becomes explicit and becomes vital in the address. What is the concretely giving basic experience, and in what regard is it addressed? We must recover the indigenous character as it became vital in Greek science. In the definition, the concept becomes explicit; it comes to light. Definition: proximate genus and specific difference. We want to understand what definition means by questioning back to what it meant for the Greeks, for Aristotle. Ὁρισμός: “circumscription,” “delimitation.” Ὁρισμός: λόγος ουσίας. What is meant by λόγος, by οὐσία, by λόγος ουσίας? By clarifying that, we will find the indigenous character of the concept.

In traditional scholastic language, concepts are (1) notio, (2) intentio, (3) conceptus, (4) species.

Ad 1. notio: In the concept lies a definite “acquaintance” with the matter meant by it, that is, the concept is transposed within a being-acquainted.

Ad 2. intentio: In the concept lies an “aiming” at, an intending of something. Intending a matter is an essential structural aspect of the concept (“matter” always used generally in the sense of a mere something).

Ad 3. conceptus: The “grasping.” The matter is not only intended, not only something with which one is acquainted; one does not only know about it. Rather, one intends it and is acquainted with it in the mode of its being-grasped, so that what lies in it is embraced, gathered.

Ad 4. species: εἶδος, “look”; this leads back to notio. If I am acquainted with the matter, I know how it looks, how it appears as such among others.

These designations have acquired a customary meaning in their scholastic application, so that they are uniformly translated as “concept.”

Definition should be viewed with regard to its origin: λόγος ουσίας. Λόγος, for the Greeks, is the “speaking” and at the same time the “spoken”—speaking in the basic function of ἀποφαίνεσθαι or δηλοῦν, “a bringing-a-matter-to-self-showing” in speaking about something. This speaking about something is its tendency toward speaking with others, self-expressing. In speaking with others and with myself, I bring what is addressed to givenness for me in such a way

17. See Hs. p. 340 f.

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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