§9. The Being-There of Human Beings as ψυχή [45–47]

being-possibility that is φύσει.5 Φύσις is not to be taken in the modern sense of “nature” as opposed to “culture,” whereupon one then polemicizes against Aristotle. That is a superficial way of viewing it. Φύσει ὄν is a being that is what it is from out of itself, on the basis of its genuine possibilities. In the being of human beings themselves, lies the basic possibility of being-in-the-πόλις. In being-in-the-πόλις, Aristotle sees the genuine life of human beings. To show this, he refers to the fact that the being of human beings is λόγον ἔχειν. Implicit in this determination is an entirely peculiar, fundamental mode of the being of human beings characterized as “being-with-one-another,” κοινωνία. These beings who speak with the world are, as such, through being-with-others.

λόγον δὲ μόνον ἄνθρωπος ἔχει τῶν ζῴων· ἡ μὲν οὖν φωνή τοῦ ἡδέος καὶ λυπηροῦ ἐστι σημεῖον, διὸ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ὑπάρχει ζῴοις (μέχρι γὰρ τούτου ἡ φύσις αὐτῶν ἐλήλυθε, τοῦ ἔχειν αἴσθησιν λυπηροῦ καὶ ἡδέος καὶ ταῦτα σημαίνειν ἀλλήλοις), ὁ δὲ λόγος ἐπὶ τῷ δηλοῦν ἐστι τὸ συμφέρον καὶ τὸ βλαβερὸν, ὥστε καὶ τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὸ ἄδικον· τοῦτο γὰρ πρὸς τὰ ἄλλα ζῷα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἴδιον, τὸ μόνον ἀγαθοῦ καὶ κακοῦ καὶ δίκαιου καὶ ἀδίκου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων αἴσθησιν ἔχειν. ἡ δὲ τούτων κοινωνία ποιεῖ οἰκίαν καὶ πόλιν.6 “In the mode of speaking about . . . human beings uniquely have their being-there among that which lives. Vocal announcing (φωνή) is an indicating (σημεῖον) of ἡδύ and of λυπηρόν, of what is pleasing and of what is distressing, of what supports and upsets being-there, and therefore it (φωνή) is at hand as a mode of living alongside other living things (human beings possess this announcing as well, but it is not the ἴδιον, the ‘peculiarity,’ that constitutes the being of human beings). The being-possibility of animals has of itself reached this mode of being, having perception of what constitutes well-being and being-upset, being oriented toward this and indicating this to one another. However, speaking is, as such, more than this, having in itself the function of making manifest (δηλοῦν) (not simply referring, but being such that what it refers to is made to speak), making manifest the beneficial and the harmful, and thereby the proper and improper too. That is, what distinguishes the being of human beings from that of other living things is their unique aptitude for perceiving what is good and evil, what is proper and improper, and so on. The being-with-one-another of such beings (i.e., beings that are in the world in such a way that they speak with it) makes for household and πόλις.”

So, you see that in this determination (λόγον ἔχον), a fundamental character of the being-there of human beings becomes visible: being-with-one-another. This is not being-with-one-another in the sense of being-situated-alongsideone- another, but rather in the sense of being-as-speaking-with-one-another through communicating, refuting, confronting.

Taking up the position in question, we want to set λόγος apart from other modes of being-in-the-world, from φωνή—which is what Aristotle consciously

5. Aristotelis Politica. Tertium edidit F. Susemihl. Lipsiae in aedibus B.G. Teubneri 1894. Α 2, 1252 b 30.
6. Pol. Α 2, 1253 a 9 sqq.

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy