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The Aristotelian Definition of the Being-There [50–51]

it become a speaking with others. Rather, speaking is, in itself and as such, self-expressing, speaking-with-one-another where others are themselves speaking; and therefore speaking is, according to its being, the fundament of κοινωνία. We must come to a better understanding of this by clarifying how it comes about that, in fact, λόγος is that which is able to constitute the having-with-one-another of the ἀγαθόν.

Aristotle touches on this in a context where he wants to establish that the human being is a ζῷον πολιτικόν. In this context, he has recourse to the being of animals, and posits the ζῷον λόγον ἔχον as compared with a ζῷον that has only φωνή. He endeavors to show that life is already constituted through φωνή; that, furthermore, what is living in this way has a being that is fundamentally determined as being-with-one-another; and that animals are already, in a certain way, ζῷα πολιτικά. Human beings are only μᾶλλον ζῷον πολιτικόν than are (e.g., bees).12 By virtue of this demarcation from the being of animals, constituted through φωνή, the peculiar way of being that is determined by λόγος will become more precisely characterized.


α. Orientation toward Phenomena That Lie at the Basis of the Separating of λόγος from φωνή


To facilitate our understanding of this comparison and, at the same time, to come to grips with the separating of λόγος from φωνή, we want to orient ourselves in a general and brief way to the phenomena that lie at the basis of the comparison.

What is set in view in both cases are living things, living as being-in-the-world. Thus the world is there for this being-in-itself, not just occasionally nor for a while, but it is constantly there. The question is only how this being-there of the world is primarily determined. The world is there in living in such a way that living, being-in-itself, always matters to it in some way. The world in which I find myself matters to me. This mattering, or this fact, that the world in which living is matters to it, we characterize as a definite mode of the world as encountered in living.

The world, as mattering to a living thing, is encountered along the lines of being-in-the-world. That is, it is encountered, it befalls the being-in-the-world of living things. When we say that the character of the world as encountered is mattering, it must be emphasized that, for the most part, many things are encountered that do not matter to me, that, particularly in everyday life, the world is there in such a way that it is without consequence to me, to my way of being-in and with the world. It is of no consequence to me, inconsequentiality as a character of the being-there of the surrounding world. This inconsequentiality is a specific character of mattering. If I say: “that does not matter to me,” that


12. Pol. Α 2, 1253 a 10: διότι δὲ πολιτικὸν ζῷον ὁ ἄνθρωπος πάσης μελίττης καὶ παντὸς ἀγελαίου ζῴου μᾶλλον, δῆλον.


Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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