The Aristotelian Definition of the Being-There [89–91]

property such as the white or black of something. The beyond-which-nothing has the character of limit in the sense of a determination of being.

This limit-character of the τέλειον, as a determination of being, becomes clear in the further carrying-over: death—a mode of being-there, being-thereno-longer, being-gone, ἀπουσία. Being-there-no-longer is a character of the there insofar as τελευτή is addressed as τέλος, but where it is a matter of carrying-over. In this case, what is meant is that in addressing death as τέλος, the genuine meanings of τέλος and τέλειον are lost in a certain sense, insofar as τέλος is meant as an end that does not simply allow the thing in question to disappear. Such an end does not take the thing in question out of the there, but instead keeps it in the there, determines it in its genuine there. Τέλος thus means, originarily: being-toward the end in such a way that this end constitutes the genuine there, determining, in a genuine way, a being in its presence. Since this is the basic determination of τέλος, one is able to speak of τέλος in the sense of death, in a mode of carrying-over. Here, there is a fundamental context, namely that not-being or not-being-there can be interpreted only when one has positively explicated being-there itself in a genuine way. One cannot see, and make intelligible, the being of beings by saying that a being is also when it is not—that is to say, when one does not grasp it. This is only a negative determination which means nothing, and which suggests the perverse belief that one could subscribe to this mode of clarifying the sense of being. Being-gone is the most extreme mode of being-there, such that the interpretation of being is thrown back upon the explication of the there. Τέλος, τέλειον have the character of limit, specifically limit in the sense of being, such that this limit determines beings in their there. The end of such things is in the sense that τέλος reaches back to that of which it is the end and determines it in its there—the character of including by reaching back. A consummate violinist is, by being consummate, in his genuine being.

From this standpoint, we may judge the meaning, for Aristotle, of the fundamental concept ἐντελέχεια. A being determined by ἐντελέχεια means fundamentally the type of being that maintains itself in its genuine being-possibility so that the possibility is consummated. If the being is such that it can possess its τέλος, then the τέλος stands in view so that it can be spoken about. In this concept of ἐντελέχεια, the most fundamental character of the there comes to expression. This determination of the τέλος can now become of fundamental significance insofar as the being of beings can become explicit for this being itself, and this possibility of being explicit of the genuine being for a being remains for a being that we characterize as living, being-in-a-world. On this account, then, the soul is, for Aristotle, “the ἐντελέχεια ἡ πρώτη of a body which carries in itself the possibility of living.”94 Here, you see where the detailed discussion of this basic concept of τέλειον is grounded. Once we secure this determination, we will be in a position to understand more precisely the further discussion of the ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν as ἀγαθόν δι' αὐτό.

94. De an. Β 1, 412 a 27 sq.: ἐντελέχεια ἡ πρώτη σώματος φυσικοῦ δυνάμει ζωὴν ἔχοντος.

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