§12. Continuing the Consideration of the ἀγαθόν [91–92]

§12. Continuing the Consideration of the ἀγαθόν
(Nicomachean Ethics, A 5–6)

In Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, Chapter 5, Aristotle briefly resumes his consideration, up to his critical engagement with Plato. He points out that a manifoldness of concerns faces us, this manifoldness itself encountered not as an aggregate but in a definite manner, a manifoldness of τέλη among which individual concerns reach their end at each moment. A manifoldness of τέλη appears there with concrete regard to the being-there of human beings, and ones that are δι' ἕτερα are also given in a way that they cannot all be τέλεια. Here, not every τέλος is already τέλειον, a genuine end for the being that maintains itself in concern. If individual concerns are τέλη, they are not genuine ends of being-there. Work tools are τέλη alongside of which a definite πρᾶξις reaches its end, but a πρᾶξις in relation to which the ἔργον is παρά. The shoe is the τέλος in the sense that when it is completed, it has its own existence in the world “alongside” (παρά) the being of the shoemaker as a mode of concern in itself. The shoe has its own existence in the world as τέλος. In the same way, an instrument is the τέλος for the instrument-maker. These τέλη are not themselves τέλεια, but instead have within themselves the character of conduciveness. The hammer is, precisely, the τέλος of the hammersmith, in the sense that it does not occur in the way a stone does, but rather in such a way that I can hammer a nail with it. This conduciveness, its usability, constitutes its existence. In itself, it is τέλος with respect to its completedness, but not τέλειον; it points away from itself toward another mode of concern made possible by it. So, in the world there is a manifoldness of τέλη that are not themselves τέλεια at every moment.

a) Continuing the Discussion of Basic Determinations of the ἀγαθόν:

The ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν as the ἁπλῶς τέλειον

It has already been said of the ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν that it is δι' αὐτό, “on account of itself,” and it is the ἄριστον, ἀκρότατον ἀγαθόν, the ἀγαθόν than which there is no going further, so that, presumably, this ἄριστον is a τέλειον. But already the result of the consideration of the βίοι was that there is a manifoldness of τέλη δι' αὑτά. Thus, if there is a manifoldness of τέλη δι' αὑτά, τέλεια, then there must be a τελειότατον among these. But if there is, then there is also a τελειότερον. This consideration shows how the interpretation of the ἀγαθόν, in the preceeding, aims at a radical carrying through of the idea of the τέλος, πέρας. For the being-determination of the being-there of human beings, the basic Greek determination of being is to be radically and consistently laid claim to, and it is to be shown in this way that ἀγαθόν is τέλος in the sense that it is ἁπλῶς τέλειον, τέλειον in the strict sense.

In this rather formal consideration of structure, the consequences are not yet seen without explanation. However, we will see, from here on out, how in particular the Aristotelian determination of the basic possibility of the being-there

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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