§12. Continuing the Consideration of the ἀγαθόν [100–101]

of being-there, so that the ἔργον is there for the one who in concern is present in himself, so that the human being is in ἔργον, κατ’ ἐνέργειαν.118 The human being may be defined with respect to genuine living and rising up into concern.

And this κατ’ ἐνέργειαιν admits of a further being-determination. We know that the being of human beings is determined through ἀρετή, the mode of being in which the τέλος is possessed—τέλος as the beyond-which-nothing. So, ἐνέργεια is: προστιθεμένης τῆς κατ’ ἀρετήν ὑπεροχῆς,119 with respect to the fact (ὑπέροχος from ὑπερέχω) that ἔργον is taken in its ownmost being-possibility, namely as fulfilling itself in ἀρετή, as actually there. For example, in the case of the violin player, we distinguish between violin players. A bad one is distinguished from one who is σπουδαῖος, a “serious” κιθαριστής,120 who has taken his being-possibility seriously, who has genuinely put into work his having what he is at his disposal.

In this way, it appears that the ἔργον of human beings is πρακτικὴ ζωή. Thus, insofar as the τέλος of human beings does not lie outside itself but rather in itself as its being-possibility, the ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν is ζωή itself, “living” itself. The ἔργον is living itself, apprehended in the sense of being-in-the-world μετὰ λόγου, in such a way that it is thereby spoken. Thus the ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν is ψυχῆς ἐνέργεια κατ’ ἀρετήν.121 The ψυχή is determined as constituting the being of living things. This being-in-the-world as ἐνέργεια is a definite possibility of concern, of πρᾶξις, as put into work; and this setting-into-work as εὖ, taken hold of seriously (σπουδαίου), so that the ultimate being-possibility is grasped in its end.

We will not follow more closely Aristotle’s detailing of the ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν. In Chapters 7–12 of the Nicomachean Ethics, he discusses, in connection with the tradition, the concrete context of the ἀνθρώπινον ἀγαθόν, so defined, with the possibilities of being-there in the πόλις. As to conceptuality as an affair of the being-there of human beings, we need to see this basis, beingthere itself, more sharply. In connection with the discussion of the ἀγαθόν, we have succeeded in defining being-in-the-world, one aspect of which is ψυχή, the ontologically basic determination of living, ψυχή as πρακτικὴ ἐνέργεια. As a result of the investigation, we find the guidance that Aristotle himself offers, when he says that knowing-the-way-around, which constitutes the being-there of human beings as being-with-one-another, must be instructed περὶ ψυχῆς.122 That does not mean that a politician must also be a psychologist, but that he has to be involved with the genuine being of living things in its basic structure. Psychology has nothing to do with “consciousness” or “experiences,” but is rather only the doctrine of the being of living things, the ontology of the way of

118. Eth. Nic. Α 6, 1098 a 6.
119. Eth. Nic. Α 6, 1098 a 10 sq.
120. Eth. Nic. Α 6, 1098 a 11 sq.: κιθαριστοῦ μὲν γὰρ τὸ κιθαρίζειν, σπουδαίου δὲ τὸ εὖ.
121. Eth. Nic. Α 6, 1098 a 16.
122. Eth. Nic. Α 13, 1102 a 18 sq.: δεῖ τὸν πολιτικὸν εἰδέναι πως τὰ περὶ ψυχήν.