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The Interpretation of the Being-There of Human Beings [110111]


speaking are definitively expounded instances of customary speaking, of how being-there itself speaks. With the interpretation of the Rhetoric, one aims at how basic possibilities of the speaking of being-there are already explicated therein. But if we present ourselves with this ground of Greek being-there, we will understand that the definition of the human being as ζῷον λόγον ἔχον is not an invention, is not arbitrary, but reproduces the way that the Greeks primarily see their being-there. Therefore, we must briefly examine the main definitions that Aristotle gives of λόγος as discourse. Here, an interpretation of the Rhetoric cannot be carried out. It is a matter of understanding the definition ζῷον λόγον ἔχον more precisely, in order to better apprehend where the definition λόγος οὐσίας, ὁρισμός, theoretical speaking with the matter itself, has its ground.

With regard to ἀρετή, with regard to the ability to have the being-possibility of the beings in question at one’s disposal εὐδαιμονία is a definite way of being-actual of living as such. But there is a manifoldness of such possibilities of being of a living thing, and so the question arises as to how this manifoldness should be articulated. With regard to what are these various ἀρεταί being-possibilities of human beings? The articulation needs a ground that is taken from the being of human beings. For the partitioning of the basic possibilities of the being of human beings, Aristotle also refers back to the basic definition of the being of human beings as λόγον ἔχον. That is, this definition must be shown in its breadth, so that thereby we do not just understand λόγον ἔχον in the genuine sense, but also that the human being is a being that says something to others and therefore lets something be said. This is the fully primary meaning of speaking in the sense of letting-something-be-said-by-others. Insofar as the human being is the one that speaks, he can say something to himself; as the one that speaks, he has the possibility of letting-something-be-said-by-himself. This possibility is revealed by the fact that human beings are with one another in the mode of encouraging, of persuading, of exhorting. Insofar as the human being lets something be said, he is λόγον ἔχον in a new respect. He lets something be said insofar as he hears. He does not hear in the sense of learning something, but rather in the sense of having a directive for concrete practical concern. This ability-to-hear is a determination of ὄρεξις. Aristotle designates λόγον ἔχον in this second sense as also ἄλογον. The ὄρεξις is not speaking without qualification, but hearing. Ἄλογον is made use of (1) for λόγον ἔχον in the mode of hearing, (2) for a how of being of living things that have no relation to speaking. Thus it must be kept in mind that the determination of θρεπτικόν and of αὐξητικόν are also fundamental being-determinations as is αἴσθησις. Even taking in nutrition would be viewed in a skewed manner if one were to apprehend it as a physiological process. Reproduction is bringing into the world; taking in nutrition is maintaining oneself in the world.

The vital strength of the being-character of θρεπτικόν and of αὐξητικόν is shown in De Anima β, chapter 4: ὥστε πρῶτον περὶ τροφῆς καὶ γεννήσεως λεκτέον· ἡ γὰρ θρεπτικὴ ψυχή καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ὑπάρχει, καὶ πρώτη καὶ


Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy