§14. The Basic Determination of Rhetoric [121–122]

and above all when the matter is controversial, where there can be arguments on this side and that side, where the matter remains unsettled. It is only settled by the manner and mode in which the speaker offers himself.”46 The previous treatises held the opinion that ἦθος “contributes nothing to what is πιθανόν.”47 People had maintained this view before Aristotle—a point against sophistry. One’s comportment, how one behaves oneself, is the “most excellent” πίστις,48 the most excellent way for the one discoursing to speak for a matter.

Ad 2. How the hearer is disposed toward what is said of the matter, what mood he is put in, what the διάθεσις of the hearer is. Aristotle offers a clue regarding this, that all judgments are not made in the same manner, for example, “when we are sad or are happy.”49 It depends upon whether we are sympathetic toward what is heard or stand opposed to it, ἢ φιλοῦντες καὶ μισοῦντες.50 The διάθεσις of the hearer is decisive. The one discoursing must himself, in his discourse, have his eye toward transposing the ἀκροατής into a definite πάθος, toward inspiring the hearer as to a matter. This πίστις, lying on the side of the hearer, is treated in a detailed way in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Book 2, Chapters 2–20. This investigation into the πάθη was historically quite efficacious. Its influence on the Stoa is evident in the whole doctrine of affects, as they have been handed down to us today. These πάθη, “affects,” are not states pertaining to ensouled things, but are concerned with a disposition of living things in their world, in the mode of being positioned toward something, allowing a matter to matter to it. The affects play a fundamental role in the determination of beingin the-world, of being-with-and-toward-others.

Ad 3. Πίστις, “what is able to speak for a matter,” is speaking of the matter itself. In speaking, the ἀληθές51 should be exhibited, what is “unconcealed” in the very way that the matter is, free of all determinations. And in particular, this ἀληθές should be shown “on the basis of the occurrences and circumstances that speak for the matter”52—an ἀληθές that is not opened up through θεωρεῖν, but rather makes the true visible in what is probable.

The ἄτεχνοι have their sense as πίστεις only insofar as they are oriented

46. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 6 sqq.: τοῖς γὰρ ἐπιεικέσι πιστεύομεν μᾶλλον καὶ θᾶττον, περὶ πάντων μὲν ἁπλῶς, ἐν οἷς δὲ τὸ ἀκριβὲς μή ἐστιν ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀμφιδοξεῖν, καὶ παντελῶς.
47. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 12: τὴν ἐπιείκειαν τοῦ λέγοντος ὡς οὐδὲν συμβαλλομένην πρὸς τὸ πιθανόν.
48. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 13: κυριωτάτην ἔχει πίστιν τὸ ἦθος.
49. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 15 sq.: οὐ γὰρ ὁμοίως ἀποδίδομεν τὰς κρίσεις λυπούμενοι καὶ χαίροντες.
50. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 16. Editor’s note: The notes of Broecker and Schalk cite here ἢ φιλοῦντος ἢ μεσοῦντος and the notes of Broecker add in brackets: ‘to remain neutral, μεσεύω.’ This variant reading, which could be concealed by Heidegger’s previous paraphrase in the grammatical variant ἢ φιλοῦντος ἢ μεσοῦντος, finds no support in Heidegger’s handwritten copy. Furthermore, Aristotle treats φιλεῖν together with μισεῖν in the course of his detailed discussion of the πάθη—to which Heidegger himself refers in the margin of his handwritten copy.
51. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 19.
52. Rhet. Α 2, 1356 a 20: ἐκ τῶν περὶ ἕκαστα πιθανῶν.

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy