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§17. Ἕξις [175–177]

Διακεῖσθαι in Chapter 19: having is a τάξις,193 allotment of parts in various respects, an allotment that has the character of θέσις.194 Thus it is a posited allotment, not a merely accidental being-thrown-together, but a being-posited. The ἕξις as διάθεσις, as τάξις, springs from προαίρεσις: the proper finding-oneself in the being-allotted of the moment.

Ἕξις is the determination of the genuineness of being-there in a moment of being- composed as to something: the various ἕξεις as the various modes of being able to be composed. Ἕξις is, in an entirely fundamental way, the being-determination of genuine being, here in relation to human πρᾶξις. Πρᾶξις is characterized through ἀρετή, and ἀρετή is characterized as ἕξις προαιρετική. Πρᾶξις, as the how of being-in-the-world, appears here as the being-context that we can also designate in another sense as existence. Being-composed is not something optional and indeterminate, for in ἕξις lies the primary orientation toward the καιρός: “I am there, come what may!” This being-there, being-on-the-alert in one’s situation, in relation to its matter, characterizes ἕξις. Ἕξις is, therefore, a being-possibility that is related in itself to another possibility, to the possibility of my being, that within my being something comes over me, which brings me out of composure.


b) Presentation of the Context of the Treatment of ἕξις


In the last meeting, we clarified an ontologically basic concept of Aristotle’s: ἕξις, which plays a fundamental role in the Aristotelian analysis of the being of human beings, but which also becomes important for another basic determination, since Aristotle discusses στέρησις in opposition to ἕξις and in detail with κίνησις. At this point, we already know enough to say that the concept of στέρησις too has a basic relation to being. We must closely consider the context in which we have come upon ἕξις. The task is to understand the πάθη as those determinations that characterize the audience. The audience is in a definite situation over against the speaker, such that the situation becomes co-determinative of the manner in which the audience understands. Through speaking-with and repeating, the audience appropriates that which the speaker wants to exhibit in his speaking. The πάθη are topics insofar as they are codecisive for the manner and mode of λέγειν, how the λόγος has its basis in the πάθη themselves. To take hold of what is meant by πάθη in the right way, we are choosing a roundabout path toward ἕξις, by way of a general hermeneutic guide. For it appears that what is evident, according to its structure, sheds light upon what is not evident.

The πάθη can be had; in having there lies a relation to being. With the orientation of πάθη toward ἕξις, the πάθη are themselves oriented toward being-there as being. This basic orientation, which is indicated in relation to ἕξις, is important for an understanding that is opposed to the traditional conception of



193. Met. Δ 19, 1022 b 1.

194. Met. Δ 19, 1022 b 2.


Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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