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§17. Ἕξις [178–180]

beforehand, a guide for the analysis that he carries through in Book 2 of the Rhetoric. He considers the affectus in three respects:

1. In relation to every πάθος the question arises: πῶς διακείμενοι εἰσί: 196 How do we find ourselves genuinely, of what sort is our being-in-the-world, when we are in a rage, when we are in fear, when we feel pity?

2. ποῖα:197 About what do we get angry, lose composure?

3. ἐπὶ ποίοις:198 In relation to whom, in encountering which sort of human beings, are we there in this way? In the basic structure of the πάθη, we find, once again, the orientation to the being-with-one-another of being-there as being-in-the-world.

Presumably, it is the manifoldness of these relations, which are expressed through the πάθη, which are then seized by ἕξις, and in relation to which ἕξις expresses a being-composed. In order to see the context of the πάθη as possibilities of finding-oneself and possibilities of being-seized, we must look more closely at ἕξις itself, insofar as it is a basic determination of the being-there of human beings.


c) ἕξις and ἀρετή


We are considering ἕξις insofar as it is related to the ζωὴ ἀνθρώπου, to πρᾶξις μετὰ λόγου—ἕξις as the γένος of ἀρετή:199 πρᾶξις has its genuine how in the σπουδαίος. Seriousness is expressed by ἀρετή. From the connection between ἕξις and ἀρετή, we will see the orientation of ἕξις toward the being-there of human beings in its concrete possibilities.

Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, Chapters 1–5: only that which is most important for demonstrating ἕξις to you and, at the same time, for clarifying a basic concept of the Nicomachean Ethics, the μεσότης. Μεσότης is not some kind of “mediocrity,” not a determination of human actions in which it would amount to mediocrity, not a so-called “bourgeois morality,” not a principle of “ranking values”; but rather a basic relation to ἕξις, and so to the being-there of human beings, to πρᾶξις, and so to the καιρός. The Nicomachean Ethics is altogether different from the ethics of a mediocre averageness and from the conventional.

From insight into the connection between ἕξις and ἀρετή, four basic aspects of being-there result:

1. That “action,” πρᾶξις, concern is in itself the concern of the being-there which is concerned. In being involved in the world, in dealing with it, in occupying oneself with other human beings, being-there itself, which is involved in this way, is concerned with itself, with its being. Being-there as concern is


196. Rhet. Β 1, 1378 a 24 sq.: τῶς τε διακείμενοι ὀργίλοι εἰσί.

197. Rhet. Β 1, 1378 a 25: τίσιν εἰώθασιν ὀργίζεσθαι.

198. Ibid.

199. Eth. Nic. Β 5, 1105 b 19 sqq.


Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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