The Interpretation of the Being-There of Human Beings [192–194]

ὡρισμένῃ λόγῳ καὶ ὡς ἂν ὁ φρόνιμος ὁρίσειε.233 Ἀρετή is a “being-composed in the ability-to-resolve-oneself.” Ἕξις, as defined in terms of προαίρεσις, in terms of the moment, is better interpreted as μεσότης. “Mean,” as determination of ἕξις, μεσότης as πρὸς ἡμᾶς: the way that the world itself stands to us, or how we are in it—being able to maintain the mean in resolving-oneself, having-there-present of the decisive moment. In talking-through, this situation is still itself delimited in various regards. Even in ἀρετή itself, as being-composed, the determination of λέγειν comes up. In order to ward off a confusion, this ὁρίζεσθαι λόγῳ is better defined through a theoretical determining of a matter. It is the kind of ὁρίζεσθαι that a φρόνιμος would do, λέγειν as λέγειν of the φρόνιμος; seeing not only as looking-toward that brings facts of the matter into relief, but seeing of the world as looking-around, looking-around-oneself in the world, primarily as looking-around in resolving-oneself. Being-in-care about being-there has its mode of sight in φρόνησις. Therefore, λέγειν corresponds with φρόνησις, in relation to which it is μετά. If one considers ἀρετή like this, then one characterizes it as οὐσία insofar as its being constitutes the being-there of human beings. In relation to the possibility of action, of comporting-oneself, that is expressed in ἀρετή, ἀρετή is not a μεσότης, but is rather a pinnacle, the highest, ἀκρότης. Taken purely ontologically, the ἀρετή μεσότης is in οὐσία, with regard to the possibility itself that carries it in itself; with regard to the εὖ, it is ἀκρότης.234

Ἀρετή, which goes toward ἦθος, ἀρετή ἠθική, has a fully specific γένεσις corresponding to its being-character, which Aristotle characterizes, at the beginning of Book 2 of the Nicomachean Ethics, separately from ἀρετή διανοητική, the ability-to-be-composed in the world, as further clarified in relation to looking-around-oneself in the world. Ἀρετή is related to πρᾶξις, ἀρετή ἠθική is related to ἔθος. Its γένεσις is “habituating-oneself” in the sense of frequent working-through.235 Insofar as one considers the other ἀρετή, ἀρετή διανοητική, in its γένεσις, perhaps science as possessing a determinate subject-matter, it is to be said that ἀρετή “requires experience and time.”236 That is not to say that the cultivation of ἀρετή ἠθική does not require time, but χρόνος is here taken as duration. Duration as such, in which I appropriate my concrete knowledge, is co-constitutive of the cultivation of being-composed as knowing information about something. The time-character of ἠθική lies in πολλάκις. Aristotle brings ἀρετή ἠθική etymologically together with ἔθος.237 Therefore, ἔθος, here, expresses γένεσις at the same time. That time, not as duration, is precisely constitutive of ἀρετή as ἠθική is shown by Aristotle’s emphasizing that genuine being-composed within being-there is gained by the human being

233. Eth. Nic. Β 6, 1106 b 36 sqq.

234. Eth. Nic. Β 6, 1107 a 6 sqq.: κατὰ μὲν τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τὸν λόγον τὸν τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι λέγοντα μεσότης ἐστὶν ἡ ἀρετή, κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἄριστον καὶ τὸ εὖ ἀκρότης.

235. Eth. Nic. Β 1, 1103 a 17: ἐξ ἔθους περιγίγνεται.

236. Eth. Nic. Β 1, 1103 a 16 sq.: ἐμπειρίας δεῖται καὶ χρόνου.

237. Cf. Eth. Nic. Β 1, 1103 a 17 sq.

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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