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Interpretation of the Cultivation of the Concept of κίνησις [300–302]

If a being has the character of σπέρμα, it is already δυνάμει ἄνθρωπος, “for the seed must still pass over into another and there change”;53 only then is the σπέρμα a human being, in accordance with possibility.

The question now arises for Aristotle: How is it that what we designated as δυνάμει, that from which something changes over into another, how is this to be apprehended as constituting along with being that through which it is? If wood changes over to the being-there of a chest, in what way is wood, being-wood also constitutive of the being of the being-there of the chest? Plato and all who preceded him were unable to give an answer to this question because the ground was not secured. Aristotle posed the question of what that is, that about which we say, it is there. The chest is not the wood; the statue is not the bronze. The chest is not the wood in the sense of the τόδε τι. Plato says: The chest has wood; wood is an Idea. Therefore, the chest participates in the wood. The chest is not wood insofar as one addresses its what-being as being-present, looking thus-and-so. The chest is not τόδε, namely the wood, οὐ τόδε ἀλλ’ ἐκείνινον;54 the chest is co-related to the wood. The chest is not wood, τόδε τι, not wood and yet a chest. In relation to the wood, the chest is not ἐκεῖνο, but rather ἐκείνινον. Ἐκείνινον is to be referred to something further away: ἐκείνινον, “remotely”—primarily in the immediate present, the chest is not wood. “The chest is not wood, but wooden,”55 remotely. Being-wooden is another mode of being-there as being-wood. The out-of-which of the being-made of a chest, the out-of-which of consisting, is not itself there in itself, ἐνεργείᾳ. Presence is determined by its being-at-hand, its chest-being, in which the outof- which of consisting is foregrounded in this peculiar mode.

This consideration is thus fundamental since it yields an important key to the apprehension of a being of which we say that it is a κινούμενον: κινούμενον, ὡς τὸ ἐκείνινον,56 the mode of being-there that we fix upon with the expression κινούμενον is always to be ontologically apprehended as ἐκείνινον. In the case of that which is moved, the being that is moved is itself always immediately there; correspondingly, in the case of the being-there of the chest, it is not the wood but the chest. A stone that falls, a plant that grows: in this looking-thus, κίνησις is there in a certain mode. The chest is not chest and in addition wood; the stone is not stone and in addition movement. The stone does not participate in the movement that is itself a way of being (Plato), but instead movement is in the being that is there, in the sense that it is characterized as ἐκείνινον. The stone is mobile like the chest is wooden. By contrast, κίνησις, unlike wood, is not a being, is not there in the mode of ὕλη. That is the fundamental clue to the fact that the phenomenon of movement can only be approached by way of the being-that-is-moved.


53. Met. Θ 7, 1049 a 14 sq.: δεῖ γὰρ ἐν ἄλλῳ καὶ μεταβάλλειν.

54. Met. Θ 7, 1049 a 18

55. Met. Θ 7, 1049 a 19: τὸ κιβώτιον οὐ ξύλον ἀλλὰ ξύλινον.

56. Met. Θ 7, 1049 a 33.


Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy