Can this be accomplished through ‘logic’? What is ‘logic’? It is the ἐπιστήμη λογική: the science of λόγος and what pertains to λόγος. ἐπιστήμη means: the understanding of something. At the time of the formation and development of ‘logic’ in ancient Greece, the word ἐπιστήμη had the same meaning, or was closely related to, τέχνη. We translate τέχνη as “knowledge of something.”

This mention of the kinship, and perhaps even sameness, of the meaning of the two Greek words ἐπιστήμη and τέχνη does not yet amount to much. But if we consider that ἐπιστήμη is the historical origin of Occidental science and of the Occidental forms of knowledge in general, and that in its modern guise it has become entirely ubiquitous, then the reference to the kinship between ἐπιστήμη and τέχνη gains in importance. Behind this fact, which bears upon the history of a word, there lies hidden the predestination of the technological essence of Occidental knowledge, for whose development the Judeo-Christian understanding of Creation, specifically in the form of late-Greek and Roman terminology, plays a decisive role.

Before we now elucidate the term ἐπιστήμη λογική and the matter it names, we must attend to the fact that this term appears at the same time alongside two others: ἐπιστήμη φύσική and ἐπιστήμη ἠθική. How does this fact bear upon our understanding [214] of what ἐπιστήμη means? The name means an understanding that pertains to beings as a whole. φύσις, understood properly, does not only include that which, in distinction to history, we call ‘nature’: for history also belongs to φύσις, as do the human and the gods. φύσις means beings as a whole. ἐπιστήμη φύσική, certainly in distinction to modern physics, is the knowledge of beings as a whole.

By contrast, ἐπιστήμη ἠθική now does appear to bring forth a separate, or in any case particular, region of beings. The word ἦθος means dwelling, sojourn. We say: the dwelling of the human, his sojourn amidst beings as a whole. ἐπιστήμη ἠθική, ‘ethics,’ thought essentially and expansively, seeks to understand how the human abides in this sojourn amidst beings, thereby upholding himself and abiding. The word ἦθος refers to the bearing of all conduct obtaining to this sojourning amidst beings. ‘Ethics’ does not concern the human as a separate matter among other matters: rather, it regards the human in view of the relation of beings as a whole to the human, and of the human to beings as a whole. The human is thus, in a certain sense, in the middle of beings as a whole, but not, however, in the sense that he is the middle itself of beings such that he would be their sustaining ground. In any case, ethics—even though, like ἐπιστήμη φυσική, it deals with the human, albeit from a different perspective and in a different way—is concerned with beings as a whole.

Now, how do matters stand with regard to the third ἐπιστήμη that is named next to physics and ethics—namely, ἐπιστήμη λογική (i.e., logic)?


162    Logic: Heraclitus’s Doctrine of the Logos


Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger