200 • The Restriction of Being

in such a way that this “inception” also covered up the inceptive inception. But this inceptive end of the great inception, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, remains great, even if we completely discount the greatness of the way it worked itself out in the West.

We now ask: How does logos secede from and take precedence over Being? How does the decisive development of the separation between Being and thinking come about? Even this history can be sketched here only in a few crude strokes. We will start at the end and ask:

1. How does the relation between φύσις and λόγος look at the end of Greek philosophy, in Plato and Aristotle? How is φύσις understood here? What form and role has λόγος taken on?

2. How did this end come about? What is the real basis of the change?

On 1. At the end, the word ἰδέα, εἶδος, “idea,” comes to the fore as the definitive and prevailing word for Being (φύσις). Since then, the interpretation of Being as idea rules over all Western thinking, throughout the history of its changes up to today. This provenance is also the basis for the fact that the great and final closure of the first phase of Western thinking, the system of Hegel, conceives of the actuality of the actual, Being in the absolute sense, as “idea” and explicitly calls it this. But what does it mean that in Plato, φύσις is interpreted as ἰδέα?

In our first introductory characterization of the Greek experience of Being, ἰδέα and εἶδος were already mentioned alongside [138|189] other terms that we listed. When we directly encounter the philosophy of Hegel, or that of some other modern thinker, or medieval Scholasticism, everywhere we find the term “idea” used to name Being; unless we deceive ourselves, this is unintelligible on the basis of the usual representations. However, we can understand this state of affairs if we come to it from the inception of Greek philosophy.

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