§1. The first, most literal meaning of the word “logic”

We begin our treatment with a preliminary understanding of what the word “logic” means in its most direct and literal sense.

The terms “logic,” “physics,” and “ethics” come from the Greek words λογική, φυσική, ἠθική, to which ἐπιστήμη is always to be added. Ἐπιστήμη means roughly the same as the German term Wissenschaft, “science.” Wissenschaft, like the German word Landschaft, refers to a region, and in this case a specific self-enclosed whole comprised of a manifold of grounded knowledge, that is, of cognitions drawn exclusively and judiciously from the very things the science seeks to know.

Ἐπιστήμη λογική is the science of λόγος or λέγειν (the science of speaking), ἐπιστήμη φυσική is the science of φύσις, and ἐπιστήμη ἠθική is the science of ἦθος.1

Ἐπιστήμη φυσική is the science of φύσις, that is, of “nature” understood in the broad sense of “world” or “cosmos.” For the Greeks, φύσις takes in the entire realm of the world in the sense of what’s out there—the totality of stars, earth, plants, animals, humans, and gods. Today “physics” is one particular discipline within the general science of the world: it is the science of the material, inanimate things of the world. More specifically, in contrast to inorganic chemistry, for instance, it is the science of matter in terms of its absolute laws of motion. As a modern science of nature, physics discloses only certain contexts of the being of those beings that we call “the world.”

Ἐπιστήμη ἠθική is the science of ἦθος, the science of the behavior or comportment of human beings toward other people and toward

1.[The Simon Moser Nachschrift or transcript (hereafter cited as “Moser,” followed by page and line) here corrects GA 21, p. 1.14–15. This is but one of the hundreds of disconnects between Moser’s record of Heidegger’s spoken words during the course and the text of GA 21.]


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