ON THE ESSENCE AND CONCEPT OF Φύσις


lies a period of [327 {GA 9 257}] five hundred years, during which the "progress" of modem medicine has taken place. The doctor of today has at her disposal a "better" technique, and she regains her health, whereas the one who lived earlier dies of her disease. So apparently the ἀρχή of the cure of today's doctor is precisely the τέχνη. However, there is something further to consider here. For one thing, the fact of not dying, in the sense of prolonging one's life, is not yet necessarily the recovery of health. The fact that people live longer today is no proof that they are healthier; one might even conclude the contrary. But even supposing that the modem doctor, beneficiary of the progress of medicine, not only escapes death for a while but also recovers her health, even then the art of medicine has only better supported and guided φύσις. Τέχνη can merely cooperate with φύσις, can more or less expedite the cure; but as τέχνη it can never replace φύσις and in its stead become the ἀρχή of health as such. This could happen only if life as such were to become a "technically" producible artifact. However, at that very moment there would also no longer be such a thing as health, any more than there would be birth and death. Sometimes it seems as if modem humanity is rushing headlong toward this goal of producing itself technologically. If humanity achieves this, it will have exploded itself, i.e., its essence qua subjectivity, into thin air, into a region where the absolutely meaningless is valued as the one and only "meaning" and where preserving this value appears as the human "domination" of the globe. "Subjectivity" is not overcome in this way but merely "tranquilized" in the "eternal progress" of a Chinese-like "constancy" ("Konstanz"]. This is the most extreme nonessence [Unwesen] in relation to φύσις-οὐσία.

Aristotle also uses this example, in which two different kinds of movedness interweave, as an occasion for determining more clearly the mode and manner in which the ποιούμενα (artifacts) stand in relation to their ἀρχή:

VII. "And the same holds for everything else that belongs among things made. That is to say, none of them has in itself the origin and ordering of its being-made. [328] Rather, some have their ἀρχή in another being and thus have it from the outside, such as, for example, a house and anything else made by hand. Others, however, do indeed have the ἀρχή in themselves, but not inasmuch as they are themselves. To this latter group belong all things that can be 'causes' for themselves in an incidental way." (191 b17-31)

A house has the origin and ordering of its being a house, i.e., something constructed, in the constructor's prior intention to build, which is given concrete form in the architect's blueprint. This blueprint — in Greek terms, the house's appearance as envisioned beforehand or, literally, the ἰδέα — orders


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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) On the Essence and Concept of Φύσις in Aristotle's Physics B, I - Pathmarks