ON THE ESSENCE AND CONCEPT OF Φύσις


and ἐνέργεια, he uses the word (as he did analogously with κατηγορία and οὐσία) as a thoughtful name for an essential basic concept in which beingness, οὐσία, is thought. We already translated δύναμις as appropriateness and being appropriate for . . . , but even here the danger persists that we will not think consistently enough in the Greek manner and will shrink from the hard work of getting clear about the meaning of appropriateness for . . . as that manner of emergence which, while still holding itself back and within itself, comes forth into the appearance [357] wherein such appropriateness is fulfilled. Δύναμις is a mode of presencing. But Aristotle says, ἐνέργεια (ἐντελέχεια) is πρότερον, "prior" to δύναμις, "prior," namely, with regard to οὐσία (cf. Metaphysics Θ 8, 1049 b10, 11). Ἐνέργεια more originally fulfills what pure presencing is insofar as it means a having-itself-in-the-work-and-within-the-end that has left behind the entire "not yet" of appropriateness for . . . , or better, has precisely brought it forth along with it into the realization of the finite, fulfilled [voll-"endeten"] appearance. The basic thesis Aristotle has put forth concerning the hierarchy of ἐντελέχεια and δύναμις can be expressed briefly as follows: ἐντελέχεια is οὐσία "to a greater degree" than δύναμις is. Ἐνέργεια fulfills the essence of intrinsically stable presencing more essentially than δύναμις does.

In Physics B, 1, 193 b6-8 Aristotle says, "What is more, this (namely, μορφή) is φύσις to a greater degree than ὕλη is. For each individual is addressed [as properly being] when it 'is' in the manner of having-itself-within-its-end rather than when it is (only) in appropriateness for . . ." It is still unclear to what degree the second sentence can serve to ground the claim that μορφή is not just another τρόπος set on a par with ὕλη, but rather is φύσις to a greater degree than ὕλη is. Μορφή is the placing into the appearance; i.e., it is κίνησις itself, the changing of the appropriate as a breaking out of its appropriateness. But the essence of κίνησις is ἐντελέχεια, which for its part fulfills what οὐσία is to a greater degree and more originally than δύναμις does. The determination of the essence of φύσις is ruled by the guiding principle that φύσις is a kind of οὐσία. Therefore, because μορφή is, in essence, ἐντελέχεια, and thus is οὐσία to a greater degree, then likewise μορφή intrinsically is μᾶλλον φύσις. The placing into the appearance more fulfills what φύσις is: the being of the κινούμενον καθ᾽ αὐτό.

Therefore, now more than ever we need a correct insight into the kind of priority that μορφή has over ὕλη, because along with the priority of μορφή, the essence proper to μορφή is still more clearly revealed. And this means the task of grasping φύσις as μορφή has inevitably moved up to a new level. Therefore, as we take the step into that next level, we must


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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks