PATHMARKS


have clearly [358] in view what we saw at the previous level. Μορφή is φύσις "to a greater degree," but not because it supposedly is "form" that has subordinate to it a "matter" that it molds. Rather, as the placing into the appearance, μορφή surpasses the orderable (ὕλη) insofar as μορφή is the presencing of the appropriateness of that which is appropriate, and consequently, in terms of presencing, is more original. But that granted, what now is the perspective within which the essence of μορφή is still more clearly revealed? The following sentence establishes that perspective:

Is this sentence anything more than an empty truism? Yes, it certainly is. Even the transitional word ἐτι, "moreover," indicates the relation to what went before and at the same time points to an "advance." Ἐτι γίγεται: we should translate it more strongly: "Moreover, in the area we are talking about, what is at stake is generation (γένεσις). and generation is different in the cases of human beings and of bedsteads, i.e., of φύσει ὄντα (growing things) and of ποιοθμενα (artifacts)." (Here where we are dealing with γένεσις, the human being is taken as only a ζῷον, a "living being.") In other words, μορφή as placing into the appearance is only now explicitly grasped as γένεσις. But γένεσις is that kind of movedness Aristotle omitted when he listed the types of movement in his introductory characterization of κίνησις as μεταβολή, because to it he reserved the task of distinguishing the essence of φύσις as μορφή.

Two kinds of generation are contrasted with each other. And from the way the two are sharply distinguished we have a good opportunity to discern the essence of generation. For the crucial characteristic of μορφή as movedness — namely, ἐντελέχεια — was certainly brought to our attention with regard to the generation of a table. But at the same time we have unwittingly carried over what was said about the generation of an artifact into the question of the μορφή that pertains to φύσις. But is not φύσις then mimnderstood as some sort of self-making artifact? Or is this [359] not a misunderstanding at all but the only possible interpretation of φύσις, namely, as a kind of τέχνη? That almost seems to be the case, because modem metaphysics, in the impressive terms of, for example, Kant, conceives of"nature" as a "technique" such that this "technique" that constitutes the essence of nature provides the metaphysical ground for the possibility, or even the necessity, of subjecting and mastering nature through machine technology. Be that as it may, Aristotle's seemingly all-too-obvious statement about the


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