Plato's Sophist [40-41]

§ 7. The analysis of τέχνη (Nic. Eth. VI, 4).

a) The object of τέχνη: what is coming into being (ἐσόμενον).

As was the case with ἐπιστήμη, so here too as regards τέχνη the first task is to determine the beings to which it relates. In τέχνη the know-how is directed toward the ποιητόν, toward what is to be first produced and hence is not yet. This implies that the object can also be otherwise; for what is not yet is not always: ἔστιν δὲ τέχνη πᾶσα περὶ γένεσιν (Nic. Eth. VI, 4, 1140a10f.). "All know-how," as guiding the production of something, "moves within the circuit of beings which are in the process of becoming, which are on the way to their Being." καὶ τὸ τεχνάζειν καὶ θεωρεῖν ὅπως ἂν γένηταί τι τῶν ἐνδεχομένων καὶ εἶναι καὶ μὴ εἶναι (11ff.). "And τεχνάζειν is specifically a considering," not one that would live for nothing else than the considering, but one that it is oriented to the ὅπως, "to having something occur in such and such a way," i.e., having something be correctly executed. The dealing with a thing which is guided by τέχνη is always a preparation for something. The θεωρεῖν of the τέχνη is by no means speculation but instead guides the dealing with a thing in an orientation toward a "for which" and an "in order to." In this way the beings of τέχνη are in each case ἐσόμενον, something that will come to be.

b) The position of the ἀρχή in τέχνη (Nic. Eth. VI, 4; Met.
VII, 7). The double relation of τέχνη to its ἀρχή. Εἶδος and
ἔργον. The παρά-character of the ἔργον.

The second question is the one about the ἀρχή of the beings, i.e., to what extent can τέχνη itself disclose the ἀρχή of the beings it is concerned with. For τέχνη, the ἀρχή is ἐν τῷ ποιοῦντι (a13): that from which the fabrication sets out resides "in the producer himself." If something is to be produced, deliberation is required. Prior to all producing, the for which, the ποιητόν, must be considered. To the producer himself, thus, the ποιητόν is present at the very outset; since he must have made it clear to himself through τεχνάζειν (a11) how the finished work is supposed to look. In this way the εἶδος of what is to be produced, for example the blueprint, is determined prior to the producing. From these plans the producer, e.g., the house builder, proceeds to construct the product itself. The ἀρχή of the beings of τέχνη, the εἶδος, is thus in the ψυχή, ἐν τῷ ποιοῦντι, "in the producer himself." ἀλλὰ μὴ ἐν τῷ ποιουμένῳ (a13f.), but it is not the case that the ἀρχή is in what is to be produced, in the ἔργον, in what is to be made. This is a peculiar state of affairs which has to be elucidated in spite of its obviousness. It becomes most clear in relation to beings which are indeed produced, but which produce themselves: the φύσει ὄντα.

Martin Heidegger (GA 19) Plato's Sophist