§9 [58-59]

"If therefore the ways in which we disclose beings truly and thereby do not distort them (i.e., deceive ourselves) are ἐπιστήμη, φρόνησις, σοφία, and νοῦς, and if the three first mentioned, φρόνησις, ἐπιστήμη, and σοφία, do not properly make the ἀρχαί thematic, then all that remains is that νοῦς is that ἀληθεύειν which discloses the ἀρχαί as ἀρχαί." It is striking that τέχνη is omitted here. Nevertheless, Aristotle is referring here to the modes of ἀληθεύειν in which we have certainty and are not subject to deception, whereas in τέχνη mistakes will be made and the ἁμαρτάνειν is constitutive. Now what about νοῦς?

b) Νοῦς as ἀληθεύειν of the ἀρχαί (Nic. Eth. VI, 7).
Σοφία as νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη.

Aristotle does not say anything more precise about νοῦς here. What can we learn about it? On the whole, Aristotle has transmitted to us very little about νοῦς; it is the phenomenon which causes him the most difficulty. Perhaps Aristotle did elucidate it as far as was possible within the Greek interpretation of Being. We find a preliminary interpretation already in Nicomachean Ethics VI, 6. Here Aristotle reminds us that ἐπιστήμη—just like φρόνησις and σοφία—is μετὰ λόγου (1140b33). We will see that the ἀληθεύειν of νοῦς is in fact ἄνευ λόγου, insofar as λόγος is understood as κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις. Νοῦς as pure νοῦς possesses, if it is to be conceived μετὰ λόγου, an altogether peculiar λόγος which is neither κατάφασις nor ἀπόφασις. In anticipation, it must be said that νοῦς as such is not a possibility of the Being of man. Yet insofar as intending and perceiving are characteristic of human Dasein, νοῦς can still be found in man. Aristotle calls this νοῦς: ὁ καλούμενος τῆς ψυχῆς νοῦς,2 the "so-called" νοῦς, which means a nongenuine νοῦς. This νοῦς in the human soul is not a νοεῖν, a straightforward seeing, but a διανοεῖν, because the human soul is determined by λόγος. On the basis of λόγος, the assertion of something as something, νοεῖν becomes διανοεῖν. Other than νοῦς, there is no mode of ἀληθεύειν which in the proper sense is an ἀληθεύειν of the ἀρχαί.

Because σοφία takes into consideration that for which the ἀρχαί are ἀρχαί, the concrete beings, and then at the same time relates them for the most part to the ἀρχαί, Aristotle is able to characterize σοφία as νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη, as an ἀληθεύειν which, on the one hand, assumes in a certain sense the ἀληθεύειν of νοῦς and, on the other hand, has the scientific character of ἐπιστήμη. ὥστ' εἴη ἂν ἡ σοφία νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη (1141a19f.).

2. De An. III, 4, 429a22ff: ὁ ἄρα καλούμενος τῆς ψυχῆς νοῦς (λέγω δὲ νοῦν ᾧ διανοεῖται καὶ ὑπολαμβάνει ἡ ψυχή).