§10 [67-69]

Aristotle also proposes, prior to that, the life of animals, who already have "a little experience."4

θεωρεῖν is the way σοφία is carried out, a mode of Being of human Dasein, a mode which includes a so-called διαγωγή: lingering, leisure, idleness. Διαγωγή as idleness means not acting, not accomplishing anything: no ποίησις whatsoever. Insofar as θεωρεῖν is determined by διαγωγή, it is not ποίησις but a mere onlooking, a lingering with the object. This characteristic of θεωρεῖν, and consequently of the mode of Being of σοφία, expresses more acutely what Plato often said, e.g., in the Sophist at 254a8f: ὁ δέ γε φιλόσοφος, τῇ τοῦ ὄντος ἀεὶ διὰ λογισμῶν προσκείμενος ἰδέα. The philosopher "lies with," is constantly occupied with, a looking upon beings, and specifically in such a way that in this looking upon beings he speaks about them and pursues an understanding of them. Thus in Plato the same scientific attitude is alive which Aristotle later made explicit; it is just that in Plato it is not yet ontologically-theoretically founded.

If σοφία is to be delimited over and against φρόνησις, then the γένεσις of the comportment of σοφία must be elucidated. By means of this consideration of the γένεσις of σοφία we will gain at the same time the horizon for understanding the fact that σοφία is simultaneously the ἀρετή of both τέχνη and ἐπιστήμη. It must hence appear why τέχνη, which genuinely aims at a ποίησις, presents, on the basis of its most proper structure, an early stage of σοφία. Aristotle remarks explicitly: οὐθὲν ἄλλο σημαίνοντες τὴν σοφίαν ἢ ὅτι ἀρετὴ τέχνης ἐστίν (Nic. Eth. VI, 7, 1141a11f.). "Genuine understanding, σοφία, is the consummation, ἀρετή, τελείωσις, of the know-how employed to construct something." At the same time Aristotle says: ὥστε δῆλον ὅτι ἀκριβεστάτη ἂν τῶν ἐπιστημῶν εἴη ἡ σοφία (a16). "Σοφία is the most rigorous of the sciences." ἀ-κριβής has the same form as ἀ-ληθής, α-privative and κρυπτόν: "unconcealed," whereby Aristotle is referring to a character of knowledge as uncovering. Because σοφία is the most rigorous science, i.e., the one which uncovers beings most genuinely, Aristotle can say: δεῖ ἄρα τὸν σοφὸν μὴ μόνον τὰ ἐκ τῶν ἀρχῶν εἰδέναι, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ἀληθεύειν. ὥστ' εἴη ἂν ἡ σοφία νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη, ὥσπερ κεφαλὴν ἔχουσα ἐπιστήμη τῶν τιμιωτάτων (a17ff.). "The σοφός must not only know beings on the basis of the ἀρχαί, but he must also uncover them within the circuit of the ἀρχαί, so that σοφία is νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη and is, as it were, the pinnacle, the ἐπιστήμη of the τιμιώτατα." Because σοφία is the most rigorous science, it pursues the τιμιώτατα, the most desirable objects of knowledge, namely what always is, ἀεί, in such a way that it thereby uncovers the ἀρχαί.

4. Met. I, 1, 980b26f.

Martin Heidegger (GA 19) Plato's Sophist