§12 [85-86]

It will not do to take as μὴ ὄν that which is at first familiar and which is straightforwardly uncovered, but instead one must take one's departure from it and, μεταβαίνων, "running through it, through that which is straightforwardly uncovered, see what is simply and properly known." Plato, on the other hand, happened to gain a certain sense of Being—to be sure, not one as radical as that to be found later in Aristotle—and it then "occurred" to him to express this Being as a being, such that he had to posit genuine beings as non-beings. Aristotle saw through this peculiar error perfectly, which was quite an accomplishment for a Greek, nearly beyond our power to imagine.

One must fasten onto precisely the καθ᾽ ἕκαστον of αἴσθησις and admit it as the first factual state of beings. Even Aristotle was successful here only within certain limits, and in spite of his tendency to radicality he did not press on into the ultimate originality of the Being of the world. There is a possible interpretation which even endeavors to see the beings of the world detached from the Greek concept of Being. That, however, will not happen in these lectures. The way on which beings are uncovered in their most proper Being thus proceeds from the καθ᾽ ἕκαστον and passes through it (μεταβαίνων), to the καθόλου. The καθ᾽ ἕκαστον is indeed the πρὸς ἡμᾶς γνωριμώτερον; it shows itself in αἴσθησις, whereas the καθόλου first manifests itself in λόγος. De An. B, 5: τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστον ἡ κατ᾽ ἐνέργειαν αἴσθησις, ἡ δ᾽ ἐπιστήμη τῶν καθόλου (417b22f.).

This characterization of the way would be without further difficulty—apart from the difficulty the καθόλου itself raises not only for Plato but also for Aristotle—if the foregoing interpretation of Aristotle, according to which the πρὸς ἡμᾶς γνωριμώτερον is the καθ᾽ ἕκαστον, did not seem to contradict the methodological principles Aristotle laid down in the introduction to the Physics, that is to say in the introduction to an investigation whose task is precisely to make beings accessible in their Being.

c) The way of philosophy (Phys. I, 1). From the καθόλου to
the καθ᾽ ἕκαστον. Resolution of the supposed contradiction
between Topics VI, 4 and Physics I, 1.

In the introduction to the Physics, Aristotle emphasizes that the way we must take leads from the καθόλου to the καθ᾽ ἕκαστον: διὸ ἐκ τῶν καθόλου εἰς τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα δεῖ προιέναι (Phys. I, 1, 184a23f.). Thus here the way to proceed is precisely the reverse of the way characterized up to now—which is obviously a contradiction. If it could be demonstrated that this is indeed no contradiction, then we would thereby also gain a more precise elucidation of the καθόλου and the καθ᾽ ἕκαστον. For these concepts are not material ones, i.e., ones that fit certain definite beings and not others.