Plato's Sophist [98-99]

This difficulty does not reside in the matters at issue but in Dasein itself, in a peculiar mode of Being of Dasein, that of the immediate. Dasein, as it immediately is, has its present in the now, in the world; it has a tendency to adhere to the immediate. Σοφία, however, is concerned with advancing into what remains covered in immediate Dasein, into the μάλιστα καθόλου, and this advancement occurs in opposition to immediate vision. Σοφία hence is concerned with a disclosure which proceeds as a counter-movement in relation to immediate Dasein. Σοφία is a counter-tendency against immediate Dasein and its tendency to remain caught up in immediate appearances. As such, σοφία is difficult for Dasein. And that is the only reason the matters with which σοφία is concerned are "difficult" with respect to their ἀληθεύειν. For now, the following must be noted: in relation to αἴσθησις, to be σοφώτερον, i.e., σοφία, is a μᾶλλον εἰδέναι, a μᾶλλον ἐπαίειν (cf. 981a24f.). Σοφία arises in a counter-movement against αἴσθησις. Nevertheless, σοφία does not thereby exclude αἴσθησις but merely takes it as a point of departure; αἴσθησις provides the ground, in such a way that the consideration no longer remains in its field.1 Αἴσθησις is a κύριον (cf. Met. I, 1, 981b11; Nic. Eth. VI, 2, 1139a18),2 something which belongs to Dasein in general, but not something by which beings themselves can be seen as beings.

3.) ἀκριβέσταται δὲ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν αἲ μάλιστα τῶν πρώτων εἰσίν (Met. I, 2, 982a25f.). It is distinctive of σοφία to be ἀκριβεστάτη, not because the σοφοί display special acumen but because the theme of σοφία is what most of all touches the foundations of beings in their Being. The ἀκριβέστατον is, most basically, the μάλιστα τῶν πρώτων, "what most presses on to the first 'out of which.'" These "first things," the first determinations of beings, are, as the most original, not only simple in themselves but require the greatest acuity to be grasped in their multiplicity, because they are the fewest. A peculiar character of the ἀρχαί consists in this, that they are limited in number. And in their limited number they are transparent in their relations among themselves. In the first Book of the Physics, chapter 2ff., Aristotle shows that there must be more than one ἀρχή but that the number of the ἀρχαί is determined by a limit, πέρας. Therefore a ὁρίζεσθαι must delimit how many there are, whether two, or three, etc. Aristotle shows why there can be no more than three or four. And only because the ἀρχαί are limited is a determination of beings in their Being possible and guaranteed, and the same applies to an addressing of beings as a ὁρίζεσθαι and an ὁρισμός and, consequently, to science as ultimately valid knowledge.

Aristotle illustrates the rigor of science with the examples of μαθηματική, ἀριθμητική and γεωμετρία (982a28).

1. Cf. p. 58.

2. Cf. p. 27.