§20 [140-141]

The reason is that for mathematics no γνῶσις of the καθ᾽ ἕκαστα is required, and that can only be gained in ἐμπειρία, in life experience. νέος δ᾽ ἔμπειρος οὐκ ἔστιν (a15). "Young people are not experienced in the factual conditions of human Dasein itself." πλῆθος γὰρ χρόνου ποιεῖ τὴν ἐμπειρίαν (a15f.). "Only through much time (through the many nows of the 'as soon as-then') is life experience possible." This is reserved for the maturity of old age. In this way, πλῆθος χρόνου, much time, is required for φρόνησις. Since it is τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστα (a14), φρόνησις is in need of life experience. Therefore φρόνησις is not properly an affair of young people. Young people can, on the other hand, as has been said, be σοφοὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα, σοφοί with regard to mathematics. But there is a distinction between mathematical and philosophical knowledge. Quite young people can have mathematical knowledge but not philosophical knowledge. ἢ ὅτι τὰ μὲν δι' ἀφαιρέσεώς ἐστιν, τῶν δ᾽ αἱ ἀρχαὶ ἐξ ἐμπειρίας (a18f. ). "For mathematics is a knowledge which comes to pass by abstracting from beings"; i.e., that which is abstracted from, looked away from, namely concrete existence, is not further considered and determined. What is attended to is only the τί of the πέρας, γραμμή, ἐπίπεδον, etc. Mathematics does not have to concern itself with concrete existence in order to carry out the ἀφαίρεσις. On the other hand, for σοφία it is necessary that the σοφός, or the φυσικός, insofar as he is one who genuinely understands, gain ἐξ ἐμπειρίας that which he is trying to attain. It would be a misunderstanding to translate ἐξ ἐμπειρίας as "induction," as if what is at issue here were a matter of the generalization of single cases. Instead, ἐξ ἐμπειρίας is opposed to ἀφαίρεσις. And what is in this fashion opposed to ἀφαίρεσις is precisely the exposition of the ultimate ontological foundations of the concrete beings themselves. This requires that one presentify the beings themselves in order to see their outward look, their εἶδος, and to draw from them their ἀρχαί. But this calls for the knowledge and domination of the manifold of beings, and this manifold can be appropriated only in the course of time. Accordingly, even with regard to the mode of its origin, φρόνησις is different from ἐπιστήμη.

What we have worked out up to now are merely preliminary distinctions. We will attain the essential distinctions only if we recall the guiding line employed for differentiating the various modes of ἀληθεύειν. Aristotle oriented the consideration in two directions: 1.) what sort of beings are disclosed, are they ἀεί or ἐνδεχόμενον ἄλλως ἔχειν, and 2.) to what extent can these beings be disclosed and preserved in their ἀρχή.

In the meantime, what an ἀρχή as such is has become more transparent. The ἀρχή is that which already is, that from out of which every being is properly what it is. It is telling that, as regards every being which can also be otherwise, the ἀρχή—the always already—of φρόνησις is anticipated in a προ-αίρεσις.