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§32 [224-225]


b) Λόγος as guideline for the research into Being carried out by σοφία. Explication of the guiding function of λόγος on the basis of the Greek understanding of Being.


As we have seen, Aristotle strives, precisely with his idea of σοφία, to go beyond λόγος to a νοεῖν that is free of λέγειν. But closer inspection shows that even his determination of the ultimate ἀρχή, the ἀδιαίρετον, is acquired only within an orientation toward λόγος. This is manifest in the fact that οὐσία, the basic determination of ὄν, has the character of ὑποκείμενον, of what is already there in advance, of utter and primary presence. That is the formal determination of anything at all. Now this ὑποκείμενον, what is already there in advance, is specifically seen in light of λέγειν: what, in speaking about something, in discussing some connection in beings, is there in advance, prior to all speech and on behalf of all speech. That is, what is spoken about is the ὑποκείμενον, ὄν, οὐσία, in a formal sense. The basic character of Being is drawn from the context of λόγος itself. Therefore—i.e., because λόγος is the guiding line—πρώτη φιλοσοφία, with regard to the question it raises (not with regard to theory), stands connected again to "logic," as we say today, i.e., connected to λέγεσθαι, dialectic. This is the meaning of the cliché heard every so often that for Aristotle metaphysics is logical and logic is metaphysical. The meaning is that even the ἀληθεύειν of σοφία, uncovering in the purest sense, still remains in a certain fashion μετὰ λόγου, that, consequently, for the explication of a given theme—even if only the sheer something in general—speech or discourse is the guiding line. This irruption of λόγος, of the logical in this rigorously Greek sense, in the questioning of ὄν, is motivated by the fact that ὄν, the Being of beings itself, is primarily interpreted as presence, and λόγος is the primary way in which one presentifies something, namely that which is under discussion. Let this suffice as a quite general preliminary orientation regarding questions we will subject to closer scrutiny in the context of Plato's Sophist.6


6. See the appendix.