Chapter 2

proto-phenomenological. In this view the ontological status of things is not “objective” in the sense of being indifferent to human beings. Rather, it is the phenomenological presence (the personally experienced relatedness and significance) of something to and for a person, in correlation with the interests that person has in the thing.

The remainder of this chapter spells out the specifics of Heidegger’s reading of Aristotle as a proto-phenomenologist. We do so by studying Heidegger’s re-interpretations of key terms in the Aristotelian lexicon: ϕύσις, ἀλήϑεια, πέρας, ἀεί, εἶδος, ἐνέργεια, and ἐντελέχεια, along with Aristotle’s interpretation of being as disclosedness, as he worked that out in Metaphysics IX 10.

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Before going into further detail about the relatively late (fourth century BCE) Platonic-Aristotelian term οὐσία, we will first investigate what Heidegger claims are among the oldest philosophical terms in the Greek lexicon: ϕύσις and ἀλήϑεια.17 Heidegger speaks of “the unique essential relation between ϕύσις and ἀλήϑεια,”18 and he argues that the two terms go together: “Φύσις points to ἀλήϑεια itself.”19 Taken as a unity, ϕύσις/ἀλήϑεια or emergence-as-disclosedness bespeaks the emergence of some thing (not of ϕύσις or ἀλήϑεια in and for itself) from a state of concealment-from-us into one of dis-closedness to us—that is, manifestation and availability.20 Thus in the following text Heidegger is referring to things emerging into availability thanks to ϕύσις/ἀλήϑεια.

In the age of the first and definitive unfolding of Western philosophy among the Greeks, when questioning about the real as such and as a whole received its true inception, things were called ϕύσις. [. . .] But what does the word ϕύσις mean? It indicates something that emerges from itself (e.g., the emergence, the blossoming, of a rose), the unfolding that opens itself up, something’s

17. GA 4: 56.15–16 = 79.1–2, re ϕύσις: “Dieses Wort ist das Grundwort der Denker im Anfang des abendlänidschen Denkens.”
18. GA 40: 109.26–27 = 121.12–14. See GA 66: 111.18–19 = 93.6–7: “im ersten Anfang verborgen ϕύσις und ἀλήϑεια dasselbe und einzige ‘sind.’”
19. GA 15: 344.5 = 46.30. See GA 45: 68.7 = 61.25–26: “beständiger sich auftuender und sich zeigender Anwesenheit”; ibid., 68.23–24 = 62.5–6: aufgehendes sich zeigendes Anwesen (italicized in the original).
20. GA 15: 331.5–7 = 38.16–18: “Hervorkommen-[des-Seienden]-aus-der-Verborgenheit (im Sinn der ϕύσις)” and “Aufgehen-[des-Seienden]-in-die-ἀλήϑεια.” For an entity’s “aus der Verborgenheit heraustreten” see GA 40: 109.16 = 112.3–4; ibid., 122.4 = 126.8–9. Re “to us”: GA 38: 80.17–18 = 69.1–3: “Der Zusatz ‘wahr für uns’ hat aber gar keinen Sinn, da ja der Bezug auf uns zur Wahrheit gehört.”