The question we ask is: How is that which Aristotle defines as research there for him in its point of departure? Where is it found and as what? How does Aristotle approach it, and how does he deal with it? From factical life and its own way of speaking in its dealings, Aristotle takes up a certain talk about soϕwvteron [being wiser], i.e., having more understanding than. . . . In other words, he focuses on the factical ways of supposing-something-to-be-something in which life interprets its own modes of dealings (i.e., ἐμπειρία [experience], τέχνη [art]): οἰόμεθα [we consider], ὑπολαμβάνομεν [we assume], νομίζομεν [we usually think], ἡγούμεθα [we hold] [Met. A 1, 981a13ff.]. He begins with a comparative expression. What becomes visible in it is what is at issue in life when it addresses something as soϕwvteron, namely, a μᾶλλον εἰδέναι [knowing more] [ibid., 981a31], i.e., a looking and seeing more. Factical life is anxiously concerned about developing its dealings, indeed, those original ones directed to routine tasks and producing, into a kind of dealings that always has available to it a looking and seeing more in the sense of that which has been proposed at any particular time in its dealings. It is in this looking and seeing more that the “look” of the with-which of dealings becomes visible and indeed not as an object to be defined in theory but rather as the toward-which of that concern which gears beings in certain directions. The “look” (of an illness, for example) is characterized by a “why” (αἴτιον) for the concern of those dealings directed to certain routine tasks (ἰατρεύειν, “doctoring” [ibid., 981a18ff.]). The why originally has a “practical” sense.

In its tendency toward this looking and seeing more, factical life eventually gives up the care of directing itself to routine tasks. The with-which of those dealings directed to routine tasks changes into the toward-which of a mere looking at. . . . The look of an object comes to be viewed and explicated with respect to those relations in its why that characterize the what of this object itself. Here the tendency of caring has displaced itself into a looking at . . . for its own sake. This looking at . . . becomes an autonomous kind of dealings and as such the toward-which of a unique kind of concern.

In Aristotle’s interpretation of the meaning of looking and seeing [Hinsehen] more, a meaning first put forward by life itself, is also found the ultimate direction he takes toward what is μάλιστα εἰδέναι [the knowledge that sees most] [ibid., A 2, 982a30ff.]. He accompanies factical life in its own direction of interpretation and adopts from it the ways of supposing-something-to-be-something in which it addresses a human being as σοφόν [wise], i.e., as someone who has authentic understanding. His interpretation of these modes of addressing yields that meaning of σοφία all can agree with: someone who has authentic understanding is concerned with the ultimate viewpoints [Hinsichten] in which beings can in themselves be defined. These viewpoints have as their toward-which the first “from-out-of-whiches” and “from-the-points-of-view-of-which” with respect to which beings need to be initially unveiled, if they are indeed to be taken into true safekeeping in a fitting manner in the concrete addressing, discussing,