Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


II. The presence of Aristotle at the origins of the Heideggerian conception of being

The ten-year silence that precedes the publication of Being and Time clearly separates Heidegger's juvenile writings, namely the texts published between 1912 and 19171, from the magnum opus and what he produced after 1927. To this chronological separation are added at least three other reasons which effectively isolated Heidegger's early studies from the rest of his work, and that have subtracted it, so to speak, from the interest notoriously enjoyed by Heideggerian speculation in philosophical historiography.

The first and most obvious of these reasons is the observation that Heidegger's actual thought lies in Being and Time, while in the early writings we especially find the influences of neo-Kantianism and of early Husserlian phenomenology, particularly the criticism of psychologism contained in book 1 of the Logical Investigations. A second reason is represented by the fact that, while the qualitative gap between the youthful production and Being and Time appears abysmal, it has lacked until now sufficient textual basis to locate and follow the generative connection between the two periods. Because of this impediment, and this is the third reason for failure, the discussion about the problems with the evolution of Heidegger's thought has beens absorbed almost entirely from the troubled issue of the 'turn'.

Only in more recent times has a certain interest in Heidegger's early works arisen, especially following the publication of some autobiographical indications from Heidegger himself2 and with the reprint in one volume of three major early works, namely the doctoral dissertation on The doctrine of judgment in psychologism (1913), the post-doc dissertation On the doctrine of the categories and meaning in Duns Scotus (1915) and the lectures for the venia legendi on The concept of time in the science of history (1916)3. Consequently, they have tried to grasp the significance of this first phase of his thought by looking for the hidden connections with the fundamental ontology of Being and Time, or even with Heidegger's thought as a whole.

1 These writings are: Das Realitätsproblem in der modernen Philosophie, «Philosophisches Jahrbuch», 25, 1912, pp. 353-363; Neuere Forschungen über Logik, «Literarische Rundschau für das katholische Deutschland», 38, 1912, pp. 465-472, 517-524, 565-570; by F. Ohmann, Kants Briefe in Auswahl, «Literarische Rundschau für das katholische Deutschland», 39, 1912, p. 74; by N. von Bubnoff, Zeitlichkeit und Zeitlosigkeit. Ein grundlegender theoretisch-philosophischer Gegensatz in seinen typischen Ausgestaltungen und in seiner Bedeutung für die modernen philosophischen Theorien , «Literarische Rundschau für das katholische Deutschland», 39, 1913, pp. 178-179; by F. Brentano, Von der Klassifikation psychischer Phänomene , «Literarische Rundschau für das katholische Deutschland», 40, 1914, pp. 233-234; by C. Sentroul, Kant und Aristoteles , «Literarische Rundschau für das katholische Deutschland», 40, 1914, pp. 330-332; by F. Gross, Kant-Laienbrevier, «Literarische Rundschau für das katholische Deutschland», 40, 1914, pp. 376-377; Die Lehre vom Urteil im Psychologismus. Ein kritischpositiver Beitrag zur Logik , J. A. Barth, Leipzig 1914; Die Kategorien- und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus, J. C. Mohr (P. Siebeck), Tübingen 1916; Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft, «Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik», 161, 1916, pp. 173-188; Selbstanzeige: Die Kategorienund Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus, «Kant-Studien», 21, 1917, pp. 467-468. All these writings are now included in GA 1. They were translated into Italian by A. Babolin: Scritti filosofici (1912-1917), La Garangola, Padova 1972 (volume comprising all the minor writings mentioned above and youthful poetry Abendgang auf der Reichenau); La dottrina del giudizio nello psicologismo, La Garangola, Padova 1972; La dottrina delle categorie e del significato in Duns Scoto, Laterza, Roma-Bari 1974.

2 These accounts, told by Heidegger on several occasions, are collected under the title Mein Weg in die Phänomenologie in M. Heidegger, Zur Sache des Denkens, Niemeyer, Tübingen 1969, pp. 81-90 (trans. It. by E. Mazzarella, Tempo ed essere, Guida, Napoli 1980, pp. 183-191). [GA 14. "My Way to Phenomenology".]

3 Collected in M. Heidegger, Frühe Schriften, Klostermann, Frankfurt a. M. 1972, and now republished in GA 1 with some marginal notes of Heidegger's.

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