Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


Heidegger, however, remembers Braig precisely in regard to his discovery of Schelling and Hegel and, in another passage where he mentions it, talks about him as "the last exponent of the speculative tradition of Tübingen, which, through confrontation with Hegel and Schelling, conferred rank and breadth to Catholic Theology""16. Actually, Braig had published the most important of his writings, an essay on the natural knowledge of God according to Thomas Aquinas, in Theologische Quartalschrift, which was the magazine of the so-called "Catholic School of Tübingen". To fully assess and verify Heidegger's indications in their historical consistency, we would therefore determine to what extent it's influence was still present in the teaching of dogmatic theology in Freiburg, during the years in which Heidegger studied there. The influence of this school had spread from the middle of the 19th century even within Freiburg's environs, especially through the figure of Franz Anton Staudenmaier and the first and second generation of his students.

But let's deal with the other aspect mentioned by Heidegger, which interests us directly for the purposes of our research. That is to take a closer look to the treatise by Braig Vom Sein, to see, if only by way of hypothesis, if there are speculative tendencies or their prospects in the discussion of the problem of being which could have an impact on Heidegger's philosophical formation.

The treatise Vom Sein. Abriß der Ontologie (1896), that Heidegger claims to have started reading in the last year of high school (1908/9), constitutes the central volume of the three volume Die Grundzüge der Philosophie, that appeared in Freiburg published by Herder between 1896 and 1897 and including, in addition to the volume cited, a first volume Vom Denken. Abriß der Logik (1896) and a final volume Vom Erkennen. Abriß der Noetik (1897). This work, which is undoubtedly Braig's greatest systemic effort and marks the culmination of his work as a Catholic theologian, is an acute compendium of philosophy which exposes in an original way the basic doctrines of ontology, logic and epistemology, substantially in accordance with the Aristotelian-Thomistic doctrine, but with constant consideration of the Augustinian-Franciscan tradition. Also, in many spots Braig distances itself from the orthodox school and tries his own solutions.

16 GA 1 57.

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