Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


You have to first observe, then, that placing himself in the tradition of the Aristotelian-Thomistic ontology, Braig adheres basically to the doctrine of the plurivocity of being. He argues that the latter is always determined and manifold, and precisely that the determination and the multiplicity of its elements, namely the categories, are not only constant but also constitutive. He says that being is said in so many ways as there are "general, special, incidental and individual determinations of being"18. Always in accordance with the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition, he also points out that this plurivocity is not arbitrary, but is coordinated according to the analogic order. Indeed, he strengthens the unifying sense of the analogy, saying that the plurivocity of being does not prevent grasping the uniqueness of being, since the latter would be a plurivocal concept, but unique, and its fundamental determination would be the one-being in the being-different19.

Elsewhere, in a step early in Vom Erkennen, Braig defines being in general as a "collective concept" (Sammelbegriff): "being generally does not refer to the verb that combines subject and predicate in a judgment: 'God is good'. Nor is being designated as that which works as predicate in existential propositions: 'it is, God is'. Being as subject is a collective word [and in a note adds: ipsum esse, esse simpliciter, esse actuale s. formale, actus entis, τὸ εἶναι ἁπλώς, τὸ ον ἡ ον, οὐσία, ἐνέργεια, ἐντελέχεια]"20. Also, when it comes to being in general, Braig denies that it can be hypothesized as existing separately from the entities, and says: "Es gibt kein bloßes und allgemeines Sein, es sind Seiende"21. And he denies the possibility of giving a real and proper definition of being, asserting that "attempts to give conceptual determinations of being are all fallacious and contradictory. Being is 'position', 'doing', 'energy', 'assertion', 'condition of possibility': definitions like this confuse the first cognitive notion of an entity with the essential description of being".22.

18 Braig, Vom Sein, p. 23.

19 Ibid, p. 28.

20 Braig, Vom Erkennen, p. 1.

21 Braig, Vom Sein, p. 6.

22 Ibid, pp. 21-22.

A page from Franco Volpi's Heidegger and Aristotle