Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


Braig's adherence to the idea of an ontological difference between being and entities is later confirmed by what he claims in the final parts of his treatise. There, observing that the conclusions from ontology constitute the fundamental theme of theology and that, therefore, ontology has its own fulfillment in theology, Braig affirms the need to grasp a universal order of being, and also states that the principle of that order must be found in God as ipsum esse, of which he says "he who is by virtue of its essence", "the original basis of entities" and "an originary one"28. This confirms the suspicion that even in Braig the Aristotelian conception of plurivocity of being overlaps the scholastic tendency to hypostasize the concept of being in the conception of God as ipsum esse.

Now, seeing these trends present in the Braig's treatise and speculating on their possible impact on the formation of the problem of being in the young Heidegger, it should be said from the outset that the relevance of these observations should be calibrated with due caution. In fact, while from a thematic point of view there is no doubt that Braig, like Brentano, helped guide the search of being in the young Heidegger, it seems more difficult to decide how to measure its actual effect.

Considering, however, that the reading of Braig's treatise happens – nearly parallel to that of Brentano – at a very young age, and considering that at least until his doctorate, Heidegger's thought shows itself extremely pliable and receptive to confronting the speculative stimuli that are given him, it is not entirely unlikely that the Braig's Vom Sein treatise contributed above all, from a general point of view, to focus Heidegger's interests toward the ontological problem and, secondly, more specifically, to converge in a certain direction the burgeoning issue of being or, if you will, to confirm the direction he had taken after reading Brentano's dissertation: that is the tendency to focus his research mainly on the guiding meaning of being rather than on its many meanings, even though this tendency arises from the need to better understand the doctrine of the plurivocity of being29.

28 Braig, Vom Sein, pp. 149-158, especially pp. 156-157.

29 On this aspect of the problem of being in Heidegger in comparison with neoplatonic doctrine of being see W. Beierwaltes, Identität und Differenz, Klostermann, Frankfurt a. M. 1980, pp. 131-143, and in comparison with the Platonic theory of the principles H. Krämer, Platone e i fondamenti della metafisica, intro. and trans. by G. Reale, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 1972, pp. 307-310; finally, on the similarities and connections of Heideggerian understanding of being as ἀλήθεια with the tradition of metaphysics of light see K. Hedwig, Sphaera lucis. Studien zur Intelligibilität des Seienden im Kontext der mittelalterlichen Lichtspekulation, Aschendorff, Münster 1980, especially pp. 2-5.

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