Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


ψόφοι non semantic: ἀγράμματοί ψόφοι semantic: φωναί σημαντικαί simple: φάσις connecting: λόγος ὀνόματα ρήματα non apophantic: εὐχή apophantic: ἀπόφανσις κατάφασις ἀπόφασις true false true false

Heidegger aims to show that the can-be-true or false, characteristic of apophantic discourse, of predication, is not an originary determination of truth; it is based instead on an ontologically earlier factor, a phenomenon of discovery, and more precisely still, in the discovering attitude that belongs to the being-there when it is open to the world of entities. Apophantic speech is one of the ways through which being-there has access to the entity and discovers it. And so, as the λόγος ἀποφαντικός, is one of the ways of discovering the entity, just as the could-be-true or false is only a particular mode of the phenomenon of truth. This latter, thus, must be grasped in its in itself on a more originary dimension.


To understand this, we must first ask ourselves about the conditions of the possibility of being-true or false of predication, that is about that discovering attitude of being-there enacted in the discursive-predicative forms of λόγος. Now, developing these considerations always on the basis of the Aristotelian text, Heidegger identifies the condition of can-be-true or false of predication in the dual structure of the λόγος — in its being σύνθεσις or διαίρεσις, in its connecting or detaching. Once this is done, he wonders then what are the unifying structure and the foundation from whence this double determination springs.

The answer to this question runs through an interpretation of Metaphysics IV, 7 and VI, 4, as well as De Interpretatione 1, in which Heidegger identifies the fundamental unity sought in the structure of the 'whilst' (Als) that forms the basis of predication, and which in turn is based on that 'as' (hermeneutic) which is the structure of understanding as determination of being-there15. This structure of 'whilst' in the original sense, Heidegger says that it "That phenomenon is the “as,” the structure that belongs to understanding as such. Here understanding must be understood as a basic form of being of our existence."16; he therefore concludes that " the structure of the “as” is the fundamental hermeneutical structure of the being of that being which we call existence (human life)."17. As a result, the true-being of predication refers to the structure that characterizes the being-there itself in her disposition for discovery, in its being unveiling (ἀληθεύειν). Thus, in determining the structure of being-there as a being-discovering or a being-unveiling. Heidegger re-thinks and re-formulates in an original way the sense of Aristotelian determination of the soul (ψῡχή) as a being in the true (ἀληθεύειν) in the sense of being unveiling18.

15 The distinction between apophantic 'as' and hermeneutical 'as' is not yet calibrated in the same terms that it will be in Being and Time. While in this course he firmly holds to the Aristotelian distinction between the semantics of the λόγος in general and the apophanticity of the λόγος regarding assertion, in § 7, and especially in § 33 of Being and Time he highlights the apophantic character of λόγος to thus place it in the originariness of the hermeneutic 'as'. The problem of the apophanticity of the λόγος is resumed, in a mutated perspective, during the winter semester 1929/30 (see GA 29/30, §§ 71-73). On the relationship between sign and λόγος, which it is not possible to cover here, see the observations of C. Sini, "Heidegger e il problema del segno", in L’uomo, un segno, 3, 1979, pp. 43-58.

16 GA 21, 150. [Logic: The Question of Truth, 126.]

17 Ibid. [Ibid, 127]

18 As is well known, in Being and Time the openness characteristic of being-there is designated by the technical term Erschlossenheit. In the Marburg courses, in particular in summer semester 1925, Heideggerian terminology is not yet defined in this sense; indeed, in this course, Heidegger speaks of "Erschlossenheit der Welt" and "Entdecktheit des Daseins". On the connection of openness and truth as constitutive characters of being-there see the crucial critical remarks of E. Tugendhat, Der Wahrheitsbegriff bei Husserl und Heidegger, 2nd ed., De Gruyter, Berlin 1970, especially pp. 256-362 (who already then could assess Heidegger's Marburg courses from Helene Weiss's Nachschriften); see also the equally important considerations of C.F. Gethmann, Verstehen und Auslegung. Das Methodenproblem in der Philosophie Martin Heideggers, Bouvier-Grundmann, Bonn 1974.

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