Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


As is known, the Aristotelian text in question deals with the problem of the determination of being. The latter, having been previously analyzed in the sense of οὐσία and ἐνέργεια, is now being considered in the sense of real. Now, in considering being as real, we must distinguish two cases, which Aristotle addresses in the first (1051 a 34 — b 17) and the second part (b 17 - 1052 a 11) of the chapter respectively: the case of composite bodies (σύνθετα) and the case of entities not composed, that is simple, indivisible (ἀσύνθετα).

With composite entities, they can be such in one of two ways: (1) always (ἀεὶ ὂν, ἀδύνατα ἄλλως ἔχειν), and then the λόγος which connects them will either be always true, if you merge them when they are joined and separate them when they are separate, or always false, if they are merged when they are separate and separate them when they are joined; or (2) sometimes yes and sometimes no (τα ἐνδεχόμενα αλλως), and then the λόγος connecting them can be sometimes true and sometimes false.

As for the non-composite entities (ἀσύνθετα), they cannot be apprehended in speech that connects, in σύνθεσις or in διαίρεσις, that is, the predicate structure of something as something. Their truth is different from the being-true or false of predication. For Heidegger, Aristotle captures here the truth as a characteristic of the entity itself, as the example carried over ("real gold") illustrates. Truth in this sense can be captured in the apprehension of νοεῖν (vernehmen, Vernunft) that Aristotle designates as a 'touch' (θιγειν, θιγγανειν). Around it there is no error, as with predication, but simply a not getting it, a not knowing (αγνοειν), meaning it can be understood in its tangibility or not understood at all.

A page from Franco Volpi's Heidegger and Aristotle