Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


5. the results of the confrontation

In rebuilding Aristotle's presence along Heidegger's path in the Marburg lessons and in Being and Time, we have seen above all how by interpreting in light of the Aristotelian texts the different levels of the giving of the phenomenon of truth, Heidegger puts in question the theories that see in judgment and in asserting the originary place of its occurrence and how he shows instead that only in a wider ontological horizon can the phenomenon of truth can be nursed and understood in its originality. Now, if the arrival point of this ontological study of the problem of truth is in understanding the equation of being and truth, which even after the turn remains at the center of Heideggerian reflection on being, the decisive aspect here is with the equation that Heidegger arrives at, at this stage of his thought, through the placement of the phenomenon of truth in the discovering attitude of being-there, in relation to which the very being is a being-discovered (by being-there), that is, a being-true in an ontological sense. The being-there (ψῡχή) is so determined as that entity whose peculiar character is to be in the truth (ἀληθεύειν), that is, the unveiling and the being-discovering.

We have seen then how the result of this interpretation of the phenomenon of truth in Aristotle constitutes for Heidegger a confirmation of the correctness of the direction in which he was calling into question the horizon of Husserlian phenomenology. If on the one hand, Heidegger takes charge of the fundamental problem of phenomenology, namely the problem of understanding the subjectivity of the subject, on the other he persuades himself gradually of the insufficiently radical ontology of the Husserlian approach to the problem, to the extent that Husserl mainly directs his understanding to an analysis of cognitive acts, and in particular those of scientific knowledge, thus tacitly assuming as horizon of his understanding the traditional primacy of θεωρία.

This is why, as we have tried to bring out, already since the early 1920s, Heidegger turns to Aristotle, seeing, or thinking he can see in him, a full analysis of the practical, poetic and theoretical attitudes of human life in its being-in-the-truth, namely – as Heidegger interprets it – in its being discovering. In particular Nicomachean Ethics Book VI provides in Heidegger's eyes a phenomenological analysis of the fundamental ways of being in the truth of being-there in its relating to itself, to others and to the world of things. In this phenomenology of human life would be understood and determined for the first time the structural moments of θεωρία, πρᾶξις and ποίησις, with which Heidegger orients himself in tracing the distinction of the three modes of being, of Dasein, Zuhandenheit and Vorhandenheit, which represent the ontological framework of the analytics of existence.

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