Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


The search for the presence of Aristotle in the Marburg courses and in Being and Time concludes with an unexpected outcome, namely with the tangible evidence that this presence – which in Heidegger studies has rarely been detected and even more rarely been assessed as to its real importance80 – is a central and decisive presence. As we tried to show, this presence fits fruitfully – in the form of a review of the scope of the fundamental meanings of being, in particular of being as truth – in its reconsideration, in its radicalization and in its ontological transformation of Husserlian phenomenology which Heidegger carries out, and particularly in the crucial task that he sets himself, namely the ontological clarification of the way of being of the 'subject', of human life, of being-there.

Finally, to conclude, there remains one final consideration. It remains for us to consider whether ascertaining a consistent and quasi-generalized presence of Aristotle in the Heidegger of Marburg and of Being and Time permanently removes the existentialistic blindness of the ontological issues present in Heidegger's analysis of existence, whether this is to be considered only a result, so to speak, of the research conducted. In the first place, especially emphasizing the meaning of Heidegger's reference to Aristotle's practical philosophy, we aim to point out – in addition to a generic ontological removal of Existentialist misunderstanding — that the presence of Aristotle in Heidegger until the turn does not indicate so much the generic presence of the ontological problem of being as ultimate goal of the investigation, but rather of the realization of an analysis of the character of the being of being-there, that is an analysis of its temporality, its practical connotation and of its finitude as ontological determinations, the ontological determinations only under which – in fundamental ontology – you can pose the problem of being.

80 The main studies on Heidegger and Aristotle were mentioned in footnote 5 of p. 7. It is significant that despite numerous interpretations of Aristotle inspired by Heidegger (especially from the essay on the concept of φύσις) like those of W. Bröcker, H. Weiß, K. Ulmer, A. Guzzoni, E. Tugendhat, R. Boehm, E. Vollrath, F. Wiplinger (see note 4 of p. 7), among the essays dedicated to the Heideggerian interpretations of the classics of philosophy collected in the Festschrift for the 80th birthday (Durchblicke. Martin Heidegger zum 80. Geburtstag, Klostermann, Frankfurt a. M. 1970) there are none on his interpretation of Aristotle.

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