Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


This is why Heidegger can definitely assert that "the λόγος is not independent, but is grounded in something more originary",14 i.e. it is rooted in the dimension that precedes it ontologically and that Heidegger is here plumbing. To this he adds that "the λόγος does not first produce a relation toward beings as such, but for its part is grounded in such a relation".15 For this, in a way that already heralds the interpretation of λόγος delivered in Introduction to Metaphysics (1935) [GA 40], he concludes that "not only does the λόγος ἀποφαντικός, not produce our relation to beings, it does not even produce this manifestness of beings. It always already merely makes use of both that relation and this manifestness in order to fulfill its potential as a revealing or concealing that points out. (...) The λόγος ἀποφαντικός merely takes apart, in the assertion, what is already manifest. It does not, however, first form the manifestness of beings in general".16

The shift that Heidegger makes here is, if we look carefully, twofold. The attention and the thematic focus moves not only from the assertive λόγος to the pre-predicative dimension that precedes it and on which it is based, but also from λόγος as a modality of active unveiling by being-there in the ontological happening of truth in the sense of the unveiling of the entity in which the λόγος is placed. In the text, the first shift is worded as follows: "the λόγος ἀποφαντικός certainly has the possibility of being true or being false, but this manner of being true, of becoming manifest, is grounded in a manifestness which, because it lies prior to predication and the assertion, we designate as pre-predicative manifestness, or better, as pre-logical truth. 'Logical' is here to be taken in a quite rigorous sense, namely having to do with the λόγος ἀποφαντικός, in the form we have interpreted it. With respect to the latter, there is a manifestness that lies prior to it, prior to it in the distinct sense that this original manifestness grounds the possibility of the λόγος being true and being false, grounds it in preceding it".17 The second shift occurs instead when Heidegger says: "if the λόγος ἀποφαντικός leads back to something more originary in respect of its inner possibility, and if whatever is more originary is somehow connected with what we call world and world-formation, then judgments and statements are not primarily world-forming in themselves, even though they belong to world-formation. (...) A being open for those beings themselves which the judgment is in each case concerned with must therefore already be possible in man, as the one who makes assertions, prior to the accomplishment and for the accomplishment of every assertion".18 And this being open is placed in a happening that is not determined by man: "Not only must a pre-predicative manifestness in general constantly already occur and have occurred, however, if the assertion as pointing out is to be accomplished in whatever way, but this pre-predicative manifestness must itself be this occurrence in which a particular letting oneself be bound occurs (Sichbindenlassen)."19 This fundamental event that precedes the discovering attitude of being-there in relation to the entity's manifestness is what Heidegger calls the being-free or freedom. It, however, is no longer understood in the sense and with the eminently practical connotations that it had in the 1920s; freedom is no longer that not being able to not decide what is the ontological basis of the projecting of being-there, but rather that it is that being-free of the entity that is thrown in the happening of the world project and in dominating the world (Walten der Welt).20

14 See GA 29/30, 491. [The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, 338.]

15 Ibid, 492. [Ibid, 339.]

16 Ibid, 494. [Ibid, 339-340.]

17 Ibid. [Ibid, 340-341.]

18 Ibid, 494-496. [Ibid, 341-342.]

19 Ibid, 497.[Ibid, 342] Although not specifically related to this step, but more generally to the meaning of the movements advertised with the 'turn', consider the observations of S. Natoli, Ermeneutica e genealogia, Feltrinelli, Milano 1981, pp. 111-134, for which even in the 'second' Heidegger "being remains an essential figure and his key method in accessing being", as he grants that in Being and Time Heidegger focuses "more intensively on ways suggesting access to the fundamental ontological dimension that, on the other hand, being-there already belongs to" (ibid., p. 127). So he remarks: "the ever increasing emergence of this appearance gives Dasein its definitive key; being-there doesn't stop being the fundamental occurrence, but it is 'occurrence of being ' (...). The ontological development does not destroy the specific characters of Dasein, but makes it complementary and blurs them it with respect to the ontological essence that constitutes it "(ibid.).

19 Ibid, 507. [Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, 349.]

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