Franco Volpi - Heidegger and Aristotle

Translated by Pete Ferreira


As regards this latter point, it is certainly hard to think we can really put into question the reasons that Heidegger so forcefully posed for his finitism. Since today, actually, there doesn't seem to be any privileged perspective, there no loger seems to be an Archimedean pivot on the basis of which everything lets itself be understood and described. If at one time this function was assigned to the λόγος, and if ever again we tried looking for a factor for everything, myth and religion, art or philosophy, politics or morals, in order to represent everything, nowadays all these attempts look set from the start to failure. The nihilistic disillusionment has consumed them. Modernity seems to have led to a situation that could be described as a crisis of self-description. Because neither religion nor myth, nor art or philosophy, nor moral nor politics are more able to understand everything and to speak on its behalf. Today's widespread negative terminology – crisis of values, crises of meaning, negative thinking, nihilism – seems to me to provide clear testimony of the situation.

Still, even sharing Heidegger's finitism, his diagnosis of the disease of contemporary times still appears problematic. Thus we return to the first point questioned, namely the belief that the condition of technology today is the necessary consequence of the original motivations of Greek philosophy and ἐπιστήμη. If in fact we understand the Greek λόγος of philosophical and epistemic knowledge not in the ontological horizon of the problem of being as a tool for capturing the entity, but rather, as opposed to dogmatic knowledge, as an ideal of the deperspectivalization and the desubjectivism of perspective and natural subjectivity of life, that is, as the need to achieve a point of view which is not itself a subjective point of view, but the need to get rid of any subjectivity and any particularity, then technology as an implementation of dominion over the entity and as the fulfillment of modern subjectivity is not the realization of the original motivation of the Greek ideal of philosophy and ἐπιστήμη, but instead its loss and then its betrayal. That is: only a one sided and reductive understanding of the λόγος in the sense of calculating, axiomatic and instrumental reason has led to the essence of modern technology, not the λόγος as such.

A page from Franco Volpi's Heidegger and Aristotle