Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle:
Indication of the Hermeneutical Situation

Life will find a way to escape
even this critique by a flight into
clichés and catchphrases.1

The following investigations contribute to a history of ontology and logic. As interpretations,2 they stand under particular conditions of expository interpreting and understanding. The subject matter that forms the content of any interpretation, that is, the thematic object in the how of its being-interpreted, is capable of speaking appropriately for itself only when its temporally particular [jeweilige] hermeneutical situation (to which every interpretation is relative) is made available with sufficient clarity in its basic outlines. Every interpretation, each according to its particular field of subject matter and cognitive claim, has the following hermeneutical outlines:

1) An initial stand from which to view [Blickstand],3 a concrete site which is more or less expressly appropriated and secured;

2) A direction of view [Blickrichtung] which is motivated by the initial stand and within which the “as-what” and the “toward-which” [das “woraufhin”] of the interpretation are determined. The object of the interpretation is thereby grasped in advance in the “as-what”, and is explicated in accord with the “toward-which”;

3) A range of vision [Sichtweite] which is demarcated by the initial stand and direction of view, and within which the interpretation’s claim to objectivity operates and applies.

The potential actualization [Vollzug] of interpretation and understanding, as well as the appropriation of the object that grows out of this actualization, are transparent to the degree that the situation (in which and for which an interpretation temporally develops, i.e., temporalizes itself [sich zeitigt]), is illuminated in its outlines according to the three senses mentioned above. The hermeneutics unique to each situation has to develop the transparency of its current situation and bring this hermeneutical transparency into its starting point and approach to interpretation.4

The situation of expository interpretation, of the understanding appropriation of the past, is always the situation of a living present. History itself, the past which is appropriated in understanding, grows in its comprehensibility according to the originality of the decisive choice and outlining of the hermeneutical situation. The past opens itself only in accord with the measure of resoluteness and the capacity of disclosure that a present has available to it. The originality of a philosophical interpretation is determined by the specific surety in which philosophical research adheres to itself and keeps to its tasks. The idea that this research has of itself and of the concreteness of its problematic also already decides its basic bearing toward the history of philosophy. What constitutes the proper objective field of inquiry for the philosophical problematic is determined by the direction of view into which the past cannot but be placed. This directed reading-into the past is not only not contrary to the sense of historical knowing, but is simply the basic condition for getting the past to speak to us at all. All expository interpretations in the field of the history of philosophy, as well as in those other fields which insist (over against the “constructions” of the history of problems) that nothing is being read into their texts, inevitably open themselves to being caught in the act of just such a reading. They only do so without conscious orientation and with conceptual means from the most disparate and uncontrollable sources. This lack of concern over what one “actually does” and lack of awareness of the means thereby employed is misconstrued as a suspension of subjectivity.5

The clarification of the hermeneutical situation for the following interpretations, and thus for the demarcation of their thematic field, grows from the following basic conviction: Philosophical research, in accord with its character of being, is something that a “time”—insofar as it is not concerned with philosophy merely as a matter of cultural formation and education—can never borrow from another time. But philosophical research is also something that will never want to claim to be allowed to, and be able to, take away from future times the burden and trouble [Bekümmerung = anxiousness] of radical questioning. Yet this is how philosophical research has understood itself and its sense of what is possible to attain in human existence [Dasein]. The possibility that past philosophical research will have an effect upon its future can never be attributed to its results as such, but rather is grounded in the originality of the questioning which in each instance has been achieved and concretely cultivated, through which past research—as a model for evoking problems—can become a present in ever new forms.

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[1. The Primal Stand of Facticity: What Is Philosophical Research?] The comprehensive object of philosophical research is human Dasein insofar as it is interrogated in its character of being. This basic direction of philosophical questioning is not externally added and attached to the interrogated object, factic life. It should rather be understood as the explicit grasping of a basic movement of factic life. Factic life is in such a way that in the concrete temporalizing and maturation [Zeitigung] of its being it is concerned about its being, even when it goes out of its way to avoid itself. A characteristic of the being of factic life is that it finds itself hard to bear. The most unmistakable manifestation of this is factic life’s tendency to make things easy for itself. In finding itself hard to bear, life is difficult in accord with the basic sense of its being and not merely as an accidental quality. If factic life properly is what it is in being-hard and being-difficult, then the genuinely appropriate way of accessing it and truly preserving it can only be by intentionally making it hard. Philosophical research must fulfill this duty if it does not want to completely miss its object. Every form of making things easy,6 any seductive catering to immediate needs, all metaphysical reassurances based on what is primarily just book-learning— all of this leads already in its basic intent to a failure to bring the comprehensive object of philosophy within sight and within grasp, let alone to keep it there. Philosophy’s own history is thus objectively there in a relevant sense for philosophical research if and only if it provides, not a diversity of curiosities, but rather radically simple matters worthy of thought;7 i.e., if the history of philosophy does not divert present understanding into merely seeking an expansion of knowledge, but rather forces the present back upon itself in order to magnify its questionability. Especially for a present whose very being is constituted by historical consciousness, anxiety over history and its appropriation calls for a radical understanding of what a particular instance of past philosophical research put forward as its basic anxiety in its situation and for its time. To understand means not simply to recognize established knowledge, but rather to repeat in an original way what was once understood in terms of its own situation and for that situation. Such a radical understanding happens least of all in the borrowing of theorems, propositions, basic concepts, and principles in order to revive and update them in one or another “new” form. When in its concern to understand itself it takes its models from the past, such an understanding will subject these models to the sharpest radical critique and will cultivate them into a potentially fruitful opposition. Factic Dasein always is what it is only as its own Dasein and never as the general Dasein of some universal humanity, whose cultivation would only be an exercise in futility. Critique of history is always only critique of the present. Critique cannot be of the naive opinion that it can calculate for history how it would have taken place, if only ... 8 Rather, it must focus on the present and see to it that it asks questions in a manner which is in accord with the originality within its own reach. History is negated not because it is “false,” but because it still remains effective in the present and nevertheless can never become a properly appropriated present.9

The fixing of the basic historical bearing of interpretation grows out of the explication of the sense of philosophical research. Its comprehensive object was defined in indicative fashion as factic human Dasein as such. The concrete outline of the philosophical problematic is to be drawn from this, its object. In preparation for this end, the specific character of the object, factic life, must be brought out into the open. This is necessary not only because it is the object of philosophical research, but also because philosophical research itself constitutes a particular how of factic life itself. As such, philosophical research in its very actualization co-temporalizes and thus brings to fruition the temporally particular concrete being of life in itself, and not first by way of some subsequent “application.” The possibility of such a co-temporalizing is grounded in the fact that philosophical research is itself the explicit actualization of a basic movement of factic life and constantly maintains itself within that life.

[1a. Elements of the Facticity of Life] In this indication of the hermeneutical situation, the structures of the comprehensive object, “factic life,” will not be outlined in their full concretion and will not be grasped in their constitutive interrelations. Rather, what is meant by the term “factic life” will be brought into view by enumerating only the most important constitutive elements of facticity. Thus, what is meant by the term “factic life” will be brought into view and made available as the pre-possession [Vorhabe] for such concrete investigations.

The confusing plurivocity of the word “life” and its usages should not become grounds for simply getting rid of the word. For then one renounces the possibility of pursuing the various directions of meaning which happen to belong to that word and which alone make it possible to reach the objectivity that is meant in each of its instances. In conjunction with this, one must basically keep in mind that the term ζωή, vita, signifies a basic phenomenon, in which the Greek, the Old Testament, the New Testament-Christian, and the Greek-Christian interpretations of human Dasein are all centered. The plurivocity of the term thus has its roots in the meant object itself. For philosophy, this uncertainty of meaning can only be either an occasion for eliminating the uncertainty, or, if it turns out that the uncertainty is a necessary one grounded in the object, for making it into an expressly appropriated and transparent uncertainty. This focus on plurivocity (πολλαχῶς λεγόμενον: what is said in many ways) is not an empty poking about among isolated word meanings, but rather is the expression of the radical tendency to make the meant objectivity itself accessible and to make available the motive source of its different ways of meaning.

The basic [relational] sense of the movement of factic life is caring [Sorgen] (curare).10 Life’s “being-out-toward-something” [“Aussein auf etwas”], in which it is directed toward something for which it cares, is such that the “toward-which” [das Worauf] of life’s care, the historically particular world at the time, is also there for it. The movement of caring has the character of coping [Umgang] with the world with which factic life is interacting. The toward-which of care is the with-which of interactive coping.11 The sense of the world’s being-actual and being-there is grounded in and defined by the world’s character as the with-which of care’s coping. The world is there as always already somehow taken into care’s custody. The world is articulated according to the possible directions of care as the world-around [Umwelt], world-with [Mitwelt], and self-world [Selbstwelt]. Correspondingly, caring is the care of livelihood, of profession, of enjoyment, of not being disturbed, of not dying, of being familiar with things and persons, of knowing about them, of securing life in its final goals.

The movement of concern [Besorgen] manifests manifold ways of actualization and of being-related to the with-which of interactive coping: tinkering with, preparing for, producing of, guaranteeing by, making use of, utilizing for, taking possession of, safekeeping of, and forfeiting of. The with-which that corresponds to each of these different ways of actualization of routine coping stands in each case within a particular acquaintance and familiarity. Care’s coping has its with-which always within a particular sight. A certain circumspection [Umsicht] is always active in coping, serving to guide and develop it temporally. Caring takes the form of looking around, and as circumspect it is at the same time concerned with the cultivation of circumspection, with safeguarding and increasing its familiarity with the objects of coping. In circumspection, the with-which of interactive coping is anticipatorily grasped as . . . , oriented toward . . . , interpreted as. . . . The objects are there as signified in this or that way, so that the world is encountered in the character of significance. The coping that is characterized by caring not only has the possibility of giving up this care of ordering things in the world. In point of fact, on the basis of an original tendency of movement within factic life, it has an inclination to do so. This obstruction of the tendency toward concerned coping turns it into a mere circumspecting that looks around without looking forward to the routine tasks of directing and orienting things in the world. Circumspecting thus becomes inspecting, merely looking at [Hinsehen]. In the care of inspecting, of curiosity (cura, curiositas), the world is there not as the with-which of the routinely directed coping, but solely with regard to how it looks, its appearance. Inspecting finds its completion in a defining inspection, and can now organize itself as a science. Science is thus a way of concerned coping with the world by way of inspecting it, a way which itself is temporally developed by factic life. As such a movement of coping, science is itself a way of being of factic life, playing its role in shaping the Dasein of factic life. The particular constellation of ways of looking at the world, i.e., points of view (the determination of the objective contexts of the world with regard to their outward appearance) achieved at any given time coalesces with circumspection and is deeply rooted in it.12 This circumspecting is actualized in the mode of addressing [An - sprechen] and discussing [Besprechen] the objectivity involved in coping with the world. The world is always encountered in having been addressed in certain ways, in an address (λόγος) that has made a certain claim [Anspruch] on and about it.

In releasing itself from its routine tendencies, coping holds up, takes a break, even takes up residence [nimmt einen Aufenthalt]. Inspection itself becomes an autonomous form of coping, and as such it is a kind of dwelling among [Sichaufhalten bei] objects in order to define them, as it holds itself back [Sichenthalten] from practical work. The objects are there as significant, and it is only in definitively directed and layered theorizing that what is objective (in the sense of what is simply object-like and thing-like) arises from the world’s factic character of encounter (i.e., from what is already significant).13

Factic life always moves within a particular interpretedness that has been handed down, or revised, or reworked anew. Circumspection gives to life its world as interpreted according to those respects in which the world is encountered and expected as the comprehensive object of concern, in which the world is put to tasks and made into a refuge. These respects, which are for the most part available in an implicit form, and into which factic life has simply slipped by way of habit [of a habitat!] more than it has expressly appropriated them, prefigure the paths for the movement of caring upon which this movement can actualize itself. The interpretedness of the world is factically also the interpretedness within which life itself stands. Also prefigured in the interpretedness of the world is the direction in which life takes itself into its care. That includes, however, the prefiguration of a definite sense of the Dasein of life (its “as-what” and “how”), within which human beings maintain themselves in their prepossession.

The movement of caring is not a process of life which runs its course on its own over and against the world that is there for it. The world is there in life and for life.14 But it is not there in the sense of merely being thought and observed. How the world is there, its Dasein, is temporally developed only when factic life pauses, holds up and takes a break in its movement of concerned coping. This Dasein of the world is what it is only as having grown from a particular pause that was made there. This being-there of the world—as actuality and reality, or even in the objectivity of nature (which is impoverished of all significance)—must for the most part provide the point of departure of the epistemological and ontological problematic. This pause to inspect is, as such, in and for the basic movement of concerned coping.

But the concern is for its own part related to its world not just in general and in its original intentionality. The movement of concern is not an indifferent actualization such that with it in general something only happens in life and life itself were a mere process. There is alive in the movement of caring an inclination of caring toward the world as the propensity [Hang] toward absorption in the world, toward letting oneself be swept along by the world. This propensity of concern is the expression of a basic factic tendency of life, a tendency toward falling away from one’s own self [Abfallen von sich selbst] and thereby toward falling into the world [Verfallen an die Welt], and thus toward the falling apart of oneself [Zerfall seiner selbst]. Let the basic character of this movement of caring be terminologically fixed as factic life’s inclination toward falling or lapsing [Verfallensgeneigtheit], (or, in brief, the falling-into- [das Verfallen an-]).15 And with this, the sense of direction and the intentional toward-which of the tendency of caring is also indicated. This falling is to be understood, not as an objective event nor as something that simply “happens” in life, but rather as an intentional how. This propensity [Hang] is the innermost fate [Verhängnis] which life factically endures. The how of this endurance in itself (as the way in which this fate “is”) must be approached, along with fate itself, as a constitutive element of facticity.

This character of life’s movement is not an evil quality that surfaces from time to time, a quality which through cultivation could be eliminated in the more progressive and happier times of human culture. This is so little the case that even the projections of human Dasein toward a reachable perfection and natural paradise are themselves only extensions of this very inclination toward lapsing into the world. In closing our eyes to life’s most characteristic movement, we come to see life simply in a worldly way, as world-laden [welthaft], as an object of commerce which through coping can be produced in an ideal form, in short, as the toward-which of plain and simple concern.

The very fact that factic life, in its tendency to lapse, arrives at such a worldly interpretation of itself gives expression to a basic peculiarity of this movement: This movement is tempting16 for life itself, insofar as it spreads certain possibilities issuing from the world across life’s way, whereby life idealizes its way to “take it easy” and so to miss itself. As tempting, the tendency to lapse is at the same time tranquilizing,17 i.e., it detains factic life in the states of its fallenness, such that life considers and carefully cultivates these states as quasi-situations of untroubled security and the most ideal possibilities of action. (In contrast to state [Lage], the situation [Situation] of factic life denotes the stand [Stand] taken by life itself. The seizure of this stand makes its fallen state transparent and, in the concrete troubles and woes of any given time, the possibility of being seized by a movement that counteracts the lapsing of care.) As tranquilizing, the tendency to lapse (which cultivates temptation) is alienating. This means that factic life becomes more and more alien to itself by being absorbed in the world in which it is concerned. And the movement of caring (which is left to itself and appears to itself as life) increasingly takes away from factic life the factic possibility of seeing itself in the counter-state of anxiousness,18 and thus takes away the possibility of taking itself as the goal of an appropriating return. In its three characters of movement— tempting, tranquilizing, and alienating—the tendency to lapse is the basic movement not only of the orienting productive coping, but also of circumspection itself and of its potential autonomy, of simply inspecting things in an addressing and interpreting which define them cognitively. Factic life takes itself and takes care of itself not only as a significant occurrence which stands before it in the guise of the importance of the world, but also speaks the language of the world whenever it speaks with itself.

Inherent in the inclination toward falling or lapsing is the fact that factic life, which in each instance [je] is properly the factic life of the individual, is mostly not lived as factic life. Factic life moves instead within a particular averageness of caring, of coping, of circumspection, and of apprehending the world. It is the averageness of the general public at any given time, of the social ambience and its prevalent trends of the “just like everyone else,” the crowd. It is this “everyone” that factically lives the individual life. Everyone is concerned about it, everyone sees, judges, enjoys it, everyone does it, asks about it. Factic life gets lived by the “no one,” for which all life gives its concern.19 Life seems always to be somehow stuck in inauthentic tradition and the inertia of habit and custom. Out of these habitualities, there arise needs, and, in these, the ways of fulfilling these needs are pursued in concern. Within the world in which it is absorbed and within the averageness in which it goes about its being, life hides from itself. The tendency to lapse is life’s evasion of itself. Factic life itself provides the most acute testimony of this basic movement in the way in which it comports itself toward death.

Just as factic life in its character of being is not a process, so too death is not a cessation in the sense of a termination of this process someday. Death is something that is imminent for factic life, standing before it as something inevitable. Life is in such a way that its death is always somehow there for it. Its death stands in view there for it, and this is so even if “the thought of death” is shut out and suppressed. Death presents itself as the object of care precisely in the fact that it is encountered in the obstinacy of its imminence as a how of life. The forced lack of anxiety about death in caring about life gets actualized in the flight into world-laden concerns. Looking-away from death, however, is so little a seizing of life in itself that it becomes precisely life’s own evasion of life and an evasion of life’s proper character of being. The having of death as imminent, both in the manner of the concern that takes flight as well as in the manner of the anxiousness that takes hold of death, is constitutive of facticity’s character of being. In the having of certain death (a having that takes hold of it), life becomes visible in itself. Death in this way of being gives to life a kind of sight, and continually brings life before its ownmost present and past, a past that is growing within life itself and comes toward it from behind it.

The attempt is repeatedly made to define the character of the comprehensive object, factic life, and of its being, without including the fundamental character of death and the “having of death” for the start in one’s approach to the problem of life. The initial omission of this guiding element to the entire problematic cannot be corrected by the mere addition of further supplements along the way. The purely constitutive ontological problematic of the character of the being of death which is described here has nothing to do with a metaphysics of immortality and a metaphysics of the “What next?” or “What comes after death?” As a constitutive moment of facticity, the impending death which one has imminently before oneself at the same time makes the present and past of one’s life uniquely visible, so that it is likewise the phenomenon out of which the specific “temporality” of human Dasein can be explicatively highlighted. The basic sense of the historical is defined in terms of this temporality,20 and never by a formal analysis of concept-formation within any particular historiography.

The constitutive characters of facticity that have been indicated—caring, the tendency to lapse, the how of the having of death—appear to run counter to what has been emphasized as the basic characteristic of factic life, namely, that it is a being to which, in the manner of its temporalizing, what ultimately matters is its own being. But that only appears to be the case. In all of its “going out of its way,” to avoid itself, life is factically there for its own self. It is precisely in this “away from itself ” that life presents itself and pursues its absorption in world-laden concern. Like every movement of factic temporality, “absorption-in” has in itself a more or less explicit and unacknowledged view-back toward the thing from which it flees. The from-which of its fleeing, however, is life itself as the factic possibility of being expressly seized as an object of troubled anxiousness. All coping has its own circumspection. This circumspection brings the with-which of coping (a with-which within the authenticity that is attainable at any given time) into the guiding preview [Vorblick]. The being of life in itself, which is accessible within facticity itself, is of such a kind that it becomes visible and attainable only by way of the detour through the countermovement against lapsing care.21 This countermovement, as life’s anxiousness about not getting lost, is the way in which the possible and seized being proper to life comes to fruition and temporalizes itself. Let this being, which is accessible in factic life and to factic life as the be-ing of factic life itself, be called “existence” [Existenz]. When it is anxious about its existence, factic life is on a detour. The possibility of seizing and being seized by the being of life in anxiousness is at the same time the possibility of failing existence.22 Because existence in itself is something that life can fail, the possible existence of factic life is basically questionable. The possibility of existence is always the possibility of concrete facticity as a how of the temporal fruition of this facticity in its temporality. It is impossible to ask in a direct and universal manner what existence may show. Insight into existence itself can be gained only by making facticity questionable, that is, by the concrete destruction of facticity with respect to the motives of its movement, its directions, and its volitional availabilities.23

The countermovement against the tendency to lapse should not be construed as a flight from the world. It is typical of all flight from the world that it does not intend life in its existentiell character. That is, it does not seize life in the questionableness that lies at its roots, but rather imaginatively displaces life into a new and tranquilizing world. Anxiousness about existence changes nothing in the factic state of life at the particular time. What is changed is the how of the movement of life, which as such can never become a matter for the general public or for the “everyone.” The concern involved in this coping is a concern that is anxious about its self. For its own part, factic life’s anxiety over its existence is not a brooding over oneself in egocentric reflection. It is what it is only as the countermovement against life’s tendency to lapse, so that it takes place precisely in the concrete movement of coping and of concern. Thus the countering “against” (as the “not”) attests to an original achievement which is constitutive of being. In view of its constitutive sense, negation has an original primacy over any position. And this is because the character of being of the human being is factically defined by its falling, by its worldly propensity. The sense of this proto-fact itself and the sense of this factuality [Tatsächlichkeit] as such can only be interpreted—if it can be interpreted at all—in and relative to facticity [Faktizität] in the excitement of being truly seized by it. The actualizing of the insight and of the insightful addressing of life with respect to its existentiell possibility has the character of an anxious interpretation of life in its sense of being. Facticity and existence do not mean the same thing. And the factic character of the being of life is not defined by existence. Existence is only one possibility which temporally comes to fruition within the being of the life which is characterized as factic. But this means that it is in facticity that the potentially radical problematic of the being of life is centered.

[1b. The Facticity of Philosophy] 1) If philosophy is not a contrived preoccupation that merely accompanies life, busying itself with any “generalities” whatsoever and with arbitrarily concocted principles; if instead philosophy is a questioning knowledge, i.e., research, which is simply the genuine and explicit actualization of the tendency to interpret and explicate that belongs to life’s own basic movements (movements in which life is concerned about [geht um] itself and its own being);

2) and secondly, if philosophy is bent upon viewing and grasping factic life in the decisive possibilities of its being; i.e., if philosophy has decided radically and clearly on its own (without the distractions of any busywork with worldviews) to make factic life speak for itself on the basis of its very own factic possibilities; i.e., if philosophy is fundamentally atheistic24 and understands this about itself;

—then it has decisively chosen factic life in its facticity and has made this facticity into its very own comprehensive object and subject matter. The how of philosophy’s research is the interpretation of this sense of being in terms of its basic categorial structures, i.e., the ways in which factic life temporalizes itself and speaks with itself in such a temporalizing development (κατηγορεῖν).25 Philosophical research does not need the finery of worldviews or the overzealous concern over not coming onto the scene too late for the entanglements of the present in which one still seeks to keep current. This is so, as long as philosophy has understood, on the basis of the object that has seized it, that what this object has entrusted to it as its topic of inquiry constitutes the original ontological conditions of the possibility of any worldview, which can be made evident only in the rigor of its research. These conditions are not “logical forms”; categorially understood, they are already the possibilities of the factic temporalizing of existence which are now grasped in their true availability.

The problematic of philosophy has to do with the being of factic life. In this regard, philosophy is fundamental ontology [prinzipielle Ontologie], such that the particular specialized regional ontologies of the world receive the ground and sense of their own problems from the ontology of facticity. The problematic of philosophy has to do with the being of factic life in the how of its being-addressed and beinginterpreted at any given time. This means that philosophy, as the ontology of facticity, is at the same time the categorial interpretation of the addressing and explicating [of being]; that is, it is logic.

Ontology and logic are to be returned to their unity of origin in the problematic of facticity and are to be understood as the derivatives26 of principled research; this principled research can be described as the phenomenological hermeneutics of facticity.

Philosophical research has to render the ever concrete interpretive expositions of factic life (i.e., the interpretations of the circumspection of caring and of the insights of anxious travail) categorially transparent in their factic unity in the temporalizing development of life: It has to render these interpretations transparent with regard to their pre-possession (basic sense of being into which life has placed itself ) and in relation to their pre-conception (ways of addressing and discussing in which factic life speaks to itself and with itself.) The hermeneutics is phenomenological; this means that its object-field, factic life with respect to the how of its being and its speaking, is seen thematically and methodologically as a phenomenon.27 The structure of the object, a structure which characterizes something as a phenomenon, i.e., full intentionality (being-related-to, the toward-which of the relating as such, the actualization of the relating-itself-to, the temporalizing development of the actualization, the truthful safekeeping [Verwahrung] of the temporalizing) is none other than the structure of an object having the character of the being of factic life. Intentionality, taken simply as being-related-to, is the first phenomenal character of the basic movement of life (i.e., of caring) that can be brought into relief immediately.28 Phenomenology is itself radical philosophical research, just as it was in its first breakthrough in Husserl’s Logical Investigations. One has not grasped phenomenology in its most central motives if one sees in it (as is sometimes the case within phenomenological research itself ) only a philosophical pre-science for the purpose of preparing clear concepts with whose help alone some authentic philosophy is then supposed to be set in motion—as if one could descriptively clarify basic philosophical concepts without the central and always newly appropriated basic orientation towards the comprehensive object of the philosophical problematic itself.

[2. The Historically Indicated Direction of View] With this account of facticity we have indicated the initial stand from which we view that the following interpretations, as phenomenological and as investigations into the history of ontology and logic, will assume. The idea of the phenomenological hermeneutics of facticity includes within it the tasks of: formal and material logic and a theory of their objects; the theory of science; the “logic of philosophy”; the “logic of the heart,” the logic of “pretheoretical and practical” thought; and it includes these within itself, not as some unifying collective concept, but rather according to its own operative force as the principled approach of the philosophical problematic.

But we have still not come to understand what historical investigations are supposed to do for such a hermeneutics, and just why Aristotle is to be the focus of the investigation, and how the investigation is to be carried out. The motivations for the particular directions of view emerge from the concrete setting of the initial stand from which we view. The very idea of facticity implies that only authentic and proper [eigentliche] facticity—understood in the literal sense of the word: one’s own [eigene] facticity—that is, the facticity of one’s own time and generation, is the genuine object of research. Because of its tendency to lapse, factic life lives for the most part in what is inauthentic, i.e., improper, in what has been handed down to it, in what has been reported to it, in what it appropriates in averageness. Even that which has been developed originally as an authentic possession lapses into averageness and publicness. It loses the specific sense of its provenance out of its original situation and “free floats” its way into the ordinariness of the “everyone.” This lapse of decadence affects all of factic life’s coping and circumspection, and not least of all its own actualizing of interpretation according to its pre-possession and preconception. Philosophy, in the way it asks questions and finds answers, also stands within this movement of facticity, since philosophy itself is simply the explicit exposition and interpretation of factic life.

Accordingly, the philosophical hermeneutics of facticity necessarily makes its own beginning within its factic situation, and it does so within an already given interpretedness of factic life which first sustains the philosophical hermeneutics itself and which can never be completely eradicated. According to what has been said about the tendency toward falling which affects every interpretation, it follows that precisely “what is self-evident” about this interpretedness (what is not discussed in it, what is assumed not to require any further clarification) will be that which inauthentically (i.e., without explicit appropriation on the basis of its origins) exercises the dominating power to influence such hermeneutical matters as the choice of the problems and the direction of the questioning.

The addressing and interpreting of itself that is actualized by factic life itself receive their ways of seeing and speaking from the already given objects of the world. Where human life, Dasein, the human being, is the comprehensive object of an interpretive questioning, this objectivity stands within our pre-possession as a worldly occurrence, as “nature”29 (the psychical is understood as nature, as is spirit and life by way of an analogous categorial articulation). Our intellectual history still motivates us today to speak of the “nature” of the human being, of the soul, and in general of the “nature of the thing,” and also to discuss this kind of objectivity categorically, i.e., in categories which derive from a particular kind of explication, from a particular way of looking at “nature.” Even when the objects are, in principle, no longer approached as “substances” in a crude sense (an approach, by the way, from which Aristotle was further removed than is commonly taught) and when the objects are not investigated for their occult qualities, the interpretation of life nevertheless moves within basic concepts, interrogative approaches, and tendencies of explication which have arisen from experiences of objects, experiences which we today no longer have—and for quite some time have not had—available to us.

For the most part today, philosophy operates inauthentically within the Greek conceptuality, which itself has been pervaded by a chain of diverse interpretations. The basic concepts have lost their original functions of expression, functions which were specially tailored to fit regions of objects experienced in a particular way. But for all the analogizing and formalizing which these basic concepts have undergone, some mark of their provenance still remains. These basic concepts still bear within themselves a part of the genuine tradition of their original sense, such that their direction of meaning can be traced back to their objective source. By beginning with the idea of the human being, the ideals of life, and representation of the being of human life, philosophy today moves within ramifications of basic experiences which have been temporally developed in Greek ethics and above all in the Christian idea of the human being and of human Dasein. Even anti-Greek and anti-Christian tendencies remain fundamentally within the same directions of viewing and ways of interpreting. Thus the phenomenological hermeneutics of facticity sees itself called upon to loosen up today’s prevalent traditional interpretation in its hidden motives, its unexpressed tendencies and ways of interpreting and, by way of a deconstructive regress [abbauender Rückgang], to press toward the original motive sources of the explication. The phenomenological hermeneutics of facticity thus sees itself summoned to such a radical exposition in order to assist the contemporary situation along the path toward a radical possibility of appropriation (and this by way of calling its attention to the concrete categories that are being provided to this end). Hermeneutics carries out its task only on the path of destruction. So long as it has understood the kind of objectivity and being which belongs to its thematic toward-which (the facticity of life), philosophical research is “historical” knowing in the radical sense of that term. For philosophical research, the destructive contestation [Auseinandersetzung] of philosophy’s history is not merely a supplement for the purposes of illustrating how things were earlier, an occasional overview of what others “did” earlier, or an opportunity for outlining entertaining perspectives in world history. The destruction is rather the authentic path upon which the present must encounter itself in its own basic movements, and it must encounter itself in such a way that what springs forth for the present from its history is the continual question: to what extent is it (the present) itself truly worried about appropriating radical possibilities from basic experiences and their interpretations? The tendencies towards a radical logic of origins and the approaches to ontologies thereby get a principal critical elucidation. Here the critique which already arises simply by way of the concrete actualization of the destruction is thereby focused not on the bare fact that we stand within a tradition, but applies rather to the how of our standing there. What we do not interpret and express originally is also what we do not have in proper safekeeping. It is factic life itself (and that means at the same time the possibility of existence that lies in factic life) which is to be brought into a temporalizing safekeeping. If this life renounces the originality of interpretation, it relinquishes the possibility of coming into possession of itself at its roots, i.e., the possibility to be itself in radicality.

[2a. The Greek-Christian Interpretation of Life] The complexity of the decisive constitutive forces operative in the character of the being of today’s situation will, in view of the problem of facticity, be characterized briefly as the Greek-Christian interpretation of life. The anti-Greek and anti-Christian tendencies of interpretation (which are determined by and so relative to the Greek-Christian interpretation of life) are also included in this characterization. The idea of the human being and of human Dasein which is set within such an interpretation defines the philosophical anthropology of Kant as well as that of German Idealism. Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel come from theology and receive from it the basic impulses of their speculation. This theology is rooted in Reformation theology, which succeeded to only a very small extent in achieving a genuine explication of Luther’s new basic religious position and its immanent possibilities. For its own part, this basic position itself grew out of Luther’s interpretations of Paul and of Augustine, whom Luther adopted in an original manner, and from his concurrent confrontation of the theology of late Scholasticism (Duns Scotus, Ockham, Gabriel Biel, Gregory of Rimini).

The doctrines of late Scholasticism concerning God, the Trinity, the original state [Urstand] of humanity before the Fall, sin, and grace all operate with the conceptual means that Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure provided for theology. But that means that the idea of the human being and of the Dasein of life, which is set in advance for all of the above domains of theological problems, is based upon an Aristotelian “physics,” “psychology,” “ethics,” and “ontology,” in which Aristotle’s basic teachings are treated in a particularly selective way and restrictive interpretation. At the same time, Augustine is also crucially influential and, through him, Neoplatonism. And through Neoplatonism, Aristotle is once again influential, and this to a greater extent than is usually assumed. These connections are more or less familiar to all in the rough textual filiations of literary history. What is completely lacking is a proper interpretation founded centrally in the basic philosophical problematic of facticity outlined above. Research of the Middle Ages in its leading points of view is presently constrained within the schematism of a neo-Scholastic theology and within the framework of an Aristotelianism outlined by this neo- Scholasticism. It is first of all necessary to understand the scientific structure of medieval theology, its exegeses and commentaries, as highly mediated interpretations of life. Theological anthropology must be traced back to its basic philosophical experiences and motives. Only by reference to these can we make sense of the forces of influence and modes of transformation which originated from the basic religious and dogmatic attitude of the time.30 The hermeneutical structure of commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (which sustains the authentic development of theology up until Luther) is not only not laid bare as such; the very possibility of questioning and approaching it is lacking. Even those things which entered into Lombard’s Sentences in the form and choice of selections from Augustine, Jerome, and John Damascene are already significant for the development of medieval anthropology. In order to have any standard for these reformulations at all, there is a need for an interpretation of Augustinian anthropology which does not simply excerpt propositions on psychology from his works, in the manner of some textbook on psychology or manual of moral theology. The center of such an interpretation of Augustine with respect to the basic ontological and logical constructions of his life’s teaching should be situated in his writings on the Pelagian controversy and in his teachings on the Church. The idea of the human being and of Dasein which is operative here points back to Greek philosophy, to patristic theology (which is founded upon Greek thinking), to Pauline anthropology, and to the anthropology of John’s Gospel.

[2b. Specifying the Destructive Direction of View] In the context of the task of phenomenological destruction, the important thing is not merely a graphic depiction of the different currents and their relations of dependency. It is rather a matter of bringing out the central ontological and logical structures within each of the decisive turning points of the history of Western anthropology by way of an original return to the sources. This task can be achieved only if a concrete interpretation of Aristotelian philosophy which takes its orientation from the problem of facticity, i.e., from a radical phenomenological anthropology, is made available.

In light of the problem of facticity which constitutes our starting point, Aristotle is only the completion and the concrete refinement of the philosophy that preceded him. At the same time, however, Aristotle in his Physics arrives at a new basic approach to principles from which his ontology and logic grew, which in turn permeated the history of philosophical anthropology that has just been schematically and retrospectively described. The central phenomenon, whose explication is the theme of the Physics, becomes beings in the how of their being-moved.

At the same time, the literary form in which Aristotelian research has been transmitted (treatises in the style of thematic exposition and investigation) offers the only fundament which is suitable for the particular methodical intentions of the following interpretations. It is only by a regress from Aristotle that Parmenides’ doctrine of being can be defined and understood as the crucial step that decided the sense and destiny of Western ontology and logic.

The investigations that aim at carrying out the task of the phenomenological destruction focus especially on late Scholasticism and Luther’s early theological period. Thus this framework also encompasses tasks whose difficulty is not easily overestimated. It is the initial stand from which we view (i.e., the starting point and the exposition of the problem of facticity) that determines our basic comportment [Haltung] toward history and fixes the direction of our view toward Aristotle.

[3. The Range of Vision] Every interpretation must, according to both the initial stand and direction of its view, over-illuminate its thematic object. The thematic object can be suitably defined only when one succeeds in seeing the object, not arbitrarily, but rather in seeing it too precisely, in its sharpest outlines, by way of accessing its definitive content. One thereby succeeds, by way of a retraction of this excess of illumination, in coming back to a precise demarcation which is as suitable as possible for the object, a “perfect fit,” so to speak. An object which is always seen only in semidarkness can be grasped only by passing through an over-illumination of the object precisely as it is given in semidarkness. As over-illuminating, however, the interpretation should not question too widely and claim for itself a fantastic objectivity in historical knowledge as such, as if the interpretation had arrived at an “in-itself.” Simply to ask about the “in-itself ” at all is to misjudge the objectivity of the historical completely. To arrive at relativism and skeptical historicism because an “in-itself ” cannot be found is only the reverse side of this same misjudgment. The translation of the interpreted texts, and above all the translation of their crucial basic concepts, have developed from the concrete interpretation and contains it, so to speak, “in a nutshell” (in nuce). The coining of terms derives not from a desire for innovation, but rather from the content of the translated texts.

[4. Interpreting Aristotle Accordingly] The starting-point of the Aristotle-interpretation, which is determined by the initial stand from which we take our view, must now be made understandable, and the first part of the investigations must be sketched in summary fashion.

The guiding question of the interpretation must be: As what kind of object and character of being is human being, [who finds] “be-ing in living,” experienced and explicatively interpreted? What is the sense of Dasein within which this interpretation of life approaches the comprehensive object, human being, in advance? In brief, within what pre-possession of being does this objectivity stand? Further: how is this being of the human being conceptually explicated, what is the phenomenal ground [Boden, soil] of the explication, and which categories of being grow out of what is thus seen as its explicata?

Is the sense of being that in the end characterizes the being of human life drawn genuinely from a pure basic experience of just this object and its being, or is human life taken as only one being within a more comprehensive field of being, that is to say, is it subject to a sense of being which is applied archontically to it? What does being as such mean for Aristotle, how is it accessible, conceivable, and definable? The field of objects that provides the original sense of being is the field of things that are produced and in common use. Thus the toward-which that the original experience of being aims at is not the field-of-being of things as a theoretically and thingly apprehended kind of object. The toward-which is instead the world that is encountered in our coping with it by producing, doing, using, etc. The finished product resulting from the coping movement of production (ποίησις), that which has become a being-on-hand [Vorhandensein] ready for use, is actually what is. Being means being-produced and, as something produced, being available as well as significant relative to our tendency to cope with the world. Insofar as it is the object of circumspecting or else the object of an independent apprehension by way of inspecting, a being is addressed with regard to how it looks, its appearance (εἶδος). The inspective kind of apprehension is explicated in addressing and discussing (λέγειν). The “what” of the object, i.e., the “what” which is addressed (λόγος), and the object’s appearance (εἶδος) are in a sense the same. But this means that what is addressed in the λόγος is, as such, the proper and authentic being. With the objects that it addresses (and so claims), λέγειν brings beings in the beingness (οὐσία) of their appearance into the custody of truth’s safekeeping [Verwahrung]. In Aristotle as well as later, οὐσία still retains the meaning of household goods, belongings, property, that which is available for use in one’s surroundings. Οὐσία means possessions, what one has [die Habe]. That about the being which, as the being’s being, comes into the custody of safekeeping in the course of coping, i.e., that which characterizes the being as a possession, is the being’s being-produced. In production, the object of coping comes to its appearance and acquires its “look.”

The field of being of the objects of coping (ποιούμενον [product], πρᾶγμα [deed], ἔργον [work], κινήεσως [thing moved]) and the way of addressing that belongs to coping (a particular kind of logos, or, more exactly, the object of coping, in the how of its being-addressed) indicate the prepossession from which the basic ontological structures (and thus the ways of addressing and defining the object “human life”) are to be drawn.

How do the ontological structures develop? As the explicata of an addressing, inspecting, defining, determining, i.e., on the path of a kind of research that takes the field of being (a field of being which is brought into its particular prepossession by way of a basic experience of it, according to particular regards, and articulates it in these regards). Therefore the researches (researches whose object is experienced and thought in the character of being-moved, researches within whose What something like movement is already given) must mediate the possible access to the proper motivational source of Aristotelian ontology. Such research is present in the Physics of Aristotle. In our method of interpretation, this research is itself to be taken as a full phenomenon and interpreted, first, with respect to its object in the how of its investigative coping with the object; then, with respect to the basic experience within which the object is pregiven as the starting point for the research; with respect to the constitutive movements that actualize this research; and with respect to the concrete ways in which the object is intended and conceptually articulated. What becomes visible in this way are the beings being moved with an eye to their character of being, the movement itself with regard to its categorical structure, and thus the ontological constitution of the archontic sense of being.

But for the phenomenological interpretation of this research itself, we must also come to an understanding of the sense in which Aristotle generally understood research and the actualization of research. Research is a way of coping that looks directly [hinsehen] at something, inspecting it (ἐπιστήμη) [science, knowledge]. Research has its particular genesis in the practical coping of daily concern. And it is only on the basis of this genesis that we can come to understand how research “copes”—i.e., the manner of its questioning something with respect to that thing’s “in what way” (ἄιτιον [cause]) and its “from whence” (ἀρχή [source, origin]). Insight into the genesis of research is provided by our preliminary interpretation of the Metaphysics, Book I, chapters 1 and 2.

But the understanding which inspects and defines (ἐπιστήμη) is only one way in which beings come into the safekeeping of “truth” [Ver-wahrung]: these are the beings that are what they are necessarily and for the most part. Another kind of coping, where we are practically concerned in keeping things in good working order and deliberate to that end, exists with regard to the beings which can also be other than what they are at any given moment, the beings that have to be manipulated, treated, or produced, to begin with, in the course of coping with them. This way of safekeeping the truth of being is τέχνη, art. Aristotle interprets the ways in which coping is illuminated (circumspection, insight, inspection [Umsicht, Einsicht, Hinsicht])—ways that differ according to the different regions of being—as ways of actualizing pure and simple apprehension [reines Vernehmen], which provides vision in the first place. He interprets these within an original context of problems with regard to their basic achievement of appropriating being and safeguarding its truth (Nicomachean Ethics, Book VI). Through the interpretation of this text, we shall from the start attain the phenomenal horizon within which research and theoretical knowing are to be ordered as ways οἶς ἀληθεύει ἡ ψυχή [in which the soul “trues”] (VI.3.1139b15). The first part of our investigations will thus include the interpretations of the following texts:

Nicomachean Ethics, Book VI;

Metaphysics, Book I, chapters 1–2; and

Physics, Books I and II; and Book III, chapters 1–3.

[Overview of the Planned Treatise: A Distilled Summary]

[Heidegger’s stated intention of this overview, and so of the planned treatise, is to single out, from the myriad texts that offer a philosophy of substance and constant presence, the Aristotelian texts that approximate the guiding problematic of the radical facticity of the human situation and subject these selections to a phenomenological interpretation. The key to human facticity in Aristotle is his ontological distinction between beings that always and necessarily are and “beings that can also be otherwise,” usually translated as “changeable beings.” The outstanding new interpretation in this survey of Aristotelian texts is Heidegger’s very first full account of factic (finite) truth understood as a process of un-concealment (a translation of ἀ-λήθεια already repeatedly questioned by Georg Misch in the margins of his copy of this “Introduction”), with the emphasis here on the conserving stasis of the habits of truth. In view of its increasing importance in the ensuing years, the first section on truth will be summarized in some detail, and the remaining sections in a more schematic distillation.]

Nichomachean Ethics VI

The key to this treatment of the “dianoetic virtues,” the four “habits” of truth that actualize νοῦς (simple apprehension as such, pure be-holding), is that, as habits, each in its own way serves to maintain, preserve and conserve be-ing in its truth, taking being into custody and safeguarding its truth (Seinsverwahrung). With νοῦς [mind, thought], there are thus five ways in which the human soul “trues,” ἀληθεύει, or “brings and takes beings as unveiled [unverhüllt] into the safekeeping of truth.” This means that the beings that first become accessible through appropriation and safekeeping can then be defined and demarcated in the how of their apprehension and thus with respect to their genuine character of be-ing. Since there are two distinct regions of be-ing, that which always is [eternal being] and that which can also be otherwise [changeable being], the concrete actualizing of the genuine safekeeping of be-ing as unconcealed therefore occurs in four ways (in Aristotle’s order of listing: 1139b15–18):

τέχνη [art] – procedures of producing, organizing, managing, and directing

ἐπιστήμη [science] – defining by inspecting, discussing, and demonstrating

φρόνησις [prudence] – solicitous circumspection in the care of human wellbeing

σοφία [wisdom] – proper understanding that sees properly through a direct view

The latter two, circumspection and the sight of understanding, first provide access to the beings which are then defined and demarcated according to the first two habits of excellence. Since all four, each in its own way, are concrete ways of actualizing and fulfilling the “ground vitality” of apprehension as such, νοῦς, their phenomenal differentiation and interconnection and the variation in their respective achievement and truthful preservation of being depends on the correct interpretation of the sense of ἀληθές–ἀλήθεια and a phenomenological apprehension of νοῦς.

The usual appeal to Aristotle for the traditional doctrine of truth as something “occurring in the judgment” and constituting an “agreement” of thought with the object cannot be justified in his texts. There is no trace in Aristotle of truth as agreement, of λόγος as valid judgment, of a representational theory of cognition, or of the epistemological monstrosity of “critical realism.” The sense of ἀληθές, being-there [da-sein] as unconcealed [unverborgen], or being-intended in itself, is in no way drawn explicatively from the judgment and is not originally domiciled there and related to it. ᾽Αληθεύειν does not mean to “take possession of the truth” in usurpation, but to take it in trust for conservation, to take the intended being into the safekeeping of habitual truth as unveiled.

Αἴσθησις, apprehending in the sensory mode, is not “also” called true by way of transference of the “concept of truth” from the λόγος [misunderstood as judgment]. Rather, its proper intentional character is such that it gives that which in itself is originally its intentional toward-which “in an originary way” [Husserl]. “Giving an object as an unveiled object” is its very sense. “Sense perception of the objects proper to each sense is always true” (De anima III.3.427b12). “True” in this phenomenal context of directness does not really tell us anything. By contrast, there is “falsehood” only when there is “synthesis” (III.6.430b). Falsehood presupposes, as its condition of possibility, a different intentional structure in intending an object, of going-toward the being with “regard” to another being-intended. Where the being is intended not simply in itself but as such and such, in an “as” character, the apprehending takes place in the mode of taking-together and taking-with. Since apprehending as sensory takes place in the form of addressing its object as this or that and discussing it as this or that (in λέγειν), it is possible that the object can give itself out as something that it is not. The tendency to intend the object in its “as” is absolutely fundamental for the possibility of ψεῦδος, falsity. As Aristotle puts it, thinking falsely occurs only when there is discourse along with sense perception. “Only the apprehended being addressed with respect to an ‘as’ can give itself to such an addressing as ‘deceptively like it’” (427b13). In its very sense, the “being true” of the λόγος of addressing is constituted only by way of a detour through ψεῦδος. The λόγος itself must be taken in its own intentional character: it is ἀπόφανσις, an intending arising from the object and drawing upon (ἀπό) it in this addressing and discussing. Accordingly, ἀποφαίνεσθαι is a matter of letting the object “appear” for itself from out of itself (middle voice) as itself. This becomes important for the interpretation of φαντασία, imagination.

The λέγειν gives the being in itself, which now means that it gives the being in its unveiled “as what,” to the extent that a what is put forward that is not deceptive, merely passing itself off as the what in question. Ψεῦδος as self-veiling [Sichverhüllen] has sense only on the basis of a meaning of ἀληθές that is originally not related to λόγος. Remaining concealed, being veiled, is expressly specified as that which defines the sense of ψεῦδος and therefore the sense of truth. Aristotle regards being concealed as in itself positive. It is not by chance that the sense of “truth” for the Greeks is in its sense, and not just grammatically, defined privatively. The entity in the how of its possible “as-what determinations” is not simply there, it is a “task.” And the entity in the how of its being unveiled, ὅν ὡς ἀληθές, is that which must be taken into custody for safeguarding against possible loss. That is the sense of the habits, ἕξεις, in which the soul possesses truth. The highest authentic habits are σοφία and φρόνησις, which hold the ἀρχαί in trust and safeguard their truth, each within its own field of being. The ὅν ὡς ἀληθές is no proper being or field of being of true judgments, but rather the entity itself in the how (ὡς) of its unveiled being-intended. It is ἐν διανοία as νοητόν: “in the ‘intellect’ as the toward-which of its apprehending.” This interpretation of ἀληθές and ἀληθεύειν, which circumvents a series of artificial difficulties that have arisen in the exposition of their sense, will be concretely documented by an in-depth phenomenological analysis of Metaph. VI, 4 (being as truth), De anima III.5–6 (productive and passional mind), De interpretatione, Metaph. V.29 (“false”) and, above all, Metaph. IX.10 (being as truth).

The λόγος, λέγειν is the way in which νοεῖν (simple apprehension) is actualized and, as such a διανοεῖσθαι, an apprehension that takes its intention apart and analyzes it; it is a division as well as a synthesis (De anima III.6.430b3). Addressing and discussing in its synthetic determining can also be regarded as a taking-apart and ex-plicating.

Νοεῖν has the basic character of apprehending. Νοῦς is apprehension pure and simple, which means that it enables to begin with, and first gives, a toward-which for any and every directed coping whatsoever. “It pro-duces all things, it is the capacity to make things available, in a habit that is akin to light, in making the potential (e.g., color) actual” (III.5.430a15). Νοῦς as such gives sight, gives a something, gives a “there.” As “what is proper to the human being,” ἴδιον τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, νοῦς exists in its concrete actualization, as ἐνεργεία, as at work, its own work, which is that of giving sight, always such in the mode of concrete coping with, in orienting, producing, treating, defining. Insofar as it gives coping its sight, it can also be described as the illumination of coping, which however has the sense of taking being into trust and conserving its unconcealment. The genuinely objective for νοῦς is that which it apprehends ἄνευ λόγου, “without discursivity,” without the mode of addressing something in terms of its “as-what-determinations” (430 b28). The genuinely objective is the ἀδιαίρετα, the indivisible, that which in itself cannot be taken apart and ex-plicated any further. Νοῦς as such presents the objective as such purely in its unveiled what. Νοῦς as such is “simply true.” “Apprehension of the simple and indivisible is found in those cases where falsehood is impossible” (430b26). The “simply” here means “simply not yet” in the possibility of being-false, and not anything like “no longer” in this possibility. Νοῦς gives to any concrete discussion its potential about-which, which itself cannot become accessible simply in the discussion as such, but only in the ἐπαγωγή (“induction”). But this word must be understood purely in its literal sense and not in the empirical sense of gathering things together, but rather a simple and direct leading-to . . . , and letting it be seen. Νοῦς is αἴσθησις τις, an apprehending which in each case pre-gives the “look” [Aussehen, outward appearance, form, eidos] of objects simply: ὁ νοῦς εἶδος ειδῶς καὶ ἡ αἴσθησις εἶδος αἰσθητῶν (432a2); “simple apprehension is the look of looks, the form of forms, while perception is the look or form of the perceived.” Just as the hand is the tool of tools and just as a tool [Werkzeug] taken in the hand comes to its proper being in generating work [Werk-zeugen], so too the look/form is in sight only through and in the νοῦς, as its toward-which. It is in sight, it “looks out” at us, it appears and takes shape by way of νοῦς. Insofar as a field of objects must become explicitly accessible as such (and that not simply in the task of theoretical determination), the “whence” (ἀρχή) of the λέγειν must already be available as unveiled. With an eye to the ἀρχή, the λέγειν takes its point of departure from it such that it keeps this point of departure “within eyesight” as its constant orientation of ground. These ἀρχαί as unveiled are expressly taken into custody for safekeeping in the ἐπαγωγή by what is nowadays called the “induction of first principles” (Nic. Ethics VI.3.1139b31). The highest and proper achievement of νοῦς is the apprehension of the ἀρχαί which correspond to each region of being and the placement of them under the safeguards of truth.

The concrete ways of actualization of this authentic safekeeping of being are σοφία and φρόνησις. Purely inspective [contemplative] understanding brings into safekeeping those beings whose “whence” (ἀρχή) is, as they themselves are, such that it necessarily and always is what it is. By contrast, the circumspective solicitude of human well-being, under discussion, brings into truthful safekeeping those beings which, along with their “whence,” can in themselves also be otherwise. Both modes of guardianship develop and ripen temporally μετὰ λόγου in speech, actualizing themselves in discussion and explication. This form of discursivity is constitutive of them, insofar as they place the ἀρχαί in their sights not as isolated things which exist for themselves, but as they in fact are in their most proper sense, as ἀρχαί for. The what-for also comes into the purview of conserving safekeeping as the what-for of these whences, which is still in need of definition. The λόγος here is an ὀρθὸς λόγος, seeking to define just the right path between excess and deficiency. Discussing here establishes an original direction and seeks to maintain its originality. It has in each case its established “end,” corresponding to the sense of the temporally particular mode of safekeeping, and it is this end which is of central concern for the illuminative explication of this guarded preserve of safekeeping. Φρόνησις brings into the custody of safekeeping the toward-which of the coping of human life with itself as well as the how of this coping in its very own be-ing. This coping is πρᾶξις: how one handles oneself in non-productive coping, in how one simply acts. Φρόνησις is the illumination of coping which at once brings life to fruition in its temporal be-ing.

The concrete interpretation shows how this entity called the καιρός (the timely moment) temporalizes itself and matures in and through φρόνησις. The practical action of the solicitous conduct of human affairs is always concrete in the mode of concerned coping with the world. Φρόνησις makes the circumstantial state (Lage) of the actor accessible by adhering to the οὖ ἕνεκα, the why (for-the-sake-of-which), by providing a precisely defined what-for, by seizing the “now” and prefiguring the how; it heads toward the ἔσκατον, the ultimate extremity, the limits, in which the concrete situation of action regarded to be definitive finds its culmination. The [political] discussions and solicitous deliberations of φρόνησις are possible only because it is primarily an αἴσθησις, in the end a simple overview of the moment of decision, insight, and opportunity. The πρακτόν (human action), the unveiled entity made available in the ἀληθεύειν of the φρόνησις, is a being-not-yet such and such. As “not yet such and such,” as the toward-which of concern, it is at the same time already such and such, as the toward-which of a concrete readiness to take action, to cope. The constitutive illumination of this state of readiness is precisely what φρόνησις as circum-spection, as over-view, is all about. The “not yet” and the “already” are to be understood in their “unity,” from a primordial givenness [a whence] for which these two temporal relations are particular explicata. Their particularity refers to determinate aspects of movement to which the concept of στέρησις (privation), a category of motion, applies. It is in this category that Hegelian dialectic finds its roots in intellectual history [Nic. Ethics VI, esp. chap. 2, 4, and 8].

᾽Αλήθεια πρακτική thus finds its focus in the full, unveiled, temporally particular pivotal moment of factic life in the how of its decisive readiness to cope with itself, all this within a factic relation of concern for the encountered world. Φρόνησις is epitactic [prescriptive, prefiguring]: it presents the entity as something to be concerned with, it interjects into this concern each aspect of the pivotal moment and maintains them in this concern (the temporally particular how, whatfor, how-far, and why at this time). As epitactic illumination, it brings coping into the basic bearing of readiness for . . . , breaking free toward. . . . The toward-which intended here, the entity of the pivotal moment, stands under the purview of significance for . . . , of being within the capacity of concern, of what simply must be done now. Φρόνησις looks to “what is conducive to the end” (Nic. Ethics VI.9.1142b32). Since its basic concern is to safeguard the full moment and assume custody of it, circumspection in its proper sense maintains the why of the action, its ἀρχαί, in the custody of truly genuine safekeeping. The ἀρχή always is what it is only in concrete relation to the moment, being there in and for the moment in being seen and being seized.

The interpretation at once provides a concrete characterization of the method by which Aristotle explicates the phenomenon of φρόνησις: descriptive comparison and contrast according to the various phenomenal aspects of relatedness-to: the toward- which of the relational sense, the how of the actualization sense. The description always takes place within the simultaneous comparison and contrast of the different ἕξεις. Especially instructive in this regard is the analysis of εὐβουλία (deliberating well = Besinnung), the concrete way of actualizing the λέγειν immanent to φρόνησις. Working out of the moment itself, it brings into circumspective purview the most fitting and proper way to go to work in order to arrive at the desired goal.

But it is not only the entity and its character of being brought to safekeeping by φρόνησις which are highlighted by the interpretation. The interpretation at once comes to an initial understanding of the character of being which φρόνησις in and of itself has. For φρόνησις is a ἕξις, a how of enabling the conserving safeguarding of being. As ἕξις it is a γινόμενον τῆς ψυχῆς, the soul’s state of already having- become, which temporalizes itself in life by cultivating its own possibility to full fruition and thus bringing life to a particular state, the stasis of an achieved stand. Thus what is indicated in φρόνησις is a doubling of the aspects into which the human being and the being of life are placed, which becomes fatefully decisive for our intellectual history in the categorial explication of the sense-of-being of facticity. In circumspection, life is there in the concrete how of a with-which of coping. But the being of this with-which—and this is the decisive point—is not characterized ontologically out of its own being in a positive manner. Instead, it is characterized simply in a formal manner as that which can also be otherwise, as that which is not necessarily and always what it is. This ontological characterization is therefore carried out by way of a negating contrast with another kind of being which is regarded as authentic being. In accord with its basic character, this authentic being is for its part not obtained by way of an explication of human life as such. Its categorial structure derives instead from an ontological radicalization of the idea of beings that are moved, which is carried out in a particular way. It is the motion of production that in Aristotle’s pre-possession is made paradigmatic for beings that are moved, in order thereby to bring out their structural sense. Authentic being is being-finished, complete, per-fected (“made through and through”), in which the movement has come to its end. The being of life is seen as the movement that has run its course within itself, in this life. It is in this very same movement that human life has come to its own end when it fulfills its ownmost possibility of movement, that of pure apprehension. This movement is in the ἕξις of σοφία. According to its intentional character, pure understanding does not bring human life in the how of its factic being into safekeeping. For σοφία does not even have human life, which is actually a being that can in each case be otherwise, as its intentional toward-which. In view of the authentic movement that σοφία can attain, the being of life itself has to be regarded solely in terms of such a movement of pure temporalization. As pure apprehension, νοῦς is 1) in its genuine movement when it has given up every kind of concern for practical orientation and apprehends simply. 2) As simple apprehension, it is a movement which not only does not cease, but also is movement for the first time, precisely as movement which has come to its end, since it has that which can be purely apprehended in its sight.

As an underway toward . . . , every movement is, in its very sense, a movement which has not yet reached its toward-which. As a going-toward, it is, for example, learning, going, house-building. “Go-ing” is in its character of be-ing fundamentally different from having gone. “The moving is different from the moved” (Metaph. IX.6.1048b32). By contrast, having-seen is simultaneous with and accompanies the seeing. He has seen—he has it in sight—only insofar as he is seeing right now, he has apprehended precisely in the apprehending: νοεῖ καὶ νενόηκεν (ibid.). Such a movement is be-ing in the conserving temporalization as temporalizing conservation of truth’s be-ing, where conserving is at the same time temporalization: ἅμα τὸ αὐτο (“simultaneously the same”: 1048b33). The supreme idea of pure movement is satisfied only by νόησις as θεωρεῖν. The authentic be-ing of human being comes to temporal maturation and fruition only in the pure actualization of σοφία as the unconcerned whiling [Verweilen] that has time to spare (σχολή, leisure) for pure apprehension in spending time (whiling) with the ἀρχαί of the beings that always are. The character of the being of ἕξις and therefore of ἀρετή [virtue, habit of excellence], which is the ontological structure of being-human, becomes comprehensible on the basis of an ontology of beings in the how of a particular movement and the ontological radicalization of the idea of this movement.

Metaphysics I.1-2

By way of these two famous chapters of the Aristotelian opus, Heidegger now proposes to bring this supreme and “per-fect” movement of the human be-ing of leisurely “whiling with the ἀρχαί of the beings that always are”—the superlative life of philosophical contemplation that Aristotle put forward as the very best human life—back to its roots in factic life experience. For these two chapters tell a secular story of the emergence of human culture—the arts, sciences, and ultimately philosophy— out of the common experience of humanity. Already in his course of SS 1922, then entitled “Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles: Ontologie und Logik” (GA 62 bears a slightly longer subtitle for this clear continuation of the Introduction and Overview of a planned Aristotle book begun in WS 1921–1922 [GA61]), Heidegger translates these chapters into one possible account of the phenomenological problem of the genesis of the theoretical from the practical.

Heidegger first notes that Aristotle’s account of human learning progresses by way of the comparatives of “seeing more,” “knowing more,” and “wiser,” until one arrives at the apex of wisdom in knowing or “seeing” and so “understanding” the ultimate “aspects” of the “look” of things, which turn out to be their first “whences,” the ἀρχαί. The equation of knowing and seeing is very Greek, where εἰδέναι (to know; the natural human “desire” noted in the opening line of the Metaphysics) stems from the pre-Homeric εἴδω (I see) by way of a grammatical “logic” according to which “to have seen” means “to know,” in a “truthful safekeeping” of insights. Thus, the decisive break from the practical to the theoretical occurs with the leisurely pause that takes a break from coping (dealing) with the world of practical concern through circum-spection in order to simply in-spect it. This is regarded as a liberation from mundane tasks toward a life of simple apprehension of the determining sources of being that assumes the aura of the divine life, of the νοῦς in its pure “circular” movement of a thinking that thinks itself in sublime detachment. But it is this aloof self-movement of the divine, imported into the conception of the Christian God as Pure Act and into the inner life of the Trinity (in movements like “begetting” and “proceeding”), that indicate how alien the Greek categories are to the Christian factic life experience, in which the encounter with the Divine is temporal and historical through and through. The sharp break between the “theater” of the theoretical and the chiaroscuro action engaged in the fully temporal world of the practical is thus ultimately to be regarded as a mistaken step, a major faux pas in the history of Western philosophy/theology that Heidegger in 1922 wants to “destroy.” Heidegger suggests that more promising insights into the “being of life in the Christian life-world” might be found in the way Aristotle’s “ontology of the psychic life” treats the movement of temporal ripening and maturation in terms of the “crucial phenomenon of intentionality” that he contributed to bringing to the forefront of contemporary phenomenology.

Physics I,II,III.1-3

Aristotle’s basic book of nature’s motion and its “whences” (ἀρχαί) likewise gets a dress rehearsal in Heidegger’s lecture course of SS 1922, clearly in preparation for his planned treatise on Aristotle (see Kisiel, Genesis, 23848, for a summary account of this lecture course). The critique of the Eleatic thesis that Being is One finds its counterpoise in the repeated insistence that “being is said in many ways.” The problem of motion in this context comes down to the varying expressions of the problem of the One and the Many. Aristotle assumes from the outset that beings are on the move and assesses his precursors, the “ancient nature philosophers,” in terms of how far and how well they allowed the phenomenon of movement to speak for itself. And if the whences or ἀρχαί of motion are many, how many are necessary to account for the movements of Nature? By way of examples like the “coming- to-be of the statue from bronze,” drawn from the human movement of pro-duction, Aristotle will derive his theory of the four causes to account for any natural motion. But the question arises as to whether this account is sufficient for every human movement, like the movement of research guided and determined by a background structure of pre-possession and pre-conception which is clearly ahistorical in origin. In fascination and laudation, Heidegger highlights two concepts of motion that emerge in the middle of Physics II, τύχη (chance) and αὐτόματον (spontaneity), both of which probe deeply into the “happening” of history and thus come closest to characterizing the thoroughly historical movement of factic human life in the midst of beings which “also can be otherwise.”

Heidegger concludes by indicating a wide range of other Aristotelian texts that further magnify the tension between the ever unfinished human movement of intentionality, of being-rooted-in as well as being-out-for and toward λόγος (meaning, possibility) in a variety of practical as well as theoretical endeavors, and the movement of pro-duction that terminates in finished products that persist in their closed entelechy. The contrast allows us to measure “the degree to which a particular ontology of a particular field of beings and the logic of a particular way of addressing beings became the definitive ontology and logic which has decisively dominated not only its own history but also the history of the Mind and Spirit itself, i.e., the history of Existenz.”


[Unless otherwise identified as one of the three footnotes found in the original 1922 typescript of this “Natorp essay” or “Aristotle-Introduction,” the following notes are a translated elaboration of Heidegger’s handwritten notes penned in the margins of his own copy of the typescript found in the main Heidegger Archive in Marbach as a fragment (22 of the 28 pages of Introduction). These supplementary comments are presumed to have been penned in early 1923 (see n. 1 below).—These marginal comments have recently been published in GA 62.]

1. [This handwritten “frontispiece” remark inserted between the two titles by Heidegger on his personal copy of the typescript of this text can be approximately dated by way of a similar remark that he makes in a letter to Karl Löwith on February 20, 1923:] “An ‘elaboration’ of the Aristotle Introduction extends only to a broadening of its content, i.e., inclusion of basic parts of the interpretation of facticity to the extent that the Aristotle Interpretation that follows is related to them. But it is completely clear to me that the world will find a way even in the face of this critique to find refuge in clichés and catchphrases [sich in die Phrase zu retten], i.e., ‘to make something’ out of it.”

2. [The first of Heidegger’s supplementary marginal comments:] Character of the being of interpretation! It temporally develops [zeitigt] the being-so, how-it-is, while being-historical has already seized and affected us.

3. Primary here is the sheer having of a view. Predetermination of what is to be interpreted at all—what it is—to take as what. Ontology of life, of beings as to how they are shaped out, how present and accessible as what.

[Editor’s note: Despite the strongly visual allusions in this very Aristotelian context, Blickstand is the initial historical “stand” of the temporally particular situation in which we already find ourselves, not the “stance” of an objective observer, and certainly not the “standpoint” of a subject. This “pre-possession” is to be found and established by a radical backtracking to the original facticity of the concrete situation in which we already find ourselves as “da sein,” being-in-the-world. Note in this vein the distinction made in the text between a Situation and a Lage (state), and n. 12 below.]

4. The cultivation of the hermeneutical situation is the seizing of the factic “conditions” and “presuppositions” of philosophical research. Authentic presuppositions are not “regrettably” there, so that one is “compelled to concede” them as phenomena of imperfection. Rather, they are to be lived, which does not mean to let them go and steer clear of them, but to seize them as such, i.e., to plunge into the historical.

5. The insensitivity and carelessness toward one’s own hermeneutical situation, which is therefore often regarded as a confused and haphazardly formed situation, is itself interpreted as a lack of prejudice.

6. Not just gaping at ideas that others have thought.

7. “Tradition” is precisely the unhistorical. In it, the past is not there as that which it is, namely, as the other and as the recoil to the present; it is there rather as the present, undecided as to whether this is an average indifferent, ever-same “for the time being” [gleichgültigesZunächst”]. In tradition, there is no appropriated past (neither the hermeneutical situation nor the content of what the past is).

8. One “pursues” history instead of “be-ing” history! One is history not because it is “beautiful,” “spiritually powerful,” “respect for the past,” piety, or testimony of a superior farsightedness that does not naively absolutize itself ! Where one “pursues” history, the historical has disappeared!

9. That the past recoils back into existence and ought to show Dasein as such to us at all does not mean that it must be intuited as existence [Existenz]; rather, it must be endured! It is something that forces itself into our Dasein, and our Dasein into decadence [Verfall].

10. recuratio [restoration]: the historical! Therein lies the highest safeguarding and preservation of being, placing being into the custody of truth [Verwahrung].

11. The with-which loses and never assumes the bare schematic character of a stage setting [Kulisse] when the character of the being of coping (i.e., coping as factic) is understood (not however as a lived experience).

12. With circumspection, life in each instance appropriates an ontological stand [Seinsstand] of its own, but at the same time new possibilities of its own questionability.

13. Circumspection refers to the unaccentuated-background [unabgehobenen] life of the world. Caring and significance both accentuated and fused into the unaccentuated expository interpretation of life. Why exposition? Circumspective addressive claim upon the world’s life.

14. Life, as something like being, is precisely the having of a world, its world. World is not something that discloses itself as a supplement to life, or not. Life rather means: being in a world, and indeed being in the sense of concerned coping with it. The being of life has “fallen” to the being of its world. In coping (in caring) world is already somehow disclosed; as somehow disclosed it is for life; as circumspective concerned life, simultaneously closed. The “already” is precisely, for a life that is something like being, the “not yet” of its own movement of caring.

15. The expressly organized degeneration [Verfall] found in “philosophical” exposition as “hardening”: world – culture – “justice.”

16. The lapsing character-of-being of the anticipatory knowledge that races ahead in haste, by which life allows itself to be drawn!

17. The habit of the ordinary that the tendency to lapse cultivates in itself and for itself as a form of protection and defense.

18. [Handwritten footnote to p. 10, bottom, of the 1922 typescript:] Anxious or troubled concern [Bekümmerung: also distress, trouble, anxiousness, worry] does not mean a mood with a troubled mien, but rather factically being decided to the point of seizing existence (see p. 13 below) itself as the matter of concern. If “caring” is taken as a vox media [middle voice] (which in itself, as a category of [grammatical] meaning, has its origin in the addressing of facticity), then anxious concern is the care of existence (genitive objective). [Editor’s note: The German sich kümmern perhaps best brings out the middle-voiced character of anxious concern. It means both the active “to trouble oneself ” and the passive “to be troubled.”]

19. “Generality” – “universal validity”: that is the logic of the dominion of the “everyone” transposed into philosophy! We get the Platonism of the historical by the same route. “Universal obtrusiveness” makes everyone [jeden] an interpreted Dasein exposed and explicated for everyone!

20. Temporality—death, the decisive singularity [Einmaligkeit] of the “one-time-only”! This “only once” is the radical “all” of life. Temporality is not equivalent to any sort of quantities or other such successions of “one after the other.” It is rather a matter of existentiell factic leaps. The continuity of the “and so forth” is in each instance [je] at once a leap (προαίρεσις) [decision], at once the how of expecting!

21. Propensity and negation as a basic existential must be put more sharply and truly as a detour across that retains its provenance, i.e., life is, in each of its modes of being, historical; what it “goes through” [passiert], “what it in each case [je] is” moves and is moved in a propensity [Hang], “remains suspended” [bleibt hängen] in it; it is “caught” by, to, and in this “hang” of propensity.

In this now familiar intentionality we only encounter an immediate “first of all” [Zunächst]. In a lapsing looking-at there is a “going along with” “lived experiences,” (inner perception). The primal phenomenon, out of which “intentionality” is a derivative offshoot [Ausladung], [is] still concealed; accessible only in the radical expository interpreting of the full facticity: the basic existential: the “No” = the un-closure [Ent-schluss]; factic = in movement = historical.

22. The seized possibility, existentiell questioning (Am “I”?), is a placing itself of life onto itself “into the void”; “am”—what is the pre-possession of this being?—whence? how warranted? Factically asking in concrete concern. World is “there” and, precisely as such, it has nothing to say.

Abandonment—the seized—and always falling. Existentiell sense = having given up (“having become abandoned by”) in decision. The be-ing in troubling anxious questioning, i.e., Interpretive regard upon facticity as such, which expects nothing from the world. Not worldly abandonment of the mood, which indeed really wants a worldly pillow [Ruhekissen], looks after it.

23. Destruction of their interpretedness according to their facticitous (existentiell) pre-possession and pre-conception (the what in the how of these).

24. [Footnote to the original 1922 typescript:] “Atheistic” not in the sense of a theory like materialism and similar “isms.” Any philosophy that understands itself in what it is, as the factic How of the expository interpretation of life itself, must know, precisely while it thereby still has a “presentiment” of God, that the wrenching return of life back to itself that it forces through is, in religious terms, to raise one’s hand against God. But only then does philosophy assume an honest stand before God, in accord with the possibility that is as such available to it. “Atheistic” here means staying clear of the seductive activity concerned solely with arguing glibly about religiosity. In this context, is not the very idea of a philosophy of religion sheer nonsense, particularly if it does not take the facticity of the human being into account?

25. The sense of how being itself temporally develops [Seinszeitigung] these categories of “speaking”: Speaking is an ἀληθεύειν, giving the world, i.e., guiding caring, temporalizing concern, i.e., the be-ing of [human] life; speaking as an implicit (unaccentuated) speaking with itself of the world’s life in particular ways of discussing the world; all that is called “fundamental” [Prinzipielle] in this field; questions of order, of priority, of rank, of the universal and general.

26. [Ontology and logic as] factic and historical derivatives [Ausladungen] and not a genuinely radical expression [Ausformung] of the originally posed central problem.—Detached, fallen, and traditionally transmitted modes of approach and questioning; detached ways, especially logic, with its “seemingly” radical questioning.

27. Purely indicative! Without direction from the problematic of facticity.

28.Intentionality”: the specifically formalized character of the being of coping is to be taken out of the “psychological” or “consciousness”-theoretical, “experience”-thematic prepossession! Already in Logical Investigations, Fifth Investigation; later, certainly still genuine, but a degenerate formal field of objects in blind explication.

[Editor’s note: it should be noted that intentionality in 1922 is still explicitly formalized in terms of at least four interrelated and thus integrated “senses”: the relational, held content (“the toward-which of the relating”), actualizing, and temporalizing sense. Unique to this 1922 essay is the addition of perhaps a fifth conservative sense, that of taking custody of the truth attained in order to maintain and preserve it in the habitual act of “truthful safekeeping” (Verwahrung). But note its close connection to the fourth sense of temporalization (Zeitigung), a term closely associated with a vintner’s careful and patient cultivation of plants from young seedling through to its ripening into the full fruition of the mature grape, and further: “We shall have no wine before its time.”]

29. But not yet in the modern theoretical giving-of-sense [Sinngebung].

30. [Final footnote to the original 1922 typescript:] The hymnology and music of the Middle Ages, along with its architecture and sculpture, are accessible to intellectual history only on the basis of an original phenomenological interpretation of the philosophical and theological anthropology of this period, which in the medieval social world and its environment is communicated in its sermons and its schools. As long as this anthropology has not been explicitly appropriated, “Gothic man” remains but a cliché for our times.

Martin Heidegger - Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle: Indication of the Hermeneutical Situation
Translated and edited by Michael Baur and Theodore Kisiel.
Original PDF version from Becoming Heidegger.
PDF of original translation by Michael Baur in Man and World 1992.