Accidental Origins:
The Importance of Tuchē and Automaton for
Heidegger’s 1922 Reading of Aristotle

Jennifer O. Gammage

In this paper I unfold one enigmatic passage within Heidegger’s 1922 proposal for a book on Aristotle in order to reveal four important facets of Heidegger’s thinking that arise from his engagement with the Physics. In this passage Heidegger claims that Aristotle’s analyses of τύχη and αὐτόματον (chance and accident) in Physics 11.4–6 — despite the fact that they remain unappreciated with regard to their ontological import — are of key importance for explicating the historical movement of factical life itself. My reading approaches these claims about the accidental (συμβεβηκός) strategically, such that in offering an interpretation of them, it becomes clear how they open onto Heidegger’s early readings of τέχνη, world, φρόνησις, and the historical movement of factical life within the Nicomachean Ethics and Metaphysics. Of course the history of the typescript of Heidegger’s Aristotle proposal is, itself, an illustration of the power of chance and accident. I will thus begin this discussion of Heidegger’s fascination with the ἀρχή research of the Physics with a story of the origins of his own manuscript.


Over a three-week period in the fall of 1922, Heidegger, pressed for evidence of publication while being considered for positions at Marburg and Göttingen, quickly put together a short manuscript intended to serve as an introduction to and overview of a forthcoming work on Aristotle, which he and Husserl planned to publish in Husserl’s Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung.1 The story, as Kisiel tells it, is that while Heidegger planned his upcoming courses around material related to the anticipated publication, he struggled to complete the project, and in a letter to Löwith in early 1923 wrote that he might even have to withdraw it from the Jahrbuch.2 Perhaps luckily for Heidegger, the Jahrbuch ceased publication in late 1923, when hyperinflation following the First World War was at its peak, and although Heidegger would continue to discuss the Aristotle project as a book in progress, he eventually abandoned it to write “The Concept of Time.” Heidegger referred to this overview for a book project as his “Aristotle Introduction [Einleitung],” though it is often referred to as the “Natorp Report.”3


Ironically, the only full version of the text in circulation today is not the well-received typescript sent to Natorp, which ended up securing a position for Heidegger at Marburg in winter of 1923–1924, but the somewhat ill-received copy sent to Misch in Göttingen. Natorp passed his copy of the Einleitung down to his student Gadamer, upon whom it made a famously favorable impression, at some point in the few years after receiving it. Gadamer would eventually write the introduction for the first published version of the Einleitung in the Dilthey-Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Geschichte der Geisteswissenschaften in 1989; Gadamer’s own copy of the manuscript, however, was lost during an air raid on Leipzig in 1942. Misch, like Natorp, passed along his copy of the Einleitung to one of his students, Joseph König, but not until 1962, at which time König marked the manuscript unread and put it into storage with the rest of his files, where it remained until it was discovered as part of his estate in 1989. The typescript published in the Dilthey-Jahrbuch in 1989 and in volume 62 of the Gesamtausgabe in 2005 is, properly speaking, not the “Natorp Report” at all, but the manuscript sent to Misch as part of a failed job application for the position at Göttingen.

The full title of the Einleitung is “Phenomenological Interpretations in Connection with Aristotle: An Indication of the Hermeneutical Situation,” a title that resonates with the two lecture courses immediately preceding its creation, the winter 1921–22 course (GA 61), published in translation as Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle: Initiation into Phenomenological Research, and the as of yet untranslated summer 1922 course (in GA 62), Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle: Selected Treatises on Ontology and Logic.4 The Einleitung itself can, in many ways, be read as a distillation of the work in these lecture courses, but to consider the entire manuscript nothing but a reiteration of these courses would miss the fact that Heidegger introduces in the overview of his forthcoming material several nascent ideas and themes he had not yet worked out in his seminars. For example, the passages from the Nicomachean Ethics, the Metaphysics, and De Anima glossed in the second section of the overview became the focus of his winter 1922–1923 practicum with Becker, titled “Phenomenological


Interpretations to Aristotle.”5 The Einleitung thus serves to preserve Heidegger’s thoughts on Aristotle in 1922 while prefiguring the lectures on Aristotle Heidegger would go on to teach at Freiburg and Marburg over the next several years.

The full Einleitung contains three parts: an introduction (GA 62: 345–75/SUP 111–29) grounding Heidegger’s methodological approach to Aristotle in an explication of phenomenological hermeneutics; section one of the project overview (GA 62: 376–96/SUP 129–37), which is subdivided into three sections outlining Heidegger’s readings of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics vi, Metaphysics I.1–2, and Physics I-II; and section two of the overview (GA 62: 397–99/SUP 143–45), which is a relatively sketchy, yet dense proposal of the culmination of the project as a reading of Metaphysics VII-IX that will make detours through the Nicomachean Ethics, De Anima, On Interpretation, and the Analytics in order to argue that we can find in Aristotle’s thought an explication of the movement of factical life itself. Or, as Walter Brogan so nicely puts it, we find a Daseinsanalytik that reveals “that philosophy is life, that is, the self-articulation from out of itself of life.”6 I will refer to these parts as, respectively, the section on methods and the first and second sections of the overview, and will refer to the readings of particular texts within the first overview by the names of the texts. Although each subsequent part of the proposed project seems less fully developed than the last, every piece is significant in itself as well as in relation to the proposed project as a whole and the overall trajectory of Heidegger’s thought.

Indeed, within the interplay between Heidegger’s condensed articulation of a phenomenological-hermeneutical method and his interpretation of Aristotle we find him struggling with many of the themes that would come to dominate his work in Being and Time and beyond – ἀλήθεια, concealment (Verborgenheit), care (Sorge), circumspection (Umsicht), falling (verfallen), authenticity (Eigentlichkeit), death, and the historical movedness of factical life, among others. Given its place in Heidegger’s development, this deceptively brief text should not simply be brushed aside as an unfinished project. Neither, however, should we rush to deem it the direct precursor to Being and Time, an


identification that risks overlooking critical changes in Heidegger’s thinking and writing between 1922 and 1924, when he composes his self-declared first draft of Being and Time, “The Concept of Time” (GA 64).7 While some of the themes I want to address in Heidegger’s Einleitung evince a clear resonance with Heidegger’s thinking in 1927, there remain critical differences that I cannot address in a paper of this scope; my analysis, therefore, should not be taken as assuming that the accounts of the environing world, facticity, care, and so on presented here can be seamlessly mapped onto later articulations of these themes they might seem to indicate but which nevertheless do not echo them. There have been a number of rich accounts in the secondary literature that address the Einleitung in terms of its importance to and distinction from Being and Time, and Heidegger’s lifelong engagement with key themes and concepts in Aristotle’s work.8 My aim here is far more modest and restricted in breadth.

I want to unpack just one rather enigmatic passage of the Einleitung, which has not received much – if any – attention in the scholarship, and in which Heidegger very quickly insists on the importance of Aristotle’s treatment of τύχη and αὐτόματον in Physics II.4–6.9 My own reading follows alongside those of Theodore Kisiel, William McNeill, and Walter Brogan whose research and writing on Heidegger’s early work have made clear, respectively: Heidegger’s indebtedness to Aristotle within his development of the method of phenomenological hermeneutics and understanding of the historical nature of factical life; the importance of τέχνη and φρόνησις within Heidegger’s thinking of the Augenblick; and the way in which Aristotle’s phenomenology helps Heidegger discover the twofoldness of the movement of factical life. What I want to add to these accounts is the insistence that Heidegger’s reading of τύχη and αὐτόματον, or the accidental (συμβεβηκός), plays a key role within the Einleitung insofar as it allows Heidegger to open up a new way of reading Aristotle, one that pushes through the inheritance of being understood as τέχνη in order to retrieve originary insights about human life. In the 1922–1923 winter semester course on Aristotle as well as in the 1939 essay on the Physics, Heidegger insists that a reading of Aristotle’s ontology


and logic must begin with the Physics and that both the Metaphysics and the Nicomachean Ethics must be read through the Physics to understand the true gift of Aristotle’s thought. What tends to fall out of view in Heidegger’s future work on Aristotle is the way in which the συμβεβηκός functions as an interruption within Aristotle’s ontology, insofar as it acts as a Gestalt that moves us from one understanding of motion (κίνησις) to another. Here, in the Einleitung, Heidegger’s overview indicates the importance of Aristotle’s account of συμβεβηκός in a manner that is unprecedented and unmatched in his other work.

This book [Physics II] (chapters 4–6) is of decisive importance with respect to the problem of facticity as such. It is shown that under the headings of τύχη [tuchē], αὐτόματον [automaton] (terms utterly untranslatable when it comes to their authentic meanings) Aristotle ontologically explicates the “historical” [“historische”] movement of factical life, i.e., “what happens and can happen in such and such a way to someone everyday” [198b36]. These ontological analyses have to this day not only remained unsurpassed but have not even been understood and utilized for what they are. They have been treated as an awkward and no longer usable supplement to the definition of the “real causes,” though these causes themselves clearly bear witness to the fact that they are conditioned by a particular approach to the problems in question. (GA 62: 395/SUP 143)

I will explore three claims in this passage and use them to open onto the project of the Einleitung as a whole. These claims are that Aristotle’s analysis of τύχη and αὐτόματον 1) “ontologically explicates the ‘historical’ movement of factical life,” 2) remains unsurpassed and misunderstood with regard to the ontological status and import of the analysis; and 3) reveals that Aristotle’s account of the four “real causes” is “conditioned by a particular approach to the problems in question.” I will work through these points in reverse order, as doing so will allow us to work from Heidegger’s analysis of the danger inherent in Aristotle’s


prioritization of the motion of production toward an understanding of the importance and promise of the accidental (συμβεβηκός) as it appears in the Physics, first in terms of the revelation of the historical environing world and then in terms of the movement of factical life itself.

In an effort to remain faithful to Heidegger’s claim that these terms cannot retain their authentic meaning in translation and to avoid potential confusions in translations that conflate τύχη and αὐτόματον, I will leave these two terms untranslated here. Τύχη is typically translated as “chance” or “luck” in the Physics and as “fortune” in Nicomachean Ethics. Αὐτόματον is frequently translated as “chance” as well, sometimes as “spontaneity” or “accident,” and rarely, but most in accord with Heidegger’s own reading, as “self-moving.” Despite the difficulties in translating συμβεβηκός, I will sometimes risk translating it as “accident,” with the acknowledgement that this cannot encompass the meaning it held for Heidegger, who himself either leaves it untranslated or equates it with “being-found-along-with” (Mithaftigkeit). But before doing so, I want to call attention to Helene Weiss’ notes regarding her own translation of συμβεβηκός as Zufall (accident).10 Weiss makes the point that this translation is insufficient and perhaps misleading insofar as the Greek word is composed of βαίνειν (to step, stand, or be in a place) and συμ (together). A more literal definition would thus be “that which stands, or comes, or is in a place together,” as shown in Heidegger’s own use of Mithaftigkeit, which Weiss’ appended notes to the summer semester lecture course discuss in some detail (GA 62: 328–29).


[The ontological analyses of τύχη and αὐτόματον] have been treated as an awkward and no longer usable supplement to the definition of “real causes,” though these causes themselves clearly bear witness to the fact that they are conditioned by a particular approach to the problems in question (GA 62: 395/SUP 143).

A cursory look at this passage might read Heidegger as suggesting a simple reversal of the ontological priority in Aristotle’s account of


causality, that is, as suggesting that τύχη and αὐτόματον, as species of συμβεβηκός, are actually that which condition, rather than remain merely incidental to, causality proper. Although my discussion of the movement of factical life in the fourth section will suggest there is a way in which a more nuanced version of that claim might be well-founded, Heidegger is focused on a different point in this passage. Just before laying out these enigmatic passages regarding Physics II, Heidegger spends the bulk of the Physics portion of the overview discussing Aristotle’s engagement with the Eleatics in book I. Through Aristotle’s confrontation with Parmenides, Heidegger locates two important and inseparable aspects of Aristotle’s work in the Physics – the method with which Aristotle approaches the phenomena of motion (κίνησις) in question and the insight that being must be manifold if a study of motion, and therefore causality, is going to be possible at all. While Heidegger’s reading will find Aristotle correcting Parmenides’ reductive preconceptions of a unitary sense of being, it will also reveal that the reason the scholarship has tended to overlook the importance of τύχη and αὐτόματον is due to Aristotle’s similarly reductive approach to the problem of motion. One of Heidegger’s closing claims in the Einleitung is that Aristotle’s prejudice caused him to neglect “truth as a characteristic of beings, as the how of their unveiled being-there as they are in themselves,” and “being in the how of being-found-along-with [Mithaftigkeit]” (GA 62: 398/SUP 144). This tells us not only that τύχη and αὐτόματον, as belonging to συμβεβηκός (which Heidegger translates with Mithaftigkeit), belong essentially to being in the way in which we find it, but that, like Parmenides’, Aristotle’s own approach to the problem of change, or motion, conditioned his results. My task in this section is to show how and why this is the case while providing some sense of the general orientation of Heidegger’s Einleitung as a whole.

In the methods section that opens the Einleitung, Heidegger has already laid out the groundwork for the tripartite hermeneutic approach to philosophical research he has been developing in his courses over the last two years to claim that a phenomenological hermeneutics must be attuned to “the particular state of the having-been-interpreted of factical life given in advance,” and particularly to “what is not discussed


in it, what is thought to require no further explanation, which […] sustains the reigning effective force of pregiven problems and directions of questioning” (GA 62: 366–67/SUP 123). As Kisiel has discussed, Heidegger’s articulation of his own methodological project in this text has been slightly revised to stress the particularly Aristotelian approach in terms of a phenomenology of sight and vision; this emphasis on vision is, as McNeill’s work has shown, integral for Heidegger’s own working out of the Augenblick and will extend into Being and Time and beyond.11 Heidegger is here concerned with revealing the standpoint of factical life that comprises his own “initial position of looking [Blickstand]” as shaped by “the direction of looking [Blickhabe]” and “the scope of looking [Blickbahn]” inherited from the Greek tradition such that he can, through a “deconstructive regress, penetrate into the original motivational sources of these explications” (GA 62: 345, 368/SUP 112, 124).12 This is, of course, not only a statement of Heidegger’s own motivations for and approach to the work on Aristotle, but also a reformulation of what he discovers in Aristotle himself. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that Heidegger finds Aristotle posing the following questions in his encounter with the Eleatics:

Were those beings that were thought of as [nature] brought into the forehaving of research in such a way that their decisive phenomenal character, namely, motion […] was taken into true safekeeping and explicated in a primordial manner? Or was the way traditional research sought to gain access to the domain of being in question such that this research moved from the outset within “theories” and thematic principles that not only were not drawn [from] this domain of being but blocked almost all access to it? (GA 62: 392/SUP 140).

Aristotle will go on to demonstrate that the Eleatics, insofar as they insisted on a unitary understanding of being, “blocked access” to the very kind of beings under investigation in the Physics, beings that undergo change, beings that are moved and moving (GA 62: 392/SUP 141).


Because Parmenides insists on the unity of being, change and motion seem to indicate a realm of non-being. This is problematic insofar as ἀρχή research – which is, for Heidegger, concerned with a from-out-of-which that occurs for something else – becomes “impossible if being is not articulated as having more than one sense” (GA 62: 393/SUP 141). Aristotle’s challenge in his own ἀρχή research will thus be, as Brogan summarizes, to “think multiplicity at the heart of unity.”13 One of the best-known outcomes of this challenge will be Aristotle’s development of the relationship between δύναμις (potency) and ἐνέργεια (actuality), which Heidegger indicates in the Einleitung are of crucial importance, if almost impossible to speak of, although he will certainly go on to do so at length in his future teaching (especially GA 33). More importantly for our purposes here is the way in which Heidegger reads Aristotle’s account of movement as both an improvement upon his predecessors’ accounts and an obstacle to his inheritors’ ontological investigations. Because Aristotle, on Heidegger’s reading, recognizes that the search for an ἀρχή of motion must contend with those events that happen for the sake of something else, he recognizes that being must be understood as having multiple senses. But insofar as contemporary “philosophy moves inauthentically within Greek conceptuality” that has been shaped by Aristotle’s own ontological preconceptions, Heidegger will claim that we still have our own work to do to clear the path for research into the phenomenon of motion itself (GA 62: 367/SUP 123).

Toward the end of the methods section, leading into his overview of the texts, Heidegger writes that the guiding question of his interpretation of Aristotle is: “As what kind of object, with what kind of characteristics of being, was human being, i.e. ‘being in life,’ experienced and interpreted?” (GA 62: 372/SUP 127). In anticipation of the concluding paragraphs of the Einleitung his overview will work toward, Heidegger’s introductory remarks already indicate that a certain kind of motion, the motion proper to τέχνη (production), became the “archontic sense of being” for Aristotle such that Aristotle’s own view, like that of Parmenides, continues to block access to our own understanding of the movement proper to life today (GA 62: 373/SUP 127). Heidegger’s closing paragraphs of the Einleitung, which indicate the full force of


his proposed book, will thus claim that Aristotle’s account of categories is given neither entirely from things themselves nor from λόγος, but is conditioned by his privileging of “a particular ontology of a particular domain of being and the logic of a particular kind of addressing [that] came to be regarded […] as the one and true ontology and the one and true logic” (GA 62: 397/SUP 144).

On one hand, this tendency is neither unique to Aristotle nor due entirely to an error in method, for as Heidegger notes, the Greek pre-philosophical understanding of οὐσία (substance) already presupposes being in the sense of objects as possessions or property and therefore as artifacts of production (GA 62: 373–74/SUP 128). On the other hand, if Aristotle carries this understanding of being into his work in the Physics, the explicit task of which is not concerned with artifacts at all, but with explicating the kinds of movement proper to living beings, then Aristotle has committed the same error as Parmenides insofar as he covers over, rather than brings to light, his object of study.14

And, indeed, Heidegger’s charge is that Aristotle does just this, although Heidegger’s Destruktion will reveal that this is not all he does. In the first portion of the overview focused on the Nicomachean Ethics, Heidegger tells us that Aristotle’s having taken production as the exemplary sense of movement results in “an ontological radicalization of the idea of beings that are moved […in] the motion of production… Being is finished-and-ready, i.e. a kind of being in which motion has arrived at its end” (GA 62: 385/SUP 136). There is, according to Heidegger, a contradiction in Aristotle’s idealization of nous as pure contemplation, in which motion, “precisely as having arrived at its end – really is motion for the first time” (GA 62: 386/SUP 136). This radicalization motivated Aristotle to conflate the movement proper to human life, which by virtue of finitude is never complete within itself, with an ideal of motion that is always already at its end. Aristotle thus seems to miss essential features of human life, such as the kind of movement it unfolds, its always being-found-along-with, and the singular and indexical nature of its concrete manifestations. Instead, the highest accomplishment of life comes to be understood by


Aristotle as the “pure and simple perceiving” of νόησις as pure θεωρεῖν that satisfies the highest ideal of movement in its simultaneous seeing and having seen (GA 62: 386/SUP 137).

As Heidegger goes on to discuss in the brief overview of the Metaphysics that conjoins his reading of the Ethics and the Physics, this “just looking” looks away from human life, withdraws itself from the environing world of concernful dealings, and addresses things only in terms of their ultimate “why” (or ἀρχή), with the result that even objects of production are no longer viewed in terms of their particular contexts of use and concern, but merely in terms of their universalizable εἶδος, or “final” cause. Heidegger explains this tendency thus:

In its tendency toward this looking and seeing more, factical life eventually gives up the care of directing itself to routine tasks. The with-which of those dealings directed to routine tasks changes into the toward-which of a mere looking at […]. The look of an object becomes viewed and explicated with respect to those relations in its why that characterize the what of the object itself. Here the tendency of caring has displaced itself into a looking at […] for its own sake (GA 62: 388/SUP 138).
We should note that Heidegger introduces a perplexity here insofar as he tells us that the “just looking” of θεωρία and the prioritization of production result from a tendency within care itself. But at this point, I want to bracket this curious statement until my fourth section, when Heidegger will be shown to find in Aristotle indications for thinking the movement of factical life itself. For now, what I want to emphasize in the above passage is the manner in which this “just looking” of θεωρία leads to a conflation of the “why,” or εἶδος, of an object with, or as, its “what,” or essence; once the εἶδος of τέχνη is understood as the essence of an object, not only are we left with an essentialist ontology incapable of addressing singularities, but the object’s essence becomes available in advance, without regard for how the object itself is encountered or what might happen to and with it in a world of relations. As McNeill


has discussed, this is the critique that will eventually lead Heidegger to develop his notion of presence-at-hand (Vorhandenheit), but already in the early 1920s Heidegger shows that the tendency to understand being in terms of τέχνη leads to an understanding of beings as being “before the hand” (vor-handen).15 Indeed, Heidegger’s 1922 summer course, completed just before the composition of the Einleitung, ends with a discussion of συμβεβηκός in which Heidegger’s rendering of the Greek term as Mithaftigkeit is used to show that Aristotle’s understanding of the accidental, as that which can fail to be-before-the-hand (vorhandensein), helps reveal the second meaning of the συμβεβηκός as the wherein of being-found-along-with everyday dealings in the world (GA 62: 247).

Moreover, it is this tendency to focus on the εἶδος to the exclusion of the accidental, Heidegger explains, that further cements the prioritization of a kind of movement complete in itself, a movement that runs counter to the always-on-the-way movement of finite life and seems to transcend human life and finitude toward the timeless and unchanging realm of the divine. As both McNeill and Brogan have discussed, Heidegger’s reading reveals that emphases on the theological importance of Aristotle do not stem from Aristotle’s own privileging of the divine as such, but are, rather, drawn from the tendency to conflate the kind of motion proper to production (τέχνη) with motion as such.16 Heidegger’s discussion of the Metaphysics demonstrates that Aristotle’s accounts of divine, eternal movement in book VIII of the Physics and book XII of the Metaphysics along with the special status given φρόνησις in the Ethics are not direct results of any of these investigations into phenomena themselves, but only the residual outcomes of the privileging of a particular kind of motion, the motion of τέχνη, carried to the extreme. This insight allows Heidegger to correct, or amend, a long-standing bias toward the eternal and necessary in the scholarship, which stems from the theological inheritance of Aristotle.17 In the context of the Einleitung, this is significant for two reasons. First because Heidegger explicitly states for the first time in the methods section that philosophy – as concerned with a different object of study than theology – must be atheistic, thus marking his own distance from the Scholastics, and secondly, but more importantly for our purposes here, because it allows


Heidegger to amplify the ways in which the Physics, as a direct investigation into movement itself, can be read as a site of resistance to the prioritization of εἶδος. Heidegger’s reading of Aristotle’s account of motion in Physics II.4–6 will, like Aristotle’s reading of Parmenides in Physics I, retrieve an originary aspect of the phenomena; by shedding light on the preconceptions in Aristotle’s ontology, Heidegger will work to reveal that which stands out in relief in Aristotle’s own account.

When Aristotle begins to work through motion in the ways we encounter it, he cannot help but move beyond the εἶδος of an artifact of production to confront the ways in which motion unfolds in everyday experience where we daily encounter beings that can and will be otherwise, beings that are finite, singular, changing, and affected. As such, we find – even in Aristotle’s analysis of an artifact in the Metaphysics – causes that cannot, by nature, be understood in terms of a movement already complete in itself, but instead gesture toward being “for the sake of” something. Heidegger thus modifies the question such that inquiry into causality must move from asking “why?” to asking “how?” He plays on the famous example of the house in the Metaphysics (1026b6–10) to note that Aristotle’s reduction of that which is accidental, “[κατὰ συμβεβηκός], i.e. being in the how of being-found-along-with [Mithaftigkeit],” about the house – such as the house’s being-red, being-warm, being-aside-a-lovely-river, being-filled-with-friends, etc. – to that which is merely accidental, or “merely found-along-with [als nur mithaft],” misses the way in which “objects are given in terms of their full significance in the environing world” (GA 62: 398/SUP 145).18 An analysis of why the house is would miss not only what this house is by overlooking the possibility of singularity (this warm, red house, full of these friends, along this river) but also the way in which we initially encounter our understanding of beings as being-found-along-with others and artifacts with which we are involved within an environing world.

Even while Heidegger wants to point out the ultimate danger of Aristotle’s ontology, he nevertheless credits Aristotle for having been the first to reveal the environing world as such. Heidegger writes of the promise of Aristotle’s account of συμβεβηκός:


The fact that Aristotle was able to bring this being-found-along-with into relief as a separate sense of being is at the same time the strongest expression of the fact that he did take up the environing world as it is fully experienced…[even] if it lost this provenance due to the pressure exerted by the kind of ontology worked out [by him] (GA 62: 398–99/SUP 145).19

Heidegger asked us to recognize the way in which Aristotle’s analysis of causes was conditioned by his approach, and tracing the steps of the overview allowed us to see that this was due to a radicalization of the ideal of production in his ontology and the attendant focus on pure perception within his logic. In order to get clear as to why τύχη and αὐτόματον, as συμβεβηκός, are crucial for understanding this development, we need to illuminate the ways in which the eruption of that which is συμβεβηκός within the Physics places into relief the conditional status of Aristotle’s analysis discussed here so as to allow an analysis of the environing world and movement proper to human life to come forward.


But is it not equally strange [ἄτοπος] that, however freely men admit that every kind of luck [τύχη] and everything that ‘happens accidentally’ [αὐτόματον] can really be assigned to some definite cause, still, while accepting this venerable argument for the elimination of chance from their thoughts, they nevertheless invariably distinguish, in fact, between things that do, and things that do not, depend upon chance [αὐτόματον] or luck [τύχη]? (196a12–17)20
If Aristotle, in the opening passages of Physics II.4, marvels at the ἄτοπος, or strange, nature of τύχη and αὐτόματον (196a10–15), his critiques of those who exclude chance or fortune from accounts of causality show he finds their dismissal even stranger. And yet this is precisely


what traditional doctrinal and Scholastic readings of Aristotle have tended to do by relinquishing τύχη and αὐτόματον to the realm of the merely accidental, incidental to, derivative of, and/or inferior to the four “real” causes. When Heidegger calls us to see that “ these ontological analyses have not even been understood and utilized for what they are ,” he asks us to recognize that even though Aristotle’s discussion of τύχη and αὐτόματον is bookended between insistences that there are just four kinds of causes, it is not the least bit accidental that they enter into his account (GA 62: 395/SUP 143, em). Aristotle’s investigation shows that αἰτία (cause), like being, is said in many ways and that any substantive investigation into causes will, therefore, have to account for τύχη and αὐτόματον.

In II.4 of the Physics Aristotle explains that our experiences of τύχη and αὐτόματον bear witness to the fact that we perceive occurrences in addition to those that happen always or for the most part in the same way, that is, that happen beyond the bounds pre-inscribed by the eidetic projection of the producer or the inherent τέλος of nature (196b10). When we look around at the kinds of movement exhibited by living beings, we find events that appear singular and contingent, as matters of inexplicable “luck” or “chance.” Of the class of things that can be otherwise, Aristotle notes, some seem to happen for the sake of something else, toward some end, and some not (196b20). Τύχη and αὐτόματον must belong to the subclass of things that do not take place necessarily (i.e. things that can be otherwise), but which nevertheless belong within the sphere of that which takes place for the sake of something. That is, τύχη and αὐτόματον “lead to a result that might have been voluntarily sought, or to a result which stands in the corresponding relation to the movements of Nature,” but which nevertheless, in appearing not to have been chosen or not to have happened by design, appear to have happened accidentally (κατὰ συμβεβηκός) (197b20–25).

Τύχη pertains to accidental events that unfold within the realm of human decision, as shown in Aristotle’s example of a debt collector meeting his debtor in the marketplace. Although he did not go to the market in order to retrieve the money owed, he very well might


have. “Thus,” Aristotle concludes, “since choice implies intention, it follows that luck [τύχη] and intention are concerned with the same field of objects” (197a1–3). Τύχη breaks out of Aristotle’s account of natural ἀρχή to reveal the human arena of choice and desire, and not by highlighting it as such but through the strange intervention of τύχη, which brings out that which would be covered over by an exhaustive focus on the four “primary” causes. Considerations of why or how occurrences of “luck” or “chance” unfold the way they do merely frustrate us, for τύχη cannot, by definition, be accounted for via intentional accounts of willing or other causal analyses. Τύχη, as an indefinite cause, eludes the grasp of θεωρία and ἐπιστήμη; we cannot know what stands behind it, but can only respond to the opportunities or hindrances it places before us.

Αὐτόματον, while not necessarily part of the domain of choice and intention, also shows up as that which could have been either the result of some intention or a result of some natural τέλος or end. Aristotle tells us that although all instances of τύχη are instances of αὐτόματον, αὐτόματον, or “spontaneity,” is the larger class (197a36–38). Whereas τύχη is a specifically human phenomenon, αὐτόματον reveals itself within the realm of inanimate and natural objects and among animals as well. When things seem to happen that could have been the result of some natural aim, but seem instead to have happened “in vain” – matēn, “for nothing, to no purpose” (197b23) – we find ourselves in the realm of αὐτόματον. If I am hiking along a trail and a rock falls and hits me, I have to assume (barring the presence of any enemies hiding nearby) that the rock fell by chance or spontaneity (197b32–35). Αὐτόματον, like τύχη, illuminates the limits of our ability to get down to ultimate causes and origins of motion or change at the level of singular events we encounter within an incalculable world. And this is not because we do not have the foresight or hindsight to follow these seemingly random events down to a final cause that would eventually ground them, though there are moments when Aristotle and his translators seem to suggest such in deeming τύχη and αὐτόματον merely incidental to, or derivative of, the four “primary” causes (198a5–10 and 198a14, for example). Rather, Aristotle


tells us, they are indefinite, and infinitely so – we cannot get behind them now or ever, at least not without, Heidegger suggests, resorting to theological explanation (198a1–5). Τύχη and αὐτόματον completely elude the grasp of ἐπιστήμη and θεωρία by thrusting us into the realm of the unexpected occurrences of that which could be otherwise not merely within human life but within nature itself.

If the Physics is, as Heidegger suggests, the ultimate outcome of an exacerbated path of wondering “why?” then the Physics also, in these chapters on τύχη and αὐτόματον, discovers the limits of such questioning. Human life and its environing world intrude within the very investigation that would attempt to circumscribe the kinds of movement proper to them. Through the eruption of τύχη and αὐτόματον Heidegger finds Aristotle’s acknowledgment of kinds of motion and causes that do not fit within the preconceptions of his own ontological framework. We get a picture of being-found-along-with (mithaftig) events that cannot help but appear singular and contingent, that place the unfolding of human and natural life into a field of relations and vulnerability to external and incalculable interactions. This, for Heidegger, is the hidden promise of Aristotle’s account of motion and the reason why his account of τύχη and αὐτόματον remains unsurpassed in the tradition; for it is precisely where Aristotle’s prioritization of a motion complete in itself and accessible to θεωρία comes to the fore that Aristotle opens his investigation to attest to that which his own framework cannot accommodate.

As Kisiel has noted, Heidegger, in his summer 1922 lecture course, admits that Aristotle’s account of that which occurs incidentally (κατὰ συμβεβηκός) in the Metaphysics comes close to placing these phenomena in the realm of non-being (GA 62: 256).21 However, Heidegger’s move to the Physics within that lecture course and the Einleitung stress that Aristotle’s acknowledgement of the συμβεβηκός points beyond an ontology that reduces being to being-produced-and-ready for calculation, to reveal a promise within the slippage between Aristotle’s logic and his explication of the phenomena of movement.


Heidegger’s translation of συμβεβηκός as being-found-along-with (Mithaftigkeit) gives us three indications of the ways in which Aristotle’s examination of motion opens onto, rather than simply closes off, access to factical life via care (Sorge), the environing world (Umwelt), and the auto-motion of life itself. Weiss’ literal translation of συμβεβηκός as “that which comes together” (noted in my introduction) was motivated at least in part by her own working out of the definition of Mithaftigkeit given in Heidegger’s 1922 summer course, where his intervention into 186b18 of the Physics provides an alternative definition of συμβεβηκός as that wherein something is found-along-with (mithaft) (GA 62: 328–29; 247).22 Within the methods section of the Einleitung, Heidegger describes this wherein as the environing world (Umwelt) or with-world (Mitwelt) where we find ourselves navigating based on care for the sake of concernful dealings (GA 62: 352/SUP 115). Heidegger’s emphasis on care, like his reading of Aristotle’s treatment of causality, highlights that that toward and for which we act extends to a world wherein we encounter others and tasks as that which we care about. When Heidegger refers to συμβεβηκός as that which is mithaft in the closing sections of the Einleitung, it is to acknowledge that Aristotle did, indeed, discover mithaft as a “separate sense of being,” one that reveals objects “in terms of their full significance in terms of the environing world” (GA 62: 398/SUP 145). And of course, this is not without temporal significance. Insofar as τύχη and αὐτόματον surprise and frustrate our attempts to locate the ἀρχή from out of which and the τέλος toward which they unfold, they point toward the fact that we always already find ourselves in a worldly, historical context that has been shaped in advance and heads toward a final destination we have yet to arrive at. This intrinsic relation between the inability to find the ground and ends of action and the already and not-yet of human finitude will be found to be determined by the movement of care intrinsic to human life, into which we are always already thrown, and toward which the gravity of disposition and tradition pull us. Heidegger thus writes in the winter 1921–1922 lecture course that life has a kind of “auto-motion, which is precisely its own in the fact that life lives outside of itself” (GA 61: 130/97).


This movement is not, however, unidirectional, but evinces a double turning in which we are both drawn toward and turn away from the world in which we find ourselves. Heidegger will thus go on to show, in the concluding sentences of the Einleitung, that Aristotle’s tendency to fall into an idealization of the model of production and the “just looking” of θεωρία illustrates something about the movement of factical life as such, rather than – or in addition to – the Greek understanding of being as τέχνη. Heidegger will ask us to see not only that Aristotle’s ontological idealization was unable to run its course without simultaneously placing in relief a realm of phenomena that it could not inscribe within its own limits, but that within the very study of nature, the position and circumstance of the investigator himself crops up as a testament to the inherent pull of the movement of facticity. Following Heidegger’s indications in the methods section of the Einleitung alongside the directives his reading of Aristotle has provided thus far will allow me to unpack Heidegger’s opening claim regarding the historical movement of life in the passage I am working through, and allow us to complete our own project of making some sense of Heidegger’s mysterious remarks on τύχη and αὐτόματον by coming full circle toward the double movement of life Heidegger’s Einleitung works to expose


It is shown that under the headings of [τύχη], [αὐτόματον] (terms utterly untranslatable when it comes to their authentic meaning), Aristotle ontologically explicates the “historical” movement of factical life, i.e. the movement of “what happens and can happen in such a way to someone everyday” ( GA 62: 395/SUP 143).
Kisiel has rightly noted that Heidegger thinks τύχη and αὐτόματον “come closest to characterizing the thoroughly historical movement of factical life” where beings can and must “also be otherwise” than they are within any given moment.23 What I want to show in this section is the manner in which Heidegger’s retrieval of the historical


movement proper to factical life in the Einleitung finds the resources within Aristotle’s Physics to bring out two additional insights regarding the movement of factical life. It is my contention that we can stretch this passage in at least two directions, both of which deepen Heidegger’s reading. One of these readings comes back to a thread we left tangled in obscurity in the first section, when we saw Heidegger remark that Aristotle’s emphasis on the “just looking” of θεωρία was an indication that “the tendency of caring has displaced itself into a looking at…for its own sake” (GA 62: 388/SUP 138). This reading, the first I will offer in this section, looks at this passage in order to show that Heidegger, rather than treating Aristotle’s reduction of that which comes about κατὰ συμβεβηκός to that which is ontologically secondary exclusively as a flaw in Aristotle’s thought, understands this as an ongoing tendency of the movement of factical life itself. The second indication given in this passage, which I will then proceed to follow, picks up some of the characteristics of τύχη and αὐτόματον brought out in the last section of this paper to explicate the movement of factical life as primarily unfolding being as κατὰ συμβεβηκός, or, as Heidegger translates, being as being-found-along-with (Mithaftigkeit), within the movement of φρόνησις.

Heidegger tells us that Aristotle’s way of addressing beings in terms of the “why” of θεωρία comes about through “ the factical movement of care with respect to its ultimate tendency ” (GA 62: 389/SUP 139). In the methodological section of the Einleitung, Heidegger describes the basic movement of factical life in terms of care for its dealings in the world, and an attendant desire to intimately know the with-which of those dealings. This does not, however, entail that all of our ways of encountering things see them in terms of the significance of our involvements with them as objects “for” or “as.” Heidegger cites a tendency within factical life itself through which “dealings are transformed into a mere looking around…. In the care of this looking, i.e. in curiosity […] the world is there for one not as the with-which of dealings directed toward routine tasks but solely from the point of view of its look (εἶδος), its appearance” (GA 62: 353/SUP 116). This is, Heidegger goes on to explain, the source of science, which steps back


from addressing things in terms of the “how” of our everyday manners of involvement, and instead seeks to engage objects for the sake of defining them in terms of their εἶδος or ultimate cause. This results in a reduction of the significance of objects in the way we encounter them as being-found-along-with to bare presence or facts.

Heidegger’s point here is that things as they are in themselves are not, after all, brought into appearance by “just looking”; rather, things appear found-along-with a world of significant involvement, which is to say we really do not encounter things in themselves at all. Hence his remarks in the conclusion, cited earlier in this paper, that Aristotle misses both the way in which beings are unconcealed in truth and the way being appears in being-found-along-with, neither of which show up in the “just looking” of curiosity or θεωρεῖν. Heidegger indicates that Aristotle’s focus on the εἶδος of production and consequent relative neglect of that which happens κατὰ συμβεβηκός reveal a tendency toward ἐπιστήμη, or scientific knowledge, within the caring of factical life itself, a tendency that leads to a focus on actuality conceived in terms of the bare presence of objectivity. Heidegger diagnoses this “basic characteristic of the movement of caring” as the “factical tendency in life toward falling away [Abfallen] from itself and as included in this, falling into [Verfallen] the world” (GA 62: 356/SUP 117).

This inclination is part and parcel of the “falling” movement of factical life within its world of concern through which one immerses oneself in one’s world not in terms of one’s involvement in it, but in such a way that life itself is viewed in a “worldly manner as an object of dealings able to be produced in some ideal form” (GA 62: 356/SUP 117). Paradoxically, “falling” into worldly immersion obscures the world as that which we care about. Caring, as the inherent movement of factical life, tends toward a hypertrophic immersion in the world to the degree that caring ceases to unfold as a relationship to people and things we care about. Instead, the ideal of involvement is pushed to its utmost limits, where life understands itself via the ideal of an object of production. If we take this back to Heidegger’s reading of the danger of Aristotle’s ontology, we are reminded that the idealization


of an object of production as an object complete in itself and standing ready misses human life itself. Brogan thus points out that Aristotle has committed a misapplication of the category of Vorhandenheit (beings found as present and available) to beings that can and will, by nature, always be otherwise.24 And of course, Heidegger’s translation of συμβεβηκός as Mithaftigkeit, that which is marked by its possibility of not appearing vorhanden, emphasizes that we daily and for the most part encounter beings and objects that resist our attempts to capture them within theoretical apprehension. Even here, where the danger of “falling” is most acutely diagnosed, however, Aristotle’s promise appears twofold. He shows us, through his setting into relief of the realm of the συμβεβηκός, that there is an originary way in which the motion of human life differs from the motion of production.

Initially, we encounter being and ourselves as being-found-along-with a world of involvement, as ὂν κατὰ συμβεβηκός. Factical life always already finds itself thrown into a historical world of uncertainties, singularities, and relationships that – as we were called to see in the second section of this paper – it can never get behind or in front of, but only respond to. When the basic movement of this life, as caring for and in the world, is taken to an extreme, factical life becomes “tempted” to “conceal itself from itself in the world,” and to secure itself against the uncertainty of finite exposure through just looking (GA 62: 358/SUP 118). Heidegger’s linking of his account of facticity with Aristotle’s account of motion stresses that when this transpires, life desires to be complete in itself – that is, it transposes the ideal of the motion proper to the εἶδος of production onto itself. This tendency within care is described by Heidegger as a way in which life avoids confrontation with its own finitude and concern for its own contingency by taking refuge in the tranquilizing movement of φρόνησις as careless looking. This move, as Brogan’s analysis of the twofoldedness of being has helped illuminate, leads to an interpretation of the ἀρχή of human life as that which is concerned solely with asking “why?” at the expense of inquiring into the “how” of the twofold motion of human life.25

Life, as finite, can never be complete in itself, but is always on the way toward its own end. As such, there must be another kind of motion


with which to understand the movement of human life, one that resists the completeness of the εἶδος to bear witness to the temporal circumstances of human existence. Heidegger finds the resources in Aristotle for just such an understanding of motion by reading the Nicomachean Ethics through the Physics. Heidegger prefaces his remarks on τύχη and αὐτόματον with the insistence that Physics I.7, which discusses coming to be as being-otherwise, contains Aristotle’s most fundamental insight into motion, an insight that keeps him from simply repeating the mistakes of the Eleatics and allows us to access the importance of his account in Book II. It is Aristotle’s admission in Physics I.7 that στέρεσις, lack or absence, belongs to being itself that causes Heidegger to proclaim that Aristotle’s first definition of συμβεβηκός as that which, in being inconstant, borders on non-being in book i.3 must be reread from the perspective of book I.7. Once we do this, we are prepared to approach the analysis of τύχη and αὐτόματον in II.4–6 as testament to another sense of being, the being-found-along-with (Mithaftigkeit) of συμβεβηκός. Moreover, as Brogan has emphasized, it is Aristotle’s discovery of στέρεσις that allows Heidegger to recover the sense in which motion (κίνησις) demonstrates a middle-voiced character, a movement and counter-movement within human life itself.26

Heidegger pushes back against Aristotle’s emphasis on θεωρία not merely to pick up what is shown in relief within the Physics, but to bring this back to bear upon the Nicomachean Ethics, where he discovers a “motion running counter to the falling of its care” that arises in a “concrete manner at [a] particular time” (GA 62: 358/SUP 118). Heidegger’s reading of the Ethics will question the priority of φρόνησις in order to illuminate the importance of φρόνησις, which is complete only within the moment (Augenblick) of circumspection that is attentive to its “for the sake of which” from within the “how” of practical involvement within the singular context of action rather than the already complete ἀρχή of εἶδος. φρόνησις shines through for Heidegger as both the kind of motion proper to human life, and the kind of knowing capable of revealing being as it is in being-found-along-with (ὂν κατὰ συμβεβηκός). This is, Heidegger, maintains, the true ἀρχή of action, the double face of κίνησις, which “always is what


it is only in its concrete reference to the moment,” with all of the particularities it presents (GA 62: 384/SUP 135).

McNeill’s reading of the Einleitung develops this problem in a way that not only makes clear the importance of Book vi of the Ethics for Heidegger’s own development of the Augenblick in Being and Time, but also brings to light one of Heidegger’s key insights regarding Aristotle’s account of motion in 1922.27 McNeill argues that within the Einleitung, Heidegger’s summary of Aristotle presents the movement of praxis as evincing its own particular and peculiar manner of completion within the kairological unity of that which has yet to occur and that which has already been the case. As McNeill explains, “the πρακτόν, as disclosed within φρόνησις has at once not yet happened, in that it has yet to be achieved concretely, and yet has already happened in the sense that it is already held in readiness (as a determinate possibility) by the disclosive moment of φρόνησις.”28 This holding in view of the not-yet differs from the making present of the εἶδος of θεωρεῖν in the sense that the glance afforded by φρόνησις remains radically unstable and ever incomplete; insofar as the concrete field of action will always be directed toward the possible and insofar as the one acting is a being whose own future takes the form of a lack, the not-yet of Dasein’s own death, the movement of φρόνησις accommodates στέρεσις. As such, φρόνησις unfolds a movement that McNeill tells us should be understood as the “coming into full presence of a potentiality [δύναμις].”29 While Aristotle’s radicalization of the movement proper to production (τέχνη) leads to the prioritization of εἶδος, which eclipses potency (δύναμις) in order to bring actuality (ἐνέργεια) into view, his account of φρόνησις reveals a counter-movement within human life, one that depends upon, rather than conceals, absence. Heidegger writes in the Ethics portion of the overview:

[Φρόνησις] is a doubling of the point of view into which Aristotle placed the human being and the being of life […]. In circumspection, life is there for itself in the concrete how of the with-which of going about its dealings. However, and this is decisive for Aristotle, it is […] not


in a positive manner that the being-which of dealings is ontologically defined. Rather, it is defined in a formal manner of being capable of being otherwise than it is and thus not necessarily and always what it is. This ontological definition gets actualized through a negative comparison with another [positive sense] of being (GA 62: 386/SUP 136).
In this passage Heidegger stresses φρόνησις as the kind of motion whose “for the sake of which,” or ἀρχή, reaches back toward the context of the environing world in which beings are not necessary, but contingent and accidental (συμβεβηκός), not complete, but unfinished and on the way. This double sense of ἀρχή is what allows Aristotle to move beyond Parmenides; even if Aristotle subordinates the kind of motion proper to συμβεβηκός in his prioritization of τέχνη, he nevertheless succeeds in revealing that motion and cause, like being, must hold more than one sense.

Φρόνησις reveals a way in which life can recuperate itself from out of its dispersion in the world of accidents and exposure to the realm of chance not through cutting itself off from the world and taking refuge within the already complete movement of φρόνησις, but through taking up concrete life in all of its singularities within the moment of decision, thereby letting life find its own kind of unity in the ever-incomplete and ongoing movement of historical, factical life. If the last section situated us within a field of events we encountered as accidental (συμβεβηκός), as not having been chosen or directed in advance, a field in which we ran into the limits of ἐπιστήμη and θεωρία, then φρόνησις emerges as that manner of acting and knowing proper to our situation.

When Heidegger insists that Aristotle’s ontological analyses of τύχη and αὐτόματον reveal the historical movement of factical life, he shows us two ways in which this is the case. First, within Aristotle’s reduction of the accidental to that which is derivative of and secondary to “real” causes, Heidegger recovers a tendency toward “falling into the world” within the movement of factical life. The movement of “falling” transposes the kind of motion proper to production, in which the εἶδος


is always already complete in itself, onto human life so as to foreclose the possibility of confrontation with the movement of finite human life traversing a complex field of relations. Once we understand that this is the case, Heidegger is able to retrieve a second sense of motion from Aristotle’s account, one that reveals the counter-movement of praxis. The kairological unity of φρόνησις as the moment of action demonstrates that the movement proper to human life is able to find its own kind of completion – a completion that accommodates, rather than avoids, exposure to potentiality (δύναμις) and absence (στέρεσις) – within the recuperation of itself from out of its dispersion in the world. This movement illustrates another sense of ἀρχή as that which is what it is by being “for the sake of” beings that are found-along-with (mithatft) an environing world, beings that can and will be otherwise.


In unpacking Heidegger’s remarks as to the importance of Physics II.4– 6, we have come full circle from an account of the motion of production (τέχνη), with its attendant focus on the ἀρχή of the εἶδος, to an account of praxis, whose ἀρχαί are always embedded within the environing world of that which is found-along-with and accidental. If we return to Heidegger’s initial remarks regarding Physics II.4–6 from this perspective, we can expand his initial suggestions to say that Aristotle’s account of τύχη and αὐτόματον

1) “ontologically explicates the ‘historical’ movement of factical life,” by revealing both the tendency toward “falling” within factical life, which led Aristotle to prize εἶδος and θεωρία to the neglect of the συμβεβηκός, and the counter-movement of factical life, which unfolds itself as being-found-along-with from within phronetic temporalization;

2) remains unsurpassed and misunderstood as regards the import of the ontological analysis insofar as the συμβεβηκός is considered merely derivative of and not fundamental for an account of causes; and


3) reveals that the account of the four “real causes” is itself conditioned by Aristotle’s own understanding of being in terms of τέχνη and consequent privileging of the motion of production, both of which are called into question by his own account of that which is κατὰ συμβεβηκός

The force of Heidegger’s reading of τύχη and αὐτόματον in 1922 reveals itself within the retrieval of the movement and counter-movement intrinsic to historical life, in which we find a double sense of ἀρχή. Once we understand care as concern for that toward which we are disposed and to which we are exposed at every moment, the eidetic ἀρχή of τέχνη shows up as that which arises in response to the anxiety of being-found-along-with (Mithaftigkeit or συμβεβηκός). Rather than subordinate τύχη and συμβεβηκός to final causes, Heidegger asks that we recognize the priority of praxis, whose ἀρχή is always already, like human life itself, mithaftig.30



1 Heidegger composed this from late September to mid-October, 1922. It would have been published in volume 7 and possibly volume 8 (1924/1925) of Husserl’s Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung. This information is presented in Hans-Ulrich Lessing’s afterword to the first published edition of the Einleitung: “Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles (Anzeige der hermeneutischen Situation),” Dilthey- Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Geschichte der Geisteswissenshaften, 6 (1989): 235–74.

2 Martin Heidegger and Karl Löwith, Briefwechsel, 1919–1973, ed. Alfred Denker (Freiburg/Munich: Karl Alber, 2016), 88. Kisiel and Sheehan have also made some of the correspondence between Husserl, Natorp, and Misch regarding this text available in Becoming Heidegger: On the Trail of His Early Occasional Writings 1919–1927, ed. Theodore Kisiel and Thomas Sheehan (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007), 366–72.

3 While Heidegger’s handwritten note on the typescript identifies only the first section of the text as the Einleitung proper, I will here – for reasons of brevity and clarity as well as disambiguation from Heidegger’s published lecture courses – refer to the manuscript as a whole as such.

4 All citation will be to the translation of the Einleitung available as Martin Heidegger, “Phenomenological Interpretations in Connection with Aristotle: An Indication of the Hermeneutical Situation,” trans. John van Buren, SUP 111–45. The first full translation of this text by Michael Baur, also consulted, is published as Martin Heidegger, “Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle: Indication of the Hermeneutic Situation,” trans. Michael Baur, Man and World 25 (1992): 355–93. Baur’s translation is based on Misch’s copy of the text, edited to remove Misch’s notes by Hans-Ulrich Lessing (see note 1). Baur’s translation has been reproduced in part, with a summary by the editors, as “Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle,” in Kisiel


and Sheehan, Becoming, 150–84; and reproduced in part, with edits by the editor, as “Indication of the Hermeneutic Situation,” in The Heidegger Reader, ed. Günter Figal, trans. Jerome Veith (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), 38–61. Sections of the Einleitung have also been translated and edited in Kisiel, Genesis, 252–74.

5 As Kisiel notes, Heidegger’s substitution of a lecture with a practicum on the material for the Aristotle book shows he was planning to focus on further developing the work over the winter of 1922–1923. The title Kisiel gives is taken directly from Becker’s notes: Genesis, 556 n15.

6 Walter A. Brogan, Heidegger and Aristotle: The Twofoldness of Being (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005), 12.

7 Kisiel notes changes in terminological usage between the two essays in Genesis, 311–22.

8 For key discussions of the importance of the Aristotle Einleitung for Being and Time see Kisiel, Genesis, 248–52 and 311–22; Brogan, Twofoldness, 13–20; William McNeill, The Glance of the Eye: Heidegger, Aristotle, and the Ends of Theory (Albany: State University of New York University Press: 1999), 123–31; Kisiel and Sheehan, Becoming, 150–54; Franco Volpi, “Being and Time: A Translation of the Nicomachean Ethics?” trans. John Protevi, in Reading Heidegger from the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought, ed. Theodore Kisiel and John van Buren (Albany: State University of New York Press: 1994), 195–211.

9 Kisiel offers a gloss of this section as pointing out the historical nature of factical life in Genesis, 268 and Becoming, 183. David Webb, in Heidegger, Ethics, and the Practice of Ontology (New York: Continuum, 2009) briefly mentions Heidegger’s citation of Aristotle on chance to work toward a discussion of freedom without unpacking it within the context of the Einleitung. Heidegger’s student from 1920–1934 Helene Weiss wrote her doctoral work on the concept of the συμβεβηκός, but even her book ends without an explication of τύχη, which she states the entire work has been a


preparation for: Helene Weiss, Kausalität und Zufall in der Philosophie des Aristoteles (Ph.D. dissertation, Basel, 1935; reprinted, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgemeinschaft, 1967).

10 Weiss, Zufall, 157.

11 McNeill, Glance.

12 Kisiel and Sheehan, Becoming, 152–53.

13 Brogan, Twofoldness, 18.

14 For an excellent discussion of this tension in terms of Being and Time, see William McNeill, “Tracing τέχνη: Heidegger, Aristotle, and the Legacy of Philosophy,” in Heidegger’s Question of Being, ed. Holger Zaborowski (Washington d.c.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2017), 71.

15 McNeill, “Tracing,” 75.

16 McNeill, “Tracing,” 76–77; McNeill, Glance, 127; Brogan, Twofoldness, 17.

17 For readings that stress the theological implications of the Einleitung, see Gadamer’s introduction to the first publication of it in the Dilthey-Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Geschichte der Geisteswissenschaften 6 (1989): 235–37; John van Buren, The Young Heidegger: Rumor of the Hidden King (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994).

18 Heidegger works through this example in his 1922 summer semester course as well (GA 62: 251); Kisiel summarizes this in Genesis, 248.

19 This articulation appears almost verbatim in the 1922 summer course (GA 62: 256–57).

20 All translations from Aristotle, Physics, trans. P. H. Wicksteed and F. M. Cornford, in Aristotle IV, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1929).

21 Kisiel, Genesis, 248.

22 Weiss, Zufall, 157.

23 Kisiel and Sheehan, Becoming, 183.

24 Brogan, Twofoldness, 14.

25 Brogan, Twofoldness, 18.


26 Brogan, Twofoldness, 19.

27 McNeill, Glance, 123-31.

28 McNeill, Glance, 125.

29 McNeill, Glance.

30 In addition to those cited throughout, who make this work possible, my gratitude extends to everyone who offered feedback on drafts or presentations of this material. I am indebted to Will McNeill and Sean Kirkland for their generous comments on my first drafts of this project. This paper also benefited from comments and questions posed by Jessica Elkayam, Larry Hatab, and Bob Scharff during the 2017 Heidegger Circle SPEP satellite session. Special thanks to Cameron Coates and Khafiz Kerimov, whose conversation greatly enriched my understanding of Aristotle. And, finally, gratitude to Richard Polt and members of the editorial board for comments on this revision.


Gatherings 9 (2019)