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THE BEGINNING OF PHILOSOPHY
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Hans-Georg Gadamer THE BEGINNING OF PHILOSOPHY Translated by Rod Coltman CONTINUUM • NEW YORK .
11 York Road. 1900[Anfang der Philosophie. London SE1 7NX Original German edition. Pre-Socratic philosophers. without the written permission of The Continuum Publishing Company. Der Anfang der Philosophie © 1996 Philipp Reclam jun. or transmitted. NY 10017 The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd The Tower Building. or otherwise. in any form or by any means. Stuttgart English translation copyright © 1998 by The Continuum Publishing Company All rights reserved. stored in a retrieval system. ISBN 0-8264-1225-4 (pbk.G3313 2000 182-<lc21 98-34594 CIP . recording.2001 The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc 370 Lexington Avenue. cm. Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Gadamer. Hans Georg. electronic. GmbH & Co.) 1. mechanical. B187. English] The beginning of philosophy / Hans-Georg Gadamer.5. No part of this book may be reproduced. New York. I. photocopying. Title. p.
Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 3. The Soul between Nature and Spirit 6. Solid Ground: Plato and Aristotle 4. The Meaning of Beginning 2. Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics 9. Parmenides and Being Index 7 9 19 33 41 50 60 71 83 94 107 126 . Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 10. Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 8.Contents Translator's Preface 1. From the Soul to the Logos: The Theatetusand the Sophist 7. Life and Soul: The Pbaedo 5.
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is die sole philosophical access to an interpretation of die Presocratics." Vittorio DeCesare then transcribed a set of audiotapes of these lectures. that a book offering such a thorough critique of textual reproduction. Everything else is historicism without philosophy. I begin instead with Plato and Aristotle. Moving easily from such ancient interpreters as Simplicius and Diogenes Laertius to the nineteenth-century German historicists and then to Hegel. Uinizio della filosofia occidentale. Hans-Georg Gadamer initiates a philosophical and philological exploration in which he peels away the palimpsestic layers of interpretation and misinterpretation that have built up over twenty-five hundred years of scholarship on the Presocratic philosophers.Translator's Preface CC TTie crucial thing in my lectures on the Presocratics is that I A begin neither with Thales nor with Homer nor do I begin with the Greek language in the second century before Christ. shortly before retiring from full time teaching to become Professor Emeritus at the University of Heidelberg. however. Nietzsche. in 1988. and Heidegger. reception. Gadamer presents us here with his only book-length work on philosophy before Plato and Aristotle and one of only a few extended treatments of the Presocratics in his entire corpus. and interpretation should have its own peculiar doxographical history. in my judgment. which he did without a manuscript and in what Gadamer himself refers to as "quite inelegant Italian. which he conducted toward the end of 1967. The lectures presented here go back to one of Gadamer's last lecture courses on the topic of Presocratic philosophy. I am not sure whether it is ironic or just oddly coincidental. Some twenty years later. he was asked by the Institute per gli Studi Filosofici to deliver another series of talks on the beginnings of philosophy. smoothed out the Italian prose." With these unequivocal words. and had them published in 1993 under the tide. This. The Reclam publishing house then asked Gadamer to prepare a German edition of the book based on a translation from the Italian by Joachim .
however. were delivered in Italian. This present translation into English is based on Gadamer's definitive revision of Schulte's translation. I have consistently written the Greek upsilon as a Roman "u" except in certain standard philosophical terms such as "pbysis" "hyle. Der Anfang der Philosophic. I would like to acknowledge two people in particular for the invaluable assistance. these talks. such a convoluted textual history could introduce certain difficulties for producing an "accurate" and readable English version. And. For purely visual reasons. in fact. I did have to contend with a few minor errors (mostly of a bibliographical nature) and a number of rhetorical inconsistencies. I was presented with the text of a series of talks based ultimately on a German lecture course. As one might imagine.8 Translator's Preface Schulte. while the German edition is highly readable. without noting it. As the translator of these lectures into English." all of which are traditionally written with the Roman "y. then translated back into German and revised by the author before being published in Germany. however. . then transcribed and revised for publication in Italy.w While I alone assume all responsibility for any errors or awkwardness in this translation. which Reclam published in 1996 under the tide. I have also transliterated the Greek so as to make it somewhat more readable. who. In a number of instances. Through the helpful mediation of Richard Palmer. but scholars of the language may note an intentional inconsistency in my transliteration. I have adjusted the punctuation of the German text to clarily Gadamer's own translations of Greek words and phrases and render them more consistent throughout. In addition to Richard Palmer." and "hypokeimenon. all of my bibliographical corrections have been verified by Gadamer himself. was kind enough to read and comment on every line of my translation. aside from relaying questions and answers to and from Professor Gadamer for me. Also. some of which seem to be traceable to the original transcription from audiotape. any substantial departures from the rhetorical structure of the German have been footnoted and explained. I would also like to thank Charles Bambach of the University of Texas at Dallas for his helpful suggestions on various linguistic and philosophical problems. who happened to be in Heidelberg during the final editing process. I want to thank Sigrid Koepke for her close reading of my original draft and her help in ironing out some of the more subtle idiomatic difficulties of the German text. therefore.
both on the sea and in trade. unlike our own. a destiny which begins. a theme that as always held a very particular fascination for me. which I offered toward the end of the year 1967. Kultur . thus from the same region that 1. We therefore strive to establish connections to altogether different kinds of cultures. which finds itself not only in a phase of radical change but also one of uncertainty and a lack of self-assurance. Ever since then. A rapid cultural development follows immediately thereafter. The theme is the beginning of Greek philosophy. It touches on current problems of our own culture.1 This theme is not merely of historical interest. It deepens our understanding of our own destiny.The Meaning of Beginning 1 E order to present the theme dealt with here. Such an examination of the Presocratics does have relevance for us. I have thought that it might be worthwhile to take up the thread of that lecture-course once again. This is one reason for our interest in the first stages of the development of Greek thinking. It is no accident that the first Presocratics came from Asia Minor. I fall back on the notes from my last Heidelberg lecture-course. precisely in those years in which Greece's hegemony in the Mediterranean world. which also represents the beginning of Western culture. from the coastal area around Miletus and Ephesus. in fact. cultures that. as do Greek philosophy and science. did not originate in Greek culture. begins to take hold.
(This is really quite an inadequate edition.) Besides this. which were published by Hegel's friends after his death—is well known. I think it is necessary to begin with an introductory methodological consideration that will. This. in my judgment. first and foremost in the English colleges and universities. which. nor do I begin with the Greek language in the second century before Christ. As the study of original texts got underway. For an undertaking of this kind never ends by arriving at a predetermined destination. as you can surely see from the fact I myself am coming back to the same topic once again after so many years in order to pose numerous new questions that have arisen and to pose them in a newly thought out and (I hope) improved form. In eighteenth-century European universities. serve to justify my approach: the crucial thing in my lectures on the Presocradcs is that I begin neither with Thales nor with Homer. is the sole philosophical access to an interpretation of the Presocratics. doggedly persists in the field of Hegelian thought. is the theme I propose to address. in a certain sense. though obviously only within certain limits and without any claim to exhaust it. then. I begin instead with Plato and Aristotle. it was the Romantics who first set themselves the task of researching and offering an interpretation of the Presocratics that comes out of the Romantic preoccupation with original texts. One used handbooks. As we know. Everything else is historicism without philosophy. This preliminary assertion does require substantiation. it was not yet the rule to study a Platonic text or any other philosophical text in the original. This. it signaled a change of attitude that was due to the great universities of Paris and Gottingen as well as other European schools in which the great humanistic tradition survived— just as it did. At this point. there are still other things in Hegel's . of course. The significant role that Hegel played in this respect—not only with his Lectures on the History of Philosophy. The German teachers of philosophy who first opened the gates to philosophical investigation and interpretation of the Presocratics were Hegel and Schleiermacher. but the posthumous works have not been edited with the diligence that a thinker of such magnitude deserves.10 The Beginning of Philosophy dominated the trade and culture of the entire Mediterranean area at the time. of course.
The Meaning of Beginning
works that demonstrate far more impressively how important Presocratic philosophy was for Hegel's thinking. Take, for example, the beginning of the Science of Logic, a "systematic" work that proposes to interpolate itself by dialectal means into the framework of Kant's extensive program of transcendental logic. It is extremely interesting to compare this beginning with the early manuscripts in which Hegel deals with the system of Kantian categories, to see how these concepts unfold step by step from out of one another toward the goal of the dialectical transition to the Idea. In Hegel's early writings from the Jena period, the best-known chapter of the Logic is missing—precisely the whole first chapter about being, nothing, and becoming. Hegel added this chapter later, and in it he undertook something nearly incomprehensible—that is, to introduce three beginning categories (namely, being, nothing, and becoming) that lie prior even to all logos, thereby preceding even the form of the proposition. Hegel begins with these mysteriously simple concepts that cannot be determined propositionally but are nevertheless foundational. Herein lies the beginning of Hegel's dialectical thinking—a beginning that is carried out by way of the Presocratics. In that other great work of Hegelian philosophy, the Phenomenology of Spirit, we find the same thing: the first chapters can be read as a single commentary on none other than the chapter in the history of philosophy devoted to the Presocratics, which Hegel himself was lecturing on at the time. It seems obvious to me that Hegel allowed himself to be guided by this first stretch of the philosophical road in formulating the architecture of his dialectical method of thinking. We can therefore conclude not only that the historical research into classical philosophy begins with Hegel in the nineteenth century, but that an ever-newly initiated and never-ending philosophical dialogue with the Presocratics begins here as well. The other great scholar and thinker was Friedrich Schleiermacher, the celebrated theologian and translator of Plato's works into German. In the context of translated literature from every culture, Schleiermacher's achievement stands out as a true paradigm. It constitutes a prelude to a new cooperation between humanists, such as philologists, on the one hand, and theoreticians, such as philosophers, on the other. Recently, the rediscovery of the indirect tradition of the Platonic doctrine by the Tubingen school of Konrad Gaiser and Hans-Joachim Kramer (following Leon
The Beginning of Philosophy
Robin) has, as you know, led to the coining of the new expression, "Schleiermacherianism." This expression sounds awful in German, and I think it entirely misses the mark in terms of content. In my opinion, Schleiermacher deserves the credit for allowing Plato to be studied again not only as a writer but also as a dialectical and speculative thinker. In contrast to Hegel, Schleiermacher had a particular feeling for the individuality of phenomena. The discovery of the individual was indeed, at that time, the great achievement of romantic culture. The famous catch-phrase, that the individual is "ineffabile" and thus there is no possibility of conceptually grasping the individual's singularity, emerges in the Romantic period. Admittedly, this phrase does not have a written tradition behind it; but the gist of it shows up already in the early stages of Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics where the differentiating of the logos finds it limits in an indivisible eidos. In Schleiermacher, one finds an extraordinarily flexible dialectical and speculative thinking combined with impressive classical and humanistic erudition. As a theologian he wrote, in addition to his main works, a succession of essays aimed at putting to rest the superficial and unwarranted equation of Greek philosophy and Christianity. It is thanks to him that the trail was blazed for the study of the Presocratics. One of his students, Christian August Brandis, wrote a great work on the philosophy of the Greeks2 and inspired the Berlin historical school from then all the way up through Eduard Zeller. Now I would like to interrupt these deliberations on the very beginnings of Presocratic historiography to pose a question of a theoretical nature: What does it mean to say that Presocratic philosophy is the beginning, the principium, of Western thinking? What do we mean here by "principium"'? There are many and various concepts of principium. It is clear, for example, that the Greek word, "arche," encompasses two senses of principium, namely, principium in the temporal sense of origin and beginning as well as principium in the speculative, logical-philosophical sense. I will leave out of consideration for the moment the fact that, according to scholastic usage, "principium" also generally means "philosophy" in the sense of a doctrine of principles. Instead, I will occupy myself with the many facets and horizons of the concept of
2. Handbuch der Ceschichte der Griechisch-romischen Philosophic
The Meaning of Beginning
"principium" in the sense of "beginning."3 The German word "Anfang" has always presented difficulties for thinking. For example, there is the problem of the beginning of the world or the beginning of language. The riddle of the beginning has many speculative aspects, so it will be worthwhile getting to the bottom of the problems harbored within it. In a certain sense, Aristotle had already seen the dialectic inherent in this concept. In the Physics (specifically, I believe, in the fifth book), he argues that motion ends in rest, for at the end of motion there must be something that remains and stands there completed. But what is its beginning? When does the motion begin? When does it end? When is it that what is living begins to be dead? When does death set in? When something is dead, after all, the moment of its beginning is no longer a concern. This is similar to the riddle of time, which likewise did not go unnoticed in the framework of Aristotle's dialectic: time has no beginning; for the moment we posit as the very first inevitably causes us to think of yet another, earlier moment. There is no escape from this dialectic of the beginning. What all of this means with regard to our theme is clear. When does the history of the Presocratics begin? With Thales, as Aristotle tells us? This is one of the points we will deal with in our discussion. Yet, at the same time, we should also note here that, in reference to the beginning, Aristotle also mentioned Homer and Hesiod, the first "theologizing" authors, and it may be correct that the great epic tradition already represents a step along the path toward the rational explanation of life and the world, a step that is then fully initiated by the Presocratics. But besides these, there is yet another, far more obscure precursor—something that lies prior to all written tradition, prior to epic literature as well as the Presocratics, namely, the language spoken by the Greeks. Language is one of the great riddles of human history. How is language formed? I remember quite well one day in Marburg, when I was still very young, how Heidegger spoke of the moment in which man raised his head for the first time and posed a question to himself. The moment in which something begins to occupy human understanding: when was that? This became a great bone of contention among us. Who was the first human to raise his head? Adam? Or Thales?
of course. did not invent alphabetic script."5 in which all beings appear. but we need to bear in mind that the copula does not yet have anything to do either with ontology or with the conceptual analysis of being that begins with Plato. namely. They have made clear how the concept already announces itself in this use of the neuter.4 but the quality of a whole space. the use of the neuter. In comparison to other kinds of writing—say. still very young at the time. perhaps this discussion did point to something of real significance.* 5. das Sein . just as in German poetry. Nevertheless. or perhaps with Parmenides." "what is. eines Seienden. Language—according to an expression that no doubt stems from Nietzsche—is a fabrication of God. This is also a crucial point. It is the existence of the copula. in my opinion." depending on the context. Unless noted otherwise. It is the question of the Greeks' adoption of the alphabet. It occurs to me here that I forgot to mention a question that. the neuter signifies something omnipresent. something is indicated in the use of the neuter that is found neither here nor there and yet is common to all things. Moreover. the use of the verb "to be** to link the subject and predicate. Here I wish to name only two. "beings. but they did appropriate 4. we do not entertain often enough but which has claimed my attention for a long time. by the way. and we were. The first is well known as one of the most fruitful properties of the Greek language (which. those great teachers with whom I had the good fortune to be closely associated. "das Seiende" will be rendered as "that which is. that constitutes the structure of the sentence. those which use ideograms or pictograms—the alphabet is a prodigious feat of abstraction. and never comes to a definitive conclusion in the Western metaphysical tradition. while the word "being" will be reserved for "das Sein. an atmospheric presence. there are the studies of Bruno Snell and Karl Reinhardt." oii occasionally. In Greek poetry. It has to do not with the quality of a being. Indeed. something connected with the great riddle of language. which allows it to present the intentional object of thought as the subject. "being. it has in common with the German language). in fact. The Greeks.14 The Beginning of Philosophy If anything. all this strikes us today as laughable. The second distinguishing characteristic is obvious as well. To come back to the Greek language: Greek in itself already offers speculative and philosophical possibilities of a particular kind.
is not really a science in the same sense as die others. the riddle of the Greek language. for its part. and—by introducing vowels into the Semitic alphabet—they perfected it. Whenever we fail to mention what the beginning in question refers to. philosophy had at its disposal a domain far broader than the one we ascribe to it today as a combination of the Enlightenment. for him. for example. Platonism. we must admit that philosophy. stands an indissoluble connection. . The anticipation of the end is a prerequisite for the concrete meaning of beginning. philosophy is considered the supreme science. We are dealing here with the beginning of philosophy. in the end. Beginning and end are thus bound up with one another and cannot be separated. For Plato. From where something shows itself to be a beginning and what direction it will take both depend upon the goal. there is essentially no philosophy at all without modern science. This did not correspond to the customary usage of the terms "philosophy** and "philosopher. with this sense of beginning an entire series of alternatives is brought into view: Thales. The end determines the beginning. The beginning always implies the end. who reportedly answered the question of happiness by saying that it consisted in observing the stars. Homer. hence someone like Anaxagoras. and writing. and this is why we get into a long series of difficulties. as striving after wisdom and as possession of wisdom. and historicism. beginning and end. I think it necessary at this point to adhere precisely to the fact that something is only ever a beginning in relation to an end or a goal. is unthinkable without the general introduction of alphabetic writing. we say something meaningless. Whatever else it might have been. philosophy was not the possession of knowledge but only the striving for knowledge. In its highest meaning. epic literature. All of this goes to show how complicated things are with regard to the meaning of "principium" in the sense of that which comes first As we see. Between these two.** The word "philosopher" usually referred to a person who was entirely engrossed in theoretical contemplation. In its present sense. But what actually is philosophy? Plato furnished the word "philosophy" with a somewhat artificial and decidedly unconventional emphasis. This appropriation took two hundred years at the most. philosophy was the sheer striving after wisdom or truth. nevertheless.The Meaning of Beginning 15 it.
development. is one of the best known problems of modern historicism. we are dealing with nearly the same thing. are we to understand my thesis. Another concept of the end. but. Introduction to the Human Sciences. the nineteenth century is the period in which metaphysics loses its authority to the positivism of the sciences. therefore. according to which the beginning depends upon the goal? Perhaps in the sense that the end of metaphysics is taken to be this goal? This was the nineteenth-century answer. Insofar as nothing new. What comes to expression here is a primordial opposition between nature and spirit. In this case. In a masterfully written chapter of his book. This. as you know. Indeed. The concept of development. Destiny also means constant unpredictability. it is therefore possible to speak of the end of metaphysics and. there is also no history to relate. decisively. Wilhelm Dilthey. what matters is not what is merely given. Strictly speaking.16 The Beginning of Philosophy In this relationship between beginning and end we can already begin to detect one of the main problems in the analysis of historical life. the concept of development has absolutely nothing to do with history. to use a current expression. For Dilthey. where he refers to Thales as the first person to have relied upon experience and evidence for his explanations rather than just retelling the divine myths. metaphysics comes to a conclusion in the . no innovation. It follows from this that development is merely a becoming-visible. therefore. one that is connected with the above. is the one according to which scientific rationality or scientific culture forms the goal. depicted the beginning of metaphysics from the viewpoint of its collapse. namely. one of the followers of Schleiermacher and his school. and nothing unforseen is present. While. How. a maturing process. In this sense. consequently. means that "development" always carries a naturalistic connotation. This. then. As soon as history is in play. brings to expression the fundamental difference that exists between the process-quality of nature and the fluctuating accidents and incidents of human life. in the first case. however. also of its beginning in the way that Aristotle does in the first book of the Metaphysics. development means that everything is already given in the beginning—enveloped in its beginning. albeit from a different perspective. Nevertheless. as it plays itself out in the biological growth of plants and animals. the concept of teleology or. discourse about an "historical development" harbors something of a contradiction. In a certain sense. what is new. development is the negation of history.
It seems to me that this is not a perspective from which we can derive a satisfactory definition of the concept of beginning. sondern von Anfanglichkeit 8. in the second case. The young person starts out in uncertainty but at the same time feels excited by the possibilities that lie ahead. and not yet determined appropriate for this or that representation. Anfanglichsein . but also because it is put forward by many other authors.The Meaning of Beginning 17 nineteenth century after a two-thousand-year ripening process. of course—are still possible. As we are gradually realizing today. Still more widely known is the concept coined by Max Weber. In this regard. die Entzauberung der Welt. of the ongoing determination of their lives from out of their own lived experience.6 or even the Heideggerian concept of the forgetfulness of being. for our purposes. "From Mythos to Logos. one could cite the slogan. the determination of the end is just as imprecise and as nebulous as the beginning. however. This means that many eventualities—within reason. in the end. This is an idea that we know of not just from Foucault. not yet determined in the direction of this or that end. the young no longer know or scarcely know the feeling of launching into fife. Furthermore. there is a third and more radical conception of the goal: the end of man. 7.) This analogy suggests a movement that 6. it seems to me that this one is the most productive and the most suitable. nicht votn Anfangenden. the "de-magification" of the world." a phrase that seeks to capture the entire history of the Presocratics in one comprehensive formulation. For in this case. This meaning is brought out when I speak not of that which is incipient but of incipience. Perhaps the true sense of "beginning" is nothing more than this: that one knows the beginning of a thing means that one knows it in its youth—by this I mean that stage in the life of a human being in which concrete and definite developmental steps have not yet been taken.7 Being incipient8 refers to something that is not yet determined in this or that sense. Literally. (Today this fundamental experience of being young is threatened by the excessive organization of our lives—so much so that.** and. But there is yet a further meaning of "beginning. scientific rationality—and metaphysics along with it—is seen as determining the goal of humanity in general. it is perhaps not so entirely obvious that the end of metaphysics is the goal toward which the path of Western thinking was headed from the beginning.
. I believe. is the sense in which we must speak of the beginning that commences with the Presocratics. to my mind. much too reflexive to indicate something that is not yet a stage upon the path of reflection. the goal of an emanation rich in possibilities. as I like to say. This discovery corresponds in a way to Hegel's intuitive insight when he begins his Logic with the riddle of the unity of being and nothing. but is determined by the fact that it is potentiality—or rather virtuality. It comes as a surprise when we discover that the most important dimension of human thinking opens itself up in this beginning. whereas virtuality is open in the sense of an orientation toward an indeterminate future.18 The Beginning of Philosophy is open at first and not yet fixed but which concretizes itself into a particular orientation with ever-increasing determinateness. He even refers to religion in this context in order to suggest that this is not simply an empty word. This. The discourse of "principium" is. Finally. for potentiality is always the possibility of a determinately real actuality. I want to point out that the beginning is not something reflected but rather something immediate. but is rather—as I have tried to suggest through the analogy with the youth—open to concrete experience. not merely a perspective that loses itself in indeterminacy. In them there is a seeking without knowledge of the ultimate destiny.
Hegel insists that this is not a question of the movement of self-consciousness but of the movement of ideas. at bottom. The concept of nous is but an early manifestation of reflexivity as 1. Still. it is essential to bear in mind the role J. they are like simple orientation points. that Hegelian logic plays as the reference point for the writing of the history of philosophy in the nineteenth century. I. For nothing is not nonbeing but precisely nothing. and this is extremely important if we are to grasp that our understanding of the beginning that emanates from the end is never definitive. Tradition 2 . It is not the last word simply because even the movement of reflection has its place within the context of a beginningless and endless tradition.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 'Throughout my remarks. When it comes to discussing the initial categories of Hegel's logic. Significant names such as Eduard Zeller or Wilhelm Dilthey are closely tied to the tradition of Hegelian logic. On the contrary. not categories at all because they are not predicated of anything. to assume that ideas and the thinking of them form separate poles is truly a superficial way of looking at things. Hegelian logic is an entirely Greek logic insofar as Greek philosophy knows only ideas and knows nothing of self-consciousness.1 A fundamental point of my argument asserts that the first three categories are. Indeed.2 Admittedly. disagree with the claim that it is all about being and non-being. 2. sondern eben das Nichts. Denn das Nichts ist kein Nichtsein. for one.
be a question of applying a concept that I myself proposed. 1975). "problem history. there is no elegant way to render this term in English. a concept that would thereby carry over into the realm of the history of philosophy and its origin in Greek culture. after all. affirms the significance of temporal movement and of history for the development of the content of Spirit. which we. which would. and this reflexivity does not yet have the character of modern Cartesian subjectivity. of course. Literally. These are the historical-temporal meaning. namely. The object here is not to go through the entire development of European scholarship in the nineteenth century. I put this three-part division forward to serve as my premise for opening up the Presocratics philosophically. in history. nevertheless. Unfortunately. 13-114. the beginning is not given to us directly. according to this premise. In the end—in absolute knowing—the difference between the Idea and its movement is superseded3 and the movement is unquestionably the movement of thinking. I would like to recall just two figures who are representative of both historical interpretation and the debate over the principles and methods of Problemgeschichte5 that raged within the 3. view as something like the projection of the ideas upon a wall. like Schleiermacher. and the one meaning that suggests perhaps the most likely and the most authentic idea of the beginning. 4. the interest in the Presocratic tradition arises with Romanticism. They must be understood as three sides of one and the same thing. In this way I avoid completely excluding the reflexive relationship between beginning and end. "I Presocratici. Here we could recall Hegel's famous assertion that the essence of Spirit lies in the fact that its appearance occurs in time.4 Here. and Hegel. aufgehoben: canceled and preserved at the same time. that of the beginning that does not know in advance in what way it will proceed. . rather. I would just like to add that the three meanings of "beginning" that I spoke of [in chapter 1] cannot be separated from each other. This. it is necessary to proceed back to it from another point. As I have already emphasized. Brescia: Editrice La Scuola. the reflexive meaning with respect to the beginning and the end. only defers the problem." in volume 3 of Questioni di storiografia filosofica (edited by Vittorio Mathieu." the term signifies a technique of interpreting history in terms of the problems that one discerns within it. 5.20 The Beginning of Philosophy such. By way of elucidation. In any case. I have already given an overview of the great nineteenth-century interpreters of the Presocratics in an article published only in Italian.
He sees a meaning in it. One side tells us that Parmenides criticizes Heraclitus. Wirkungsgeschichte . the relationship between Parmenides and Heraclitus is a controversial one. Turning back now to Zeller's work itself. I would like to recall Eduard Zeller and the great work he devoted to the philosophy of the Greeks. has succeeded in renewing Zeller's classic opus and keeping it up to date. His conceptual basis is a moderate Hegelianism. The five volumes of the last Italian edition are a treasure trove of scholarly knowledge and expertise. but not one commensurate with Hegel's conception of the necessity of development. I will then comment on what I call "effective history"6—an expression affiliated with hermeneutics—which plays a central role in the whole of philosophy that is founded upon language. however. even if we admit that a complete parallelism between the logical development of the ideas and its progress in the history of philosophy cannot be accepted unreservedly. Thus he made numerous contributions along the lines of German historicism. It would not be at all unlikely that they had no connection to each other whatsoever— 6. understanding. It is to their credit that Rodolfo Mondolfo and his followers have enlarged and edited the Italian edition by taking account of scholarly advances in the field of the ancient philosophy. and I would now like to offer an example to illustrate how it becomes operative: As you know. with his erudition and good judgment. and yet another side says that there is probably no historical relationship here at all. This work is also well known in Italy. This led him to detect a certain meaning in the development of philosophical thinking—and especially Greek thinking. Maybe the truth is that neither of the two knew anything of the other. and interpretation. interpreting the philosophical tradition by means of the Hegelian schema is by now a fixture of our way of thinking. and indeed for good reason. In addition to these remarks. the question arises as to what really sets it apart. In any case.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 21 framework of German culture at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. another side claims that Heraclitus is a critic of Parmenides. First of all. Besides. Eduard Zeller was originally a theologian. led him into the history of philosophy and historical research. Mondolfo. his interests. this constitutes Zeller's moderate Hegelianism.
namely. In this context. In a country like Italy where historicism has deep roots. Dilthey's introduction of this concept into the philosophical discussion is a remarkable accomplishment. Here. that in a living organism no part occupies the first position and has to fulfill the sole executive function while the others are all secondary. the other reference point for nineteenthcentury Presocratic historiography. the one lived in Ephesus. I would just like to recall very concisely what. which arises in the nineteenth century and still appears plausible to us today. On the contrary. Dilthey dared to take a stand against the prevailing tendency to posit inductive logic and the principle of causality as the only models for explaining facts. Dilthey is well-known. is used here in its comprehensive sense and not in the specialized meaning of contemporary structuralism. namely. Why has this diesis of mine caused such a stir? The answer is clear: to this day. so Schleiermacher.22 The Beginning of Philosophy at least not during their respective periods of creative activity— since. and they all serve it. Structure does not mean that there 7. a legacy that is certainly present in Zeller as well." as such. Structure denotes a connectedness among parts in which no one part is thought of as having priority. the other in Elea. of course. seems to me a convincing example of the living Hegelian legacy. Wissenschaften vom Menschen . which. all the parts of the organism are unified. is fundamental to Dilthey. We must always bear this legacy in mind if we are to see Zeller's limitations when it comes to textual interpretation. "structure" means that there is yet another way of understanding truth besides inquiring into causes. the concept of structure. Dilthey's understanding of the word is largely metaphorical. It marks the first resistance on the side of the human sciences7 to the incursion of natural-scientific methodology. comes into view behind Wilhelm Dilthey. In a time when epistemology occupied a dominant position. Just as the specter of Hegel looms behind the figure of Zeller. after all. where something obvious is soundly demonstrated. comes from architecture and the natural sciences. Although the expression "structure. to my mind. This accords with the teleological judgment of Kant's Third Critique. Hegel has a hand in everything! Even the historian finds it plausible that all things are bound together in the progressive development of knowledge! This historical way of thinking.
as you know. and thus. Geisteswissenscbaften . the "matrix of effects.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 23 is first a cause and then an effect. because the work has fulfilled itself in the conclusion. it has to do with an interplay of effects. A feature which the knowledgeable listener distinguishes—and. A melody has a conclusion."8 a concept that does not focus on differentiating between cause and effect but on the connection that each and every effect has relative to the others. rather. Where is there a pristine work here? Where is there a text in the realm of Presocratic philosophy that is complete enough to present itself in a way that shows its internal connections? We know nothing more than fragments and quotations by later authors. Dilthey's favorite example is the structure of a melody.9 There is indeed in the human sciences a kind of evidentness of structural connections and a mode of understanding them that is completely different from the procedures by which the natural sciences work (the natural sciences at that time being understood in mechanistic terms). in particular. in short: a tradition so tenuous that to apply the "principle of structure" adapted from aesthetic experience would seem extremely forced. Accordingly. an occurrence that stands out from the rest. its explanation must be based on such concepts as harmony and interaction. the artwork forms a well-structured matrix of effects. Wirkungszusammenhang 9. Dilthey brings into play another concept which has been of great importance to me. A melody is not a mere sequence of tones. the moment in which the composition comes to an end and immediately. the applause sounds. often mere allusions and distortions. the listener of difficult music—is. thus it must be based on structure. With this way of looking at things. there can obviously be no question of the artwork having a causal explanation. Like an organism. and it finds its fulfillment in this conclusion. Dilthey wants to justify the originality and the autonomy of the human sciences. rather. We can add to this difficulty an observation of a more general character that has great significance for me: We never find 8. Now the question arises of how far we can carry this way of looking at things in terms of structural connections into the realm of Presocratic philosophy. as long as we remain in the realm of the aesthetic. namely. The same holds true for the work of art as is does for the living organism.
Despite the great achievements of Euclid and Archimedes. one that vividly illustrates this problem. He has continually been denied the recognition he deserved because the entire history of humanity has been dominated by a metaphysics based on the thinking of Plato and Aristotle. the inner structure. Democritus is the last important thinker of his epoch. The most convincing example. poetic. like Popper. is not free from the prejudices of its epoch. the development. In Hellenism this perspective admittedly declined in significance. do Democritus and atomism find new supporters (and today there are authors who. of course. This state of affairs is wonderfully exemplified by Dilthey's interpretation of Democritus. speculative. glimpse in Aristotle an antiquated dogmatism and in Plato a completely misguided ideology of the same stamp as National Socialism). . but the classical tradition of metaphysics persisted through the entire period and came to predominance once again in the Middle Ages. Only in modern times. Nowadays. a scientific metaphysics is in itself something of a contradiction. it would not be easy to imagine anyone in the third century before Christ who would have thought a Galileo possible. a thinker who represents an historical mode of thinking entirely his own. and the context of a work is not in itself sufficient to clear away all our prejudices that arise from the fact that we ourselves stand within a tradition. ultimately clings to a kind of modernistic perspective that is entirely alienated from history. Dilthey describes the origin. and the decline of scientific metaphysics. I am therefore persuaded that even historicism. For it is the desire to express the depths of life scientifically in spite of their being inaccessible to science. It is surprising how Dilthey portrays the venture that the Greeks had undertaken—a hopeless one in his view—as they tried to conceptualize the images of religious. only in the wake of natural-scientific development. In the second part of this book. and mythological intuition scientifically. Comprehending the objectives.24 The Beginning of Philosophy ourselves in the situation of being pure observers of or listeners to an artwork because in a certain sense we are always involved in our tradition. is found in Dilthey's Introduction to the Human Sciences. For him. The point that I want to establish here is clear: even such a disciplined thinker as Dilthey. prejudices that continue to exert an influence on the disciples of this Dcmocritan perspective. which recognizes the individuality of each structure.
From here. But what is a problem. There is. and to this extent it is possible to speak of a history of philosophy and even of a philosophy of the Presocratics. On the contrary.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 25 mathematics at that time was still not well enough developed for this. the first step along the road of progress. etc. it is not the truth as such but only a more or less partial view of the truth. This gives us an opportunity to point out the difference between science and philosophy. a foundation of which the historians of philosophy are seldom adequately aware. for example. In this sense. interprets Parmenides as the discoverer of identity. the hallmark of the true researcher is the discovery of new questions."10 A new principle gained acceptance toward the end of the nineteenth century: In philosophy there is no systematic truth. Every system is one-sided. Hermann Cohen. Nevertheless. In science. But where this problem comes from is another matter. as a rule. This is why the emergence of a problem in science is. Hegelian logic is like a huge quarry from which all later history of philosophy takes its building materials. This is the most important legacy of the researcher: the imagination—for the main thing is to find a fruitful way of 10. the same problems underlie the formation of the different systems. See note 5 above. To precisely test and verify the consequences of a theory is not the sole decisive point for scientific knowledge. . which Popper would perhaps dismiss as a psychological question. and we call this "Problemgeschichte. Even here we can detect a Hegelian foundation. yet another way to approach an object of scholarship. no universally valid system. as Popper says. really? The term comes from the language of competitors who line up against each other and attempt to throw obstacles in each other's way. however. Heraclitus as the discoverer of difference. the problem is something that demands that we not be satisfied with hitherto accepted explanations but continue on and seek out new experiences and new theories. the expression is transferred figuratively to debate: an argument posed against the perspective of the other participants in a conversation is like an obstacle. and there are many other historical arguments that preclude this view of things. a problem is something that impedes the progress of knowledge. Aristotle has formulated this concept of the problem quite aptly in the Topics.
and the discussion continues into the twentieth. We can see from this how philosophy is different. there is the freedom thematized in the framework of the dispute between determinism and indeterminism. But in this case the concept of freedom is not defined in opposition to the dominance of a ruler who has at his disposal the lives and the actions of subjects. Even if the philosopher realizes that the solution to such problems is ruled out. of course. It is therefore not correct to say that if a problem admits of no falsification then it presents no question for the thinker. This—and not verification or falsification. is not to be understood in Hegel's sense but in exactly the opposite sense of a movement of thinking that does not claim to solve problems completely and thus remains in the neighborhood of rhetoric. that we find Aristotle's theory of the problem. being free means nothing more than not being a slave. according to whose dicta the highest condition of freedom consists in not desiring things which we cannot have.26 The Beginning of Philosophy putting the question. I still . hence within the context of the theory of the dialectic. But the task of posing the right question is no less important. This is exactly why it is in the Topics. and indeed it is well-known that Stoic philosophy proposes the thesis that one who is wise is free even if he is in chains. Let us take the problem of freedom as an example. Whoever would look for stable problems in the instability of historical life would obviously have to maintain that the same problems recur again and again. Popper is correct when he says that the sciences have the task of solving the questions they pose for themselves. which. This debate unfolded throughout the nineteenth century. but rather in terms of nature and its necessary causality. as dogmatic Popperianism would have it—is the crucial element for scientific creativity. Over against this the question arises as to whether freedom exists at all. the problems are nevertheless not inconsequential because of this. The rigidity and intractability of the problem is eliminated in this version of the concept. And one must also admit that there are problems that lie beyond the realm of scientific possibility. the freedom of choice that Luther discusses in De servo arbitriot Furthermore. This too is freedom. This freedom is certainly not the same as that preached by Stoic moral doctrine. But which freedom are we dealing with here? Freedom as eleutberia in the historicopolitical sense of independence and sovereignty? In that case. Of course. Or what about the freedom of Christian doctrine.
14. This seems almost ludicrous to us because we have not forgotten the Kantian distinction between causality as a category that applies to the facts11 that the natural sciences deal with. 18. but rather a "fact"14 of reason. 17. may cause confusion. 12."15 This formulation. for that very reason. 16. this concept of freedom is fundamentally different from the one that seems to be suggested by the non-determinacy of phenomena but which. the truth of facts16 and the truth of reason. In the nineteenth century. virtue comes from education. who was one of my first teachers and a fatherly friend. 13. which Lotze used. on the other hand.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 27 remember when the physicists of the Copenhagen school created quantum theory. not just in the sense of correctly recognizing values that are valid in themselves. also carried over into to philosophical theory. cannot use as its basis the freedom of humanity. Hartmann interpreted the Aristotelian virtues as values. Freedom is a "fact of reason. Value has its own validity. "Value" has an objectifying meaning. In Aristotle. 15. came to be applied by Max Scheler and in even larger measure by Nicolai Hartmann. A further characteristic example of the error one commits when one attempts at all costs to find the same problem in historically diverse concepts can be drawn from the realm of value ethics. But what about Kant's assertion that freedom is a necessary condition for the human being to be a moral and social person? Evidently. as we know. which Kant himself employed. namely.18 Aristotelian virtue characterizes the human being as the person among people. This was then brought forward by many reputable scientists as the solution to the problem of freedom. thus it is knowledge. Tatsachen Faktum Tatbestdnde Tatsache ein Faktum der Vernunft Tatsacbenwahrheit Vernunftwahrheit Erziehung . and morality. which is not a fact12 in the same sense as the set of facts13 examined by physics. but in the sense that the human being exists and comports 11. Opposite concepts are brought together in it.17 to put it in Leibnizian terms. it is independent of any evaluating. yet this interpretation is obviously inadequate. This concept. the concept of value taken over from political economics was.
we are always on the inside of the history that we are striving to comprehend. We all stand in the life-stream of tradition and do not have the sovereign distance that the natural sciences maintain in order to conduct experiments and to construct theories. Herein lies the peculiarity of this kind of consciousness—an irreducible peculiarity. his nexus of prejudices. Let us not forget. and for this reason everything gets reduced to one and the same problem. Indeed this too has nothing to do with the expert who "objectively" studies the norms from the outside but rather with a person already imprinted with these norms: a person who finds himself already within the context of his society. This dialectic involves not only the cultural tradition. is something completely different from standing in the stream of tradition. All of this is already in effect and is determinative whenever we confront a particular perspective or interpret a doctrine. Bildung . too. Aristotelian virtue is fundamentally different from the concept of value found in phenomenology. rather. by the way.or herself through education. however. raised objections against Hartmann's equating values with Aristotelian virtues. This. but also moral questions. In this respect. The concept of effect is ambiguous and is in certain respects an attribute of history. For this reason 19.. that it is not correct to assert that the study of a text or a tradition is completely dependent upon our own decision making. on the basis of one's own conditionality. without being conscious of it. and knowing the other and his views. that Scheler. such a standing at a distance from the examined object simply does not exist. Such a freedom. is conditioned by historical determinations. his experience of the world. This is one of those cases where the lack of historical differentiation is patent. his epoch. above all. philosophy.e. We are not observers who look at history from a distance. It is certainly true that in modern science—for example in quantum mechanics—the measuring subject plays a different role from that of the purely objectifying observer. How do I now define my own procedure and my interpretations in relation to Dilthey and problem history? I refer here to "effective history" and of "historically effective consciousness. but it is also in some sense an attribute of consciousness.19 habit." This means. i. Consciousness. insofar as we are historical creatures. as such.28 The Beginning of Philosophy him. and character. being conditioned.
and it is impossible to reduce them to the objects of evolution theory and to understand them from that perspective. The important thing is whether an experience is a recollecting. Even the risky enterprise of interpreting the beginning of 20. According to the natural sciences.21 In the end. Wiederaufnahmen . no beginning. It is an inappropriate interpretation of the historicity of humanity. memory. this way of coming to understand one another—all of this is fundamentally different from the study of nature and from an examination of the world and Homo sapiens based on a theory of evolution. it is fitting that the sciences of the moral and the spiritual domain also belong with the natural sciences. Wiederaufnahmen21. which represents one way of articulating our experiences. This is completely wrong. Geist 21. a structure within which we have our place—a place which we have not chosen. Of course. Platonic anamnesis is really is really quite similar to the riddle of language. without history.20 it is a different story altogether. They both have no principium. a re-establishing. It is inevitable that in our encounters with others those others speak to us as well. But that is not what is important.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 29 it appears to me completely mistaken to assert that the distinction between the natural sciences and human sciences is no longer as important as the nineteenth century believed. since the human being has its place in the long history of the universe." The speaking of a language is a totality. this life of the mind. for their part. for I have no recollection of my embryonic state. In fact. no longer speak of a nature without development. it would even be anachronistic since the natural sciences. a re-perceiving. Likewise. it seems clear that the hermeneutical situatedness of the human being is confirmed and that the pretense of standing back from things as if they were nothing more than objects of observation leaves out of account the crucial point of our understanding other people (and other cultures). but I hope it is now clear that when it comes to memory. and their terms cannot be derived from a principium as if there were an "ortho-language. I cannot be sure of this. The experience of human beings encountering themselves in history. Those are exciting topics in their own right. is a process that may already be underway in utero. Human beings cannot be observed from the secure viewpoint of a researcher. this form of dialogue.
Within this presupposition. What really matters is the human being's encounter with himself in relation to an 22. sounds like a challenge to the natural sciences and their ideal of objectivity. the distinguishing characteristic of my own position in the framework of the philosophical work of our century is that I once again take up the well-known debate between the natural sciences and the human sciences. And with this even the meaning of the word "method" must change. quite different tasks. of course. Descartes asserts emphatically that there is only one universal method for all possible objects of knowledge. "Methodos.30 The Beginning of Philosophy Western thought must always be a dialogue between two partners in a conversation. but also in other writings. on the other. Bu is precisely what is misleading here. If we overlook the fundamental differences between their two standpoints. Of course. In the human sciences. on the one hand. Yet the human sciences occupy themselves with other. rather." in the ancient sense. this is an elementary and self-evident concern. is based upon one and the same presupposition. and that of Wilhelm Dilthey. this concept of method has ultimately gained the upper hand and dominated modern epistemology. everything is reduced to their contrasting methods of objectification. the question of the existence or non-existence of a set of facts and how to establish this also arises here. it is a matter of our participating in an association with the things with which we are dealing. the word "method" presupposes that there is but a single method which leads to truth. This meaning of "method" as "going along with"22 presupposes that we are already find ourselves in the middle of the game and can occupy no neutral standpoint—even if we strive very hard for objectivity and put our prejudices at risk. In the sense established by Descartes. This claim. and even if we acknowledge that the method may be flexible in its procedures. Mitgehen . Here there is no researcher in the privileged position of an observing subject. it seems to me that the debate between the logic of John Stuart Mill. In the Discours de la method. "Method" in this sense is not a tool for objectifying and dominating something. upon the claim for the objectivity of method. always means the whole business of working with a certain domain of questions and problems. In contrast to this.
the latter has to do with participation. for example. Here. this is inappropriate.23 a participation that more closely resembles what takes place. The inadequacy of the concept of method in the sense of guaranteeing objectivity becomes quite evident when I insist on 23. The former behaves in an objectifying way. achieving control over nature and maybe even society. as a game whose participants are not subjects. and the communication ceases. But I must now conclude this theme and turn to our special topic. In any case. This is not the task of the human sciences. we could never explain our interest in the past. however. on the one hand.Hermeneutic Access to the Beginning 31 other different from himself. In cultural as well as in social life. it goes without saying that the ultimate goal of the scientific rigor that one strives for here is to eliminate every subjective point of view. this hypothetical neutral standpoint would amount to the elimination of the knowing subject. that the cultural sciences do. the natural sciences themselves tell us that their concern is with achieving advances in knowledge and. with these advances. in fact. Discussion of the unity of the natural sciences and the human sciences is thus misleading as soon as it does not proceed from the fact that the functions of these two sciences are fundamentally different. In fact. and objects. It is more of a "taking part" in something. and. But these are only self-evident presuppositions in comparison with the value that our mutual participation in. We should understand. Jean-Paul Sartre has aptly described what is disastrous about the objectifying gaze: in the instant that the other is reduced to an observed object. of course. eine Teilnahme . however. our involvement in the tradition and the life of culture has for these sciences. Otherwise. have scientific methods available to them. Culture. in the believer who is faced with a religious message than it does the relationship between subject and object that plays itself out in the natural sciences. on the other. exists as a form of communication. indeed. the mutuality of the gaze is no longer maintained. but only that they do not constitute the meaning of scholarship in these fields. the help of a method will not enable me to place myself in a determinate relationship to an other who has been posited by me as an object. This certainly does not mean that objectification and methodical approach have no value in the humanistic and historical disciplines.
especially when it comes to Plato. whose texts. a collective interpretation of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy comes into play. It can be carried out concretely only by reading the texts in which Plato and Aristotle speak of their predecessors. are available for us to study and to see which questions they themselves have posed and in which sense. . therefore. of course. we must not forget that in their work Plato and Aristotle did not have our historical scholarship in mind but were guided by their own interests. At this point. by their own search for the truth.32 The Beginning of Philosophy the fact that our sole access to the topic of "the Presocratics" is Plato and Aristotle. And as we do this. For example: only when we have grasped the significance of the fact that in the context of Aristotle's critique Plato is regarded as a Pythagorean can we make what Aristotle says about the Presocratics at all understandable. a search that was common to these two authors but that also displayed different tendencies. This is no easy undertaking.
** In connection with this theme. the Church Fathers—a plethora of authors who cite 3 . however. It was designed for philosophy students. it is secondary when compared to the possibilities for understanding offered by a text that has been handed down to us authentically and completely. the Peripatetics.Solid Ground: Plato and Aristotle "K Tow we must come to the main point. the Skeptics. There is. of course. My response to this is that the first true texts for our theme are the writings of Plato and Aristotle. if we are not aware of this fact. Our real theme is "The -L\l Presocratics and the Beginning of Western Thinking. The first really important question is which texts we can use for support. For scholarly research. for when it is torn out of its context. the Stoics. the Diels collection of quotations. we will need to apply the principles we have formulated up to now. even the most faithful and most exact quotation can mean something quite different than it did in the original. which we have had ever since Hermann Diels gathered the Presocratic fragments together. Whoever quotes already interprets by means of the form in which he or she presents the text of the quotation. the technique of using quoted passages lends itself to any use whatsoever—even sometimes proving the opposite of what the original text says. All of the fragments compiled in the Presocratic collections are merely quotations that have not come to us in finished and polished texts but via Plato and Aristotle. As we know. This is a solid and serviceable work that everyone will gratefully use for his or her initial studies.
of course. however. hence not as the concept of nature. in Aristotle. and that takes us into the sophistic age. The title "On Nature" occurs for the first time in Plato—in the Phaedo. The single text that refers in its entirety to Presocratic thinking is Simplicius' commentary on the first book of Aristotle's Physics. neither in Heraclitus nor in Empedocles is the word used in a sense that anticipates the Aristotelian concept of . But. This. At that time the discussion of the problem of language centered on whether language is a product of nature or of societal rules (nomos). I completely agree with the English scholars. it is always accompanied by a conscious distancing of himself from Plato. our first task consists in studying those texts in which Presocratic thinking is interpreted in a coherent form. that the concept of physis in Heraclitus did not yet have any philosophical import. When Aristotle comments frequently and extensively on the concept. Nevertheless. The word itself had long been used but always only as the nature of something. indeed. and all of this fits in with Sophism and with Plato's use of physis in connection with psyche. Only from out of the context of these complete texts by Plato and Aristotle can we even understand the pieces of text that Diels printed in his supplements. At any rate. For. in Aristotle's eyes. this was not yet an actual formation of the concept.34 The Beginning of Philosophy and describe these teachings for completely different purposes. first of all. We can hardly assume that the Presocratics from the sixth and fifth centuries before Christ had actually already spoken of a concept of physis like the one which has been self-evident since Aristotle. So we must. It goes back to a scholar of the sixth century after Christ who incorporated numerous citations into his commentary on Aristotle's Physics. The concept of physis gains its particular importance. Kirk and Raven. ask ourselves what this Aristotle commentator's selection criteria were. only begins in Platonic times. Plato was too much of a mathematician. On the contrary. Therefore. the formation of the concept as such had long since been prepared for within the language. The concept of techne does not arise until late either. We may conclude from this that concept of physis as well as the title had become customary at that time. we must assume that an actual concept began to form only when the counter-concept to it had also taken shape. This is the oldest text on the teachings of the Presocratics to be handed down to us.
in spite of the fact that all of the nineteenth-century historical scholarship that introduced historiography into the study of Greek philosophy took place during the decline of Hegelian idealism. after him. Actually. more than any other. We must constantly have the preeminence of the Aristotelian concept firmly in mind if we want to evaluate the Presocratic citations. That Anaximander supposedly took the infinite as his starting place and that. Hegel's construction of history has still proven to be very influential even with historians—with Zeller. Yet. as coherent a context for physis as the books of Aristotle's Physics. there is yet another perspective that we must keep in view in this sphere of inquiry and that is the religious background against which Greek philosophy. For Aristotle. the period in which Apollodoros had reconstructed the chronological evidence. apart from Aristotle's Physics. how weak these constructions of history are according to which philosophy begins with Thales and the Milesian school. Hegel's interpretation. a point which was commonly understood in the Hellenistic age—if not literally. It is [summed up in] the familiar catchphrase. "From Mythos to Logos. following Aristotle. I am thus convinced that the whole problem of "Parmenides and Heraclitus**is due to the overweening influence of Hegel's way of thinking. in fact. for example." . then. But what. however. Anaximenes supposedly declared air to be the first substance—what an absurd step backwards! In truth. We should not forget that. Metaphysics is really just a loose collective concept that clearly shows its connection with the fundamental Aristotelian interest in physis but [the Metaphysics] is not.Solid Ground: Plato and Aristotle 35 35 physis. there is another relevant point which we must take into account when dealing with the Presocratic passages that have been handed down to us. physis is the first appearance of being and constantly thrusts itself forward in his Metaphysics. all this shows is that these assertions do not rest on historical realities but on a way of thinking belonging to a later academic period. does the traditional academic sequence of ThalesAnaximander-Anaximenes mean? This ordering is. in any case. then at least in an academic sense: for us. stood out. has taken root so deeply that we can never imagine how we could completely free ourselves from this model. But. What really was a "school" at that time in a thriving trading center like Miletus? We can scarcely give an answer to this. extremely problematic.
The Beginning of Philosophy
This is a contemporary formulation. But what do we understand in this case by mythos? In nineteenth-century historiography the answer seemed clear: mythos had to do with Homeric religion. But did a Homeric religion in this sense really exist? If one follows Herodotus, mythos was rather the deed of a great poet who did his creating from out of a manifold tradition of legends and from out of an oral tradition sustained by rhapsodes going back to a very early age. The other poet to whom we refer (following Herodotus) when we speak of the "theology'* of that time is Hesiod and his Theogony. Now, it is certainly true that Homer and Hesiod are also referred to by Aristotle as the first ones to reflect upon the divine. But by saying this, Aristotle does not mean to speak of religion so much as cosmologically ordered ideas and a divine family with all of its all-too-human tensions. In view of this, the customary schema, "From Mythos to Logos," appears to be quite dubious. Perhaps one would have to say that in both cases one is dealing more with logos than with mythos. On the one hand, we have the noble society of the gods, like a group of great lords; on the other hand, we find throughout the country a wide variety of sites for religious cults dedicated to individual deities. The expression "theology** fits both cases rather badly. Werner Jaeger has treated this theme with admirable erudition in his important book, The Theology of the Early Greek Thinkers. But the word "Theology** in the title is quite misleading. To be sure, the above-mentioned book is extremely instructive, but, in the case of Xenophanes, the viewpoint that the word "theology** expresses in the title does not work very convincingly. To me, the chapter that Jaeger had written on Xenophanes earlier, in the first volume of his Paideia, at a time when he still had in mind the sophistic idea of paideia, seemed much more apt. I am convinced that Jaeger was right in his earlier discussion when he saw in Xenophanes' verses a typical portrayal by a rhapsode and not a theologian or a philosopher. But enough of these introductory remarks! Let us begin the real work of interpreting Plato's and Aristotle's most important references to Presocratic philosophy. Let us begin afresh with Plato or, more precisely, with the Phaedo (96ff.). Here, Plato—long after Socrates' tragic end—has Socrates sketching his scientific and philosophical autobiography. Before we go into the interpretation of this text, however, it is appropriate to stress once again that I cannot make the whole
Solid Ground: Plato and Aristotle
work my object, but rather only one instance within it. The text to which we will refer is merely one chapter out of a whole, a complete work. In essence, the complete dialogue—the Phaedo in its entirety—is the one text on the basis of which it is possible, although certainly not easy, to work out the question for which Plato is trying to provide an answer. This dialogue belongs among Plato's most famous. Nietzsche designated the figure drawn by Plato of Socrates immediately before his death as the new ideal for the leading young men of Greece, and thus Socrates stepped into the place of Achilles. There is definitely something true in this. One does indeed find a Homeric motif at the beginning of the dialogue: the enormous secret of death and of what lies beyond death—the "life" of the souls of the dead in Hades. Recall those unforgettable scenes with which Homer (or whoever composed the Odyssey) portrays Odysseus' trip to Hades. Odysseus goes down into Hades in order to visit the heroes of Troy. The most important thing to ponder here is the meeting with Achilles, who, like all the souls beyond the Acheron, has lost his memory and regains it as he drinks the sacrificial blood: a profoundly significant ritual. Upon hearing from Odysseus that his son has conquered Troy, Achilles returns, deeply moved, to the darkness. Death is the night of memory; without memories we die. We could say that all of these images point us toward something like a popular religion. It is also clear, however, that a theme of reflection is introduced here. The shadows of the heroes do still exist down there in Hades, but they have left all memories behind, and only the sacrificial blood awakens these memories. Therefore, the problem posed here has to do with the soul and the question of the soul's relationship to life and death. At this point, there is a further source of possible misunderstandings that influences our way of thinking. I mean the Augustinian concept of the soul as the inferiority of consciousness. The complex Christian doctrine of the soul and its redemption through the sacrificial death of Jesus has been integrated into our concept of the soul.1 The German word "Seele" is an expression that is more likely to recall sentimentality than perhaps the Latin word "anima" does, and, in a phonetic sense, it also suggests something far more transitory. Thus we stand under the influence of a tradition that pushes us to believe that in Homeric poetry
The Beginning of Philosophy
there may be an idea of the soul that is somehow the same as our own. Or is this still true? At any rate, the supposed "religion of Homer" is not the only source of prejudice for the interpreter. Besides this, there is also the so-called Orphic, an idea which has influenced scholarship for a long time and which still represents a completely open realm of problems for research. What was really going on in this religious movement—a movement that stretched back into the seventh and sixth centuries before Christ but did not yet exist in Homer's time or, at least, was not received by the poet? The amazing plethora of religious movements and myths that came together at that time remains just as much an open problem as the emergence of the Dionysus cult; for, as we have come to realize well enough since Nietzsche's writings, the figure of Dionysus was virtually unknown in the Homeric epic. In any case, we are dealing with extremely vague things here, and in this area of Presocratic studies our interest lies only in the fact that the soul was at the center of the cult's religiosity. What the figure of Pythagoras has to do with all of this seems obvious to me. If one reads the biographies of the Presocratics, the same thing shows up again and again: every one of them, from Anaximander to Parmenides and so on, is portrayed as a follower of Pythagoras. This fact is quite significant. In my estimation, it means that Pythagoras brings together fundamental motifs like the riddle of numbers and the riddles of the soul, the transmigration of the soul, and the purification of this soul. This leads us to the problem of memory. It is clear that, as a rule, a religion that speaks of reincarnation presupposes the loss of memory. That someone like Empedocles has a vague clairvoyant impression of having been something else in another life seems to be an exception to this rule. A number of problems connected with the soul impose themselves at this point. Is the soul a breath which animates animals and people? Is it like a first light within the human being, the light of incipient knowledge, of memory, or of some such thing? All of this remains a vague background that cannot be used as the key to understanding. It lies in the darkness of antiquity. Thus we must examine how the problem of the soul is dealt with in the Phaedo in order to see which problems preoccupied a thinker of Plato's time. This is an example of the problem I raised earlier, the problem of how we can interpret a tradition we are interested in by using a text that was not drafted for this purpose but which
Here. But. in any case. I still remember the radical thesis that Erich Frank put forward when I was young in his book. was a new interpretation taken up by Plato's school and particularly by Heracleides Ponticus. as we know. Who the real Pythagoreans were is a topic that has been discussed at great length. astronomers. That the two conversation partners with whom Socrates talks in the Phaedo are scientists is shown by the fact that they seem to have no knowledge of the religious prescriptions of Philolaos. a great master of the sect. Halle: Niemeyei. we even take it as certain that there was already a Pythagorean mathematics. I would like to add one last general remark about the Phaedo—ot. and it is with Plato's help that we must seek to grasp how the Presocratics dealt with death. but are well informed about the biology and the astronomy of Plato's epoch. The radicality of this thesis has not been generally accepted. Simmias and Cebes are historical figures. are Pythagoreans who were living in exile in Athens during that time because their society had previously dissolved as a result of political events. Plato and the So-called Pythagoreans. . Today. we could formulate the problem as follows: is the soul something other than the vital energy of the living? Is it something like a special spiritual capacity? Is it living or is it thinking? Or are these two aspects intertwined with one another? And in what way? This is Plato's theme.2 He claimed that our entire customary idea of the Pythagoreans as mathematicians. rather. albeit set against a religious background. The two were no longer Pythagoreans in the sense of being followers of the great founder of a half-religion. By way of conclusion. Socrates' two conversation partners. we must realize that in Plato's time it was not religion but science that predominated. reprint Tubingen 1962.. 1923. This is a point we should keep in mind as we read the conversation between Socrates and the two friends. etc. strictly speaking. about the setting of the dialogue. represent the original Pythagoreans but rather the evolution of this religious and political body into a group of scholars and scientists. this is a very important fact. They do not.Solid Ground: Plato and Aristotle 39 39 nevertheless permits us to guess at certain basic tendencies of the culture of this bygone era. 2. The dialogue concerns a discussion with two scientists who only use the themes and teachings of the Pythagoreans in order to describe the results of the new science of their time. As I see it.
or the Eleatics." . Today. Plato apparently takes up the figure of the dying Socrates again as he begins to outline the main points of his theory of Ideas and establishes a kind of school. The discussion of the problem of the soul finds its crowning conclusion in Socrates' long autobiographical narrative—stemming from Plato. etc.. the Atomists. no one doubts that this dialogue was written not shortly after Socrates' death but much later—perhaps twenty years later. the Academy to be precise. I consider these remarks to be important for understanding how the Phaedo is connected to our theme. which we can more readily call a real school—in contrast to the so-called schools of the Sophists. the conception of science to which Plato alludes in the Phaedo does not at all correspond to what was held to be valid at the time of Socrates' death. But in this account—just as in others of his dialogues—Plato is not claiming to depict "Presocratic" doctrines but rather his own turn toward the "Idea.40 The Beginning of Philosophy How does Plato manage to bring the discussion of an old religious tradition and a science belonging to his own time so readily into the structure of the action and incorporate them both into his depiction of the interlocutors? Of course. which were not institutions. of course—in which he depicts his experiences with scientists of his time and his own new orientation.
The bridge between the two parts depends upon the idea of catharsis. for instance. Can our reason find a rational ground for this? The Pheado begins in an almost religious tone. the proscription against using a knife to stir the fire. Indeed. precisely that meaning that has become familiar to us through Kant and the concept of "pure reason." As already follows from the Meno and the theory of pure mathematical concepts formulated there. or like that other commandment: Eat no beans. which is developed in the account of the last day of Socrates* life. This dialogue consists of a discussion about the problem of the soul and the belief in immortality that the religions teach. mathematics is pure reason to the extent that it transcends what is accessible through the senses. The decisive thing here is that Plato imbues these purity rituals with a new meaning. just as the moral and religious view of . above all. The philosophical dimension opens up from here. like. of purification. It is well-known that the Pythagorean doctrine of catharsis was. and for our interpretation this is crucially important. This is the dialogue's prelude out of which the immortality of the soul will then unfold as its real theme. It is has to do with the question of suicide and the expectation of a new life after death. is the problem of life and death as well as the question of what the life of a human being is and what relationship this has with what we call the soul or the psyche. a collection of purity laws. This holds for mathematics—but also for the soul.Life and Soul: The Phaedo 4 T he theme of the Pheado.
The line of reasoning that bases itself on the circular character of nature is depicted here with wonderful linguistic skill. then. Socrates will reply that. Here it becomes abundantly clear that Socrates does not actually claim to have "proven" the soul's immortality when he says that a life with this . in response to Simmias' doubt and hesitant uncertainty. a tradition which has perhaps been a little wiser than these philologists and has understood that precisely this lack of logical consistency lay within Plato's intentions. When Plato speaks of a nature in which there is no continual return to new life. in this sense. although it is certainly correct that there are no guarantees in this realm. then the souls of the dead cannot perish but must continue to exist.). he causes his Socrates to speak a language that conveys the impression of a nature without spring. which means "this new existence will necessarily be better for good souls and worse for the wicked. the life of the philosopher is a path to death. mathematical science requires separation from sensory experience. Since life is a natural phenomenon. and thus the religious doctrine of the soul's immortality finds its corroboration. Then.42 The Beginning of Philosophy life requires the separation of the soul from the body. The subsequent fate of the deceased should depend upon the morality of the life that one has led—which will ultimately be the point of the entire dialogue. tais de kakais kakion (72e). Very surprisingly. Thus. insofar as Socrates conclusively (71e) asserts the reality of rebirth. I myself am not sure this is the right thing to do. If death is conceived of as a separation of the soul from what is corporeal/ sensory." This assertion seems to fit so poorly with the cycle argument that some philologists have omitted it. The argument is found throughout the entire tradition. It seems to follow from this that if the living are generated from the dead. the conception of nature as a cycle becomes an overt argument for the soul's return. there are no variants to the passage. anabioskesthai. it is still undoubtedly better to lead an honest life. genesis and pbthora (Phaedo 70e ff. death might also be nothing other than a stage in the cycle of coming into existence and passing away. Its situation in the manuscript is unambiguous. then. the text reads: kai tats men ge agathais ameinon einai. The first argument for the immortality of the soul calls upon the cyclical structure of nature. He thereby indicates which interest truly stands behind the belief in immortality.
I prefer the term "naturalistic.Life and Soul: The Phaedo 43 attitude is better than a life without it. as we will see. even there is it not completely appropriate. In this sense one could say that Hegel's "bad infinity" is also Plato's position: as far as the main question of morality and life is concerned. there is no proof that freedom really exists. I want. Instead. We should notice that here the argument forsakes the realm of logic and moves into the realm of rhetoric. rather. He is not driving at the fact that science has its limits. for there is no such concept in Plato's philosophy. Seins-Rang . the material. like in the model of the craftsperson who shapes the stuff. We can perhaps apply this latter term to an interpretation of the Sophist. I am reminded that the same turn in the argument also occurs in Kant. Kant calls it a fact of reason—Plato's line of reasoning is. Here. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that my use of the term "naturalistically" rather than "materialistically"—which is always a little too Aristotelian—is not accidental. But we can maintain one thing: all of this demonstrates the inappropriateness of an argument for or against the soul's immortality that bases itself on a naturalistically derived concept of the soul. of course. Of course. this comparison between Kant and Plato does not really concern the concept of freedom. the dialectic remains unresolved and there is no result that can claim to be a proof." which corresponds to the 1. Rather. but. a different one. then that would mean being blind from the start with respect to the ontological status1 of freedom. too. he goes back to the figure of Socrates and to his unflinching death. to say the following: just as Kant refrains from establishing freedom through a theoretical line of reasoning—as does Fichte for practical reason—so Plato does not enlist the help of theoretical arguments to prove the immortality of the soul. which he explicitly refers to at the end the dialogue. Freedom is not a fact of natural science. If we really wanted to produce this proof by interrogating nature and even seeing a proof for free will in quantum physics. In Kant. Plato's argument also contains something transcendental and aims at the limitedness of our human reason in view of the riddle of death and eternity. nor is he emphasizing the honest life. Strictly speaking. what is "materialistic" assumes the idea to be morphe or form—and thus it also assumes fabrication.
So I now turn directly to the two Presocratic forerunners of Plato's philosophy as they are understood in Plato's texts. this was already a popular title for designating treatises on nature. Socrates states that knowledge must be a remembering because. cannot be perceived in sensory experience. who communicates what he has observed on his journey. who invited his students to the Valley of the Roses in Leipzig to look for two entirely identical leaves. let us now examine the two objections to the immortality of the soul that the two "enlightened** Pythagoreans. it is clear that in the meantime. which we never encounter in sensory experience. formulated by Simmias. objections which lead to the high point of the dialogue. The first objection. as the story of a person who has himself seen the things that he is commenting on. offer. Simmias and Cebes. Moreover. the harmonic cooperation of its limbs also wanes until death occurs. is readily understandable even to modern thinking: the soul is nothing more than the harmony of the body. in the sense of a report of personal observations on the part of a traveler. as we have already stated. the cosmos. mathematical concepts—such as to ison (equality)—cannot be gained from experience. we also come across in this dialogue. in the time of the Pheado. peri physeos historia. The second argument—which Simmias presents as a wellknown Socratic doctrine—is that of anamnesis. that is to say. and so on. In this sense the title. As soon as its strength flags. The intellectual autobiography of Socrates begins. To this end. like equality as such.) The mathematical concept of equality is that of complete equality. Moreover.** hence the full actuality of the living organism. for in experience there are never two completely identical entities." This is "history** in the Greek sense. incidentally. .44 The Beginning of Philosophy Greek concept of physis and which. it is the "entelechy of the body. This is obviously an argument derived from the science of the time. (This theme reminds me of Leibniz. In Socrates* view this goes for the soul as well—that the soul. must be understood as a report of the experiences undergone by the witness to events. for example. with his declaration that he had occupied himself in detail with the problems of "nature. the heavens. for instance. But I am not interested in offering a complete interpretation of the Pheado. stated more precisely: with its concept of harmony. it is a typical Pythagorean argument. it comes quite close to the way Aristotle defines the concept of the soul. wherewith the soul ultimately dissolves altogether.
interrupt the account to express their bewilderment. that of Cebes. demands a more complex reply. a mathematical theory of harmony in that it forms itself from out of its constitutive parts. Only in this way will it be possible to correctly understand the meaning of death. The second objection. They seem so plausible that even Phaedo and Echecrates. On the one hand. Socrates remains silent a few moments and concentrates completely. the two narrators of the dialogue. could consume itself more and more and finally dissolve itself along with the last body. This points to the fact that the dialogue takes a decisive turn at this moment of highest tension. The soul is not really the same as harmony. On the other hand. and it finally dissolves itself completely. harmony is something that the soul itself only seeks to gain or to find. As we know. In response to Simmias' objection. to discuss the cause of coming into being and passing away (genesis and phthora). its migration exhausts it. with its migration through the different bodies. Rather. we are dealing with the conflict between a naturalistic or. The deep despondency of the mood that spreads among the interlocutors is unparalleled by any poem. Socrates begins to talk about . Undoubtedly this objection reflects one of the discoveries of the biology of that time. if you will. Socrates replies that the problem cannot be posed at all in the terms that Simmias has used to formulated it. Then he begins as follows: in order to attain clarity. science in Plato's time—and medical science in particular—had already conceived of the regeneration of living organisms as a continual process. We can therefore understand the objection that despite the soul's transcending the limits of an individual existence. it is necessary. This is an inescapable idea dictated by a naturalistic conception of the soul and especially by the idea that the soul is nothing more than the harmony of the body and for that reason is impelled to dissipate along with the body.Life and Soul: The Phaedo 45 Immediately after this comes Cebes' objection that immortality does not necessarily follow from reincarnation. we are dealing with a harmony toward which the soul is striving as though towards a highest goal. In order to reach this clarity. It seems clear to me that we must make a strict differentiation here. In any case. the soul. These two objections are perceived as truly catastrophic for the immortality of the soul. above all. the harmonious soul is nothing given by nature but rather a good that prescribes the direction for life.
It always depends upon the kind of text one is dealing with. Above all. Nevertheless. but that there may be still other expressions of thought that can also open new perspectives for us. I would like to make a supplementary hermeneutical remark. Nevertheless. There can be no doubt that in the course of my work I have become an advocate of the bad infinite that Hegel criticizes. Nietzsche has pervaded our whole attitude toward the past and has left his mark on our philosophical work. the path into the logoi. namely. we cannot really know all of our prejudices because we are never in a position to reach an exhaustive knowledge of ourselves and to become completely transparent to ourselves. is Nietzsche's. Herein lies the complexity of the hermeneutical situation. that we seek to bring to language as we interrogate the text. For these prejudices are nothing other than our rootedness in a tradition—in the same tradition. One such expression. Our classical culture is the stuff of hermeneutics. namely. I would like to interrupt our textual analysis in order to put forward once again some general concepts that I mentioned earlier. in fact. This term is meant to imply that we are fully aware of the constitutive prejudices of our understanding. that something like a general history—for which in German we have the expression "Weltgeschichte"2—must be written anew by each generation. It seems quite evident to me that along with historical change itself the ways of observing and knowing the past must also change. who. mis circumstance—that prejudices are constitutive for understanding—in no way means that the approach to a text is an arbitrary decision of the thinker or scholar involved. Of course. certainly cannot be compared with Hegel. Here. for hi this case it means recognizing that this tradition itself has not already come to its conclusion with the great Hegelian synthesis. this truth cannot be applied so easily to the philosophical tradition. It is nevertheless a very simple truth that I am advocating here.46 The Beginning of Philosophy his experiences with the science of his time until he decided to take quite a different path. the path toward the ideas. 2. world history . This prompts me to offer a few words on a concept that I introduced—the concept of effective-historical consciousness. whatever authenticity he attained in his conceptual work. for example. On the other hand.
in their own way. Lysis. moreover. but nothing that was intended for the public has come down to us—at least. the myth describing the earth upon which we live and depicting. There are true-to-life portrayals in this piece. and this is why the doxography in these writings is something entirely different from what Aristotle offers us. the Physics.Life and Soul: The Phaedo 47 and it is found for us in multiple forms. for example. how this earth ought to be the scene for a honest life. which may have continued to have an effect within the oral tradition for a few generations. with their particular forcefulness. It is the pattern which helps Socrates lead the conversation partner to draw upon his own ignorance in comparison." Plato's writings are not working notes but literary works. not such that anything we have could be considered Aristode's last word on die subject On the other hand. . Thus it happens that myths. and it accomplishes a complete fusion of theoretical argumentation and dramatic action. in the Metaphysics. Therefore. Plato's texts were. jurisprudence. not just in scholarly pursuits but above all within the traditions of theology. but that concepts and reflections are also woven into them. We can never really provide satisfactory arguments in answer to questions about the constitution of a world that is based on the principle of the good. Thus in the Pheado the strongest argument put forward for the soul's immortality is really not an argument at all but the fact that Socrates holds onto his convictions right up to the end and corroborates them through his living and dying. the course of the action itself plays the role of an argument. for instance. published and were intended to be read and even given as lectures in Athens. At the end of the dialogue stands a myth. The end of the dialogue. take the Pheado. and De anima. the difference between Plato's writings and Aristotle's "doxography. get their chance instead. Plato himself tries to sound the cautionary note that with myths we are not dealing with mere stories. All of this also helps us to understand. Here. This is why those writings of Aristode's that have been preserved were unknown for centuries—they were composed as teaching notes. philology. It is obvious that this is not a treatise but a work of high literature. Even Socratic ignorance is a literary figure. they are like an extension of the dialectical argument—an extension in a direction that is inaccessible to concepts and logical substantiation. but it is clear that our most profound impressions go much deeper than we could know or ever fathom.
or herself. The Idea of the Good in Platonic and Aristotelian Philosophy. the problem of the good and its concretization in an ideal city. On the other hand. one in which an elite class is formed in the field of mathematics and the dialectic. In Plato (who was a tremendous writer of the rank of a Sophocles or a Shakespeare). There it is nearly impossible to do anything evil or abnormal. wherever concepts are inadequate this intentionality is expressed in the action of the dialogue—in the case of the Lysis. an idea which seems inconceivable to the modern person. the conversation partner is more like a shadow in which each reader is meant to recognize him. we can indeed speak of the intellectualism of the Greeks. It would only take a miscalculation on the part of the "planning committee. The author intends it. No one should try to see these dialogue participants as specific types as if we were dealing with a drama. take the text of the Politeia:3 there we find a Socrates who—in the way he conducts a conversation and an argument—seems to be a quite different person.. 3. the Republic. and the dialogue is suddenly interrupted as the teachers intervene and take the boys home. in the dialogical relationship between Socrates and his two young friends. an elite who will be able to govern practical life. Yet one must recognize that the ethos of Plato's Politeia has a Utopian dimension that does not correspond to anything at all in Aristotle. This negative ending is a model which is likewise found in all of the elenctic dialogues. namely. In Plato's dialogues." "maybe.e. . A further peculiarity of the Platonic dialogues is that Socrates' interlocutors express themselves in quite a colorless way—they say "yes.48 The Beginning of Philosophy is exemplary in this sense." "no. yet we must add by way of elucidation that we are dealing here with an intentionality that never fully corresponds to commensurate concepts. In this regard. I present the thesis that both philosophers are concerned with the same thing. This is no accident. This ethos appears in Plato's Politeia in such a way that everything there is regulated. Here. to carry the Utopia too far and bring the downfall of this ideal city. Plato wants to describe an ideal city. In my work." "of course"—with no further character development. Neither Menexenos nor Lysis succeeds in defining friendship. They are always about the same problem. that in order to put a virtue into practice one must already be directed toward it in a theoretical way. namely." as one could call it. I.
There are no laws there. . and the participation in the written tradition are all structured in such a way that they occur as if by themselves.Life and Soul: The Phaedo 49 All of these remarks should not only clarify the differences between a Platonic dialogue and a didactic Aristotelian text but also the differences among the texts we have from Plato. for the living dialogue. Even the church must deal with a living tradition and a continual conversation with this tradition. the communication between people. The tradition is not something rigid. These texts must be continually questioned in such manner that they answer in a different way each time. it is not fixed once and for all.
The Soul between Nature and Spirit et us return to our main Platonic text. and how knowledge originates from the establishment of recollection. Clearly. He studied the sciences of his time with great interest. this depiction refers to the contemporary understanding of nature and medicine. It holds true for all knowledge (holds) that in questions of becoming and passing away we must always look for the cause.1 emerge from it. If we now reflect upon the fact that recollection is the ability to hold on to something so that it is durably present and remains in the memory and that opinion-formation is also something that wants to remain stable and permanently valid. and the formation of opinion. whether the brain is the seat of the sensations. his painful experiences). how recollection and memory. he tried to understand the "soul" in terms of those sciences that we have discussed as naturalism—how the "soul" originates. The most important part of the dialogue (96a) begins with the answer to Cebes introduced by a long silence. the Phaedo. This is the moment in which Socrates begins telling how he himself has fared with this passion for knowledge (his pathe. therefore. and then the formation of opinion. Gedachtnis und Erinnerung und dann Meinungsbildung . and kideed the dialogue now turns to the question of a general principle for knowledge. memory. then here we find the first hint of the Platonic problem—how anything stable at all could arise from the stream of the sensual experiences. How the 5 L 1. According to Socrates.
this is indeed contradictory. for the first time. When Anaxagoras speaks of "HO«S. As such. which. the problem must be viewed within a quite different ontological dimension and not at all in connection with the problem of what truly causes something to come into existence and pass away. Ultimately. Rather. his critique of Anaxagoras. Socrates tells us how in his search for this cause he came across the text of Anaxagoras and believed that there. and the function of nous apparently indicate the lack here of a conceptuality that corresponds to what is intended." it is clear that 2. that is. and I recall it here only because we can find in it a confirmation of our own interpretive perspective. Socrates confesses that all his efforts have yielded no results about knowledge—indeed to the very end he understood nothing more at all. for instance. and in doing so he points to the main theme of the Theatetus. Socrates' hope. With the next step that Socrates takes. The passage is quite famous. Socrates says. Here. That is. But in the end this hope is also disappointed. das Zweierlei . namely in nous. we are faced with the paradox that the formation of the two could by caused either by addition or by separation. But lurking behind this is the problem of how duality2—meaning at the same time the two in relation to the one—is formed. how human beings grow. Here. he had finally found a solution for the problem of causation and along with this how two comes to be from out of one. Plato points to this puzzle in terms of the opposition of flow and stability. How is this possible? For us it seems obvious that the answer should be that when we speak of increasing or decreasing we are not dealing with an actual process. even when it concerned things which he had previously believed he knew something about. like.The Soul between Nature and Spirit 51 51 intentionality of thinking develops within the framework of the physical organism remains a puzzling problem even for us. that he had previously thought the cause of the human growth lay in the fact that material elements were added to the organism through food. however. He illustrates this example with help of a quantitative-mathematical argument. we really begin to overcome the first and apparently inadequate kind of question concerning the cause of becoming and passing away. whether through the addition to a unity or through division of the unity. contains a logical difficulty.
But the Platonic Socrates says that the good is the origin from which the order of the world in its totality is derived. In the Critique of Pure Reason—in the transcendental dialectic. we rind that Socrates counters this by saying (99c) that the true origin of each thing as well as its inner determination is the good. Formulated in these ways. the sun. such as. and the order of the universe with all its components. or even the one that believes it to be supported by Atlas. the world of human beings with their praxis." "ordering. remains a question without an answer. Anaxagoras ultimately refers only to HOMS'S physical effects in the formation of the universe. provided we thus understand this to be what one might call the object of historical inquiry. If we want to avoid such an infinite regress we must look for the answer to the question of causation in something other than the physical. the idea of the good. in the description of this process. in turn. Nevertheless. even there the problem of the creation of the world.52 The Beginning of Philosophy Socrates wants to ascribe to this word a meaning like "thinking. in the good. to be precise—Kant refutes the possibility of a rational cosmology. the earth. For the first time. "the whole. In Socrates' eyes. When we resume our interpretation of the text once again. Socrates formulates a task . It is no longer about history (historia). Indeed this marks a complete shift in the trajectory of the argument. he criticizes the various theories of the earth's place in the cosmos: the one according to which the earth is kept in place because it is surrounded by the motion of the universe as though by an enormous vessel. stands on a turtle—at which point we cannot understand how it is that the turtle does not. the moon and the stars. for his part. Here. have to rest on something else. the question has no answer. for instance. all these ideas are much like the famous Indian fable in which the globe is carried on an elephant who." and in the received text (which we owe to the zeal of Simplicius) Anaxagoras actually presents nous first as the creator of order in the universe—almost in the sense of a cosmogonic theory—but then. the problem of its beginning and its determination as a requirement of pure reason. no longer about the quest for something capable of carrying the earth. and so on. With regard to this claim. or one that imagines that the earth is carried on the air as though on a pillow." comes into view in a completely different sense from the whole grasped as sum of all its individual parts." "planning.
This is a crucial point. . an interpretation of reality based on the idea of the good. it is always easy to become confused. Plato begins his positive answer by. But how is it at all possible to reach a convincing and certain solution for the problem of causation? At this point. first of all. The epistemologists of the Englishspeaking world who have employed this mode of argumentation recognize its logical value. just as the sun—according to the famous metaphor—cannot be observed directly but only on the basis of its reflection in water. It is true that Plato does not mention experience here at all. it becomes fruitless to discuss it. For it suggests the concept of a totality in which nature. The consequences we speak of at this point are not the consequences that result from empirical facts. It does not mean that the validity of the hypothesis must be verified on the basis of experience. setting up a rule: we must presuppose as true the one hypothesis that appears particularly cogent and certain. retained its relevance. So. the teleological structure of Greek natural philosophy ultimately becomes generally accepted and has. but they miss the real criterion of truth in this context. and he bases his criticism of the enemies of logic on this. When using words and arguments." here. and we must hold as true the consequences following therefrom that stand in harmony with this hypothesis. the human being. experience. here we are dealing only with the logical. Thus Plato insists on elucidating each hypothesis in view of its consequences. But why not? The reason for this is that we are dealing here with the logos." No. with the famous turn to the logoi. Seen from this perspective. namely. the modern sciences are like ancient history: they accumulate an indefinite quantity of experiences that can never reach the whole because the whole is not an experiential concept—it can never be given. But "hypothesis. immanent coherence of the concepts. the linguistic universe possesses more reality than immediate experience. does not mean the same as it does in the terminology of modern scientific theory. In Socrates' eyes. namely. hence on the basis of the "facts. whoever who wants to get information about the true nature of things will achieve clarity sooner in the logoi than through deceptive sensory experience. and society are all viewed as members of one and the same system.The Soul between Nature and Spirit 53 that is later developed in Aristotle's Physics. in a certain sense. Whenever we fail to make the content of a concept explicit. In this way.
This is a misguided ontologizing of Plato's intentions provoked by the influence of the subsequent tradition. Nevertheless. Plato is completely free in his choice of concepts that formulate the relationship between the idea and the particular. the Pythagoreans had not yet reached the point of conceptually formulating the true. the just. that numbers and geometrical figures exist in another world. there is a parallel between these essences and those of mathematics: the beautiful.54 The Beginning of Philosophy The Sophists' technique of argumentation is aimed directly at this confusion. or the good is never [something belonging to] a second world of essences. the good. It is Neoplatonism. Clearly. This point is crucially important. rather. "pure" object of mathematics. . Therein lay Plato's great advance with respect to the Pythagoreans. The two are not as separated from each other as Aristotle's criticism would have it and according to whom the idea would be a mere duplication of the world. mathematics always turned into "physics. as we call this tradition today. the argument in which the cause is equated with the idea begins. The Academy knew many theories about the intimate relationship between general and particular. For them. that first makes a thinker of transcendence out of Plato. Archytas. and so on. I say this with extreme caution. what this means (lOOd) is that there is nothing through which a thing is beautiful except the presence of the beautiful. the separation between mathematics and physics was fundamental. was an outstanding mathematician who also already knew that mathematics does not deal with the triangle drawn in the sand but that this is merely a picture of its true object." The separation of mathematics and physics does not mean. it gains its logical believability through observation. for his part. On the other hand. the large. for example. though. It proceeds from the ideas of the beautiful. yet there was no concept of their separation. and this was also the Plato of the nineteenth century. Similarly. It can already be seen in criticism of Aristotle. In contrast to this. the good and the large are also not derived from experience. In any case. For there is no ontological separation here as Aristotle assumes. In this text as in the rest of Plato's writings there is never a more precise theory of participation in the idea given—a point which Aristotle criticizes. to the extent that the true content of a hypothesis is unfolded. was guided precisely by his interest in the physical. who. the eidos seems to be somehow in the things. the beautiful. At this point.
this conclusion seems clear. the suspicion arises here that it may possibly have been Aristotle himself who introduced this 3. Of course. Socrates now continues in a way that is surprising for the modern reader (106a ff. "deathless ones. it seems to me. It is the predicate of divinity. Plato's interpreters have not adequately grasped. an equivalence which Aristotle also corroborates (Physics 203/13). In any case. This conclusion of Socrates' seems convincing to the dialogue partners and also to the reader.). What are the consequences of this for the theme of "the soul"? In thinking through the connection between different ideas we see that the soul as a life principle is necessarily connected with an idea. Yet. of course. It is a typical term from the Greek epic tradition and it indicates something being lifted up into a higher state of being. Those passages in which the discussion occurs seem to consider the equivalence of immortality and indestructibility to be completely plausible. it is clearly "deathless" (athanatos). This relationship of ideas to one another is the most interesting point. the Unking of one concept with another. consequently. It is not the simple appearance of an individual word but the linking of one word with another. But for Socrates the soul is above all else the orientation toward pure essences. cannot be reconciled with the idea of death. for instance. pure ideas. He asserts that the soul. an idea that cannot be reconciled with death. the soul is obviously being treated as a principle of life—albeit in a specific form. and precisely because of this we are able to explicate the implications contained in a hypothesis. and. At this point. with the idea of life. The meaning of the word "athanatos" is clear. So. Only in this way is logical proof possible at all. Here. It is indeed true that the idea of the soul.3 But what does anolethros mean? The argument is quite difficult here. Above all we need to keep in mind that the argument runs parallel to the previous description of immortality. is also indestructible and indissoluble (anolethros). Literally. namely. something is put forward that. insofar as it is immortal." . insofar as it is brought into connection with life. Only in this way does the logos exist. This entails that the soul is life itself. Homer's athanatoi.The Soul between Nature and Spirit 55 As Socrates' argument progresses it leads him to maintain that the idea is not only identical with itself but proves itself to be insolubly linked with certain other ideas. warmth is obviously connected with fire.
could be the fact that the Eleatic conception of being or of the one goes only badly with the transition into the nothing. We should not forget. is this concept of olethros. Consequently. Nevertheless. we could still hold that "one passes away and another takes its place. for instance. the other cannot exist. the world of ideas is not that other world that exists only for the gods.** As eidetic relations they are thus something like the concept of the equal or the unequal. of downfall. discovered the decisive arguments.4 "of nothing. according to the genuine Pythagoreans. Thus it is also clear that one is not capable of taking the other up into itself. des Untergangs . If we trace the entire Platonic argument in these passages (106a-b)." This. however. which realizes itself innumerably often in even or odd numbers— just as. the Phaedo. it seems to me. in the Phaedo. Plato attempts to carry through with their idea of immortality and their belief in the transmigration of the soul (against the threat of materialism) in that. But could he possibly have had grounds for this? Proceeding from the religious background of the by then waning Pythagoreans. The irrepressible desire in human experience to overcome the inconceivability of death through the thought of immortality also makes the transition into the nothing seem unthinkable. Standing behind this.56 The Beginning of Philosophy inseparability of immortality and indestructibility into the doxographical tradition of the Presocratics. with clarity. a realm of relationships we can conceive of just as we do in mathematics. which in its being-in-itself is unchangeable." It is the concept of 4. like. that it was Plato who. fire and the warm) are viewed only as characteristics of something and not as "ideas. then we see that the concept of immortality is elevated to this eidetic level with the help of the concept of indestructibility. anticipates the critique of the Pythagorean identification of being with mathematics that gets worked out later in the theory of ideas and then finds a clear confirmation specifically in the Philebus' "third kind." In the end. above all. therefore. Where the one exists. he brings into play an eidetic realm. The interesting thing. is cogent only so long as the equal and the unequal (or similarities. however. Just like it says in the text! These two elements—like the even and the odd or the soul and death—are not commensurable with one another. the immortal soul returns in new incarnations.
its affective. The tension between these two conceptions of the soul becomes a problem. human beings. The transposition of life into self-consciousness is fundamental for all of German idealism. which is taken as both the origin of life and the seat of thinking.The Soul between Nature and Spirit 57 something that—in contrast to death (thanatos). thinking is present when being is. each individualized according to its function. the doubleness of the question follows from the ambiguity of the concept of the soul. rather. This is the mystery. without psyche there is no nous. and we can also see this in modern philosophy insofar as it is just as much a philosophy of life as it is a philosophy of consciousness and self-consciousness. I mean by this that Plato and Aristotle are convinced that without life there is no thinking. It is no mere fluctuating muddle but a living exchange between the various forms in which human life articulates itself as entelechy. this problem is found not only in the Phaedo but also in Aristotle. and as such it is life. of the soul. The conclusion to this problem that Socrates draws in the Phaedo (106d) suggests that what is immortal is also indestructible and that it is the same with the soul as it is with the even. which lies precisely in the fact that it does not consist. that the division of the soul into parts does not form an absolute division because the soul is always only one in its vegetative. It seems that these two aspects—life and thought—do not allow themselves to be separated from each other. the secret. because thinking is nothing but this presence. Essentially. as well as its theoretical function. we can understand what meaning there is in the fact that philosophy wavers back and forth between the beginning in the sense of the origin of life and the beginning of cognition and thinking. as the body does. within the consciousness of. but rather it takes effect with intensive concentration in each of its aspects. Aristotle states quite clearly in De anima what already occurs in Plato—albeit in narrative and mystical form—namely. . As we know. Furthermore. which continually threatens life—does not occur within the experience of. Hegelian phenomenology brings this transformation of the cycle of the living being within the reflexivity of consciousness to presentation. of various discrete organs. This wavering has its ground in the structure of the human being itself. In light of these considerations. "Thinking" in mathematics and in the dialectic is not the same as "thinking" in the sense of the methodical procedure of modern science.
Incidentally. in any case.58 The Beginning of Philosophy which. What should we make of this? Should we think that Plato has not recognized the problem and for this reason has proven immortality only for the idea of the soul and not proven it for the individual soul? Here. both god and the idea of life would then be immortal as well as imperishable We are no doubt dealing here with an argument that displays a certain weakness. Indeed. Simmias. what presents itself as a weakness in Socrates' argument confirms that a separation is not possible between the ideas and the particular. for the idea of the soul. not for the indestructibility of the discrete individual. we come back to a fundamental problem of Platonic philosophy. Concepts that involve the immanence of the one in the other develop only within the framework of the subsequent tradition. however. All of this is important in order to understand better what actually lies hidden behind the Platonic dialectic of immortality . of course. Averroism and the trials of Meister Eckhart and others for heresy. immortality has really only been proven for the idea of life. This is a topic that is discussed a great deal in later philosophy but one that does not occur at all in Plato. In truth. This is a problem that runs through the entire history of philosophy. announces itself in language and that language is able to reach with words that which exists. true being. which we interpret realistically or nominalistically. it is obvious that true essence. a problem that is not thematized. It is pure Aristotelianism if we ask ourselves what significance there is in Plato for the relationship between the particular. one further drastic confirmation could be drawn from the dialogue. and the universal. namely. To put it another way: in the end it will be conceded that the soul is immortal—and then it must also be admitted that it is indestructible. yet all doubts are overcome with the assertion that. Parmenides: it is nonsense to believe that the world of the ideas is only for the gods and that the world of facts is only for mortals. For. For him. One recalls. for instance. does not become odd but also cannot pass away. in the final analysis the acknowledgment of immortality seems to be based on approbation. The most widespread interpretation that puts particular emphasis on this passage is that. indeed. ultimately. which represents an unquestionable givenness. the relationship between universal and particular. seems sensitive to this weakness. it is better to lead an honest life. The psyche is not only a universal concept but it is the omnipresence of life and particularly [its presence] in the living being.
The Soul between Nature and Spirit
and indestructibility in the Phaedo. Of course, the presence of the soul in the individual, which is based on self-evidence and not on arguments, is connected with the religious tradition. In the end, Socrates will reach the conclusion that after the onset of bodily death the soul continues to exist in another place, namely, in Hades. At this point, the religious tradition is completely present, albeit in a very detached way. The following should be noted here: whereas Socrates asserts (106d) that because of his immortality we must admit that "the god" (ho theos) could not perish, his interlocutor replies that this must be admitted of all the gods (para theon). Now the plurality of the gods certainly belongs to the religious tradition just as much as the image of Hades does, but here "the god" is tantamount to "the divine," and this signifies that Plato certainly wants to refer to conventional religion but also to a rational concept that confirms it. By way of explanation, however, I would like to add that this talk of "the god" does not, of course, mean monotheism but something indeterminately divine. As far as this entire thematic is concerned, an excellent explanation for why Socrates has reservations about the traditional religion of his city can ultimately be derived from the Euthyphro. In conclusion, please bear the following in mind: my remarks demonstrate tendentially that the arguments formulated in the Phaedo for the soul's immortality always tend to develop themselves within the context of a theoretical deliberation stemming from the ambiguity of the soul's function. It can just as well be consciousness as the principle of life.
From the Soul to the Logos: The Theatetus and the Sophist
nphe Phaedo, as we saw, is a first step on the path that leads A from the concept of the soul as the origin of life to the new Socratic-Platonic orientation toward knowledge and mathematics. In a certain sense, the Theatetus tries to further clarify the problem of the opposition between the vitalistic and the spiritualistic concepts of the soul. The dialogue begins with the definition of knowledge as aisthesis or perception (151e). Be careful! Theatetus—a mathematician—is saying here that knowledge is perception. This does not mean he is referring to the function of the senses. We are not dealing here with the Aristotelian concept of aisthesis but rather with immediacy, with a perception that corresponds completely to selfevidence, a perception that mathematics makes use of that is different from "mere" argumentation. By way of explanation, we should point out that the word "mere" here is used in the sense that it has in the Greek expression "psiloi logoi."1 Theodores of Cyrene says that in his youth he himself engaged in bare ("mere") discourse; later, however, he turned to mathematics, in which there is self-evidence. It is thus clear that in this context "perception" means self-evidence hi the sense that "one cannot help but see." Later, the actual theory of perception formulates it in the
1. "bare words" or "plain words"
From the Soul to the Logos
same way, as a collision or encounter with reality (153e). This theory is found again in an extremely sophisticated form, indeed in a downright Protagorean form, in Alfred North Whitehead, and also as the only long Plato quotation that occurs in Wittgenstein (in the Philosophical Investigations). In precisely this passage in the Theatetus, Socrates explicates the theory according to which perception is a kind of physics and resembles a concurrence of movements in which the slower movement appears as something standing, while the faster, in contrast, appears as something flowing and variable (156d ff.). As we know, Socrates demonstrates that coming to a standstill is not possible in this physics of perception. Perception is not merely physical motion as Empedocles and others understood it. We are well acquainted with the theory of seeing that stems from Empedocles because Theophrastus has handed down to us the part of Empedocles' work dealing with this topic. Apparently the encounter theory arises for the first time with Empedocles and then persists until Protagoras. The crucial point of Socrates' argument is that perception is not an encounter between the eyes and what is, but rather that, in seeing, the eye is exclusively the organ of the soul. Seeing is certainly accomplished with help of the eye, yet it is not the eye that sees (184d). In the course of this train of thought, Plato brings into play his predecessors, from Heraclitus to Empedocles and Protagoras, although he also names Homer and Epicharmus, and they all are described as proponents of the general flow of things, as though none of them had ever heard of Parmenides. In this respect it must be clearly understood that we are dealing with irony, with imagination, and with a construction originating from the mind of Plato. The concept of that which flows cannot, in truth, be separated from the concept of that which remains fixed. The one implies the other, as I have already stressed in my analysis of the Phaedo, where it came to light that recollection and opinion come nearer and nearer to the identical and the enduring. Specifically in the text of the Theatetus, and thus in its contrast with Protagoras' position, we are dealing with an invention of Plato. It is hard to believe that Mario Untersteiner included this section of the Theatetus in his collection of the Sophists' fragments. It is certainly obvious that this is not Protagoras himself but an interpretation of Protagoras—albeit an extremely refined interpretation that is of great interest for modern philosophy. In essence, we find here once again the problem
this truly is a revolution. the rheontes. when one insists on the identity of being. Reason is made out to be something additional. In this sense. like "rebels. namely. "those who stand up" or "take a stand. where two positions are placed opposite each other like two combatants: on the one side. Aufstaendische. and indeed. to comprehend knowledge as logos. Nevertheless the form in which this definition is presented is very unsatisfactory." Logos is not merely the expression of a secure opinion. several allusions 2.3 The Tbeatetus thus ends with a theme. the permanent. /ogos. the second answer to the question of the essence of knowing asserts that knowing is doxa. The Platonic construction shows up clearly in a different passage (180-81). ausformulierte Meinung . in light of our interest in the Presocratics. So. Indeed. and. as the taking of a stand against the predominant view of the general flux. which this dialogue does not succeed in adequately defining and which later stands at the center of the Sophist.62 The Beginning of Philosophy of how observation and interpretation of the factual are to be explained by starting with just the mind. Actually. the conclusion of the Theatetus is actually an introduction to the Sophist. while opinion is already there and is only subsequently verified and confirmed. which is also of great significance for later Aristotelian doxography."2 take a stand on the immobility of that which exists and in this respect are revolutionaries at the same time. let us now take up the Sophistl Here (242c ff. the stasiotai. a wordplay designating those who." 3. those who are for flux and maintain the eternal flux of things. in the vernacular "stasiotes" means the same thing as revolutionary. something merely added on to opinion.) we find. I will not spend further time on this very complicated answer because it is essentially coextensive with the previous one and because the third and last answer is of particular interest. a quite detailed presentation. and it is a mistake to comprehend it as mere expression and linguistically formulated opinion. literally. and the constancy of being. opinion. This answer states: knowledge is opinion accompanied by logos. something like a doxography. After it has been shown that knowing cannot be equated here with sensory perception but rather brings the soul into play. on the other side. It is rationally established opinion. But this is not "logos. With this we have apparently reached the goal that the whole dialogue strives toward.
All of the elements out of which this kind of an interpretation is constructed are inadequate: there was certainly no Eleatic "school.From the Soul to the Logos 63 to the Sophist (242c ff. treated the cosmos as the divine and showed that these "gods" 4. Socrates' conversation partner. attempts that began with the Milesians. and I think this fits into a more general characteristic of the Plato's writings: namely. everyone who has spoken of this before has just been telling fairy tales. talks about that which is and asserts that. is the point of view of the Eleatics: Eleatikon ethnos. I think. in a certain sense correct. The true significance of Xenophanes. where a new society had emerged in the mean time. and it is certainly wrong to interpret it as evidence for the role of Xenophanes as founder of the Eleatic school. But Plato expresses himself here very specifically (kai eti prosthen5). the Stranger then continues. that precise historical accounts cannot be derived from them. This is. in Sicily. as though the Eleatics had already begun [philosophizing] before Xenophanes. Plato presents the earlier accounts critically as mythical stories. Later.) can be documented in Aristotle. he says. Xenophanes. One person says that there are three kinds of entities4: three principles that will at one time struggle with each other and another time unite with each other. however. in his elegant verses. This third position began with Xenophanes and even earlier. Eleatic philosophy is probably a reply to the first philosophical attempts to explain the universe. and those before him ." and Xenophanes was not its founder. in all likelihood. saying that someone else has claimed that there is a dual essence: the wet and the dry or the warm and the cold. apo Xenophanous te kai eti prosthen arxamenon. lies elsewhere: he testifies to the shifting interests of an aristocratic society that now interests itself in a new science instead of Homer and Hesiod. The third position. the Stranger who has arrived in Athens from Elea. Xenophanes was quite simply a rhapsodist who recited the texts of the Greek mythology of Homer and the other poets. He probably also had very little to do with Parmenides. I am fully aware that this contradicts the doxographical tradition that goes back to Aristotle. We cannot establish to whom the speaker is referring here. At any rate. Many authors have tried. This is a mysterious depiction. dreierlei Seiendes 5. and these pairs come into a bond with one other. but to my mind there is no satisfactory solution.
For this. What does this mean? Here. Consequently. which is common to all the predecessors. a reflected perspective follows this classification. we are dealing here with the difference between a telling of myths. Accordingly. the Ionic muses are mentioned. The dialogue then proceeds to investigate precisely this problem. it classifies the predecessors according to the number of their principles. not primarily with a chronological order but with a Pythagorean-style logical classification that is connected in some way to the mystery of numbers. how they connect with one another. therefore. in the second group there are two principles. This Eleatic conversation partner shows that it is necessary to take a new step in the reflection. die seienden Dinge . which evidently means Heraclitus and Empedocles and can also serve as the classic example of a Socratic-Platonic description of their predecessors. Let us now ask ourselves what the entire list means. which in the earliest thinkers had merely been presupposed. for the Eleatics there is only one.64 The Beginning of Philosophy were in reality not the way they were presented in mythology. The stranger from Elea goes on to say (243a) that those who have discussed the number of principles have in each case continued on their own way without concerning themselves about **us"—about our ability to follow and to understand them. They depict all of this as a process. in the first group there are three principles. and another access to the problem. These thinkers simply tell how existing things6 combine. We are dealing. as I will demonstrate later. it seems to me that this passage in Plato is not an historical source for establishing a Presocratic chronology but has a different meaning. It is above all necessary to understand the significance of what is. At the end of the list. In any case. Apparently. how they arise. we must establish a relationship to the beginning of these remarks. and according to Heraclitus and Empedocles there are the one and the many. A new perspective. which is now put forward by Socrates' conversation partner. which in Empedocles alternate with one another while in Heraclitus they form a dialectical unity. it is crucial that the confrontation over the meaning of being is carried 6. It was asserted there that apparently the earlier thinkers had only told fairy tales when they spoke of the number of principles. whereas the problem consists primarily in comprehending the meaning of being.
thus in the sense of that which produces effects. The metaphor is meant to refer to those who recognize being in the tangible. the "friends of ideas"—perhaps the Pythagoreans?—cannot. and this standpoint is understood in a deeply ontological sense— hence not in the modern sense whereby what can be established through experience and what can be measured count as "being. We are thus dealing with a dynamic concept. Moreover. it would be extremely naive of us to now impute the concept of hyle to the Presocratics. in the final analysis. maintain that being is immovable and unchangeable. described in the fheatetus." but rather in the sense according which being is dynamis. Even Thales' water is something other than matter. and one posited by reason.From the Soul to the Logos 65 out between two points of view in a manner similar to the dispute. in one way or another. This is the term with whose help the philosopher in this context seeks to determine the sense of being that is recognized in the tangible. Therefore. to that which is looked upon as something material as well as to that 7. even with no particular explanation. which clearly alludes to Hesiod's depiction of the Titans' rebellion7 against Mount Olympus (Theogony 675-715). Aufstand . that what is cannot be dumb as a post. Likewise. Rather. One of these points of view is the one ascribed to the tradition of the "materialists. this is a concept introduced by Aristotle. The dialogue arrives at this concept by forcing the "materialists" to admit an irrefutable consequence concerning "life"—that. like rocks and tree-trunks. We have no citations confirming that the Presocratics had anything like the concept of matter. For we see that they do indeed produce effects: hence there arises the concept of dynamis. the other party. the speech from the passage we just now examined in the Sophist (246a) speaks only of the people who maintain that only those things exist that can be touched and handled with the hands. between that which flows (rheontes) and that which is permanent (stasiotai). as we can also see from our investigation of Aristotelian texts. It is clear. It is the resistence with which "being" withstands penetration—somewhat like solidity in Democritus. Therefore. the concept of dynamis applies to both parties. The concept of "matter" does not occur at all in Plato with the significance that it has assumed in the tradition. souls and virtue exist." Here we need some clarification.
To be sure. I. as such. yet. and difference—a series of concepts that contains a considerable intellectual demand.8 In the Sophist. sameness. and so on. that also presented itself in the Phaedo in form of the soul within the tension-field between zoe and nous—between life and mind. without motion. This is not the consequence of a proof but an appeal to a self-evident certainty: that which is cannot make do without life. their function is clear. Admittedly. 8. . we ask ourselves about the relationship between these reflexive concepts and the concepts of motion and rest. Geist. according to the depiction in the tenth book of the Nomoi? permanent movement and moving permanence. these two no longer mutually exclude each other. according to which being should be immovable. Even the party of the "friends of ideas. eventually. How is it possible at all to properly situate sameness and difference (which. as we know. fixed. Consequently." who declare everything to be fixed and motionless. So the contrast between what flows and what is fixed ultimately proves to be badly construed. Indeed. Discussing this is extremely difficult. are concepts of reflection) alongside motion and rest? In the Hegelian logic of essence. spirit 9. rest. must admit the necessity that what is moves.66 The Beginning of Philosophy which is grasped as something psychic. as a philosopher. the relationship between two such different pairs of concepts is not completely clear. without something like nous. motion. incidentally. The two initial concepts of movement and permanence develop in that they become.. this problem is developed with the help of a complex dialectic of the following five fundamental ideas: that which exists. the disintegration of the strict alternative also occurs between motion and rest. the objects of mathematics and Euclidian geometry know no motion. the reciprocity of beteron and tauton is the means by which Plato succeeds in justifying the unity of motion and rest. Plato's Laws.e. rejects the mathematical dogmatism of this standpoint. In the Sophist. we come upon the same problem here as we did in the Theatetus: the relationship between flux and permanence. motionless. the same problem. and. but in the end the following conclusion seems clear: through the parallel dialectic of the same and the different. it is unthinkable to anyone that what exists is. yet Plato. deaf. but with this arrangement. and has no nous.
just pretentious intellectual frivolities. Yet. there are essentially no documents that deal with this problem. quite to the contrary. in which table conversations of ruling-class sons are described. Thinking is also always an action. is of no consequence. from concepts like identity and difference to conventional and concrete concepts like motion and rest. What counts is to grasp what Plato 10. Here. although the problem now and then comes to light casually. but it is also a self-movement. suggests the idea that the perdurance of what exists is not excluded by the fact that. with the power of identifying. It is an image that. just as in the tenth book of the Nomoi. The fact that all this belongs together with the vision of Platonic thought also emerges from the Parmenides. a work from the time of Caesar. Hegel was the first to revive the problem of the inner contradiction within the temporal concept of the "moment. both theses lose the battle. According to Plato's perception. he is not yet dead. as soon as he is dead. we find an allusion to the problem of the moment as it was brought forward in the Parmenides. he knows how to make comprehensible the alternating relation of the back and forth between the one and the other."10 just as Kierkegaard was the first to connect this concept with the anxiety of life. of course. to all appearances. Plato realizes how problematic the transition is from pure concepts of reflection (to put it in Hegelian terms). we are really dealing here with consciousness. between Plato and Hegel/Kierkegaard. As I see it. it also participates in temporality. We also find an allusion to this problem in Pseudo-Dionysius. that is. Thinking is always identifying. from the wellknown paradox of the structure of the moment. The goal of the Sophist is neither a merely formal solution to the aporia nor a compromise between the two opposing theses.From the Soul to the Logos 67 as a significant artist. as motion. For. this also occurs in the Timaeus when the sequence of the seasons is described. Similarly. something flowing in time in such a way that temporality is contained within identity throughout. [a conflict] in which. conversations that are. I have searched in vain for them. The question is raised regarding the moment in which the dying person dies. But all of this. Augenblick . as long as he lies dying. as for example in the Attic Nights. This is also an extremely important point for modern thinking. he is no longer a dying man. and. the paradox of being time and yet not being in time.
and two distinct dimensions of reality—rest and motion—on the other. on the one hand. is treated by Hegel when in the Phenomenology he describes the transition that leads from ever-flowing life to the individual organism and to self-consciousness. When we study Plato. The chapter that contains a detailed presentation of self-consciousness is prepared for by the analysis of the self-relatedness of life. he lies far in the past—but this. on the one hand. If this were indeed the result. and the Sophist. It is quite similar. In its essence.68 The Beginning of Philosophy intended. with respect to with Hegel. leaves behind the limits of human finitude. But we must be careful even when we deal with Aristotle. we could simply deal directly with Hegel. in attaining complete transparency. is actually a standpoint that one attains only after a protracted development of thought. the Theatetus. we must be on guard against equating Plato and Hegel. The problem that fascinates us lies in the distinctions between them. we should not forget that. Undoubtedly this is connected with the ontological status of the soul. It is the structure of the soul. Of course. self-relatedness. structure of Me corresponds to this as well. Self-reflection. on the other. and absolute knowing. the contradiction between movement and permanence is overcome. of course. Hegel took the Platonic theme of life—the world-soul that animates itself and differentiates itself into various individual organisms—and amplified it into absolute spirit. It would be very interesting to discuss the similarity that exists between this synthesis of motion and rest. Essentially. and it also shows up in the Parmenides. Plato does not base everything on the structure of selfreflection. A 11. this topic runs through the Phaedo. of thinking. Ultimately. and hence the self-reflexive. There is a correspondence between the transition carried out in Greek philosophy from the principle of life to the principle of mind11 and the dialectical development in Hegel's Phenomenology and Logic. Geist . rather. which. The transition from the idea of life to the particularity of the living individual. The problem of the circular. he describes the relationship between the concepts of identity and difference. or of consciousness. along with self-consciousness. as the autonomous structure of that which is. holds true for the entire Greek tradition. and the self-reflection of modern idealism. as I have already indicated. in the problem of the moment investigated there.
for example. upon the independence of the subject which reflects upon itself. this is what we find in Book A of the Metaphysics. the only text in which the onto-theological peak of Aristotelian metaphysics is expressly described. I also bear in mind that this complete autonomy is nothing human but rather the universe as the Greek thought of it. It is also precisely this culture from which springs the "aggressiveness" of modern science. All of this shows that it is no trivial claim when one thinks that there is a metaphysics of finitude and finite beings and that. Thus. The finitude of the human being brings all this with it. The divine being is distinguished by the continuity of its presence. in opposition to reality. the good. all of these are limitations of its being awake. Besides this. in a certain sense. However. no sleep. Reflection presupposes throughout that we have already submitted to the given in such a way that—and this is what reflection is—we then turn ourselves back to the given starting point. Sure enough. Aristotle himself insists on the fact that reflection always presupposes an immediate act. he certainly remains within the limits set by the autonomy of self-consciousness that belong to a culture founded. Its superiority lies in the fact that it knows no limit. When Hegel takes this up position again. which always wants to become master over its object by means of a method and thus excludes that mutuality of participation existing between object and subject that represents the highest point of Greek philosophy and makes possible our participation in the beautiful. this "ontology" has been the last word of Greek metaphysics. In comparison. which is the whole that is. Here. no fatigue. and the just. a subsequently occurring excess that is added onto something immediate.From the Soul to the Logos 69 Hegelian would say that Aristotle has certainly survived in Hegel's Encyclopedia. it is always a parergon. the great mystery of forgetting. the self-movement in self-reflection unfolds toward the completely autonomous form of the First Mover. there is still much else connected with the finitude of the human being. no illness. Creativity depends on the choices made by our reason and our capacity to think. as well as in . in the case of the human being. no obstruction. The computer is something impoverished because it cannot forget and therefore is not creative. and therefore we should consider the difference between the human being and the divine being. but with a merely verbal description of divine self-reflection.
pointed the way for contemporary philosophy. with his analysis of timeconsciousness. and. the author of Being and Time.70 The Beginning of Philosophy the values of communal human life. All of this perhaps can perhaps help us to understand why Husserl. the essence of knowledge is the dialogue and not the mastery of objects comprehended as proceeding from an autonomous subjectivity. after him. . For the Greeks. that victory of modern science that has even in a certain sense led to the end of the metaphysics.
Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 7 B efore we continue our investigation. for instance. With this intention. astronomic. we have called nature. the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Plato and Aristotle—have given to the questions raised by this beginning. mathematical. I would like once again to briefly review the path we have already traveled. we looked at the Phaedo. These questions were undoubtedly those of scientific. and physical access to what. but rather in the "logical" senses. In the course of this reflection. namely. We have thereby proceeded from the conviction that the beginning of Greek science and philosophy must be grasped from the answers that the great thinkers—like."1 we have made well-preserved and unreconstructed texts the object of our investigation. we made the concept of the soul our theme and discussed the soul on the one hand as a life-principle and on the other hand as thinking and mind. and in doing so we had to take note of the fact that it is not possible to understand a fragment of such a well-structured text without taking into account the entire movement of thought and the dialogue conducted between Plato and the past. Wirkungsgeschichte . From there we proceeded to the Theatetus and to the Sophist and examined the passages that deal with the beginnings of philosophy for the Greeks. Within the framework of the perspective I have designated as "effective history. 1. In this sense. since Plato. I emphasized that "beginning** or "principium" is meant here not in the temporal sense.
with his explications of the Presocratics. This is an extremely important point because the subsequent doxography since Theophrastus and his followers leans heavily on Aristotle's testimonies. in the problem of the soul and its relationship to motion and rest. where we know two first as the number and [then] as n + 1. are a conglomeration of legends and indirect tradition. and the "biographies" by Diogenes Laertius.72 The Beginning of Philosophy The prindpium is that on whose basis everything else is structured. in the analysis of knowledge and of what is. like. from the manner in which Plato refers to Xenophanes. Therefore. or the atomistic "schools. The chronologies are constructions by scholars of the Hellenistic age." These are quotations that at least reflect the interests and the points of view of the later authors who quoted them. This warning also applies to the citations collected under the title "Fragments of the Presocratics. Here. for example. but rather he is prompted to do so by problems in his own philosophy. is clear. that is. likewise. the Eleatic. Only if we follow this dialogue is it possible to understand adequately the question-frame formulated by the Milesian. they are extremely unreliable and lead us into error. Both of them opted for the "flight into the /ogo/. we recognized the same problem that had been thematized in the Phaedo with regard to the soul in relation to life and mind. All of this goes to point out once again that even these Plato passages and in general all the passages on which the tradition is based should not be viewed as documents and testimonies that inform us in an historically valuable way about the Presocratics. In the Theatetus and in the Sophist. we must ask how the Presocratic looks to Aristotelian philosophy. Now we must proceed to the effect of Presocratic philosophy in the framework of Aristotelian philosophy. it is necessary to point out that. Aristotle does not wish to write history any more than Plato does. for instance." . With this it has been clearly established that even for Plato this beginning lies very much in darkness. which follows. we can assume that Presocratic philosophy presents a constant challenge for Aristotelian doctrines and that the passages of the Physics or the Metaphysics dedicated the Presocratics belong to a living dialogue between Plato and his predecessors. in the domain of numbers. and. Considered from this point of view." That there is a basic orientation common to Plato and Aristotle. as the messenger of a prehistory lying far in the past. in the Sophist. namely. for instance.
does not simply create from out of nothingness. the Platonic Timaeus is illuminating in a certain sense for the integration of Greek philosophy into Christian philosophy. the demiurge is like a master craftsman who does indeed manufacture something but who. in contrast to the "Word" of the theological doctrine of Creation. that which Aristotle calls "tode ti" a something that only manifests itself through showing and not through words. which no longer proceeds on the basis of the logoi. there is—as follows from the propagation of the species. they are both followers of Socrates as he is portrayed in die Phaedo. What matters here. of which he is not at all the creator. They are both concerned with the reality of the universe. in the sublunar world in which the movements are less regular. insofar as the demiurge is interpreted as an approximation of the Creator-God of the Old Testament. The application of numbers to the particular wants to be nothing other than a practical implementation of mathematics. the rhythm of the seasons. The demiurge fashions the world-soul. The former orientation largely eliminates the problem of contingency because in the realm of mathematics there is nothing at all of the particular. in this sense. Admittedly. above all.Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 73 and. But numbers and the relationships between the numbers are more than mere tools for the construction or the reconstruction of matter. to biology. the orientation toward physics and biology includes the recognition of the individual creature. the path from the seed to the ripe fruit. as the word [of the Timaeus} already tells us. for example. but rather . But the basic difference between Plato and Aristotle is also no less clear: Plato is mathematically oriented. The divine craftsperson manufactures things according to the model of ideas. the regularity of the circular movement of the heavenly bodies. obviously. is living nature and its being rather than mathematical structures. the particular. yet Plato speaks about it mostly with the help of splendid myths—what is recounted in the Timaeus. As you know. Then with Hellenism—especially with the Stoa—a reestablishing of the origin occurs. but what does it have to do with this soul? It is neither life-principle nor knowledge. Here it is clear that the model that governs the action of the demiurges conforms more to the mathematics of Pythagorean astronomy. This complex relationship between Plato and Aristotle has its consequences. while Aristotle sticks to physics and. and so on—a fixed order. Also. Nevertheless. They are the actual bearers of the order of reality.
they are concepts with which the action of the craftsperson can be described. But these counter-concepts to physis are typically sophistic. is the opposite of physis. and as he was occasionally prone to making quite blunt judgments. Its clear.74 The Beginning of Philosophy the origin of the periodic. This construction. indeed. which obviously does not mean techne in the modern sense of technology but intellectual2 creation as it was understood prior to the emergence of modern technology. appears to be founded on mathematical regularities. it is not so much a question of physis but rather of techne. 3. who. mat it contains nothing conceptually consistent and is without value for the philosopher. function. form. According to Plato. Only heaven is perfect. wants to explain things with concepts. . and they are precisely the kind of concepts with which Aristotle undertakes to determine the specific essence of nature. Such concepts are: matter. the technikos. For the Greeks. These are the concepts of techne. The universe for Aristotle. all of this becomes for Plato the object of a mythical tale. always constant motion that is the mark of the heavenly bodies and whose essence can be expressed by numbers and their relationships. space. society. and I would remind you that the concept of physis has developed only recently from the self-evident usage within the Western tradition into counter-concepts like nomos and techne. Aristotle transforms this Platonic myth into concepts that constitute the essence of physis. This should not surprise us. rather. techne is a knowing how one fabricates something. the origin of motion. Greek civilization had reached such a level by that time—the epoch of rhetoric and sophistic dialectic—that the 2. he flatly stated that the Timaeus brings only empty metaphors. in any case. of course. If we want to use Aristotelian terminology here. and so on. and laws. not the fabrication itself. Or purpose: Zweck. regular.3 time. Aristotle apparently did not feel comfortable with this explanation of nature by means of images like that of the craftsperson. Geistig: mental or spiritual. as for Plato. but this is precisely why the universe is not at all similar to the world that is regulated by politics. the world is designed by a sovereign craftsperson-god. yet it is implemented in its details by subordinate deities who are responsible for what is irregular and accidental in our earthly lives. By contrast. that Aristotle was not content with myths and images.
on the one hand. the text had already been partially written earlier. it becomes at no place clear in these two chapters that the longer and now lost second part of Parmenides' famous poem was preoccupied with nature. on the other. and doctor's son. within which he first makes the quite illuminating remark that in physics. Apparently. of what is. even when Aristotle. Thus the concepts connected to techne were those most readily available for expressing the order of the world to which Aristotle attached such importance. was certainly not the first subject in the framework of Aristotle's lecture courses. This criticism of the Eleatics is actually a criticism of Plato. Exactly when the Physics was worked out remains a very difficult problem. nevertheless it undoubtedly belonged to his earliest writings.Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 75 skillful craftsperson was regarded as a model for humankind and all human knowledge was regarded as techne. the . by way of elucidation. It implies that the attempt to determine the various meanings of being. Rather. that existed between Plato. the previously suggested difference comes to light. we come upon a classification of principles that is less complicated than the enumeration that occurs in the Sophist. and Aristotle. is an extremely complicated task and is not limited to physis. before it was enlarged and received the shape in which we know it today. and this book is essentially a critique of Plato. and it is a text that is dictated above all with the intention of emphasizing his difference from Plato and from the Academy. In this first book. in turn. biologist. Remarkably. This should not surprise us. the chapter on the four causes was originally a chapter of the Physics. and this. there is no place for the Eleatics since they completely deny the existence of motion. Let us now begin with an examination of the Physics. it is necessary to point out that the Aristotelian doctrine of the four causes was not constructed in order to establish a metaphysics. and so on. presents the thinking of his predecessors. the mathematician and Pythagorean. Before we continue. The second and third chapter of the first book subsequently contain a detailed criticism of Parmenides and Eleatic philosophy. the difference. In the comparison employed here. the science of moving things. the physicist. that is. This objective of the whole is clear from the first book on. This is a text in which (much as in the Metaphysics) the thought is not presented in a finished and systematic form but rather as something in development.
and the classification of the nature experts is based on this difference. that is. who advocated the doctrine that the basic element is air. (Here. The fourth chapter goes into the experts on nature (physikoi).76 The Beginning of Philosophy cosmos.) Puknotes/manotes apparently stands for the class that Aristotle ascribes to the Milesians. The critique focuses exclusively on the first part of the Parmenidean didactic poem. and this in a manner that makes it clear that mixing and separating out form the model that first proves to be necessary on the basis of the Eleatic critique . which has survived through the transcription of Simplicius. whose views he simply identified with the first part of the poem. Simplicius thought (apparently not altogether unjustly) that only the first part needed to be transcribed because the Aristotelian critique was aimed only at this first part. But this means that Aristotle really attacked Plato's point of view by way of a detour through the text of Parmenides. in a book that occupies itself with nature—Aristotle only goes into that part of the Parmenidean poem that does not confront nature. by the way. by separating them out from a mixture. and the self-moving heavenly bodies. Puknotes/ manotes and ekkrisis are obviously two distinct theories. the Pythagoreans and Plato. yet it is readily understood that he refers above all else to Anaximenes. Ultimately. But what immediately stands out in this classification is that the first of these authors seems to have been brought together with the two others by force. To put it another way: in the Physics—that is. In essence. Empedocles. he thus had the intention of differentiating himself from Plato. through condensing and rarefying. whom he sometimes calls physiologists and at several other times he calls physicists. and Anaxagoras. that is. Aristotle attaches no names to puknotes/manotes. is no doubt introduced to make explicit reference to Anaximander. the concept of ekkrisis. which could assume many different shapes through condensing and rarefying. The text states that there are two types of experts on nature: the ones who declare that things can originate through puknotes and manotes. to some extent. as well as the ones who declare that they come about with the help of ekkrisis. The second concept. the discourse in the text is only about Anaxagoras. I am convinced that Thales also had something similar in mind. In any case it is clear that we are dealing with designations that encompass all the preceding thinkers—except for the Eleatics and. There is no established terminology here.
Aristotle obviously knew this tradition. it seems that Anaximander's theory is superimposed here on the philosophy of Anaxagoras. This superimposition. Aristotle himself says that element of earth is entirely absent in the Milesians because earth lacks flexibility. and thus we would be committing an anachronism comparable to the one that we ran into with Xenophanes in the Sophist (242d 4-7). From an Aristotelian perspective this means that here. the corpuscle theory was held to be an answer to the Eleatic critique. However.Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 77 of the multiplicity and changeability of the processes of nature. for example. of course. with all its different appearances. In truth. ascribes to Anaximander a cosmogony based on the bursting of an originary cosmic egg. of course. To do so would be to anticipate the "effect" of the Eleatic critique. by the way. rather. This also emerges from Theophrastus. the problem of the material cause does not come into consideration at all. The Viennese school of Gomperz and his supporters as well as the early Dilthey speak quite similarly in this regard. This arrangement. But since this is the case. and I find it quite understandable that. it becomes impossible to proceed in an Aristotelian manner and to accommodate Anaximander within the framework of this theory. hence a cosmogony based on the idea of liberation and differentiation. for example. In order to reply to this criticism. the picture looks different. Essentially. In these earliest theories. which inclined him to ascribe the corpuscle theory to Anaximander as well. the origin of motion is still not at all developed. should only be seen as an image that imposes itself through the influence of Galilean mechanics. What is crucial is thus flexibility or changeability. of course. as Diels has proven. that in Anaximenes it is a question of attributing becoming. This. therefore. seemed so obvious that modern philosophical historiography has also fallen in line with it. the question is the problem of motion's origin. or at least not primarily. must have had a basis in the tradition. Thus it seems to me completely . Air is simply movable and cannot exist in the condition of rest. it always comes down in the end to the fact that one thinks this condensing as a compression of countless particles. if we put ourselves into the culture of the fifth century before Christ. there is nothing left but to fall back on those concepts of mixture and separation (ekkrisis). to the same substratum. This is a well-known Aristotelian thesis that is repeated in many passages. here. who. in the end. It seems obvious to me.
here. it is the figure of Anaxagoras. the one that concluded that water was valid as the originary element because a log always stays at the surface and is carried by water. Aristotle says with subtle reservation that the thesis put forward by Thales. Actually. This argument appears plausible to me. The logic of the German here appears to have been inverted from what was originally intended. that water is the originary element. that first water and then air were proposed as principles and that they were each proposed in the sense of a material substance. The other one. This does not correspond to the sixth-century cosmologicalcosmogonic way of thinking. This was also the decisive point with Anaximander. only that his cosmogony looks suspiciously similar to that of Anaxagoras. the changeability of things and not elements. following Aristotle. With this we have a further example of what I have already brought to light. Anaximander even falls into complete oblivion. while Anaxagoras is spoken of extensively. dafi] the log climbs again and again to the surface whenever one tries to submerge it is an extraordinary observation. this observation is entirely in accord with Greek argumentation and has nothing to with the telling of myths. namely. In the end. This time period would be more likely to maintain that other assertion by Aristotle. that we usually get to know the philosophy of the earliest thinkers through the figure of a thinker from Socrates' time. Perhaps it is the only one that really corresponds to Milesian thinking. Thus the conclusion is that there may be a superimposition on the part of the fifth century present in this case as well. that the **fundamentality"of water should be demonstrated by4 the fact that the log climbs again and again to the surface whenever one tries to submerge it is an extraordinary observation. We observe the same problem with regard to Thales. Obviously." . namely. namely. which accepts water as the principle of life. In the Metaphysics. No. as follows from the investigations by 4. specifically on the part of Diogenes of Apollonia. The German reads more literally as follows: "In fact. we are dealing with something else.78 The Beginning of Philosophy misguided to maintain. presupposes a development of biology and medicine that had not yet taken hold at the time of the Thales cosmology and that only pushes [its way] into consciousness in the fifth century. which for me is the reason [for thinking] that it has perhaps has been mixed in with Aristotle. In this case. in that the 'fundamentality' of water should prove that [beweisen soil. follows from die observation that there is no life without moisture.
This has been the starting point for the manner in which I have treated Plato and Aristotle. And if we study the Presocratics as philosophers on the basis of the writings of Aristotle. rather. our discussion is trying to show that we are standing here at the origin of doxography. (London. In Aristotle. when Aristotle begins to speak in the Metaphysics of the first conception of cause and says that Thales 5. It turns out once again that this concept belongs less to nature than to the world of techne. . this origin is a distortion of the true intentions of the first thinkers of the West. 1983). Both of them are well acquainted with the distinction between intention and conceptual work.5 This is another instance. 4th ed. but in nature it may not be "material. Of course. revised ed. For example. as I see it. 1982) and Early Greek Philosophy. See Burnet's The Greek Philosophers. This is probably die reason Aristotle uses the more precise expression "hypokeimenon" in order to gain a grasp of the object of the investigation—that is. in accordance with the desires of modern historical research. at the same time. and the doxographer here is no less than Aristotle himself. Yet." Basically. in which the doxography of the Presocratic theme is strongly stamped by the fourth century. that here we have a fragmentary tradition to decipher and appraise historically. there must be a substratum of this change. We must begin from the fact that a gap exists between the intention and the conceptual apparatus. a grasp of becoming in nature: insofar as there is change. they do not quite succeed in adequately clarifying the concept of that which is that Parmenides introduced. Now I would like to call attention once again to the reasons why the texts of Plato and Aristotle are reviewed again and again.Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 79 John Burnet and Andre Laks. these are not conscious falsifications by Aristotle. it comes down to the fact that the precision of the information and the variations between this and that philosopher had no particularly great significance for Aristotle since he was more interested in the problems themselves. This is also the reason why in the Sophist the theories of the Presocratics are smiled at like myths. the concept of hyle (wood. we must refer to Aristotle's interests rather than believing. forest) seemed to be crucial for the formation of such a concept of what is precisely because wood was such a generally available raw material. (London. 1930) and Laks' Diogene d' Apollonie (Lille.
one is inclined to judge Plato's endeavors as incomplete. such that they can both be conceived of as expounding the ideas of the condensing. But at the same time it is dear that Aristotle is not convincing here. the problem is a different one. and. and the changing of things. This is not. then we must understand that by 'cause' he meant matter. Even in Plato we clearly observed the lack of a conceptuality appropriate to his intentions.6 Now it is clear that a philosophical tradition begins to enter into the conversation here as soon as the concepts it 6. In this way. and this is why I have begun with the Physics. in which the Milesians are depicted in a completely different way: there. Anaximander is situated quite differently in relation to Thales and Anaximenes. We have a similar example [today]. and the same also happens with some violence to the apeiron of Anaximander and then to the air of Anaximenes. We have seen what pains Plato takes in this respect to reach purely formal and logical concepts like sameness/difference from the conceptual pair of rest/motion. An advance in the philosophy of our own century is the insight into the preschematization [involved] in the use of phenomenological concepts and their horizons of meaning. After making the formalism of the fourfold Aristotelian conception of cause one's own. he makes clear that the use of that concept presupposes being as presenceat-hand. Vorhandenheit . then. It is a question of gleaning the attainments of ancient knowledge and the power of its imagination from the use of concepts. Subsequent doxography was deeply influenced by this interpretive approach. the flexibility. for example. the image of a "school" is developed around a common theme standing in the center. of course. meant to be a criticism. even though by the "school" of Miletus most people mean the people around Anaximenes. as we know. No. All of this is apparently a consequence of the concepts that Aristotle must introduce in order to overcome the mathematical and mythical view of the Timaeus. essentially signifies a material element. Water.80 The Beginning of Philosophy proposed this and that Thales was the first thinker who did not simply recount myths but also made use of evidence. When Heidegger analyzes the concept of consciousness. from this image later emerges the embarrassment that Anaximenes' air appears to be a setback in comparison with the indeterminate of Anaximander (which cannot possibly be a material!).
white. in no way contains its development in itself. "If one sticks a piece of wood into the ground. By contrast. the principle of its development. he must state expressly that it is something that contains the beginning of its movement. The Greek word is "hyle"—that is to say. "no tree grows from it. it is ousia pos. that is. matter is obviously not the substance of his action but only its sine qua non. matter does not exist. In a certain sense. the Aristotelian concept of the causes allows the world of what is handcrafted to step into the foreground. forest or wood—an expression that loudly proclaims its descent from the world of the craftsperson. that is. above all else. the paper on which I write—then this "material" is already more than matter. yet it is completely dependent on the choice and execution of the plan. Antiphon. Certainly. it is something that does not exist." and Aristotle quotes him approvingly. on the other hand.8 That is.Aristotle's Doxographical Approach 81 employs are no longer taken up as something self-evident. The doctrine of the four causes. indeed one can define it directly as that which does not possess this quality. the conceptual basis of Aristotle's Physics as it develops. The first thing that we must comprehend is thus that matter has no autonomous function and is something completely different from nature. in itself. Matter. while many corresponding Latin concepts came from the world of the farmer. What is important about the material cause as such? For the craftsperson. and so on. In any case. the matter does not acquire the design on its own. in a certain sense a thing that exists. etwas Nichtseiendes . It is quadrilateral. The material is indispensable. This permits him to reject the myth told in the Timaeus and to overcome the mathematical conception of physis. it is a something. The salient point of this doctrine remains the concept of the material cause." says the Sophist. einSeiendes 8. that is. it is itself already a product because it has a form and a purpose and is available for use. if the exertion of thinking is directed toward bringing to speech die discernable implications of conventional concept usage. When Aristotle first speaks of nature. for example.7 In another sense. it does not exist. 7. is. however. if we understand matter to be something determinate—like. as I have already said. This is precisely what happens when Aristotle situates his critical position over against Plato's mathematical-Pythagorean cosmology.
The word "substantia" is nothing other than the categorial and grammatical translation of this word into Latin. the substrate. But then.82 The Beginning of Philosophy if "existing" means "being" as in "being here. The answer that Aristotle finds [however] has a certain ambiguity within Aristotelian philosophy. The crucial thing is the principle of motion. we exclude the work of a creator? As Aristotelian science was transformed at the beginning of modern science. Aristotle emphasizes the fact that matter is indispensable. structured. how is it with nature. he must lean on the material cause. This emphasis follows from the fact that he is an opponent of PythagoreanPlatonic mathematism. Granted. the hothen he kinesis. This expression." is something "nameless" that forms the substratum of all qualitative alteration. Hiersein ."9 If I point to something as material. a product of techne. in order to bring the technical tone of the matter concept closer to "nature" the concept of matter in the Presocratics came to be expressed with the help of hylozoism. The problem arises as soon as it becomes necessary to determine conceptually which proper function the material cause fulfills in reality. like Aristotle. but it can also mean the subject of the sentence. I certainly do not mean it as matter but already as something shaped. The meaning of "hypokeimenon" is purely functional: the underlying. 9. But even this concept is little more than a metaphor that cannot solve the problem of the essence of nature in the form in which this problem is posed by Aristotle's Physics. if. "hypokeimenon. It is obvious that matter is not what distinguishes nature. In order to defend his own point of view.
In the things themselves. Plato speaks of a fourth cause: mind. which brings about this limitation.3 its true essence. Socrates—in fact. x\Toward the beginning of the Philebus. Plato gives to wows. or even in the large and the small 2. the real. the third is the limited. we have gone beyond the Pythagorean tradition. in der Sache selbst 3. But for the Pythagoreans number becomes being itself. With both of these. Thus number is what eliminates unlimitedness and therefore constitutes the essence of things through die knowledge of number. Precisely by further differentiating this tradition. This connects with the Pythagorean tradition. the unlimited) and the peras (the limit). Plato sees it in the indeterminate. the second is limit. to die intellectual. dem Geistigen 1. which produces the synthesis between the unlimited and the limit. an extremely mature Socrates—says that there are four kinds of things: the first is the unlimited. that is. Above all else.Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics A ristotelian terminology can already be distinguished in Plato. in the more or the less (mallon kai hetton). and this is the third kind. Geist: nous in die Greek. and the fourth is mind.1 which accomplishes the limiting. As I see it. to the relationship that obtains between the apeiron (the undetermined. 8 .2 Plato sees a third thing. the difference between Plato's standpoint and Aristotle's position is therefore clear: Aristotle sees the substratum of change in the hyle.
of haplei genesis. which are more appropriate for natural beings. for example. To this question. the concepts of potential and actual being. the question of the possibility of becoming arises. This is the fourth factor that is necessary in order to overcome the strictly numerical scheme of the Pythagoreans. Here Aristotle apparently considers the Eleatic argument that rejects every use of the nothing (me on) in that he introduces his own concepts.4 for which motion is suitable as a distinguishing characteristic. Of course. Yet in this respect. mind. that is. for instance. With this concept. Aristotle gains the possibility of solving the contradiction inherent in the concept of motion and thus getting at the dialectical 4. that is to say. But the concept is missing. as we know. In this way. If becoming must be explained without recourse to a mythical craftsperson. So he asks how concrete. that the transition from cold to warm is thus explained by the fact that one grasps the cold as a lack of the warm and not as something that an authoritative external action must accomplish. This is an interesting point. the concepts of dynamis and energeia come into play. privation. This means. an idealistically conceived substratum that eventually becomes something through number. since all becoming presupposes something that was previously not there. to physis. determinate being comes to be in nature. the craftsperson who takes the material and endows it with a new form. das naturlicbe Seiende .84 The Beginning of Philosophy (mega kai mikron). like. therefore in a mathematically. that is. a poetic image of Plato's that suggests a mind dominating reality. With this. Aristotle employs for this the term "deprivation" (steresis). Thus he comes to distinguish wows. Plato is aware of the fact that the problem consists in explaining the transition that leads from the indeterminate to the determination of the things of nature. which accomplishes the determination in that it unifies the unlimited with the limit as a particular kind. in Aristotle's eyes the demiurge is nothing more than a meaningless metaphor. These concepts are found not only in the Metaphysics but also in the sixth and eighth chapters of the Physics and elsewhere in the early writings. This is the problem of the origin. Aristotle responds that there could not be nothing. The concept of steresis is the Aristotelian solution to the problem of genesis. the question poses itself as to how this is legitimately possible without thinking the unthinkable nothing.
This view of physis in Aristotle points toward his "doxography. according to Aristotle in the Physics. therefore. being and motion no longer stand in opposition to one another." It also explains the inconsistency of the tradition according to which Thales. cannot be associated with the same group as Anaximenes. there is no such sequence among them. As Aristotle himself says. In the Aristotelian conceptual pair of dynamis and entelecheia. which is also confirmed by the fact that the view ascribed to Thales—that water is the originary element since it represents the nourishment of living beings—is expressly characterized in the text only as a supposition. I have already explained that the material cause was not his real problem. Already in Plato. In reality. It is obvious. "condensing/dissolving. the problem for Thales. according to Aristotle. We refer to this whole with an extremely subtle expression that is indicative of something unitary and oriented toward unity: the "universe. All of this means that Aristotle takes up certain standpoints with regard to the explanation of the concrete and the contingent. this is more of a fourth-century opinion that derives from Diogenes of . In Aristotle. Anaximander's theory can only be associated with those who take the separating of what is mixed as a basis. and Anaximenes stand in such an illogical sequence.Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics 85 problem of the unity of rest and motion that we already found in the Sophist. that Aristotle acts quite summarily in the Metaphysics when he classifies all three Milesians together under the fundamental idea of the material cause and thereby distorts Anaximander's position in particular." This is apparently the only information about Thales that Aristotle really possessed. This is why it is necessary to ask ourselves what Aristotle really thought about the lonians. As the Phaedo confirms." we can conclude that Anaximander. Because the conceptual pairing of "separating/the mixed" is a different one from the pairing. dynamis opens a new ontological perspective: a concept of what is that does not grasp this as something present—as static and permanent givenness—but as something that is motion and leads to motion. standpoints that constitute a conscious opposition to the Pythagorean approach and its mythical aberrations. In regard to Thales. Anaximander. and he thereby presents an opposition to Plato's divine craftsperson. consists in the fact that the whole rests upon water like the piece of wood that comes to the surface again and again when one pushes it under.
the question regarding the way in which the universe rests on water. I remind you once again of the interpretation of this famous saying. cannot be maintained 5. kai ten phthoran eis tauta ginesthai kata to chreon. If "arche" refers to apeiron." Again and again I place great value on these questions of lexical significance because in them we have the life of philosophy: we speak with the help of words. the word "arche" means nothing more than "beginning" in the temporal sense. which is quoted by Simplicius: archen eireche ton onton to apeiron (Physics 24. But how do things stand with Anaximander? Let us first deal with the famous epigram to which Heidegger." "Phthora" is a very suggestive expression for this. The correct path is taken there. is a wellknown formulation: "There. as we know. the dissolution always follows: didonai gar auta diken kai tisin allelois tes adikias kata ten tou chronou taxin. the Aristotelian sources themselves testify to only a single theme from Thales. So this means here that. stemming from Schopenhauer and based the Upanishads. Die seienden Dinge . however. the meaning is clear: "The unlimited is at the beginning of the whole. In truth." Here. Here. a path that I myself likewise walk in that I proceed from the Aristotelian concepts of the Physics. that Nietzsche formulates in his treatise on Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. I would like to recall that Werner Jaeger discusses the infinity chapter of Aristotle's Physics in an excellent footnote of his Theology of the Early Greek Thinkers. At that time it was read as: "Existing things5 pay the price for the offense that they committed by breaking away from the whole and becoming individuals. there passing away also takes place. too. I mean the following famous passage. namely. of course. It would be an anachronism if one wanted to interpret Anaximander as though he had intended the metaphysical meaning of a "principle" from which something is derived. This.13^. and in order to be understood as expressions of thought the words must be grasped in terms of both their original meanings and their respective contexts. their becoming." This interpretation. which I could also render as "dissolution. The text continues: ex hdn de he genesis esti tots oust.86 The Beginning of Philosophy Apollonia. where existing things have their origin. dedicated an extremely profound essay but which has also been very carefully analyzed by classical philology with highly interesting results. of necessity.
Provided we do not delete the term "each other" but pay proper attention to it. But that Anaximander should have his place between the water and the air and in such a way that 6. the permanent equilibrium that exists in the universe. seems plausible to me. It is merely an added interpretation. This interpreter knows that the myth about the bursting of the cosmic egg stands at the origin of Anaximander's cosmogony. but rather on the separation of the mixed. verdrangt . But then Anaximander's formulation amounts to nothing more than balance. This thesis. One last point about this text: it has also been proposed that the words kata ten tou chronou toxin ("in accordance with the temporal order") are an interpretive addition by Simplicius. That Thales and Anaximenes may be construed as similar should be clear. This means that existing things suffer the penalty and produce atonement for each other. albeit an interpretation that comes from someone whose interpretation is always worth considering. This also justifies the Aristotelian intuition according to which Anaximander's view is not based on the idea of condensing/rarefying enunciated by Thales and Anaximenes. originating with Franz Dirlmeier. The truth is—and this is particularly valid since the restoration of the text— that the meaning of the passage handed down by Simplicius is a completely different one and definitely has nothing to do with the "Buddhism" upon which Schopenhauer's metaphysics is based. Consequently. the purpose of Anaximander's aphorism is obviously to express the natural balance between phenomena. we realize that it refers to oppositions (enantia). and for this reason I do not find entirely convincing Jaeger's supposition that Anaximander has borrowed from the Ionic polls and its order the image of Time enthroned on his chair as a judge who lays down penalties. and to the fact that each prevailing tendency is always superseded6 again by an opposite tendency. There is indeed nothing of this in Anaximander. Heidegger's essay can likewise be studied profitably in light of this textual emendation. It is no wonder that the older interpretation was supported by a text in which the word "each other" is missing. hence to the opposites and their reciprocal relationship.Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics 87 because meanwhile the word [for] "each other" ("allelois") has been found in the text as recorded by Simplicius. Water and air really are subject to the changes in density and composition.
It is the myth of the bursting of the cosmic egg. But can this view of the periodicity of being be brought into harmony with the word "apeiron"? This problem solves itself if we understand the opening words—archen ton onton to apeiron—as. But this is precisely what has been done by the doxography that considers that. similarly to Anaximander. the fact that Anaximenes was considered to be the head of the school also speaks against this. As we know. Moreover. the whole difficulty stems from a misunderstanding of the word "apeiron. it is plausible to understand Anaximander's apeiron as infinite substance. we know that this line of reasoning is not carried out in Anaximander. This. Formulated schematically and a little provocatively." which must have another meaning here besides that of indeterminate substance. I would like to suggest that. Accordingly. It lies in the new cosmogonic mythos that is being told at this time. for existing things. the beginning consists in the fact that they have no beginning because what exists preserves itself in its continual periodicity.88 The Beginning of Philosophy Anaximenes appears as a step backwards in relation to Anaximander is totally absurd. Aristotle speaks of hoi peri Anaximenen. in a certain sense. Through recent research. namely. Indeed. it is out of the question that Anaximenes should not have comprehended the depth of the concept of the indeterminate. since the arche must either be something finite or something infinite. that a periodic motion continues without limit and without end. which Anaximander coined. In truth. a paradoxical formulation what may certainly not be taken literally. The apeiron is actually that which has neither beginning nor end. especially the myths of the Hittites and the Sumerians. . it would seem. This is the miracle of being: the motion that regulates itself constantly and progressively into the infinite. the interpreter who added the words kata ten ton chronou taxin had recognized this. It is Anaximenes who is regarded as representative of the Milesian thinkers. the apeiron. Heidegger has established precisely this decisive point. is the true beginning of existing things. But the view according to which the universe is a balanced self-turning necessarily raises the question of what actually preceded this perpetual balance of things. the idea that temporality is the key characteristic of that which is. He probably realized. in that it comes back into itself again and again like a loop. Admittedly. we have proven that the cosmogonic myths of the East stand behind this view. as I see it. There is an answer to this.
and the structuring of all things. and that we are dealing here with the social and political balance of the city. for instance. in fact. in particular. It is much more plausible that a later superimposition occurred. Such an interpretation does not accord with the explanation that. I would like to restrict myself to the remark that he is the first one whose method has been irrevocably handed down as what passed at that time for a "proof. For. after all. such that multiple universes hatch from cosmic eggs? Certainly. But along with this. With regard to Anaximenes. In their century. corresponds to the testimonies about Anaximander.Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics 89 a confrontation has also arisen over the question of how far these cosmogonies extend: does Anaximander have in mind a cosmogony in the sense that it always periodically repeats itself. Werner Jaeger. it is nevertheless clear to me that Anaximander's language goes back to political language. After evidence was produced that the language used by Anaximander expresses no mystic religiosity of a Buddhistic sort according to which individualization is regarded as an offense that must be expiated by a penalty. as I have already said. But for precisely this reason I consider it unlikely that one can ascribe to Anaximander the idea of the multiplicity of universes. of the "proof* for the condensation of . the determination. to the language of the city-state with its order and its institutions. the language of the law that holds sway in the city. similar to the one that is responsible for the idea of moisture being Thales* concept of the originary element when. our attention should be directed to the reciprocal equilibrium of the various existing things in the one universe. in my own view and those advocated by other authors. I would not like to go as far as Jaeger. and then in each case a process of dissolution and a new bursting follows upon all this. we would be accepting the fact that Anaximander is superimposed on Empedocles as well as Democritus. showed that Anaximander's language is the language of the city-state. Even though. it is indeed possible to abstract from sense perception to such an extent that one reaches the assumption that periodicity means a new formation of a cosmos each time a new order is brought about through the bursting. the multiplicity of universes is asserted." Think. according to whom Anaximander supposes the image of Time to be a judge enthroned on his chair. it originates from a superimposition by Diogenes of Apollonia and his contemporaries.
and centaurs. there is an obvious commonality of orientation." yet its importance lies in the fact that it wants to produce a proof. the beginning of a new chapter in Western thinking. My viewpoint can be corroborated further by evidence drawn from the elegies of Xenophanes. because of rarefaction. when one's mouth open it is warm. His own elegies have been praised because. emigrated from Asia Minor to southern Italy after the Persian occupation of his home. which apparently did not even exist. Xenophanes was. they deal with virtues.90 The Beginning of Philosophy being—that. and. and in Anaximenes with air—all of which we can formulate by resorting to the conceptuality developed in Aristotle's Physics. and he expressly puts forward as improper the singing of athletic achievements and victories in competition. the following result can be formulated: among the three names that are passed on to us as members of the socalled school of Miletus. as you know. What lends these thinkers unity and what causes them to appear as the first stage of Greek thinking is their willingness to separate themselves from mythos and to express the thought of an observable reality that carries itself and orders itself in itself. Certainly. The Eleatic school is probably the invention of a later. in Anaximander with the periodicity of the universe. We may smile at the naivete of this "proof. a rhapsode who. an elocutionist who was trained to recite the great epic poetry. when one's mouth is closed the air is cold. he was no thinker. The same problem poses itself in each case—in Thales with water. instead of telling us about titans. with something that endures in becoming and in the multiplicity of appearances. giants. In the eyes of schoolmasters everything becomes a school. Xenophanes has left us an extremely fascinating trail. But the enormous importance of Xenophanes now lies precisely in the fact that he was something entirely different. This was an exceedingly important event. a procedure that may have been typical of the thinkers of that time. What is new about what these thinkers bring to light is precisely this: it has to do with the problem of physis. He was a rhapsode. just as Pythagoras had. This attempt can be described aptly within the framework of the conceptuality of Aristotle's Physics. albeit an extremely ridiculous one. In conclusion. school-happy age. because of compression and condensation. . that is founded on the observation of things. for which we employ the concept of physis. and he was also not the founder of the Eleatic school.
But who adopted this new point of view. or the air described by Anaximander that endures alternating condensation and rarefaction. The following sentence stands at the beginning of these fragments: eis theos. None of this concerns us. like. he denies motion. His poem is a splendid answer to the questions raised by the Milesians. then the indeterminate. and. or the periodicity of the world. was Parmenides. the greatest among the gods and people" contains a contradiction. this. en te theoisi kai anthopoisi megistos. This is a testimony of extraordinary value. "god" is a predicate. that carries itself and corresponds to the globe swimming on water. even if here we do not hear the voice of the philosopher but rather that of the rhapsode. where he expresses his dissatisfaction with tales peri . the greatest among the gods and people. But whoever said this was meant to be a logical treatise?) What is really going on with this lone god? We find the answer in the following fragments: all' apaneuthe ponoio noou phreni panta kradainei ("with the help of his nous he rules the whole"). For the Greeks. But there are also some aphorisms by Xenophanes that are of philosophical interest. the new god. The lone god. I take it to be obvious that these lines allude to the same problem that the Milesians also debated: it is the whole. air. fragments 23 to 28 of the Diels/Kranz edition. Against this. This is the logic of the things that we are discussing here. everything becomes clear. With this. who was it who really taught the universe that rests in itself motionlessly? That. This is the only thing that exists. is what we call the universe. by positing the One as the unmoved. as we have already seen. This last distinct sentence has come to be of momentous importance. education and knowledge—and these alone should be honored and celebrated. the manner in which a view of reality is brought forward in its totality." (Here one could criticize the fact that the formulation "Lone god. which means roughly: "Lone god. not the logic according to which water comes first. similar to mortals neither in form nor in insight.Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics 91 The highest things are of a different kind—namely. is the same thematic with which Socrates will occupy himself in the Phaedo. and aiei d' en tautoi mimnei kinoumenos ouden ("always he remains in the same place without moving"). outi demos thnetoisin homoiios oude noema. finally. for instance. for Xenophanes has been put forward as the founder of the Eleatic school because of it. the universe. of course. since. for us it is rather a question of what lies behind this. Incidentally.
In my approach to these themes. This involves a typical and continually recurring problem. I need to add a clarification. no motion. in which the main thing for us is to try painstakingly to find an order that lies within things. a whole which we do not know in its complete form. one god does not move but rather rests in himself because he is none other than the universe and is the predicate that the universe deserves. the problem of this whole lies directly in the compatibility of the two parts. It was an answer to the problem that unfolded as a scientific approach supplanted the mythical tradition as well as the gods of Mount Olympus. Thus we have arrived at the theory of what is that is formulated in Parmenides' poem. The first. were always involved in worldly affairs. With this. runs as follows: there is no originating. like Hermes. As we will see. or a mystical description? All such answers are no longer satisfactory for those who think in the concepts of reason. he must apparently ask himself how it is even possible to think the origin of a nature that is understood as bearing the whole in itself. Nevertheless we can conceive of a whole on the basis of what has been handed down—that is. the single coherent philosophical text that has come to us stemming from the time of the beginning of Western thinking.92 The Beginning of Philosophy physeos ("about nature"). If a thinker is striving to understand this "new mythology. The answer. no change. I . Admittedly. an originary egg. while a view of the processuality of nature is conveyed in the second part. when the question is posed of what God did before Creation. This question is discussed by Augustine in the tenth book of The Confessions (and Luther proposed the answer that God went into the forest in order to cut himself a rod with which he could thrash those who raise such questions). only a small part of a whole is preserved. How is this question to be answered? With the help of a new mythology. on the basis of the nearly complete first part and some later pieces. who. a cosmogony. For in the first part "what is" is regarded as something motionless. we come to Parmenides' poem." which takes the place of the mythology of the epic tradition. true. for instance. In order to conclude what I have said up to this point. The bursting originary egg has the same meaning as Plato's later remarks: the order of things presupposes a mind that supports reality and orders things. We come upon it even in the context of Christian culture. therefore. This is also just how it is with our interest in Anaximander's cosmogony.
undoubtedly advocates a similar position to that of Parmenides. This is also an answer to the question raised by the development of the new view of the universe. in Homer and Hesiod. for example. All in all. Heraclitus and Parmenides advocate the same position thus far.Ionic Thinking in Aristotle's Physics 93 dispensed with differentiating where there are no philosophically significant differences. Therefore. but I did indeed between the lonians and the Eleatics. and other authors. as well as the counter-schema that has arisen in our own century. hence the superfluous pronouncements about many things that he admonishes. Heraclitus refers to them collectively as the authors who have not grasped things correctly. Moreover. the Aristotelian and Hegelian schema adopted by nineteenth-century historicism according to which Parmenides is regarded as a critic of Heraclitus. who. For example. it is not particularly astute to quarrel about the supposed relationship between them. What is really important is to understand that both Parmenides and Heraclitus answer the same philosophical challenge that had taken shape— albeit in different ways—in Greek poetry and tradition. with regard to this new view of the universe. it has not been established whether they were contemporaries or if Heraclitus was possibly a little older. there is evidence that Heraclitus criticizes polymathy. yet as I see it. in Pythagoras. for instance. And if they actually fulfilled the same function. Perhaps they knew nothing at all of each other. I did not differentiate among the three lonians. . there can be no doubt that they fulfilled the same function within the framework of the development of early Greek thinking. function in the end like a useless game. Accordingly. I also did not dwell on Heraclitus.
is the influence exerted by Plato and Aristotle. Fortunately. albeit in poetic form. With Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy a new path toward the truth is taken. And this history is the theme of our investigation. this influence has not been strong .Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 9 W e left off at the following point: with regard to the history of the Presocratics. of course. has philosophical value. That a close connection can exist between the epic religious view and conceptual thinking goes without saying. We first reach a caesura between them with Plato. to reasoning. In the first place. (We have seen this in our consideration of the Theatetus as well as the Sophist. it is thanks to Plato's interest in the first part of the poem that it received its enduring importance. One complete part of his poem (about sixty lines) has been handed down. We already come upon the rudiments of this kind of conceptuality in the work of Parmenides. the great epic tradition dating from Homer and Hesiod. particularly when he puts forward as an especially characteristic feature of his predecessors the fact that they told fairytales. It is no accident that Eleatic philosophy—and it is not alone in this—makes use of the Homeric hexameter to formulate its arguments.) From this point on. thinking sets out on the path to the logoi. also. One explanation for this. among others. while only a few fragments of the other part have come to us. Parmenides' poem is the first original text that is available to us. and to the dialectic. despite its mythical and narrative form. As we said at outset.
the sixth fragment (according to the Diels/Kranz numbering) has always been interpreted as evidence of this alleged polemic. it has nevertheless been generally accepted that a critical discussion is carried out between the proponents of becoming. then Parmenides. on the one hand. It is strange that this could happen again and again— that. it is clear that when "doxai brotdn" is mentioned in the sixth fragment the common views of the people are meant—and not the teachings of the wise man from Ephesus. even in Diels. this interpretation is. therefore. if one takes the epic style of the whole into account. untenable. and the advocates of stability. In its time. and when one presents them in this order then it is already on the basis of the assumption that Parmenides had directed his criticism against Heraclitus. It is used in epic poetry as synonym for "human beings** in general so as to point out the common lot of us all—in contrast to the immortals. Rather. the sequence runs. the two were presumably contemporaries. in my opinion. on the other. which are used in the poem several times. Here one supposed Heraclitus to be the addressee of the Parmenidean criticism. it suffices to recall the fact that the supposed cohort against whom Parmenides* polemic is presumed to be directed is referred to by the words "doxai broton" ("opinions of the mortals'*). it is appropriate to point out that the text is written in the style of the epic tradition originating from Homer. So we have an intact whole of this first part of the lost whole. in the form of a polemical debate between Heraclitus and Parmenides. This means that this is not a book by a teacher who wants to debate another teacher polemically. It is obvious. In the historical presentations of the Presocratics. A polemic intent would not be very effective in the epic style. the one who contradictorily equates being with non-being. historicism left the poetic value of the Parmenidean text entirely out of consideration. As have I said. "first Heraclitus. . but not.** In reality. The term "brotoi" ("the mortals**) is not a word [appropriate to] a critical confrontation with Heraclitus. something like this is actually present there. Before we move on to the interpretation of this piece.Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 95 enough to cause us to lose the Proem of the didactic poem. In this connection. in my judgment. however. Ever since historicism and the philological works of the nineteenth century. Certainly. that this is not the form in which one can introduce a critical discussion with a great thinker.
This is the world of his everyday life. for example. "I respond.. . the same doubleness also occurs in Plato. In the Sunttna Theologica. perhaps even under the influence of the interest in Orphism that came to light with Nietzsche and his contemporaries. The syntax of this sentence is slightly modified from the German.. like in Hesiod.. which I cite here according to the Diels/Kranz edition. to reach an understanding and a confirmation of the thesis with respondeo dicendum. the muses appear to Hesiod: Hesiod is at the foot of the Helicon grazing his sheep. however. of the great family of the gods and heroes. He then introduces his refutation of these objections with the phrase "Respondeo. it is an ironic formulation for the intertwining of truth and error in intellectual action. the value of the poetic has remained practically unheeded in the framework of the culture of the late nineteenth century. that the form in which the new view of the motionlessness and immutability of being proclaims itself is connected with religion."—literally. from which I begin with the Proem. however. Aquinas proposes a series of possible objections to each article or thesis that he puts forward. At the beginning of the Theogony (22-28).. Rather. ultimately. We should notice that the muses say they have many truths to teach but also much that is false.2 Ever since Karl Joel. Objection and refutation were used even in the discussions of Catholic doctrine conducted in the Middle Ages in order.96 The Beginning of Philosophy But now we need to go into the text itself. Dicendum quod. Moreover. This is obviously written according to the model of the Proem of Hesiod's Theogony. it is also expressed here in poetic form. it comes to be decisive for our interpretation of the Parmenidean poem.. There the muses announce to him his mission as singer of the things that have been and the things that will be. and. that even the fastest athlete can be defeated in the race. There. as will become clear to us later." Most translators. This duality of the true and the false is extremely important. while the mythical-religious aspect was also underestimated.. It does not follow at all. it is a typically logical argument that being could not be non-being.* 2. except that. . and this even has its support. in Aristotle's Physics and in De anima. something similar was already involved in the reaction (which I previously pointed out) of a rhapsode like Xenophanes to the new 1. for instance. elide the phrase and render it simply as "I answer that. Saying that.1 This intertwining of the true and the false also occurs in Parmenides' poem. when he says.. Incidentally.
It is extremely suggestive. Here stands a gate. however. The same thing is expressed through repetition. The daughters of the sun accompany the narrator and lead him on his way. if we presuppose a universe in balance with itself in virtue of either being carried by water or being ordered in accordance with a regular periodicity. for example. But the details of this interpretation are controversial. One thinks. who is fortunately persuaded to do this by the daughters of the sun. The elaborate description (to which Hermann Diels has devoted an extensive commentary) is again connected to the refined literary technique that distinguishes this text. and. In addition to this. In the end. then we must draw the conclusion that the Proem contains a double metaphorical meaning. which is opened by Dike. According to Simon Karsten. The poem tells of the arrival of the wagon at the gate. which suggests a more pondering and reflective contemplation. finally. Let us come back to the text. These are swift images and quick transformations that bring to mind the suddenness and immediacy of inspiration. that verbs are frequently used here in the iterative form. that is. but rather seems to indicate something repetitive. As we know. who likewise published a Parmenides edition.Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 97 theories of nature. This is a symbol for the light of truth into which they are now entering. the two sun-maidens urge the poet "again and again" (therefore not just once) to step out of the night and into the realm of the light. in a form that corresponds neither to the thought of inspiration nor that of sudden revelation. It is to be understood not only in the sense of inspiration . This entrance is portrayed with that wonderful vividness that is characteristic of this whole part of the Proem. the arrival. The departure does not actually occur at all. That this reflects inspiration is also confirmed by the fact that after the salutation the goddess announces to the poet that she wants to teach him many things. in addition. then the departure. however. we reach a gate and the maidens remove the veils from their heads. we encounter the following problem: how is it possible to describe or rather to think this universe without at the same time raising the question of how the universe originated and what was there before it? This is a problem that has occupied human thinking to this day. as the case may be. a mighty gate that is described in detail. This construction seems all too artificial to me. of the wheels of the wagon. the Proem describes the poet's journey on a wagon. If. the journey is described first in the Proem. which rotate swiftly and squeak as they turn.
for example. an understanding of what experiences he has undergone as investigator. opinion 4. while the plural stands in contrast to it: the "the opinions of the mortals. For my part. This also makes us feel at home in sixth-century Greek culture. Another intensely debated problem concerns the identity of the goddess. It is Mnemosyne. a road upon which the traveler has experienced much. Parmenides does not speak at all of doxa but rather of doxai. the hodos polyphemos of the first lines. but likewise "the opinions of the mortals" (broton doxas). Thus. I believe I know quite well who the goddess is who speaks to the thinker. In a certain way we already know things through our experiences. in extremely refined form. It is the same problem that also arises with regard to the name of the goddess invoked in the Proem of the Iliad. its unwavering heart** (emen aletheies eukukleos atremes etor). Let us now talk about what it is that the goddess proclaims she wishes to teach. The truth is but 3. In reality. this problem of memory remains in the background of Parmenides' lines. "not only the well-rounded truth. We should notice right away that in the formulation "the heart of truth" the singular is used. She receives the visitor kindly in that she extends her hand in reception and thus expresses greeting and trust. and that is the question of how the unity of the universe itself can be thought. Of course. "The divine instruction will encompass everything" (chred de se panta puthesthai). opinions . the poet wants to give us. the goddess of mneme. and yet in the end he needs something like an introduction by a goddess. All in all. Knowledge is a making available of experiences which accumulate more and more and awaken the question of the meaning all of this has for us. and yet we would like to know what confers meaning on them all. as knower of many things. we attain true knowledge of the theory of the universe erected by Milesian thinkers as soon as we put this theory in relation to the problem it raises." It is remarkable that the interpretation of Eleatic philosophy has developed in such a way that Parmenides himself has placed truth and doxa3 in opposition to one another. Knowledge is based on the unifying power and the carrying-ability of memory. and it does not come to light in conceptual form but only as the poetic image of the goddess who reveals truth.4 which seems quite natural to me.98 The Beginning of Philosophy but also in the sense of die preparation for a wide road.
even a cascade of tones: all' empes kai tauta matheseai. they say. The human being has the ability to think. under the compulsion of experience. even lending it a certain superiority when it knowingly makes [use of] divine help. knew the complete didactic poem) when he says that since Parmenides wants to assert the identity of being he certainly denies motion and becoming. becomes more complicated in the two subsequent lines. yet later he also gives in under the pressure of experiential truth and describes the universe in its multiplicity and in its becoming. The message. It becomes clear. This is the mystery of the openness granted to the human being. Many a present-day interpreter behaves just as naively: Parmenides.5 The development of the human being is not fixed and is not dependent on the whole of the naturally given conditions it is subject to. no doubt. To me. that is. he makes room for that which is moved. the idea that mortals can never simply know the one 5. the openness for what is possible. opinions which do not contain the truth. and to entertain a multitude of possibilities. this seems just as absurd as the attempt undertaken by several other authors to solve the problem by adopting a different reading of the text. This is indirectly confirmed by Aristotle (who. however. Doxa.Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 99 a singular thing. bos ta dokounta chren dokimos einai dia pantos panta peronta. but then. that the goddess wants to teach truth—but she also wants to teach about the opinions advocated by mortals. therefore. In truth. to raise himself above these conditions. a state of affairs having to do with human nature. we are faced here with a speculative problem having to do with the inseparability of the truth of logical thought from experience and its plausibility. The Greek text has a suggestive sonority. and it is not by chance that the interpreters have focused their attention on them: "One must grasp opinions in such a way that they present themselves with their self-evident plausibility and irrefutability. was first a Platonic concept through which the difference was marked between opinions and the one truth. while the opinions of the people are multiple.) Thus the posing of the problem has to do not only with truth but also the multiplicity of opinions. as we should not forget." (It is unfortunate that the poetic value of the lines gets lost in translation. wenn sie die gottliche Hilfe wissend macht . initially denies motion and simply posits being. one in which the selfevident contradiction is made to disappear.
I am bringing my cogent argumentation and my thinking about truth to its conclusion. and thus it need not be true but must only comply with appearance. demeinenSein . Lines 50 to 52 of the eighth fragment state: "At this point. they have obviously committed a basic error. 8. Let us now examine how the theme initiated in the Proem develops. broteias" here corresponds to the expression "doxai broton" used in the Proem. I would like to dwell. which maintains that existing things pay penance to "each other" (allelois). Text slightly modified from the German.8 It is clear that we have here a confrontation with the becoming of the world [as put forward in] in Milesian philosophy. namely. Numerous experts have worked with them and have helped to clarify the situation by their contributions."6 But now you must also grasp the opinions of the mortals (doxas d* apo toude broteias). We must repeat here: bear in mind the one saying of the Milesians that has come down to us. You will 6.. For in this passage the correlation between the two aspects and the articulation of the whole comes to light with great clarity. one order. on the transition from the first part to the second. a frequently used technique in Greek literature that indicates the conclusion of a thought. In doing this. This new chapter thus deals with what is persuasive among the opinions and views concerning the universe but is not the whole truth. separating the two forms rather than keeping one being.) is very difficult.7 This is a conscious repetition. who explain in words how everything forms one cosmos. namely. where we find the inseparability of the one truth from the multiplicity of opinions formulated in the mouth of the goddess. the Anaximander fragment. Before I go into these difficulties with the help of textual analysis. This development consists of a first part on truth and a second part on opinions. Text slightly modified from the German. It seems to me that the basis of this thematic lies in these Parmenidean lines. that can nevertheless also deceive.. We should expect the beginning of a new chapter in such a case. 7. first of all. The interpretation of the first lines (53ff. I would like to mention in advance how I understand these lines: human beings have decided in favor of two forms of existing things and have firmly designated them with two kinds of expressions. Now. It is obvious that the formulation "doxas.100 The Beginning of Philosophy truth but will only find multiple possibilities instead.
the process of becoming is definitely not injustice removing itself from the divine whole and then being absorbed back again into this whole. then. proceeding from this term "each other. as." wanting in this way to speak of one thing in relation to another thing. Indeed. That. in connection with nature." The theme is then invoked further in line 54: ton mian ou chreon estin." Consequently.Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 101 recall that. das einander Entgegengesetzte . in the lines considered here. and this is the formulation that has caused the readers of this passage the greatest interpretive difficulties.9 and apparently it was this that underlay the thinking of the lonians. Line 53 reads: morphas gar katethento duo gnomas onomazein. presents itself in such a way that observation is enough. that the oppositions (enantia) resist each other and displace each other. namely. Nietzsche. For if one says in Greek "one of the two. a process in which the balance continually restores itself. and this puts directly into motion the single unending process. for example. The two separate forms of 9. according to Anaximander. Let us now look at the text." of which Schopenhauer. That is the apeiron. We have the task." but rather the unity of the thing that is the true unity behind the two different kinds. distorts Greek usage. therefore. and other nineteenth-century interpreters speak. They had a text at that time in which the crucial "each other" was missing. this "nirvana. the first word of the following line reads "tantia." we have seen that. According to the conventional interpretation. the summer comes after the winter in such a way that balance reestablishes itself. to comprehend not only the themes in Parmenides that the lonians dealt with but also to realize that these already well-known themes are presented in a more intellectually conscious and better articulated form. We come upon this theme again." and this is a poetic form of "ta enantia? by which is meant the placing of one in opposition to another. however. but rather is constantly balanced by another particular. "The mortals have decided to name two forms of existing things. one does not use the word "mia" but the word "hetera. the text asserts here that one of the two forms or designations of reality is incorrect. Anaximander really means an order of the universe in which no particular ever finally and absolutely gains the upper hand. as was already announced elsewhere by the goddess when she said she also wanted to teach that which. this "one" is not "one of two.
Here. By contrast. Night is characterized by negative qualities." to d' hetero me tauton. ethereal fire that is completely identical and homogeneous with itself but not with the other. we may get the impression that these opposites go without saying. yet I would hope that by now the principle inspiring them is clear. be it light or darkness. die darkness. namely. while night has a negative effect on this appearance. the answer is clear: light and darkness are "positive" and "negative" not as realities but rather in relation to knowledge. There is no becoming and no passing away there. . In the text we find charts ap* allelon. like. Now we are in a position to understand the meaning of the word. The principle of a viable hermeneutics is always to interpret a text in such a way that what is implicitly in it is made explicit. the balance between warm and cold or between light and darkness.102 The Beginning of Philosophy which die text speaks accordingly indicate a theory of opposites that balance themselves again and again. the excellence of the light. The first step of the new "chapter" apparently consists of the insight that all of this is compatible with the views of the lonians. For on the other side stands night. the talk is of a single opposite that is not "being" at all but rather appearance. on the one side stands te men phlogos aitherion pur. here in line 56. When light and darkness replace each other—is this something separated? And does not the being of things remain untouched by this? The text confirms this: it is only subsequently that human beings have distinguished opposites by signs (semata) that are separated from one another. "the extremely light. Observe how superior this is to the Milesian view. stands out. Light is something positive for the appearance of being. while the second step has to do with the fact that in such an exchange of opposites what is unthought in the nothing is still avoided. to which it is not identical but opposite. And what kind of opposites do we find here in the text? Milesian philosophy deals with the warm and the cold. that a thing is understood correctly when we have grasped its implications. which is portrayed with positive qualities and thereby distinguishes itself from the night. and here once again we come upon the term "each other" (alleloi). and the like. Here. At the same time. for instance. the wet and the dry. it will assert that the opposites stand in correlation with one another and to this extent are not really separated from each other. But what does "positive" mean here vis-a-vis "negative"? In my opinion. which is already known to us from Anaximander's statement. evidently. the dense and heavy gloom.
what emerges as the result of our long debate is an elaboration of the Hegelian text The same also happens in our Parmenides interpretation. for example. provided we are on the right path with our work.Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 103 if. Third. which notices the presence of something by its scent and without any more exact perception. It is as though the text wanted to say that it is the being of being itself that comes into presence in such a way that this being is as immediately there in its existence as the day is. In view of the Parmenidean image of the mild (friendly and benevolent) ethereal fire that is homogeneous in itself. on the contrary. first of all. we find in the abovementioned lines a view of the universe according to which it consists of reciprocally interrelated and inseparable oppositions. as well as fragment 3) in which being is equated with noein. in the eighth fragment. fragment 6. In regard to MOMS. which we have examined here. pure openness for everything. it is not. noein is mentioned with particular emphasis alongside the other features of being. This last point can be made clearer when we refer to those passages of the didactic poem (like. ein stabiles Sein . line 1. I would like to raise another question. the image of light and darkness that recapitulates this view points to the appearance of being and its knowability. We usually render the word *noein" in translation as "thinking". Second. a question of one asking oneself what is seen to be there in each case but of observing that there is something there. We have interpreted this fire as the light in which the appearance of being becomes clean But we must also place it in relation to ancient cosmology. The result that we have reached through the interpretation of these lines amounts to the following: first. This is how we must understand the relationship between "thinking" and being in Parmenides and also why. The ancient view according to which the heavenly bodies are fires requires that fire be reduced to a stable being10 that has no destructive or self-consuming 10. but. I set about interpreting a section from Hegel's Logic with my students or even some colleagues. for example. not reflection. this view is conceptually superior to that of the lonians because it avoids the thought of the nothing. The etymology of the word probably leads us back to the sensation of the animal. however we should not forget that the primary meaning of the word is not to become absorbed in oneself.
104 The Beginning of Philosophy reality—and. fire. must above all exclude that which is destructive. gentleness. fire can be assumed as a nondestructive but instead stable and homogeneous element that dispenses light and makes [things] visible. albeit only with help of holes. for instance. Still further examples could be cited to validate the fact that some motifs of the lonians' meteorological and astronomical theories are mirrored in Parmenides. opinions which are satisfied by appearances. indeed. where the word signifies mildness. Anaximander is attributed with the idea that there are holes in the firmament through which the fire of the heavenly bodies sparkles and twinkles. as an element. as we saw. It therefore emerges from the doxographical descriptions that. according to which there is a fire that does not destroy but rather illuminates and animates. in Anaximander. which is occupied with the presentation of opinions that mortals hold regarding the universe. there is an evident rapprochement with the opinions of the mortals. in the sixteenth fragment. with the background of Anaximander's cosmological ideas. to be sure. Here. One also comes across the same thing in Stoic philosophy. yet it will also have certainly contained a detailed and well-structured depiction that is. for there is a uninterrupted tradition here. We have to understand this fire as becoming light and [taking on] the homogeneity and self-identity of light. line 57). one can also see in the Timaeus (31b-33). the opposite of the destructive is epion. 1009b 21). The identity of being is made plain with this. and the text actually uses this expression (in fragment 8. which consists of the only four undoubtedly authentic lines that are quoted by Aristotle (Metaphysics T5. How much of a problem fire was. A confirmation for this can be found. Yet what matters to us here is understanding what happens in such mirroring. we have therefore reached the conclusion that these lines characterize the transition from a first part dedicated to explicating the truth (hence the first fifty lines of this eighth fragment). Through the analysis of the last lines of the eighth fragment. to a second part. This is not merely a vague supposition. Now. Thus. In the construction of that enormous living organism that forms the universe. an opinion of mortals but one in which knowledge is presented. a difficult relationship exists between fire and the remaining elements. friendliness. This second part has not been handed down to us as well-preserved as the first. The text reads: hos gar hekastot echei krasin meleon polukampton—"as the relationship of the limbs of the organism develops itself*'—ids .
" (Put another way: thinking as consciousness of something. to gar pleon esti noema—"that which is perceived is always what predominates. one must keep in mind the medicine and the biology of those centuries. for instance. on which points. must stand in relationship to the medicine and the sciences of that time. For this reason. is related to the constitution of the organism. This idea is not really new. where it is clear that there is no warmth in itself or coldness in itself as two separate essences. and in what respect this conception is superior to that of the lonians. as in Parmenides. the sensation of warmth or coldness. a time in which we already find the idea that perception depends on the mixture of the elements in the human organism. We want first to emphasize here that in epic poetry there was already a mythological explanation according to which the appearance of thinking in the human being is traced back to a divine power. in the case of fever. who in turn refers back to the lonians. their separation into independent 11. our task is to comprehend in what sense. an idea that must be brought into connection with the balance of the organism that medicine had worked out at that time. let us recall the previously examined Parmenides quotation where it says that people posit separate and opposing forms of reality and designate these with different names (here one could cite "the warm" and "the cold" as examples). Here. But if we take into account the already discussed intention of this part of the didactic poem—the intention of commonly accepted ideas— then the real task of interpretation comes into view. In this approach. In regard to this theme. the theme is brought to light in a new way: perception and thinking do not originate through the influence of a divine power but rather by the mixing of the humours of the organism. the one exists as soon as the other is present—and. This is. in regard to this. toward an interpretation of which true rivers of ink have been spilled. This text. das wabrhaft Seiende . (namely) the composition of the organism in each and every person"." like the light that fills everything. while that which truly is11 is their unity. that is. it seems to me. is based on changes in the inherent balance of die organism—like. as we have seen. as intellectual perception. for example.Parmenides and the Opinions of the Mortals 105 noos anthropoisi paristatai—"so nous appears in human beings.) To gar auto estin hoper phroneei meleon physis anthropoisin kai pasin kai panti—"it is always the same thing that thinks. In the lonians.
Therefore it is co-intended in noein. We are constantly inclined toward seeing things in that we know and recognize their identity. Here we see something that we have come across in Parmenides' didactic poem: the stability of being is that which announces itself in the relativity of perception. of course. Grasped in this sense. the homogeneity. To get a grip on all of this. in truth. the relationship between knowledge and light is also explained: in conscious thinking." Sensory perception is in a certain sense already conscious perception. in the end. how much the tendency to the identical is inherent in all things of the senses12 is no longer big news. when things become visible and identifiable it is like a light going on. The absence of such acuity presents itself like a darkness in which nothing at all exists. Thanks to modern psychological research. The unity and the self-sameness of noein lead to the self-sameness. 12.106 The Beginning of Philosophy powers is misguided. to the identity of being. we should not. alien Dingen der Sinnlichkeit . Thus it gradually becomes clear why this view of noein signifies a step forward in the direction of truth. it is precisely noein that constitutes their unity. come to a stop with the opposition between the relativity of sense perceptions and the absoluteness of "thinking.
even the sign of its superiority. This is why the capacity for truth and falsehood both in our will to know and in our being-with-one-another is a peculiarity of the human being. which is dedicated to truth and is quite tersely composed. which we have not yet analyzed completely. though Simplicius did hand it down to us intact. All in all. But only the beginning lines and some fragments have come down to us. which deals with opinions and must have been longer. We then turned to the second part. at the beginning of the Theogony. where the transition from the presentation of the truth to the comments on the opinions of the mortals is carried out. It was important for me to make clear that the task announced in the Proem is not just restricted to the truth but that it also encompassed the opinions of mortals and was actually present throughout the course of the didactic poem. that is. I would like to place our encounter with this second part of the didactic poem ahead of our treatment of the first part. For it is humanity's mark of distinction to raise problems and to open up the dimension of diverse possibilities.Parmenides and Being 10 U p to this point we have gone into the Proem of the Parmenidean didactic poem and also into the first part of the poem. This forestalling is well-considered. Thus we recall seeing that even in Hesiod. Even these seed donors play on our weaknesses. indeed. . In truth. it is a characteristic feature of the human being. I would like here to underscore once again the importance of this double thematic in the mouth of the goddess. the muses make it known that they could teach the true but also the false. This is why I made a leap that led immediately from the Proem to the last lines of the eighth fragment.
Furthermore. Parmenides introduces an important innovation: in place of the many different oppositions between wet and dry.108 The Beginning of Philosophy since human beings are by necessity exposed to a multitude of influences and distractions. hi which it is said that noein. Starting with these reflections. If we do not comprehend this. fragment 16. I have then tried to show that Ionic conceptions of the universe stand behind Parmenides' didactic poem. Parmenides surpasses the Ionic tradition. in order to support the thesis of Parmenides' superiority. . rather like the scent2 of game. I have analyzed the fragment quoted by Aristotle. On the basis of this innovation. it turns out that untruth inheres in the concept of knowledge itself. Or spoor: der Witterung. warm and cold. that it is an inseparable. Here I have initially rendered the word "noein" in the traditional way by the term "thinking. rests on the relationship between the different components of the organism. dasSpiiren 2. we cannot even begin to understand the claim that Parmenides makes about the inseparability of being and noein: there is something only to the extent that evidentness—that is. Parmenides inserts a single oppositional pair. and so on. The distinction between these two types of fire still remains unexpressed in Parmenides and will only be made entirely explicit with the Stoics. If we wished to use a 1." Yet in doing so we should not forget that this word would be completely incomprehensible here if we did not grasp it in its original meaning. thus not a blazing flame but only one that sheds light. namely the contrast between light and darkness. In contrast to these Milesian doctrines. I repeat: "noein" means the sensing1 of something that is there. This light is the light of knowledge. perception in its broadest sense—is present in noein'. element of knowledge. to which we are perhaps also led by the etymology of the word. This is why it is positively emphasized in the didactic poem that the fire is not a destructive fire but a mild one. especially the representation mentioned by Anaximander in the only surviving aphorism of a universe formed in an orderly way through opposites that constantly and regularly balance each other. The immediacy implied in the meaning of this word is fundamental to the entire argument of the didactic poem. only to this extent is "being" there. thinking. even constitutive. conceptions that replace the cosmogonies of the myths.
and logos. "doxai" The word is hardly ever used in the singular. and both can also be read as elaborations of what has been designated as the first fragment. that is. The one path is that along which it is said that the "is" exists but "non-being" does not (estin te kai hos ouk esti me einai). doxa. The other path is that along which it is said that the "is-not" (ouk estin) is and non-being is asserted. when no distance at all is indicated between the perception and what is perceived. and let us begin with fragments 2 and 3. This is Platonism not Eleaticism." but it already becomes visible much earlier in Parmenides' noein and likewise in Aristotle. are the three concepts with which Plato in the Theatetus attempts to define knowledge. and this is the path of truth that is accompanied by the power of persuasion. I would like to come back once again to the declaration expressed in the Proem about the path of truth and the path of opinions in order to substantiate an earlier admonition that is worth repeating: in Parmenides.Parmenides and Being 109 scholastic expression. Aisthesis. "thisness" 4. Indeed. the Proem. the sequence of which is much debated. The task 3. We undoubtedly have before us here an extremely refined and conceptually polished text that is not easily interpreted. for example. that is.3 We do come across this problem today in Heidegger's "being-question. even we say "it smells" or "it smells of something" long before we speak of it in reflective manner—we say that a certain nose notices this or that smell. The second fragment begins with the claim that two paths of investigation are conceivable. who connects noein with touching (thinganein) as it occurs in the immediacy of perceiving. But this is a completely hopeless path. I think they can be read consecutively. As soon as words and concepts come into the play. Even when related expressions are used. The word "doxa" only becomes a concept in Platonic philosophy. Let us now come back to the analysis of the first part of the poem. that deals with the presentation of truth. "ta dokounta"). "things that appear" or "things that seem" . such immediacy is gone. we could say that we were dealing here with the problem of haecceitas.4 This is why it is misguided to claim that die second part of Parmenides' didactic poem is all about doxa. In conclusion. we find only the plural. the part. as we know. they always occur in the plural (like.
Nevertheless. historicism has often produced the paradoxical result of misjudging the difference between immediacy and reconstructed immediacy. In the realm of philosophy. we would like to restrict ourselves to the two paths mentioned in the second fragment and try to understand why the one path leads to truth while the other leads to no goal and is indeed an impossibility. the inseparability of the perceived and the perceiving. But a third path is mentioned in the sixth fragment.6 In the meantime. They claim that the third path is precisely the thinking of Heraclitus. where immediacy. as this could only arise in the period of historicism. but that would be an anachronism. as I have tried to show. see below). which I believe I have correctly interpreted and which 6. Literally. esgibt . The proponents of the thesis that Parmenides was a critic of Heraclitus latch onto this problem. "For the same thing exists [ot." 5. Some might see in this the concept of identity characteristic of German idealism.110 The Beginning of Philosophy of the interpreters is hindered by the fact that not two but three paths are indicated in the fragment. "For thinking and being are the same. is there] for thinking and for being" (Gadamer will argue against this reading. The last line of the second fragment says that it is not possible to formulate that which is not7 (me eon). das Nicbtseiende 8. For now. as we have already seen." wherein "legein"6 has not been separated from sensory perception. the expression employed here. It is possible that the third fragment forms the continuation of this text: to gar auto noein estin te kai einai. "to gather": infinitive of the verb "/ego. for this can neither be investigated nor communicated. "brotoi" cannot be read as though an individual were intended by it—and thus not the philosopher from Ephesus either. we must first realize that "it is" (estin) here is tantamount to "there is"5 and does not function like the copula that binds the subject and the predicate together as it does in Aristotle and in grammar. Agostino Marsoner has convinced me that fragment 3 is not a Parmenides quotation at all but a formulation stemming from Plato himself. is meant exclusively. Here it is the immediacy of being that we perceive in "noein." 7. alternatively. but rather. and mortals travel along this path. which then raises the question of what this third path is. With this." which is the root of the noun "/ogos.
Admittedly. it is generally understood as the main point and therefore as the subject On the contrary. Here. in his last essays Heidegger himself realized that this was an error and that his thesis that Parmenides had to some extent anticipated his own philosophy could not be maintained. I can well understand why Heidegger wanted to hold onto the idea that Parmenides' main theme was identity (to auto). the object of a dispute with Heidegger." In the sixth century." between "[is] perceiving/thinking" and "[is] being. In Parmenides' didactic poem. that it has the power to be. "that it is possible" includes that it is. as I recall. better yet: the two are bound together by an indissoluble unity. the one I am proposing for the third fragment. Since this expression stands at the beginning of the text. in Parmenides "the same" is always a predicate. an article was not yet placed in front of a verb. Secondly." These two are the same. this would have meant that Parmenides himself would have gone beyond every metaphysical way of seeing and would thereby have anticipated a thesis that is later interpreted metaphysically in Western philosophy and has only come into its own in Heidegger's philosophy. In order to interpret this fragment. hence that which k stated of something. of course. whose placement after the third fragment is admittedly highly dubious. Let us now proceed to the fourth fragment. we must confirm that estin does not serve here as a copula but instead means existence9 and. In Heidegger's eyes. Existenz .) This interpretation. never before 9. was. or. it should be added that the article "to" does not refer to "einai" but to "auto. not just in the sense that something is there but also in the characteristic classical Greek sense that it is possible. we must be clear about what is meant by "the same" (to auto). a different construction is used. in fact. where the necessity arises of expressing what we render with the infinitive of a verb together with a preceding article. Nevertheless. This something in the sentence analyzed here is the relationship between *'estin noeinn and "estin einai. He disagreed altogether with my view of the evident meaning of the poem. it can also stand as the main point of a sentence. about which something is stated.Parmenides and Being 111 Clement of Alexandria has ascribed to Parmenides. The fourth fragment throws a very bright light on an approach. but in the function of the predicate that is stated of something. (Furthermore. but not in the function of the subject.
is not separable from what is does not mean. It does not lead to exactly the same thing. we should not regard as self-evident the fact that what is present is and what is absent is not. Thus the One also occurs in Parmenides. "to be. but rather we should establish without uncertainty in each case that what is absent is. Parmenides' "to eon" is only a first approximation of the abstract concept of the One. and "according to the order of things it is neither possible that what is scatters itself nor that it conglomerates" (oute skidnamenon pantei pantos kata kosmon oute sunistamenon). also present. That what is. that he is speaking of Ionic philosophy. of a thinker who was occupied with the themes of becoming and being for the relationship between identity and difference. The tine of the fourth fragment examined here is essentially a prior declaration of what is then established in the first part of the didactic poem. At this point. yet in the first place and strictly 10." . that there are two of what is." unmoving and originating. the emphatic singular that occurs again and again in Parmenides' poem and anticipates the One (to hen) of Zeno and Plato. in a certain sense.112 The Beginning of Philosophy attempted. Accordingly. This conclusion is already precluded by Parmenides' wording. by the way. It should be mentioned here that these concepts were first brought together in the Sophist with the words "stasis" and "genesis. even from the formulations used here. I stress "bebaios" emphatically because in the didactic poem we are frequently reminded that the danger is always present of straying from the path leading to truth and letting ourselves be seduced by the illusion that if something just appears then it did not previously exist. It clearly emerges. we come across "to eon"10 for the first time. without wavering. In fragments 7 and 8 a quite exact and precise argument is then expounded to justify the necessity of avoiding this diversion. The fragment then continues with the same topic: "what is cannot be separate from its connection with what is" (ou gar apotmexei to eon tou eontos echesthai). and we should proceed in this "with firmness" (bebaios). Let us now interpret the fragment leusse d* homos apeonta nodi pareonta bebaios: along with nous (the capacity for immediate perception) we must also consider that which is absent (hence that which is also accessible to nous). however. Singular imperfect for eimi.
esti gar einai. for him the one being11 is intended as "being. is not. one said "ta onta" and thus it is said in Homer that Tiresias knows the things that are (ta onto) and the things that will be (ta proionta). since one always comes back to the same place anyway. "To eon" however. The fifth fragment states that it makes no difference from which point one proceeds. but rather that without the unity of being all of this no longer exists. To put it another way.Parmenides and Being 113 speaking. is taken up anew later on." This helps us to understand that the "eon" of the first clause also has this ambiguity and 11."12 Before him. "historia. This singular is like an indicator of the beginning of conceptual-speculative reflection. and it is possible. This certainly means that to eon cannot be separate from tou eontas. The sixth fragment is the answer to the problem of truth and to the declaration of the correct path of truth. by contrast. the nothing. previously the diversity of what is was all about the balance of the universe." but for precisely this reason it also means "is possible that it is." signifies the course of experiences in all of their diversity. as we saw. we also want to recall the Socrates of the Phaedo. In order to understand the meaning of this part of the text. the uniformity of. Accordingly. To put it more precisely. and it also is not possible. The term means "it is. the listing of them. This fragment begins with following words: chre to legein te noein t* eon emmenai. we first want to recall that the "esti" of the second clause displays the ambiguity that we clarified previously. Here he uses a formulation in which the last word. it is not yet the concept but it is a full abstraction of the diversity of things. what is possesses cohesion (continuity) and unity. who says he has concerned himself much peri physeos historia. 14. meden d* ouk estin. Obviously the universe [is meant] as universe in its unity. In regard to this topic. This obviously confirms the homogeneity of. existing "being. 13.14 but exactly at the same time it also expresses the possibility of existence. das eine Seiende dasSein des seienden "Seins" Dasein . and this universe in its unity means at the same time the concept of being." It not only expresses existence. the meaning of the second clause runs as follows: "being is. implies that it has nothing to do with the diversity of experiences."13 a theme that. 12.
" Understood in this way.15 be disengaged from the consequence of being expressed and perceived. following the admonition to think over the truth proclaimed here and not forget it. originates. alsdasDasein 16. as we have already said. the so-called third path is nothing other than the description of the second. reminiscent of certain of this philosopher's aphorisms. the path upon which mortals stumble about hesitantly. and in constant uncertainty. This is the point from which the problematic third way. which. this is a problem that historicism has solved in its way by equating this supposed third path with the thinking of Heraclitus because the description of the path is. states expressly that we must not forget to avoid the path of the nothing. It is rather about people in general. Their inability to orient themselves. people without the ability to judge.114 The Beginning of Philosophy means the one that is and is possible. We will come back later to the significance of this repetition. For the moment we will follow the progress of the fragment. In truth." which cannot really serve to describe an individual. and the mortal people who stride ahead on this path are. and certainly not Heraclitus. Finally. an inability which they carry in their hearts. Parmenides had obviously not foreseen the tremendous acumen of the philosophers of the nineteenth century. it possesses the capacity to be. as existence. that is. erringly. are blind. which will be added to the two mentioned previously. the path of nothingness. I repeat. called by the epic term "brotoi. dense (akrita phula). This means 15. that is. They blunder around. who were even capable of finding in the text what was not in it. in a certain way. the presentness16 of being is precisely its perception. A preliminary interpretation of the first clause is as follows: "It is necessary that both the saying as well as the thoughtful perceiving of what is cannot. it remains for us to clarify that "to" must refer to "eon" because this latter term never occurs in the didactic poem without an article. leads them to a foolish perceiving (plakton noon). They are seen this way: "Their path is always wrong because it is contradictory" (panton de palintropos esti keleuthos). the clause seems like a convincing repetition of what has already been said. that is. Gegenwdrtigkeit . They conceive of being (pelein) and non-being now as something identical and now as something non-identical. but we must also not forget the other path.
We are pushed toward it by the superb historical research of the nineteenth century. I would like to offer a concluding comment regarding the sixth fragment. The Divine Creation of the world was brought into play here first through Christianity. and "As soon as it comes into appearance it comes from out of nothing. we have. and the delusion of becoming occurs because of it. "There is something. or actually through the Old Testament." Such lack of direction is certainly not the description of a speculative thinking—like that of a thinker such as Heraclitus—but rather depicts the unconscious contradictions upon which the errors and aberrations of human beings are based. Human beings have the characteristic of getting into contradictions without noticing it because they conceive of what is absent as a nonbeing. I would not by any means want to be understood as though I did not appreciate the method of the historians. It is just that philosophy is something different. Thus die sixth fragment portrays the chaos of opinions between which human beings of blurred judgment vacillate back and forth whenever they must find their way about in the world: "It is. Here. Only a superficial interpretation could maintain that this description of the contradiction—somewhat like with the claim that tauton and thateron are identical—points to the dialectic of Heraclitus. in my opinion. despite all its astuteness. it is not there". could be blind in some respects. historicism. albeit without understanding the mystery of such a Creation. and precisely the same thing is not there". Occasionally even a little arrogance is involved in the certainty with which this interpretation is pursued. With the insight that this sixth fragment describes the consequences of the lack of orientation common to all human beings. In order to clarify the structure of the text and . Yet. it is not". as we have seen. "It is there. That something could be produced from nothing simply is not acceptable for human reason. these hypotheses amount to the fact that we intend "is" and "is not" in the same breath. Ex nihilo nihil fit—this is the highest principle of our orientation in the world of experience. taken a decisive step forward.Parmenides and Being 115 that all hypotheses of mortals regarding the "is** and the "is not" always end in a contradiction. This happens earliest with Augustine when he speaks of the Word that announces: **Let there be light!" The Greeks were able to understand [the equivalent of] the Word of God with which the Old Testament introduces the Creation in the sense of a creative capacity.
yet it is without sight. The eye wanders eagerly (implicit in the word "noman" is the incentive for the attainment of a goal). as it further says. angepeilten . can we be compelled to follow this path. rather.116 The Beginning of Philosophy to bolster the logic of its argument. This latter formulation is of high literary worth. It says here that "it cannot be forcibly maintained that what is not17 exists** (ou gar mepote touto damei. belongs to devices of this type. This method is used for a public that does not read but follows the recitation of a text spoken by the author. From this it emerges that Parmenides' text is not thoroughly archaic even from a literary standpoint but rather presents itself as an exquisitely articulated composition—even through "repetition. For this reason. and it is understandable that a philosopher of this time would be glad to come upon expressions that could be useful for instruction in his own teachings. For this reason there are often agreements with Homer. das Nicbtseiende 18. This is a very beautiful image that expands further and extends from the eyes to the din-filled ear (echeessan akouen) and to the tongue (kai glossan ).** Now we want to proceed to fragments 7 and 8. which would be tantamount to "letting wander eyes that do not see** (noman askopon omma). we must judge "with the understanding** (logoi). the repetition should not be regarded as an accident. I have not pursued the matter further. (We should observe here that the tongue—just like the sightless eye and the ear that hears nothing because of the din— is meant here in the sense of the sense of taste. It belongs to what we might well call a mnemonic technique. must make use of a literary device. and moreover it wanders over the surveyed18 totality of things. einai me eonta). is used here without conceptual implications. yet I suspect that "krinai logoi. and through no force. This is characteristic of the preliterate cultural epoch with which we are dealing here." it seems to me.) The advice is thus to lend no credence to appearance. The method of repetition. is rhapsodic in origin." just like many other formulations from the didactic poem. The term "logoi. which together form one coherent text. like Plato. of which the beginning of our fragment furnished an obvious example. and indeed it belongs just as much to the rhapsode as to the listener. 17. sightless (askopon)9 because it cannot grasp any existing thing. Parmenides.
is and what does not exist22 is not indicates the direction toward which what is thought is oriented by the goddess's instruction. this expression has the same meaning. and "mounogenes" is therefore highly questionable above all because it is a term characteristic of Christian confessions. and on this path there are many signs—here. Wegzeichen 21. by the way. Heidegger would speak of "Wegmarken"19—to indicate the direction of the goal and to prevent any straying from the path. das Nichtseiende 23. I think that this term. the path-signs20 undoubtedly signify the continuous progression of a path in a certain direction. The word "oulomeles" means something like "of sound limbs. unborn. pathmarks 20. In Heidegger. which is usually understood in the sense that what is has not been generated and cannot pass away. (We should observe that here "mythos" stands closer to "logos" than to fairy-tale. toward a goal.Parmenides and Being 117 The argument is continued in the eighth fragment: monos d' eti mythos hodoio leipetai hos estin. This substantiates my point and means that because it is. 19. as well. and in this context we should think of the word "bebaios" of the emphatic insistence with which it is to be stressed that what is absent is at the same time present and that there is no non-existing being."24 is not to be expected straightaway. in Simplicius—the word "mounogenes. The first says: hos aganeton eon kai anolethron estin. immovable and without goal" (esti gar oulomeles te kai atremes ed' ateleston)."23 Now. "mythos" means everything that I can relate and plainly connotes a wide-ranging story." a formulation that recalls the living organism.) A single account of a path remains. uncreated . Thus it more likely comes from the quill of a copyist than the text of Parmenides. one of a kind. This line is interesting because of the variants of "oulomeles. if it follows immediately upon "ageneton. But this is not how it stands in the text because there it is not called "to eon" but "eon" without the article. unique 24." In place of this word we find—as we do. it is not generated and cannot pass away. Nichtseiende 22. The text then continues: "It is a whole.21 The emphatic repetition that what is. In Parmenides. There are therefore many signs from which it follows that the nothing can never be.
namely. But already excluded by this is the fact that what is not can be intended or brought to expression. the universe which leads its life and is lacking nothing in order for it to be itself a single great organism. For its part. Generation obviously includes non-being27: it implies that that which is now generated was not previously there. 27. who invoked inappropriate evidence for support here—when in his book on Eleaticism Calogero explains in a comment in the chapter on Melissus that Parmenides' argument at this point excludes two things.118 The Beginning of Philosophy hence that image that is often used as a model to describe the universe (and certainly not in its multiplicity but rather as the One). Sein Einssein Nichtsein not being . This is the only passage in this text in which oneness26 is expressly named— which then in Zeno leads to the dialectic of the one and the many and produces the discourse of the Eleatic doctrine of unity. We should note here the singular "pan. the further course of the argument becomes clear. 25. and so the text continues: "one and unbroken" (hen suneches)." which also occurs in Homer. To summarize. growth leads in turn to the contradiction of genesis and of becoming because it likewise implies that that which it now is was not previously there in this way." or with the expression "ta onta. "for it is now as the whole universe" (epei nun estin homou pan). 26. pet pothen auxethen—"How would it be possible to determine its origin." Heribert Boeder has pointed out that "being"25 in Presocratic philosophy was first indicated in certain cases by the plural. that it ever has been and that it ever will be" (oude pot* en oud* estai). Thus the text continues: "It is impossible. 28. At this point. how would it be able to grow?" In my opinion. Thus the use of the singular here is an emphatic stress: "It is all one". generation and growth. both becoming and growing obviously include the me eon. the argument begins concerning the previously mentioned characteristics of that which is. above all concerning the fact that it was not generated: tina gar gennan dizeseai autou. Guido Calogero has seen things correctly—even against Karl Reinhardt. furthermore. The word "oulomeles" as used by Parmenides evidently means that the universe is one thing and by itself contains everything in itself. as "ta panta.2* In this way.
We find the conclusion that is to be drawn from this argument in lines 15 and 16: he de krisis peri teuton en toid' estin. At this point. noema) reminds us a little of the third fragment. namely. we could say. utautonn is a predicate here as well and refers to "esti noeinn and "esti noema. heureseis to noein. in the Theatetus—yet he distinguishes two forms of motion. . This thought influenced the physicist. This thought reads: tauton d* esti noein te kai houneken esti noema. just as it also affected the mathematician. estin he ouk estin—"the decision about these things goes: either it is. in that he brings prominence to such an especially important thought. the claim that there is no motion raises the biggest problems. and it could not therefore remove itself by itself. As a representative of a preliterate culture." (With regard to this. who. Being has no external purpose: esti gar ouk epideuest it lacks nothing at all. we notice a repetition that marks the end of one train of thought and the beginning of a new one in accordance with the previously formulated principle. and inclined him to pay little heed the doctrine of Parmenides. and if something were lacking—me eon d* an pantos edeito—then everything would be missing (line 33). Parmenides. Plato. ou gar aneu tou eontost en hoi pephatismenon estin. This.Parmenides and Being 119 One can neither say nor think (noein) a becoming from out of nothing. homogeneous. Plato also discusses motion—he does so. Of course. it is in itself dense (continuous). The first part of this quotation (tauton .** Everything is decided with this. a kind of "period" or "new paragraph. is the toughest challenge. found in the Eleatics the conceptual model for the immutability of the ideas. or it is not. . he lends it strength. a qualitative change. we must offer the . on the other hand. The path of what is not is impassable. which seemed suspicious to us. Parmenides structures his discourse with this repetition and. makes no such differentiation and uses a poetic image in respect to these two forms as if they were the same: necessity has clapped being in irons. a change of place and alteration. and immovable. in fact. on the other hand. This will be explained further.** The new train of thought amounts to the claim that what is is not divisible. A fresh and well-judged repetition occurs in this passage. Of course. Aristotle.
. This is an 29. So we imagine that Parmenides had already recognized the superiority of the selfreflexivity of thinking. . originating and passing away. being could be inherent in thinking. "noema is.) Being that appears already involves being: esti noema.** At most. an image that I would like to linger with here at the end of my analysis of the Parmenidean didactic poem. selfconsciousness. there can be nothing outside of being. Hermann Frankel was also of this opinion—that being does not inhere in what is expressed but in what is thought. But all this is the result of a modernistic distortion that goes so far as to read a raft of things into Parmenides that are not present there at all: subjectivity. in the second part of the quotation (ou gar . and that is: "There. being and non-being." It is that which is felt. The important thing. Therefore we understand it like this: "being could not be in what is expressed. There is. This is a very beautiful image. is it synonymous with "noesis.120 The Beginning of Philosophy explanatory remark that "noema" does not. to noein) it is then claimed that "without the being29 in which it is expressed no thinking is to be found. lies exactly in this lack of a differentiation. Hegel and speculative idealism." Moreover. Here. of course. dasSeiende . something in the text about being that expresses itself. epistemology and its distinction between subject and object. as we have already mentioned.** This is not quite comprehensible for modern philosophy. from touching. we are dealing with an allusion to the fact that human beings are practically emptied by their experiences between being and non-being. Human beings are mistaken when they maintain that there are becoming. I am sorry. and cannot be separated at all from feeling. however. where being comes to appearance.** "whole**) and without motion. for now it is the whole that is without motion. Here.** Another important thought follows from the thesis according to which there is no perception without the self-expression of being: since there is no non-being. and finally even that bright color changes: dia te chroa phanon ameibein. but none of this is in the text. the perception of being occurs. Moira has fettered it and has so fixed it in place that it is one (again we find here the expression "OM/OW. motion. have the same meaning that it will have later in Aristotle. but rather it must be in being itself. This would seem to be what Parmenides wants to say. and so forth. that which is touched.
on the one hand. This fading of the color cannot actually be observed. is not yet conceptual but is already moving in this direction. . we are dealing with a Latin expression full of significance. we know that. we can only determine at a certain point in time that color has become weaker without our being able see when and how the color began to lessen. that everything born must die. I myself am not entirely sure at what point the word "universe** appears. for Milesian philosophy does not yet succeed in really unifying the totality of things conceptually—and [seeing them as] the One. That is to say. I do not want to repeat here what I have already written in my essay published in Questions di storiografia filosofica. We first brought the Presocratics closer to us via the texts of Plato and Aristotle. this expression represents an anticipation. This is a language that. . This happened in the conviction that this approach was necessary in order to gradually bring language into the discussion. and colors also fade . their philosophy does correspond to the direction that thinking takes later on. They were on a quest for the unity of the world.Parmenides and Being 121 allusion to the transitoriness and futility of all things. But the goddess knows this better than mortals do. Even in English we can say that the color fades and is no longer as vigorous and fresh as it was before. I would like to recall our starting point again and add some considerations of a general nature. On the other hand. Color fades and disappears. but the concept was not yet there. At the moment. As I now come to the conclusion of this lecture series. lime fades away. He wants to call into consciousness the anxiety that mortals feel about the fact that everything generated falls prey to transience. In any case. That is the mood behind this image. Thus we found out that this language wants to convey an image of what we call the universe. Let us now turn to a few thoughts about the [historical] position of these interpretations of the Presocratics. I will therefore limit myself to pointing out that interest in the Presocratics begins first with Romanticism. I am certainly not sure about the equivalent of the Greek "cosmos. We can now use the expression "universe" in the correct way in reference to the Presocratics." Perhaps it is in Lucretius. for it helps explain the quest for the one world. for the most part. Of course. and the poet is undoubtedly driving at this. there were comprehensive handbooks . .
even when it deals with fundamental themes.122 The Beginning of Philosophy even earlier—in die eighteenth century—which. and becoming in the 30. We have now seen in the course of our investigation to what heights of nonsense blind doxography can attain. as we have seen. As we have already seen with reference to Anaximander. for example. but it can also mean something circular. Here. I would like to cite another example: if in line 42 of the eighth fragment Parmenides says that the universe is tetelesmenon. is later quite surprised to "discover" that Parmenides said that his universe is tetelesmenon. despite its immense erudition and its study of sources. in doing so. But it is also a form of superior creativity when one is able to see things under the influence of one's own expertise and. This truly happens in Hegel when at the beginning of the Logic he brings to the table being. their extremely comprehensive education. Geschichtsschreibung . All of this is complete nonsense. offered an abundance of material about the writings of antiquity as they had been collected through the efforts of Fabricius or Stephanus. Thus no difference exists in this respect between Melissus and Parmenides. find one's eyes and ears opened. This view is then rendered by Melissus with the expression "apeiron. "apeiron"can mean boundless. We still come across interpretations of this kind in the eighteenth century. This material was nothing more than a repetition of the ancient doxography without any historiographical ambition. despite all of its sensitivity. and yet this means "finite. The sad fact is that Theophrastus was a schoolmaster who applied his concept of the apeiron blindly. it was a simple catalogue of the various opinions. on the other hand. then that means that the universe is complete in itself. something involved in itself and returning to itself—like a ring. like the work of Johann Jakob Brucker. The interesting thing is that. Historiographie 31. nothing. the apeiron. I admire the great philologists of the nineteenth century. that it is a whole and leaves nothing outside itself. just like in the ancient doxography." while Melissus advocated an infinite universe. a writing of history31 that distinguishes itself from the doxographic tradition. their mastery of research methods. An historiography30 in the authentic sense of the word occurs first hi the nineteenth century. even this historiography does not remain free of naive anachronism." Theophrastus.
As we know. And that is one of the reasons why Heidegger. but in a certain sense it is already operative. in the didactic poem there is a back and forth between that which is. makes it quite clear that Heidegger was correct in this matter. between ousia and on. In a way. hoped and attempted to prove that Parmenides had already suspected that there was this difference. it is not introduced [by us]. felt an especially deep regard for old Parmenides." Yet we have abused this expression to such an extent that it has become incomprehensible. like Plato before him. The ontological difference [just] is. seienden Dinge 34. the young Heidegger developed this concept of die "ontological difference" in the sense of the difference between being and beings. but rather opens itself up. I will never forget Heidegger's answer: Make? Is the ontological difference something that must be made? That is a misunderstanding. Parmenides. how and when one must make this distinction. goes beyond the multiplicity of existing things and places to eon34 at the beginning. As a matter of fact. this nothing is no true nothing and also that becoming is already implied in the concepts of being and nothing. too. "Ontological difference"—I still recall quite dearly how. Being is "posited" as something indefinite. etwas Seiendem 33. the significance of this ontological distinction was. in Marburg. This difference is not something introduced by the philosopher's thinking so as to distinguish between being and beings. being ." Heidegger directed his attention (just as he did in Being and Time) to precisely this point—that the nothing is like the veil of being and that this nothing does not resemble anything that is32 but rather being. Perhaps Heidegger was right when he said that. The ontological difference is not yet named here.Parmenides and Being 123 sense of the tradition established by Kant's and Fichte's doctrine of categories. One day. which the multiplicity of existing things33 leaves behind itself like a veil. then. Heidegger apparently feels himself drawn toward Parmenides. Here. — Our reading of Parmenides' didactic poem. in his inaugural Freiburg lecture. in its totality. "What is Metaphysics?. I believe. all in all. Heidegger. a difference 32. and being. as Gerhard Kriiger and I accompanied Heidegger home. this to eon expresses Heidegger's "ontological difference. as we have already indicated. one of the two of us two raised the question of what.
Think. despite the great distance. This one example suffices to make clear the greatness of poetry as well as the fact that. Heidegger tried to find all of this in Eleatic philosophy and also in Heraclitus so as to then claim—in all too close a connection with Nietzsche—that the first philosophers of the classical period of Greece stood beyond metaphysics and that the great drama of Western thinking. Heidegger later realized that the West was already developing toward that time. the fall into the abyss of metaphysics. Achilles regains his self-control and puts the sword into its scabbard again. A double action occurs here: there is Athena. he took the trouble to steer the interpretation in this direction. At the last minute. nevertheless it is present in Homer's lines and is able to say something to us.. who restrains Achilles. for instance. of the scene at the beginning of the Iliad where Achilles. but what does this have to do with the capacity for differentiation? This is already presupposed in the Creation that the Old Testament relates because the most variegated existing things are held apart from each other. who restrains himself.124 The Beginning of Philosophy that is not made but which occurs on it own. Homer and Hesiod were more like enlightened intellectuals and great psychologists. was not there at all in Presocratic philosophy. seizes his sword and. Heidegger tries to prove that standing in the background here is that great problem. out of fury over Agamemnon's demand that he hand over his slave. namely. 35. when he interprets the passage in the Proem in which the unshakable heart of truth and the opinions of mortals is discussed. and in the course of this he also did violence to the text. For this reason. that even epic poetry was already very far removed from the mythology of the early epoch and presented something quite different from a religious proclamation of the divine. and there is Achilles. which of course is not yet named as such. the miracle of self-differentiation. For example. I.35 and with regard to this point I would like to recall something that I said at the beginning of these lectures. suddenly the face of Athena looms up behind Agamemnon. but genuine interiority also plays a role.e. .. we still recognize ourselves in a view of a world like that of the Olympian gods or that of the disputes among the gods that Hesiod portrayed. toward the fall into the abyss of metaphysics. and this is also the case with us when we perceive.. there is a reference to the divine. To grasp the One is something normal.
In any case. a metaphysics that he designates "the forgetfulness of being" and describes in terms of the domination of technology in all areas of human culture. we can recognize how truly radical a thinker Heidegger is when he claims that metaphysics has changed and that it has shifted from being the common horizon of the Western culture to being a new metaphysics. I would like to make yet one further remark about Heidegger. just as Plato was no Platonist. The fall from the conceptual level attained in nineteenth-century philosophy begins with the most brilliant thinker of the later part of the century. and certainly not just in Europe but in the whole world. with Nietzsche. In the nineteenth century it was regarded as a point d'honneur—and at the beginning our own century it was no different— that a system is a necessary prerequisite of philosophy. This is why I like to say that. The collapse of a still living tradition and its transformation in the history of philosophy in the sense of becoming a sequence of philosophical systems is extremely significant. Heidegger has thus seen many things in a new way that has opened new possibilities of thinking for us as well as the possibility of letting the texts of philosophy that have been handed down—and the language of art—speak for themselves. finding one's way around in this new atmosphere and following one's own path does not come easily. Hegel's synthesis is not to be surpassed. In a certain sense. neither can Heidegger be held responsible for the Heideggerians.Parmenides and Being 125 In closing. Admittedly. he has placed Hegel at the end of the history of the metaphysics. In my opinion. . Certainly. he was in many ways almost a dilettante who did not understand much of modern philosophy and had not even read Kant but merely Kuno Fischer instead. It is as if a new atmosphere originated with him.
108-110. 79 Calogero. 65. 73. Johann Jakob (16961770.10. 12. 37. 112. Presocratic philosopher). 39. 118 Brucker. 15. John (1863-1928. 14-15 anamnesis (Greek: memory..122 Anaximenes (588-524 B. 27-28. 54. 39. Greek Sophist). 73. 13 anima (Latin: soul).32-36. Plato's.. 57.44-45. Christian Gnostic philosopher). 24-27. 39. 35. 69. 53-55. 104. 62.16. 87-90 Anfang (German: beginning). 40.. 9.Index Academy.E. 70. Athenian scholar).48-49. 122 Buddhism. Presocratic philosopher). 24 Aristotelian. 80.. 35. 81 Apollodorus (second century B. 78. 85.C. 35 arche (Greek: beginning). 73 Athens.47-48. 88 Archimedes (267P-212 B.105 Boeder. 90 astronomy.108. recollection). Presocratic philosopher). 76-78. 87.E. 65. 93-94 Aristotle (384-322 B. 40 bebaios (Greek: firm. 80. 71-86. 12.119-121 Asia Minor. 99. 76-77. 4. 90. 111 Cohen. 8. 118 Cebes (character in Plato's Phaedo). 74-77. 34-35. German philosopher).45. 38. 75 alphabetic writing. 51-52. 86. Hermann (1842-1918.C. 89 Burnet.C. 76-78 Anaximander (610-547 B. 12 biology. 88. 25 .C.44 Anaxagoras (499-422 B. 7. 63.47. introduction of. German philologist). Greek mathematician).44. 63 Atomists (school of Greek philosophy associated with Democritus). 85-92.13. British philosopher).E.117 Church Fathers (early Christian writers). 32. 96 Antiphon (480-411 B. 43. 37. Heribert. 117 Being and Time (Heidegger). 115. Guido (1904—. 96.100-102.E.E.47.E. 29... 33 Clement of Alexandria (150-215. 50 Christianity. Greek philosopher). 68-69.C. 123 Berlin historical school. contemporary Italian philosopher). 92.26.C. 39.E. 94. 80-87. 72. 104.C. 57. 12. steady). 60.
9 culture.94. cosmology. 64. 84-85 Creation.42. 52. Wilhelm (1833-1911.13.28-29. 63.46. 30 dialectic.C. 63-64 FJeatic (school of philosophy in Elea. 20-21. 92. 84 Democritus (460P-370? B. 13.C. 62. 84-85 Echecrates (character in Plato's Phaedo).23. 9-12.113.16. 73. Greek mathematician).. 103. Franz (1904—. 95-97 Dilthey. 77. 39 existence. 40. 72. 110-111 cosmogony. 59 evolution.95. 76. Greek philosopher). 45. 30 doxa (Greek: opinion). 79 Diogenes Laertius (third century Greek biographer). 45 eidos (Greek: form. 76. 47-48. the.E.119. 75. 88. 10.100. 103 craftsperson. Hermann (1848-1922. 55-57. 95. 50. the (eighteenthcentury philosophical/ cultural movement).84.E.15 epic poetry. 46. German philosopher).Index Confessions (Augustine). 66. 37. 108 cosmos. 77 Diogene d'Apollonie (Laks). 47. 78. 52. located in present-day Turkey.19.E. 74. 79-80. 89 Dionysus. that which can be seen).42. 29. 27 copula (use of verb "to be"). 87-89. 52. 30. 33-34. 53-54.C. 450 B. 7. 85. 57-58.100 doxography. 52.108 Euclid (third century B. 91. c. 43. 98-99.22. 61. 34. 111.109. 92.115. 92. 63-64. 65. Rene (1596-1650. Greek philosopher who originated the doctine of the four elements). exemplified by Parmenides and Zeno). 56-57.118 Diels. 73-75. 65. cult of.124 Epicharmus (fl. 59 demiurge. 14. 95. 28. 75-77. 89 Encyclopedia (Hegel).C.122 dynamis (Greek: that which produces effects). 81. 89. 24. 56. 61 epistemology (study of knowledge). 64. 121. 84. home of Heraclitus). 98. 90. 11-13. 14. 54 Elea (ancient Greek city in today's southern Italy). 124 Empedocles (fifth century B. 92.C. German philosopher).28. 62.110 epic literature. 22. 116. 16-18. theory of. 77-78.120 etymology.115.E. 98-99. 12. 53. Greek poet).115. 57. 30. 52. 77. 52 cultural development. 81. 103. 39. 26. 89 Descartes. 40.125 De anima (Aristotle). 9.44.105. 69.43.25. 113-114 experience. 72 Diogenes of Apollonia (fifth century B. 65. 16.118-119. 87 Discours de la method (Descartes). 73-74. 68. 22...E.117 Copenhagen school. 78. 109 127 doxai broton (Greek: opinions of mortals). 39-45. 22-24. 69 Enlightenment. 20. 30. Greek philosopher of atomist theory of universe). 96 death. 124 Critique of Pure Reason (Kant). 85. 51. 24 Euthyphro (Plato). 47. 72. 120 . 93-94.. 28. 38 Dirlmeier. 38. 15 Ephesus (ancient Greek city in Asia Minor. 98. German philosopher). 44. 31. 96. 90-91.. French philosopher).
15.). 93-95. 9.46. 110.46. 58. 14 Gomperz. 41-45.57. 63. 65. 24. 48 Frankel.77. 86-88. Martin (1889-1976. 48 idealism. 39 Heraclitus (540-475 B. 58. .E.124 human sciences.52-56.45. 23. Italian astronomer). 123-125 Heidelberg. 36.125 Homer (fl.77. 79. 43.93.123 fire.23-24.47. German philosopher). 103-104 Hegel.36-38.25.44-45. 19-21.25. 70 hyle. 7-9 Hellenism (spread of Greek culture and thought after Alexander the Great in fourth century B.29.109. 55-56.E.21. 11.110.17. university of. 10 Greek culture. 104-105. Hegelianism. 850 B. 24 geometry.38-41. 66-67. 118. 98 Greek gods. The (Gadamer). 14. 8. 26-27 Gaiser.. Galileo (1564-1642. 35.10.22. 61.. German philosopher).26. 21. Konrad (contemporary German philosopher). 17 Frank. Greek philosopher and astronomer).124 historicism. 24. German philosopher).35-36.10. 41. German philosopher).C.C. 27-28 heavenly bodies. 125 Foucault. 36. 35. German philosopher). Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831.116. Kuno (1824-1907.. 65. Greek poet). 90. 11 Galelei.102-104. 19.113. 7. 57. 88 Hartmann.18-22. contemporary French philosopher).C. 120 freedom.20.13.102 Herodotus (fifth century B. 85. 63. 95..C.87-89.107. 7. 83 Idea (Platonic concept). German philosopher). Greek historian).67-68.103. 98.21-22. Nicolai (1882-1950. 10-11.110 German poetry. 29-31 Husserl. Johann Albert (1668-1736. German Lutheran scholar).25. 64.13. 67-69.120 Iliad (Homer).43.43. 93. 73-74. 55.93.E.114-115.124 immortality of the soul. 61. 122. German philosopher).10-12.20. 55-56. Greek philosoher born in Ephesus). 35. 36 Hesiod (fl. 7. 117. 122 Fichte. 111.C. 77 Gottingen. 79 Greek poetry.110. Erich (1883-1949. Johann Gottlieb (1762-1814. 122 history of philosophy. 7. 34-35.19. 21-22. 93-94. Greek epic poet). 68. originally: wood.99. 35. German philosopher).58-59 Fabricius.E. forest).108 Fischer. Michel (1926-1984. 57. 69. 96.124 hermeneutics (theory of interpretation). 93 harmony.103 Heidegger.95. 111 Idea of the Good in Platonic and Aristotelian Philsophy. Hermann (1888-?.. Edmund (1859-1938. 12. 53. The (Burnet). eighth century B. 10-11. 16.114-115 historiography. university of. 13. German idealist philosopher). 81.120.76.E.15-16. Theodor (1832-1912.128 Index 80.E. 73 Heracleides Ponticus (390-322 B. (Greek: matter.C. 66 German idealism.125 Hegelian.122 Greek Philosophers.46.48.
55. 94. 92 music. Andre (contemporary French philosopher). 96 Kant. 8.125 Lectures on the History of Philosophy (Hegel). 89 Joel.41. 39. Rodolfo (contemporary Italian philosopher). 84 Meister Eckhart (1260-1327. 17. 69-70. 30 modern science. German religious reformer). 23 mythos (Greek: tale. 21 moral questions.10.46. 58. 24 natural sciences. 98. 38.112 Jaeger. 58 Melissus (fifth century B. Simon (1802-1864. 62. 53. 29. 97 Kierkegaard. 73-77. 81-82. 72.48. 7-8. Werner (1888-1961. 35. 22 Middle Ages. Immanuel (1724-1804. 101-105. 90. 66. located in present-day Turkey). 37-38.17. 69. 21. 7. 123 Laks.12. 60. 52. German philosopher). 84-85. 14 Nietzsche. 96. 72-73. 15. nothing). 73-74. 27.123 129 mathematics. 41. 83. British Utilitarian philosopher). 30-31. 86-87. 42.102. 41 Metaphysics (Aristotle). Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1766. 16.16. 25. 73 matter. 35. German philologist). 30. 84.101.13-15. 87. 60. 35. 78-79.125 Karsten. 121 Neoplatonism.99. 26.50. 88. German philosopher). 118.108 National Socialism. Martin (1483-1546. 88. 53. 42-45. 79. 16. 92 Lysis (Plato). 90 Mill. 86.47.29. 96 Milesian school. 38 indeterminacy. theory of. 18 Introduction to the Human Sciences (Dilthey). 80-82. 64.98 Meno (Plato). 37-38. account). German philosopher). 188.8.131.52. 53. 13. 92. 29.100. 80. 71.14. 93.121 Miletus (ancient Greek city in Asia Minor. Greek philosopher).27.E. 121. German theologian. John Stuart (1806-1873.117 myths. 11 Kruger. 50. 54 neuter gender. methodology. Gerhard (1902-1972. 36. Friedrich Wilhelm (1844-1900.122 memory. 11-12.43. 64. German philosopher).124-125 . 34.54. 25. 82 Mondolfo.47. use of.46. 57.116. German philosopher).123 me on (Greek: non-being.101. 79 language.Index incipience. Hans-Joachim (1929—. Danish philosopher). 16. 47-48 manotes (Greek: thinning. 73-74. 97. S0ren (1813-1855. 78. Karl (1864-1934. mystic).104 method. 78-80. 9. 65. 35-36. 28 Mount Olympus.108. 117 Luther. 75.25. 85. 88. German philosopher). 72.24 Ionia (ancient Greek region in Asia Minor along coast of Aegean Sea).26. 35-36. 56-57. 22-23.108.109-110.C. 67 Kramer. 89. 34. 65. rarefying). 10 Leibniz. university of. story). 24.123.27-31 nature. 10. 17. German philosopher). 76 Marburg. 11. 62.44 logos (Greek: word.
founder of Eleatic school of Greek philosophy). 8. 50. 74. 94-95. 85. 36-45.48-50. 120.118.. 76 purification. 470 B. 11 Philebus (Plato). 83-84 quantum mechanics. 94.29.20. 63-68. 38. 64.43.68-69.118.44.) 67 psyche (Greek: soul. 30 nous (Greek: mind). 36 Paris. Greek philosopher). 61 .25. 35.44. 90. 56. 83-85.18.C.102.73-74. 83-84.E. 64-65. 34-35. Greek Sophist). 39 Platonic dialogue.65. 93 Pythagoreans.125 Orphic rites.104.109. 56. 14. 28 quantum theory. convention).C.125 Popper. 66-67 notnos (Greek: law. 91.56.15. 72-73..99.116-120. 38. 68.E.115. 122-123 Peripatetics (school of Greek philosophy founded by Aristotle). British philosopherof science).47. 61-184.108.40.206-18. 61.123. 85. 82. 56. 56-57.. 114-115. 75-76.112. 55. 83 Philolaos (b. 57.10-12. 59-61. 96. 73. 58. 71-73.). 7.44. 91.28. 53-59. 32-34.105.14. 38. 62.C.E. univeristy of. 27 objectivity. 50.124 principium (Latin: beginning). 79-81. 9-13. Karl (1902—. 82. 47-220.127.116.11. 19. 95.95-96. 68. 14. 38-40.34-35.114.E.29. 91. 25. 22-23.54.109-110.116. 12-13. 39.115. 34.21.125 Plato and the So-called Pythagoreans (Frank). 103-112..119. 67-68. 58 puknotes (Greek: condensing). 49 Platonic.74 non-being. around 500 C. 66. 24-26 Presocratics. 79. 54.61. 112 numbers.E.121. 19. 109. 32-36. 76. 80-86. 91-99.C. 32.124 ontology (philosophy of being). 20. 66. 36-42. 14-15. 51-52. 41.120 non-existence. 75-76. 13.24. 67-68. 38. 54.96 physis (Greek: nature. 38 Paideia (Jaeger). 11. 34. 51.113 phenomenology (philosophical study of appearances in human experience. 98. 33 Phaedo (Plato).25 Protagoras (490-410 B. 84-85. 30-31 Old Testament. 72. 71-76.15. Greek philosopher). 57.75.103. 10-12. 124 One. 94. 61 Pseudo-Dionysius (unknown Neoplatonist author of mystical treatises. 34.72-74 Index Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (Nietzsche).121. 86 Physics (Aristotle). 51.124 Olympian gods. 12.63. 7. the. 39 Philosophical Investigations (Wittgenstein). 90.101. 92. 62. 41 Pythagoras. 80 Phenomenology of Spirit (Hegel). being). 10 Parmenides (515-450 B.41 purity rituals.130 Nomoi (Plato's Laws). 81.105 Plato (428-348 B. 65. mind). Platonism. 53.71-72 Problemgeschichte (German: problem history).112. 85. 123 opinion. 52. 90. 121.
121 Sartre.45 Reinhardt. 111 to ison (Greek: equality). 94. 43. 14. 68.107. 20. 62. 118. 119 Theogony (Hesiod).100.). 53 Thales (648-546 B. 7.57. sensory experience. 34.20. 113.C.105-106. 38. Jean-Paul (1905-1980. philosophical concept in Kant and Dilthey. 86 Ttmaeus (Plato). 36. 57 Theatetus (Plato). 67. 27-28 Schleiermacher. 66. 12. 51. Leon (1866-1947. 26.119.75. 90-91.79. 14 Socrates (469-399 B. 120 senses. 65 Stephanus (Henri Estienne. German philosopher). 25-26. 35.29 transmigration of the soul. The (Jaeger). theme of. 34.61.50-53. 11 Seele (German: soul).120 Summa Theologia (Aquinas).56 Tubingen school.20. 36-37. 116-117. 63. 98.64. 37 self-consciousness. Arthur (1788-1860. Karl (contemporary German philosopher). Bruno (1896—.E. 16. 91. 74 Robin. French existentialist philosopher). 74-75.77. skill). Friedrich (1768-1834. German theologian). 68-69. 60-62.43. 101 Science of Logic (Hegel).16. 12 Romanticism (philosophical and cultural movement of the late eighteenth century). 71. French philosopher). 81.55. 15311598.61 spirit.62-63. 73. 20-22 subject and object. 10. Max (1874-1928.10. German phenomenologist). 52. 58 Simplicius (sixth-century Neoplatonist and commentator on Aristotle).Index reincarnation. 73-74.60.71-72.118 repetition.44-45. 41.22. 47-48. identical).114. 7. 36. 96. 66. 131 65-68. 85. 53 Simmias (character in Plato's Phaedo). 80-81.108 structure. 76. 11. 78. 101 tecbne (Greek: art. 18. 31. early Greek thinker from Miletus). 89-90 thanatos (Greek: death).42. 38. 11 unity.31..109.121 . 42. 96 ta enantia (Greek: in opposition to each other). 107 Theology of the Early Creek Thinkers.112 Sophists (wandering Greek teachers of fifth century B.65..57-59. 39.13. 97.15-16. 82 teleology (theory of ends or goaloriented activity). 44 Topics (Aristotle). 94.51.122 Republic (Plato). 26. 54.C. 83. 33 Snell. 44. Greek philosopher).E. 76. 96. 71-72. 86-87. 86-87. 122 Stoicism (Greek and Roman philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium). 65 rhetoric.C.22 Schopenhauer. 68 stasiotai (Greek: those who take a stand). 50.116 rheontes (Greek: flux). 65.39-45.113 Sophist (Plato). 10-12.117 Skeptics (school of Greek philosophy).79.90. 78-80. 85-87. French scholar and printer of Greek classics).101.16.E. 40.104.104 to auto (Greek: the same. 65-66.12. 19. 36. 31 Scheler. 85. German philologist). 111. 33. 62. 60. 63-64. 48 rhapsode (reciter of epic poetry).
121-122 Untersteiner.96 Teller. 18 Weber.48. 90. 46 Index Whitehead. 94-96. 52-53. 73-74. 99 Viennese school.118. 29. Eduard (1814-1908. Austrian philosopher). 31. 97 virtuality. Greek philosopher).C.19. 85-93. 36.132 universe.. 35 Zeno of Elea (490-430 B. 118 . 103-104. Alfred North (1861-1947. 65. 90-91. 27-28.E. 69. 72. 112.108. German sociologist). 63. 17 Weltgeschichte (German: world history).73 Xenophanes (570-470 B. 63. disciple of Parmenides). 86. British philosopher). 21-22. neoKantian German philosopher). Mario (1899-1981. 97-101. Ludwig (1889-1951.E. 61 world-soul. 74. 68. 70.C. Italian philosopher). 61 Wittgenstein.. 91. 12. 27-28.113. 53. 61 values. 77 virtue.77. Max (1864-1920.