Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy


Volume 18 of Martin Heidegger's collected works presents his important 1924 Marburg lectures which anticipate much of the revolutionary thinking that he subsequently articulated in Being and Time. Here are the seeds of the ideas that would become Heidegger's unique phenomenology. Heidegger interprets Aristotle's Rhetoric and looks closely at the Greek notion of pathos. These lectures offer special insight into the development of his concepts of care and concern, being-at-hand, being-in-the-world, and attunement, which were later elaborated in Being and Time. Available in English for the first time, they make a significant contribution to ancient philosophy, Aristotle studies, Continental philosophy, and phenomenology.


Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy is a translation of a lecture course given by Martin Heidegger at the University of Marburg in the summer semester of 1924. The original German text, Grundbegriffe der aristotelischen Philosophie, appeared in 2002 as volume 18 of Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe. The lecture course took place during Heidegger’s first year at Marburg, and three years before the publication of Being and Time.

During his years at Marburg, Heidegger’s courses typically examined historical figures in the context of the main issues treated in Being and Time, issues such as the meaning of being, the understanding of being, temporality, and the adequacy of phenomenology as a way of addressing these problems. Heidegger’s Marburg lectures, then, are particularly instructive for the student of Being and Time insofar as they show how the key concepts of Heidegger’s groundbreaking work were developed as critical, phenomenologically determined interpretations of familiar philosophical notions that were introduced and elaborated by such figures as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and Husserl. In this way, Heidegger situates his own thought within the trajectory of the history of philosophy and its well-known problems, thereby giving his audience many possible points of entry into Heideggerian philosophy.

In our lecture course, the point of entry is Aristotle, as Heidegger continues his pursuit, already begun in the 1922 essay “Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle (Indications of the Hermeneutical Situation),” of the Aristotelian roots of Being and Time’s conception of Dasein. Here, the analysis centers on being-in-the-world as speaking-with-one-another, yielding characteristically Heideggerian interpretations of such Aristotelian notions as λόγος, οὐσία, ἐντελέχεια, ἐνέργεια, and κίνησις.

Heidegger’s innovative translations of these and other Aristotelian concepts into German provide a challenging model for an English translation of this lecture course. For example, on ἐνέργεια, Heidegger says that the German word Wirklichkeit would be an excellent translation if it weren’t so worn out as a term. The same could be said about the customary English renderings of so many of Heidegger’s key concepts. The challenge for the translator is to be faithful to the thinking at play in Heidegger’s text: to render his German into English in a way that will live up to the demands of his thinking. This is not an easy challenge to meet.

With respect to some of Heidegger’s concepts, it would almost be preferable to leave them untranslated, particularly concepts familiar to readers of Being and Time, such as Dasein and Das Man. We, however, decided to translate these and other Heideggerian concepts and in such a way as to be responsive to the thinking which calls for them in the text. For example, Heidegger . . .

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