Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle

Heidegger, Martin. Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle : Initiation into Phenomenological Research. Translated by Richard Rojcewicz. Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press, 2009.


The following investigations, however, are not aimed at putting in train a philosophical rehabilitation and defense of Aristotle, nor is their goal to renew Aristotle by paving the way for an Aristotelianism interwoven with the results of modern science. Those are not serious aims of philosophical research, whether they relate to Aristotle or Kant or Hegel. Our interpretations of Aristotle’s treatises and lectures spring, rather, from a concrete philosophical problematic, so much so that this investigation into the Aristotelian philosophy does not in any way present a mere accidental surplus, a “supplement” or an elucidation “from the historiological side,” but, instead, itself constitutes a basic part of this problematic. The latter alone gives weight and decisiveness to the approach, the method, and the scope of our investigations.

Those who wish to acquaint themselves for the first time with such a problematic need a preliminary rough indication of the direction the investigation will take, just in order to carry out the first step in a definite, even if unsteady, light.

Moreover, those who have already acquired a certain fixed position–and, a fortiori, those who believe they are secure in their grasp of the task and in their way of dealing with it — must ever again, out of concrete work, undertake a methodological examination of conscience with regard to the originality and the genuineness of their goal and the true appropriateness of their method.

Corresponding to the level of the problematic reached at any time, a presentification of the goal and of the method of the investigation is an indispensable propadeutic, because it is a necessity of principle.

The two questions asked in philosophy are, in plain terms: 1. What is it that really matters? 2. Which way of posing questions is genuinely directed to what really matters? What is discourse about when it is discourse in the most proper sense? About what should and will and must discourse in philosophy, as a matter of principle, be uncompromising?

If it is genuine, a concretely determined problematic of philosophical research will run in its own directedness to the end, an end philosophy as such must have made fast for itself. What is philosophy? That question must be posed with sufficient clarity, sufficient for the situation and the problematic in which the question is posed, if indeed every concrete investigation is to have a secure direction, a corresponding methodological integrity, and a genuine pertinence.

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