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Heidegger's Aristotle

Lecturer: James Garrett

Originally Taught: Winter School 2010

Soon after becoming Husserl apprentice, Heidegger began to develop a new reading of ancient philosophy on the basis of the new possibilities offered by phenomenology. From 1922 to 1924, Heidegger worked on a book on Aristotle that was to be his first major work. The book never came to fruition but out of the ashes of this project came Being and Time in 1927. The lecture courses and essays that have emerged from this early period, have revealed how much Heidegger is indebted to Aristotle above all other thinkers. Heidegger's radical return to Aristotle provides the basis for an ever-widening critique aimed at the entire notion of philosophy as a special discipline. By uncovering the genesis of the prejudices that shape modern philosophy and science Heidegger attempts to bring to light the original possibilities of knowledge and their connection with the nature of human existence.

Heidegger's book on Aristotle was designed as an introduction that rejected the notion of a philosophical system and sought to return Aristotle's research back to the context of its original questions. This course attempts to be faithful to Heidegger's intention, and provides an introduction to both Aristotle and the early Heidegger. The course thus shifts back and forth between Heidegger's lecture courses from 1922 to 1925 and short selections of Aristotle.

Monday: The Basic Concepts of Heidegger
Introduces Heidegger's phenomenological approach to the history of philosophy and science. Provides an introduction to basic phenomenological concepts and why Heidegger turns to Aristotle in the early 1920s.

Tuesday: The Basic Concepts of Aristotle
Investigates the approach to philosophy that Aristotle developed in the Physics and De Anima using the concepts of potentiality. First we shall examine how Aristotle uncovers the nature of beings in movement and how he reacts against his predecessors. Secondly, we shall examine how Aristotle's method in approaching the being of beings also applies to an analysis of mind, language, and perception.

Wednesday: "The human being is a living thing that reads the newspaper"
Focuses on the connection of Heidegger's understanding of 'idle talk' and the approach to logos and doxa in Plato and Aristotle. Humans are not only faced with the task of discovering concepts, but also are faced with the degenerating of language into the obvious.

Thursday: Rereading the Ethics, Politics and Rhetoric
Investigates Heidegger's understanding of being-with-others, technē, phronēsis, praxis and poēsis.

Friday: Conclusions
An attempt to sum up Aristotle's radicalisation of the question of being and where Heidegger thinks that Aristotle failed to be radical enough.

Recommended Readings
Selections of Heidegger will be provided in class.