The Birth of Being and Time: Heidegger's Pivotal 1921 Reading of Aristotle's On the Soul

Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (2):216-239 (2018)
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Abstract

During the 1920s Heidegger gave no less than twelve seminars and lecture courses devoted either exclusively or in large part to the reading of Aristotle's texts. Seven of these, especially the smaller seminars for advanced students, have not been published and apparently will never be included in the Gesamtausgabe. My focus here is on the very first of these. Billed as a reading of Aristotle's De Anima, much of it was devoted to Aristotle's Metaphysics. This decision not to separate Aristotle's “psychology” from his “ontology” is a key move of the seminar that anticipates the project of Being and Time. This and many other ways in which Heidegger's early reading of De Anima anticipates the key moves of the later book constitute one of the reasons for its importance. Another is that the seminar allows us to see what gets suppressed in Heidegger's reading of Aristotle, most significantly, the phenomenon of life itself in favor of an eventual focus on the being of human life or Dasein. This early seminar thus enables us not only to better understand Heidegger's project, but also to raise some fundamental questions concerning it.

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Francisco Javier González Chapela
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

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