Volume 88, 2014
Dispositions, Habits, and Virtues
Heidegger, Aristotle, and Philosophical Leisure
I examine the two different accounts of the activity of philosophy and the nature of the philosophical life put forward by Heidegger and Aristotle. I do so by examining Heidegger’s well-known claim that for Aristotle sophia is the arete of techne. It is argued that this claim is the result of Heidegger’s deep engagement with critical philosophy, which his own early philosophy develops in interesting ways, and that this claim results in Heidegger overlooking crucial elements of Aristotle’s account of philosophy. I maintain that Aristotle’s conception of philosophy represents a counter-point to the critical conception of philosophy developed by Heidegger, one that focuses upon the importance of the leisure embodied in philosophical activity. I suggest that it would be especially fruitful to compare and contrast these two conceptions of philosophy from the perspective of the ethical question of the nature and value of philosophical activity and the life of philosophy.