Volume 16, Issue 2, Spring 2012
Heidegger’s Reading of Aristotle’s Concept of Pathos
This paper takes as its point of departure the recent publication of Heidegger’s lecture course Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy and focuses upon Heidegger’s reading of Aristotle’s concept of pathos. Through a comparative analysis of Aristotle’s concept of pathos and Heidegger’s inventive reading of this concept, I aim to show the strengths and weaknesses of Heidegger’s reading. It is my thesis that Heidegger’s account is extremely rich and innovative as he frees up pathos from the narrow confines of psychology and incidental change and places it squarely into the center of the fundamental changes affecting a living being’s existence; simultaneously, however, Heidegger sometimes overstates the ties that pathos has with other concepts such as ousia and logos and highlights exceptional rather than common meanings of pathos, thereby risking the charge of being unfaithful to Aristotle’s text.