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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 26, Issue 1, Fall 2021

Norman K. SwazoOrcid-ID
Pages 165-181

Heidegger, Aristotle, and Dasein’s Possibility of Being

Heidegger’s thinking of the human way to be unavoidably concerns itself with a distinctive human possibility of being. It is argued here that the early Heidegger, who engaged Aristotle’s philosophy via what Heidegger calls “phenomenological interpretations,” learns from Aristotle’s method of definition but goes beyond it to conceive the idea of possibility—Dasein’s being-possible (Seinkönnen)—differently. It is reasonable to argue that the early Heidegger accomplishes a productive interpretation of Aristotle in this case while being indebted to Aristotle’s understanding of ‘definition’ as both “genuinely indicative” and “indeterminate.” Despite Aristotle’s ontological commitment to a metaphysics of presence (Anwesenheit) with its linkage of “possibility-actuality” (“dunamis-energeia/entelecheia”), Heidegger appreciates that there remains an important possibility of phenomenological interpretation in both Aristotle’s concept of zóon lógon echon and the expression ‘tò tí en einai’. This interpretive move is discussed here.