Thinkers are co-casters of world. The historical task: Unfolding the as
yet unfolded folds of the first beginning within the open truth of being
in the other beginning.
TrueType font Sgreek
Traditional grammar is based on Aristotelean metaphysics. As Heidegger
points out in Einführung in die Metaphysik 1935, this metaphysics
gives priority to the third person singular in developing its categories
and concepts. This implies that to the present day, the first and second
persons, and plural number remain a metaphysical problem.
The central Aristotelean pair of concepts, du/namij
too, are thought first and foremost in the third person singular, i.e.
as the relation of an individual entity, a 'subject', to a manipulable
Ambiguity of the central Aristotelean concept of metabolh/:
'change' AND 'exchange'. Only the first signification has been unfolded
in Western metaphysics. As Aristotle points out, social relations between
people involve "at least four terms" (e)n te/ttarsin
e)laxi/stoij Eth. Nic. V 1131a19, 32,
1131b10), i.e. a cross-over.
Heidegger does not see this. His unfolding of the ONE fold of metaphysics
is premised on the thesis "Sein besagt Hergestelltsein" (MS:26), "Denn
der Sinn für Sein ist ursprünglich Hergestelltsein." (MS:50)
(1922), which unfolds into the purported consummation of metaphysics in
Gestell, the essence of Technik (18 below).
To retain his one-dimensional vision ("Auf einen Stern zugehen. Nur dieses."),
Heidegger understands and must understand te/xnh
exclusively as te/xnh poihtikh/,
to the exclusion of those te/xnai
that can only be understood METAPHYSICALLY as te/xnai
arising in the context of metabolh/
as EXCHANGE: te/xnh oi)konomikh/,
Heidegger counterposes te/xnh
poihtikh/ to fu/sij
in order to move from the first beginning to the other beginning. The historical
task, according to Heidegger, is to ground the as yet ungrounded fu/sij
of the first beginning by stepping back to the open timespace of a)lh/qeia.
He proposes an "Ortsverlegung" (Zähringen, 07-Sep-1973), a "shift
But the step back to a)lh/qeia
leaves the folds of the second person and plural number still unfolded,
i.e. the questions of I-and-you, of I-and-we demand NOT ONLY the step back,
but ALSO the twisting into the dimension of other human beings as such.
The question of I-and-you is the metaphysical-dialogical problem of encounter
in the interstitial between. In this, the phenomenon of timh/
(esteem, estimation, honour, public office, reputation, vocation, social
standing, social status) that permeates both Plato's and Aristotle's texts
and the Greek world through and through, finally has to be brought to its
Bringing the multifaceted concept of timh/
to its ontological concept amounts to thinking the as yet metaphysically
unthought phenomenality of WHONESS, Wersein. One deficient mode of timh/
that deserves special attention is flattery (kolakei/a),
which permeates especially Plato's thinking.
Hegel's Dialektik der Anerkennung in the Phänomenologie des Geistes
is one grand attempt to think through the constitution of the self through
mirroring in the other from within the metaphysics of subjectivity.
The question of I-and-we is the metaphysical question par excellence concerning
the ontological constitution of the socio-political dimension.
Hegel's concept of Geist can be regarded as one grand attempt in the history
of Western philosophy to think the constitiution of an historical We, albeit
from within the subjectivist metaphysics of the modern age.
Heidegger's claim that metaphysics finds its historical consummation in
Nietzsche's thinking goes hand in hand with the characterization of our
historical situation as nihilism understood as the devaluation of the highest
values. But Nietzsche's and Heidegger's concept of value is thought in
the third person, i.e. as the relation between Mensch und Welt. The German
concept of Mensch, to be sure, is understood as a universal We, but this
We is in truth merely a generalized, universalized I whose ontological
constitution remains unthought. The values posited by the Mensch are thus
universal, generalized values, not values that come about interactively
through EXCHANGE between and among people understood in the genuine plural
who practically share a world.
Heidegger neglects to take up and critically engage with value as it is
thought through by Hegel who, in turn, in his Rechtsphilosophie,
develops a concept of value in the Auseinandersetzung with Adam Smith and
Ricardo. Value (of goods, both material and personal - esteem) arises in
the interchange of reciprocal estimation.
Heidegger subsumes Marx entirely under Hegel and regards him, Marx, solely
from the thesis "Sein besagt Hergestelltsein". Thus, Heidegger claims:
"Für Marx ist das Sein Produktionsprozeß." (Le Thor, 07-Sep-1969).
But Marx is the thinker of the constitution of commodity value through
exchange and the phenomenon of exchange differs METAPHYSICALLY from production
in its ontological structure.
In his famous Wertformanalyse in the first chapter of Das Kapital,
Marx cites precisely Aristotle's thinking on the exchange of goods and
the constitution of money from the FIFTH book of the Nicomachean Ethics
Justice. For Aristotle, justice is a phenomenon arising within practical
intercourse with others, i.e. pro\j e(/teron.
In other words, it is an eminently SOCIAL phenomenon. But for Heidegger,
it is the SIXTH book of the Nicomachean Ethics that is centrally
important. He never provides a thorough Auseinandersetzung with the fifth
book. Indeed, he leaves it unmentioned even when considering phenomena
such as Gerechtigkeit, di/kh.
Because Heidegger thinks power, Macht exclusively from within his thesis,
"Sein besagt Hergestelltsein", he is unable to think SOCIAL power, whose
ontological structure involves a cross-over of "at least four terms".
Because Heidegger subsumes all phenomena one-dimensionally underneath his
thesis, "Sein besagt Hergestelltsein", he must also assimilate/subsume the
phenomenality of modern capitalist economy to his thinking on Technik.
Capital is then only an aspect of Gestell and thus belongs to the "fore-seeing
precalculability" of beings in their totality. Heidegger is thus unable
to think MONEY as a SOCIAL thing. The realms of economy, society, politics,
as realms based on EXCHANGE (of views, goods, recognition, esteem, compliments,
insults, etc.), are essentially incalculable. Technik and Kommerz have
essentially different ontological structures.
Thus, not the onefold of Gestell, but the THREEFOLD of Gewer – Gewinnst
– Gestell characterizes our present-day constellation of phallic-gainful-enframing
being. GEWER: the gathering of possibilities of standing as somewho. GEWINNST:
the gathering of possibilities of gain through social intercourse. GESTELL:
the gathering of possibilities of setting-up.