Some Attenuating Exposition on a Reception of the Historial Region in Question
The chapter begins (1017a7): τὸ ὂν λέγεται… In introducing ὂν
according to the forms of the categories, Aristotle says: ὁσαχῶς γὰρ λέγεται [ τά οχήματα της κατηγορίας H.) τοσαυταχῶς τὸ εἶναι σημαίνει. "For as the forms of the category are said in various ways, being has various meanings." Incidentally, η κατηγορία is an
Indication: the singular here signifies the preeminent saying of the
being [das Seiende] in every individual assertion about this or that
being. The category: the saying of being in the assertion (λόγος) of beings. τό είναι
is found instead of τό ὂν in the cited sentence; that is: τό ὂν is understood in the sense of τό ὂν η ὂν. And it is the same with the remaining modes of ὂνἔτι τὸ εἶναι σημαίνει καὶ τὸ ἔστιν ὅτι ἀληθές (a31, a passage of great importance that we cannot go
into at this time)."Furthermore, being signifies 'is' in the sense of 'it
is true."' Just as we too say something is so—in emphasizing the "is,"
we mean to say: it is in truth so. Here then the concern is with the
being of being true. Finally, the ὂν as δύναμις and ἐνέργεια is introduced
(a35f.): ἔτι τὸ εἶναι σημαίνει καὶ τὸ ὂν τὸ μὲν δυνάμει, [ῥητὸν] τὸ δ᾽ἐντελεχείᾳ; "Furthermore, being also means the being δυνάμει as well as ἐντελεχείᾳ. Τὸ εἶναι σημαίνει καὶ τὸ ὂν: being means the being [das Seiende] (actually being [Seiende and not beings). Being (εἶναι) means nothing other than the being (ὂν) insofar as the being
is this and nothing other.
We must recall to ourselves that to deny methodology is a methodology. The attempt to think rests on such matters, as the passionate movement of the awareness that on such matters everything depends, on not despising such apparent triviality. Which, when one comes to it, is everything. We look more to the problem of being, in the passage above, and we do this proximately by what follows; there, we look at, as though empirically, i.e, by looking at this issue, and than going further to that, and one throws oneself adrift in the teeth, in the stringency, of what, nonetheless, has no noisome principle of errancy.
In Kant the presupposition of a manifold, in the sense that no particular sensing of a thing is the be all, for instance, seeing the sharp profile of a red pine before the brilliant blue, above which is pink, white, and then again a hazy blue, in the place of the Western horizon at morning. Is the manifold potentially infinite? The question is like the question about subitizing, simple counting (as a 'seeing'), is it the fact that counting things can come in anywhere, ergo, a fact about things, or, about beings, or about some faculty of the mind? The being of whatever has a manifold, in Kant, is not the copula, the “is”. Kant does not exclude being in the sense of the being of beings (but, rather, in the sense of a "meta" being, neither category or peculiar empiric/intuited being). Each being, is a being, that has a manifold. Is manifoldness itself a category? Part of the intellect? The being of beings for Kant is itself the categorical system only if it does not include that to which the manifold refers. Because the manifold refers back to the noumenal, to the thing itself. The thing itself means exactly that the philisophic material, what is called in Leibniz the monad, determines the individual character of a thing. For instance, that milk is really and truly for young animals, for the nourishment. The thing itself is the actual individual, and Aristotle reaches in this thought back beyond the motion in a manner that remains obscure. And yet, in such an account, we indifferently move over modulations of thinking that belong to wholly different thinkings in the sense: only the attempt to think has been made. In other words, in the seeming rolling out of a single bolt of cloth, there is in fact something more like a Persian carpet, woven by different hands, so that no uniform art controls it.
In order to ask about ousia in Aristotle we need an exacting look at a specific thinking. Let us attempt to come towards this through Spinoza’s teaching that there is only the necessary or the false. This so called Necessitarianism, in what follows, we shall hold up alongside the Megarian teaching. We shall come to the Megarians further on in the treatise we are reading, the reading of Aristotle’s Metaphysics Theta in the work with the name Heidegger on it. Superficially these theses declaim in the same way. For the striking feature is that both decry possibility. Everything must be as it is, and as it will be. Yet, a large and deep gulch, from which the one view takes cognizance of the other, sends an uneasiness into all concern with this issue.
At first let us consider Aristotle’s situation. Plato was not, as it is often said (following the word found in Aristotle, though misunderstanding it), a Pythagorean, if that is supposed to mean that he took Pythagoras as a summit. Rather, mathematical thought was the lowest and minimum entry to the school. This is incontestable and one need only look at the relative place of dianoia, which Plato and Aristotle places bellow noesis. Noesis has its source in Parmenides. The only great thinker to appear in all his power in the Platonic dialogues, apart from Socrates. And he appears only when Socrates is as yet undeveloped, and still lower. Dianoia is the simple thinking that brings clearest access to the first step of philosophy, the distinction between the pattern, and the instance of the pattern. Someone notices that a tree is a tree, that in its absence, on can still think of other trees. And trees one has never seen, are, in a way, already known. Yet, Nous, noetic being the adjectival form, is the name given to the first clear awareness that human beings think the whole. All things. Kant speaks of the human constitution being such that men can not help of thinking of the most remote ages of Man. For the ancients, however, nous, did not mean primarily remoteness in time or space, but the oneness of the whole. That all was thought, as though, already. Mathematical thinking, any thinking that pre-thinks, comes to think of the whole that is being pre-thought. Aristotle puts the whole to work with his architectonics of being, which is noetic in character, discerning what is highest and the arrangement of all things. This one being, is thought categorically, everywhere in advance the categories, or predicaments of man, are already known, or part of this ousia, which is the toning, or keying in, of nous. Yet, what is strange is that Artemis (goddess of beings, later, broken and stripped of power in the Atheanian cults, of wild animals) is at work in the treatise on dunamis and energeia. Which is to say, the primordial. That which is not part of the movement from nous to ousia, or from the time before the earliest philosophers were named, and so became public, and the time of Aristotle.
Both Aristotle and the Megarians on this ground, and their active thinking diverges over the same gathering of historial support. How much different is the case with Spinoza? Is there any sense in the claim that both the Megarians and Spinoza teach that there is no possibility? Why would the word speak at all in the same way? Yet, if one gives an example of what we mean by possibility, it must surely seem that from the time of the ancients, until now, daily life, has many simply unchanged features. That I say that I went to the Piraeus, under a certain social pressure, but, nonetheless, willing, and not all unwilling, do I not speak of what anyone can understand? Yet, if the matter is taken up from the phenomena, i.e., without philosophy, possibility never comes to sufficient stringency to say anything at all. It grows into the legal thinking by experience, an experience which is simply thoughtless habit. Anders Breivik suddenly finds himself in a cell far finer than many men live throughout the world. Since punishment has ceased to be sensible when possibility no longer seems a cogent principle of neuronal activity. It happens as it does. The human is not responsible, but that responsibility means the going well of the system of electrical activity. Punishment as such loses its moorings. The coming of the change of thinking, with respect to legal thinking, linked to a general mentality, such as the falling out of the belief that comets can be omens, itself is the dream of thoughtless habit. If it is thought, drawn into awareness, it might become cybernetics, and it might become the view that as yet one does not think through all that is there adequately.
The ground from which possibility comes forward is the peculiar character of a support which is coming forward historialy, thus it is not stable and always in the same way at hand. In Aristotle’s time possibility had to do with thinking about art. In the sense that something can be made by an art, something learned, i.e., a become thing, a becoming of nature, which becomes a particular way of becoming. A modification of nature’s art, of becoming according to nature. Yet, for Spinoza, everything grips, already, the Cartesian thinking's attempt to grapple with the rising of a mathematical thinking, which most of all harmonizes with extension. The inadequacy of of a double being, a duel substance, leads to the teaching of a being that is essentially split as one being. The question of possibility becomes the human ability to prognosticate according to a false apprehension of extension. Basically, the Megarians are not at all interested in prediction. A philosophy of prognostication, a telepathic philosophy that intuites the future, never existed before Galileo. The future, according to the older philosophies, was the true knowledge of what now is. It was the knowledge, which according to its knowing, produced the future. This means, in Aristotle, though contemplation, as with Plato, is purest human being, reflection, does not produce, so far as morality is concerned, moral knowledge, on the other hand, the art of wisdom, produces. There is a theoretical practical art subordinated to the theoretical zenith. To reiterate, extension suggests forecasting of the future out of the necessary, that someone grasps the outcome from the extension, if they learn badly, they say what is false, if they grasp the outcome they speak truly. The knowledge is not essentially, though it might be accidentally, productive of the outcome. The mind is somehow outside. Its true and false are functions of talking about the object. With the Megarians the question concerns the hypothetical character of the become. Of the art that things flow from, that a man knows how to make this or that and can do it, or not. The hidden structure is put into suspense. True and false have nothing to grip onto, so that they can be positively stated, in the sense of Spinoza. To forecast correctly is accident. This position of the Megarians is theoretical. One must see that it can’t be upheld for common sense. Common sense perpetually is inspired by its stock of reliable manners of self orientation. Yet, they change, as with the sense of what comets can be.
"Furthermore, being signifies 'is' in the sense of 'it is true."
For Aristotle the truth is the full. The false is privation of the truth. Stated positively, the being of the false, which is, is the being of lack. Aristotle, let us note in passing, unlike Hegel, does not extend the false to ousia, but only asserts that one of the folds is like that.
What is this false? Recently a squatter inhabited one of the palaces of San Francisco for some months. When he appeared, through the large windows, whoever looked up at him saw someone who belonged to the house. If we follow Hume in this, we must say they falsely brought the ought to the deed of walking before the window. They tacitly said, everything is as it should or ought be. Nothing needs doing here. Yet, if one abstracts from the certainty of the positive law, and in one’s heart fathoms the difficulties of property, even correct appraisal of the deed, the vagrant and his unlawful entry, this truth appears unfull. Aristotle did not exclude this question, but only treating the unfull as something that could not be unfull, as what was not a error. That the unfull could be only as the lack of the full. Not as abyssal movement of the genetic difficulty. When the false and the true refer to the human heart, to the man in his grappling with what may be beyond him in the region of the moral, it does not move at all in the region of Spinoza’s Ethics. And yet, Spinoza was not nihilist nor relativist. But, rather, a rationalist in the sense of the metaphysics of that sound reason from which decent morals emerge, hence to be governed by the necessary. Until Kant, as much in Hobbes as in Machiavelli, a certain region remained undisturbed. That is the deeper sense of the basic ground of a historial age, the being gripped by one’s own. By the age. This basic ground is called in Nietzsche Life, Nietzsche, according to the work with the name Heidegger, never grasps the primordial, but always moves with the stimulus of the basic and the world of the basic. But, Strauss says, this is the claim (in Heidegger) to “knowing better”, the long subject concerning what a sense in thought that is not referring to any kind of truth or falsehood is meant to be. The talk of the primordial requires in itself a special exemption from the region of knowing. This has been addressed above at several points, but should remain with us as awareness of the radical presupposition of being in the peculiar manner it pierces the phenomena almost as though form within, yet rather in the shining forth itself, like a sword’s blade.