Divine and mortal motivation

on the movement of life in Aristotle and Heidegger

Jussi Backman

pp. 241-261

The paper discusses Heidegger's early notion of the "movedness of life" (Lebensbewegtheit) and its intimate connection with Aristotle's concept of movement (kinēsis). Heidegger's aim in the period of Being and Time was to "overcome" the Greek ideal of being as ousia – constant and complete presence and availability – by showing that the background for all meaningful presence is Dasein, the ecstatically temporal context of human being. Life as the event of finitude is characterized by an essential lack and incompleteness, and the living present therefore gains meaning only in relation to a horizon of un-presence and un-availability. Whereas the "theological" culmination of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics finds the supreme fulfillment of human life in the semi-divine self-immanence and self-sufficiency of the bios theōrētikos, a radical Heideggerian interpretation of kinēsis may permit us to find in Aristotle the fundamental structures of mortal living as self-transcendent movement.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11007-006-9007-4

Full citation:

Backman, J. (2005). Divine and mortal motivation: on the movement of life in Aristotle and Heidegger. Continental Philosophy Review 38 (3-4), pp. 241-261.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.