Heidegger, phusis, nature and attunement

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Throughout his work, Heidegger makes the repeated attempt to retrieve the Greek experience of Being as φύσις. This is necessary because Western metaphysics has ‘restricted’ Being as φύσις to the idea of beings as a whole as ‘nature.’ Understanding
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  Understanding Heidegger’s φύσις/ nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements   1 Article Title: Understanding Heidegger’s   φύσις  / nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements  Abstract:  Throughout his work, Heidegger makes the repeated attempt to retrieve the Greek experience of Being as φύσις . This is necessary because Western metaphysics has ‘restricted’ Being as φύσις  to the idea of beings as a whole as ‘nature.’ Understanding the distinction between φύσις  and nature is fundamental to understanding Heidegger’s  interpretation of the pre-Socratics, yet it remains problematically opaque in his work. In this article, I examine the way in which Heidegger’s account of affectedness affords this distinction some clarity. Specifically, I argue that whilst the ‘ fundamental ’  attunement of wonder disposes one toward Being as φύσις , the ‘ fallen ’  attunements of amazement, marveling, and curiosity dispose one toward beings as a whole, as nature. By grounding the restriction of φύσις  to nature, in the restriction of wonder to amazement, marveling, and curiosity, this article brings a unique vantage point from which to understand this important yet difficult distinction in Heidegger’s work  . Keywords: Heidegger; φύσις ; phusis; nature; wonder; attunement    Understanding Heidegger’s φύσις/ nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements   2 Article Title: Understanding Heidegger’s φύσις/  nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements  1.   Introduction Throughout his philosophical path of thinking, Heidegger makes the repeated attempt to retrieve the srcinary, pre-Socratic Greek experience of Being as φύσις  (  phusis ). That is, the immediate experience of Being as the “ self-forming prevailing of beings as a   whole ,” 1   or as the “ emerging-abiding sway. ” 2   Heidegger’s  attempt to recover the inceptive Greek experience of φύσις  is given in the context of his more general attempt to retrieve the Greek experience of Being, whether as φύσις , as ἀλήθεια  ( aletheia ), or as λόγος  ( logos ). As Capobianco writes, “[t]he importance for Heidegger of the Greek Ur  -word  physis  cannot be overstated  —   it remained at the heart of his lifelong effort to think the srcinary, unifying, and fundamental meaning of Being.” 3  For Heidegger, the retrieval of the Greek experience of Being as φύσις  is necessary because, throughout the history of Western metaphysics, this srcinary experience has been restricted to the idea of ‘nature’ (as in natura ). Heidegger’s fundamental concern is that, by restricting φύσις  to nature, the question of Being itself has been reduced to the question of beings as a whole. Understanding this distinction between φύσις  and nature is fundamental to understanding Heidegger’s  interpretation of the pre-  1  M Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics , trans. W McNeill and N Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 25/ GA 29/30, 39. 2    Introduction to Metaphysics , trans. G Fried and R Polt, 2 ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014), 15  –  16/ EM, 11. 3  R Capobianco,  Heidegger's Way of Being , ed. K Maly, New Studies in Phenomenology and Hermeneutics (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 42  –  43.  Understanding Heidegger’s φύσις/ nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements   3 Socratics more generally, and his account of Being as φύσις  in particular, yet it remains problematically opaque in his work. In the first half of this article I will consider He idegger’s definition of Being as φύσις , drawing particularly upon the account he gives in the 1935 lecture course  Introduction to  Metaphysics . I will then give a brief explication of the way in which, for Heidegger, Western metaphysics has restricted φύσις   to nature. I will argue that Heidegger’s distinction between φύσις  and nature is made difficult to grasp by the fact that, by his own definition, φύσις  is an inherently ambiguous, twofold phenomenon. In the second half of this article   I will consider the way in which Heidegger’s own account of   affectedness, or being-disposed through attunements, might help clarify the φύσις  / nature distinction. According to Heidegger, it is in being-disposed through the fundamental attunement of wonder, that the Greeks are able to experience Being as φύσις . In the restriction of φύσις  to nature, however, Heidegger intimates that there is a correlate ‘restriction’ upon the fundamental attunement of wonder.   Drawing upon Heidegger’s account of wonder  , amazement and marveling given in  Basic Questions of Philosophy and curiosity given in  Being and Time , I will argue that whilst wonder disposes one toward the question of Being as φύσις , amazement, marveling, and curiosity dispose one toward the question of beings as a whole, as nature. By mapping the distinction between fallen and fundamental attunements onto Heidegger’s distinction between φύσις  and nature, it is hoped that the latter difference might be brought more sharply into focus. 2.   Heidegger’s retrieval of φύσις  as the emerging-abiding sway 2.1.   Heidegger’s preliminary definition of φύσις  as the emerging abiding sway  Understanding Heidegger’s φύσις/ nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements   4 Whilst Heidegger engages φύσις  across many of the texts that make up his collected works, my explication will be grounded primarily in the account given in the 1935 lecture course  Introduction to Metaphysics . In alignment with Capobianco, it is my view that this text includes one of Heidegger’s most decisive and compelling attempts to retrieve the inceptive Greek experience of Being as φύσις . 4, 5  This account both clarifies and elaborates upon the account given five years prior, in the 1929/30 lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of  Metaphysics . Drawing (at times obliquely) on the fragments of Heraclitus and Parmenides, 4   According to Capobianco, Heidegger’s “distinctive philosophical claim” is the “ aletheic character of Being as  physis. ” Whilst Capobianco   refers to several of Heidegger’s  works, including The Fundamental Concepts of  Metaphysics  and The Beginning of Western Philosophy ,   he argues that  Introduction to Metaphysics  is notable for being one of Heidegger’s “most important statements on the matter.” Ibid., 61. In her close reading, Schoenbohm also emphasizes the distinctive significance of Heidegger’s account of φύσις  in  Introduction to  Metaphysics . See S Schoenbohm, "Heidegger’s Interpretation of Phusis  in  Introduction to Metaphysics ," in  A Companion to Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics , ed. G Fried and R Polt (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001). 5  As  Introduction to Metaphysics makes clear, Heidegger interprets Being as φύσις  as belonging intrinsically together with Being as ἀλήθεια  and Being as λόγος . It is beyond the scope of this article to explicate the way in which the emerging- abiding sway of φύσις connotes both the unconcealment of ἀλήθεια  and the gatheredness of λόγος . But as Heidegger writes of φύσις  and ἀλήθεια : “ Being essentially unfolds as  phusis . The emerging sway is an appearing. As such, it makes manifest. This already implies that Being, appearing, is a letting-step-forth from concealment. In so far as Being as such is , it places itself into and stands in unconcealment  , alētheia …[f]or the Greek essence of truth [as alētheia ] is possible only together with the Greek essence of Being as  phusis ” (112/  EM  , 77  –  78). And of φύσις  and λόγος : “ Phusis  and logos  are the same.  Logos  characterizes Being in a new and yet old respect: that which is in being, which stands straight and prominently in itself, is gathered in itself and from itself, and holds itself in such a gathering” (145/  EM  , 100). In this way, whether or not it is made explicit throughout, the essential belonging together of Being as φύσις , Being as ἀλήθεια  and Being as λόγος  must be kept always in view.  Understanding Heidegger’s φύσις/ nature distinction in light of fundamental and fallen attunements   5 Heidegger defines φύσις  in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics  as: the “ self-forming prevailing of beings as a   whole .” 6  Whilst in the  Introduction to Metaphysics , he defines it as: the “emerging - abiding sway.” Heidegger writes: Now, what does the word  phusis  say? It says what emerges from itself (for example the emergence, the blossoming, of a rose), the unfolding that opens itself up, the coming-into-appearance in such unfolding, and holding itself and persisting in appearance  —   in short, the emerging-abiding sway. 7  Implicit in this preliminary definition of emerging-abiding sway, is the idea that φύσις  opens itself up in a way that is dynamic rather that static, unfolding through a movement of Being and Nothing, presencing and absencing, emerging and passing away. For Heidegger, this movement is captured in Fragment 123 of Heraclitus: φύσις   κρύπτεσθαι   φιλεῖ  . Conventionally translated as ‘Nature loves to hide,’ Heidegger   translates it as “‘Being (emerging appearance) intrinsically inclines towards self- concealment.” As that which is inclined towards self-concealment, Heidegger argues that φύσις  means: “to appear in emerging, to step forth out of concealment.” 8   He clarifies this in ‘On the Essence of the Concept of Φύσις   in Aristotle’s Physics    B, 1 ’, by pointing out that φύσις  comes-forth into and abides in unhiddenness, because only that which “in its very essence un conceals and must 6  Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics , 25/ GA 29/30, 39. 7    Introduction to Metaphysics , 15  –  16/ EM, 11. Note: transliteration of the Greek is in the srcinal for this and subsequent references. 8  Ibid., 121/ EM, 87.
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