The Philosophical Context of Heidegger's Reappropriation of Aristotle

Doctoral Dissertation


While attention has been given to Heidegger’s reappropriation of Aristotle, not much has been given to the systematic philosophical import of this reappropriation and the context in which Heidegger carried it out. In this dissertation, I undertake a philosophical reconstruction of Heidegger’s hermeneutic reappropriation of Aristotle’s notion of praxis as a mode of the being of life. This reappropriation is hermeneutic insofar as it develops within a context in which the theoretical (objectifying) interpretation of the very nature of philosophy has gained pre-eminence but has also become questionable. This context is the critical philosophies of the nineteenth century, particularly, Neo-Kantianism (most importantly the work of Paul Natorp), Husserl’s phenomenology, and the historical philosophy of Wilhelm Dilthey known as Weltanschauungphilosophie (world-view philosophy). Standing in the considerable shadow cast by Kant’s critical project, these philosophers struggled to articulate a conception of philosophy that was scientifically adequate. Critical to this issue is what status lived-experience (Erlebnis), i.e., pre-reflective, pre-conceptualized, immediate experience, played in the foundation of Michael J. Bowler philosophy. Furthermore, this conception of philosophy had to find its place within the architectonic of the positive sciences which, in the nineteenth century, found itself divided between the Naturwissenschaften and Geisteswissenschaften. According to Heidegger, this latter requirement leads to two very different conceptions of philosophy, namely, Husserl’s “scientific philosophy” of phenomenology and the historically oriented philosophy of Dilthey’s world-view philosophy. Heidegger believes that this betrays a crisis in the very nature and task of philosophy itself. It is in this context that he engages in a hermeneutic reappropriation of Aristotle’s philosophy. Heidegger believes that through such a reappropriation the crisis facing philosophy can be overcome. Specifically, Heidegger turns to Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Nicomachean Ethics in order to appropriate Aristotle’s understanding of the nature of scientific thought and the relation of this to its penultimate question, i.e., the question of Being – a question that Heidegger believes modern critical philosophy has covered over. Correspondingly he must turn to Aristotle’s Physics in order to re-articulate the activity and movement of thought in its questioning of Being and, importantly, the relation of this to the praxis of life.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-02152005-103513

Author Michael J. Bowler
Advisor Stephen Watson
Contributor Karl Ameriks, Committee Member
Contributor Fred Dallmayr, Committee Member
Contributor Lenny Moss, Committee Member
Contributor Stephen Watson, Committee Chair
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Philosophy
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2004-06-14

Submission Date 2005-02-15
  • United States of America

  • Dilthey

  • Neo-Kantianism

  • Natorp

  • Praxis

  • Heidegger

  • Aristotle

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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