Lecture 6

Lecture 6

Filoxrhmati/a is the striving to bring into presence for the grasp of the hand those beings which are good for living (xrh/mata, pra/gmata). The categories of Aristotelean metaphysics, above all du/namij and e)ne/rgeia, are won first and foremost by focusing on the relation of human being to pra/gmata, especially in the practice of production (poi/hsij). But it is not the act of production which comes into focus in considering the striving of filoxrhmati/a, but rather that of acquisition (kth=sij) which generally involves a specific social relation of exchange (a)llagh/), i.e. a relation with others (pro\j e(/teron). The striving for goods itself, however, is directed at what may be termed somewhat imprecisely beings in the third person, i.e. things (including humans as things). The relation of human being to beings in the third person has a certain priority in Greek metaphysics, a fact which should not be underestimated.

First person being and second person being

This does not mean that the first person and the second person are entirely neglected in Greek thinking but that the metaphysical categories are fashioned principally on the model of human relations to things. The first person signifies the relation of a human individual to itself. Human being is not only an openness to the world; it is moreover a finding oneself and being aware of oneself in one's openness to the world. The world affects the individual human being in its openness to the world in the moods in which each individual continually finds and is aware of itself, in its various Befindlichkeiten. The moods (pa/qh) are modes of movement (ki/nhsij) of human being under the impact of its ineluctable encounters with the world. Aristotle devotes many of his texts, in particular the Rhetoric and De Anima, to analyzing the mode of human being represented by its pa/qh. The (changing) moods as the modes in which the individual continually finds itself out there in the world are also the ways it finds and is aware of its self, i.e. they signify a relation of the individual to itself, a first-person relation. The pa/qh, from the verb pa/sxein, indicate human being's passive reception of the world, its exposure to the openness of world which it suffers as an individual self as long as it is human being. Human being has the passive capacity, the du/namij, to passively suffer the world in a relation of self-awareness.

Striving for esteem

But it is only by considering the striving of filotimi/a that we come to see an exemplary relation of human beings in the second person, in genuine social relations associating one human being with another. Filotimi/a is the striving for and love of timh/, esteem, estimation, appraisal, appreciation, regard, respect, honour, which are all aspects of sharing the world with others not just mediated by things in the third person, but also vis-à-vis one another in the second person. The second person encompasses human social being proper, the koinwni/a, association of human being. Human beings do not have each other present-to-hand like their belongings, their ou)si/a (the phenomenon of slavery is here left out of consideration). Human beings are not pra/gmata for each other, even when they share practices with each other in their dealings with the world.

The phenomenon of timh/ must be investigated more closely. Timh/ is estimation of the worth of something or somebody. With regard to things, timh/ can be more specifically the estimation of the monetary worth of things or simply an amount of money or a payment for something. With regard to wrong, timh/ can be retaliation or a punishment or a fine or an amount of compensation to be paid. Timh/ is a fundamental phenomenon of human being in its relation to the being of beings. Things reveal themselves in their being to human being a priori as being-good-for... Things are goods, whose value or worth may also be estimated abstractly in monetary value, money being the abstract mediator and measure of value in the exchange of goods which makes all the qualitatively different goods in some way equal ( i)/soj) or equivalent to each other in a uniform dimension. Someone's entire estate or ou)si/a can be estimated in its worth, its asset value, and this asset value can even be taken to estimate the worth or timh/ of the person concerned in their social standing. A timocracy in the Aristotelean sense is a polity with rule based on the estimated value of the ou)si/a of each of its citizens, h( a)po\ timh/matoj politei/a (Benseler).

Such estimation of the value of things in correspondence to them disclosing themselves in their being as good-for... and valuable corresponds also essentially to them being desirable as things which human being sets its heart on (e)piqumi/a). The phenomenon of filoxrhmati/a is thus an aspect of the fundamental phenomenon of the mode of being in which beings present themselves to human being for appraisal of their worth: timh/. The self-showing of beings qua beings, their a)pofa/nsij, is first and foremost a disclosure to human beings in the environs of the complex of usages making up their practical everyday lives. In such an environment of use and usages, things present themselves in their usefulness and thus their value for certain uses, or more abstractly in their monetary value which, however, is also ultimately tied to what goods are useful for and how this value is estimated.

To be continued...

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