Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 19-28

First online:

Heidegger on Aristotle's “Metaphysical” God

  • Catriona HanleyAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Loyola College

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In courses in the twenties and early thirties, Heidegger argues that in Aristotle the question of the being of beings (ontology) and that of the unity of beings (theology) are distinct. Although he treated the two questions as part of one science, prôtē philosophía, Aristotle did not, in Heidegger's view, discuss the way in which these questions belong together. Being is determined theoretically as presence; and God, the first mover, is an aítion, an explanatory ground of motion in sensible ousía. God is required as a ground for the presence of beings as a whole. Heidegger no longer seeks explanatory grounds, nor does he prioritize theory. Rather, he inquires into the essence of ground, and the poietical involvement of Dasein in understanding being. The unity of Aristotle's questions is found in a groundless ground: Dasein as transcendence. The metaphysical god is thus no longer required in Heidegger's phenomenology.