Let us listen to Heidegger himself introducing the question concerning the political:
Was ist die po/lij? Das Wort gibt, wenn wir den alles erhellenden Wesensblick auf das griechisch erfahrene Wesen des Seins und der Wahrheit mitbringen, die gerade Weisung. Po/lij ist der po/loj, der Pol, der Ort, um den sich in eigentümlicher Weise alles dreht, was an Seiendem dem Griechentum erscheint. Der Pol ist der Ort, um den sich alles Seiende wendet, so zwar, daß im Bereich dieses Ortes sich zeigt, welche Wendung und Bewandtnis es mit dem Seienden hat. (GA54:132f)There are several issues concerning translation that I will not go into here. But one important point must be mentioned. The word, Bewandtnis, which I have rendered as the application to which things can be turned, or their applicability, is the precise word used in Sein und Zeit for the being of Zeug, that is, practical things, equipment. The applicability of things is what they are good for, what they can be turned to in the applications of everyday, practical life, their usefulness. Things show themselves, i.e. offer themselves openly, to Dasein, in what they are good for.
Heidegger characterizes the po/lij further in his 1942/43 lectures as "the locality for the historical residing of Greek humankind" (die Ort-schaft für den geschichtlichen Aufenthalt des griechischen Menschentums; GA54:133), "the place gathered into itself for the unconcealedness of beings" (die in sich gesammelte Stätte der Unverborgenheit des Seienden; GA54:133) and "the place of essencing of an historical people" (Wesensstätte des geschichtlichen Menschen; GA54:136). Since unconcealment is always contentious, the po/lij is also the place of gathering in which untruth and what is not truly a being also do their mischief.
Heidegger's discussion of the po/lij occurs in the context of a discussion of Plato's far-reaching dialogue on the po/lij, the Politei/a, known to us in English as Plato's Republic. The Politei/a deals with the constitution of the po/lij, not merely in the sense of working out a reasonable constitution of an historical place around which an historical people's lives revolve or could ideally revolve, but in the more essential, philosophical sense of thinking through and showing up the structure of the essence of human community. The subtitle to Plato's Republic is h(\ peri\ dikai/ou, On Justice. Human community and justice are thus two essentially intertwined phenomena. Heidegger does not translate the Greek subtitle into German with the usual German word, Gerechtigkeit, but with the more unusual and more or less obsolete German word Fug which is used today only in the collocation mit Fug und Recht. Der Fug is the state of affairs in which everything is rightly and properly in joint, with each being in its right and proper relation to each other. Things can also be in disorder, which is Unfug, a state of disarray in which things are out of joint, ajar. The German word die Fuge means, among other things, simply the join or gap, say, between tiles on a floor.
One quickly notices that Heidegger goes straight to the essence of the po/lij in order to show in which open dimension the pole around which everything turns is situated. Heidegger also points out that Plato's dialogue on the essence of the political contains two myths which treat a)lh/qeia and lh/qh, the famous allegory of the cave, a place of hiddenness and hiding, at the beginning of the VIIth book, and the myth of lh/qh in the final, XIth book, the culmination of the entire dialogue. The mu=qoj in Plato's dialogue is a way of saying incipiently how the totality of beings is justly allocated or zugefügt to human beings in its truth and untruth, its unconcealment and concealment. But in aiming straight for the deepest dimension of Plato's dialogue, Heidegger abstracts from, i.e. looks away from, the obvious considerations of justice and what constitutes a po/lij. For, what constitutes a po/lij and thus the political dimension of human community in the first place is human beings having dealings with one another in forms of practical intercourse. The all-encompassing dimension of the po/lij has to be tied back to the quotidian phenomenal forms of the polity residing in this practical intercourse in order to bring the phenomenal fullness of human Mitsein or sociation or the sharing of the openness of being into explicit view. Only in this way can it be shown that the familiar phenomena of human Mitsein are indeed phenomena of being, sprung from the truth of being.(2)
In Plato's Politei/a justice is first treated in considering intercourse among men as that state of affairs in which each member of the community is allocated what is due to him, i.e. each has 'his own'. (331e, 332c). This definition is modified several times, but leads repeatedly into dead ends or a)pori/ai, so that Socrates finally proposes that justice be sought not in the individual but in the larger context of an entire po/lij (368e). How a po/lij is set up, its constitution, is its politei/a, its polity, its civil order for the intercourse among its citizens in practical everyday life. This polity should be such that it is just, i.e. that beings are allocated to each individual in a fair and equitable manner so that the whole remains in joint. The polity being in joint and just means that a fair and equitable allotment of the goods for living well has been achieved both on the whole and in particular relations. As far as I know, Heidegger nowhere investigates the phenomenon of fair and equitable allotment of goods within the practical sociation of everyday life. His commentary on Plato's Politei/a in Volume 54 of the Gesamtausgabe does not mention practical social relations, but concentrates on the phenomenon of a)lh/qeia.
In shifting the focus of discussion from the just individual to the just po/lij which is in joint, Socrates first treats its genesis and asks his interlocutor, Adeimantos, whether he sees any other governing point of origin (a)rxh/) of a polis than in the circumstance that "each individual one of us is not self-sufficient, but lacks many things" (h(mw=n e(/kastoj ou)k au)ta/rkhj, a)lla\ pollw=n e)ndeh/j 369b). This passage is usually interpreted as the argumentation about an historical, temporal beginning and genesis of a human settlement, but there is a deeper meaning embedded in the text if "polis" and "point of origin" are understood in a more essential way. Polis stands for humans living together in some sort of community congregated around a pole as a way of Mitsein, of togetherness, constituting an everyday, practical life-world. The point of origin (a)rxh/) is also the principle, which is a point of origin, a 'whence' (o(/qen), governing what proceeds from that origin. The principle or determining origin in the case of the po/lij is that each individual is not self-sufficient and strong enough to ward off the help of others (a)rkei=n, au)ta/rkhj) but "lacks much", which can only be overcome through some sort of intercourse among humans living in relations of interdependence.
Humans "lacking much" should not be understood simply as humans naturally needing, by virtue of essential somatic constitution, means of subsistence such as food, clothing and shelter even such needs arise only in an historical context of a way of living together , but must be understood rather as comprising everything that humans lack upon which they can set their heart's desire where such lack and desire only arise from the usages of an historically shared way of life. What humans lack includes material goods of all kinds, but also and especially the more intangible goods of recognition, esteem, honour, i.e. being valued and estimated by others, timh/, as Aristotle famously explicates in the fifth book of his Nicomachean Ethics. Human beings can only unfold their existence in gaining what they lack from others. More than that, human being is in its essence a lack of self-sufficiency, a dependency on others in living together with others in some kind of habitual association practised within the usages of everyday life. The simplest and most rudimentary form of intercourse in which humans gain what they lack is the exchange of goods or trade, which, in its developed form, is mediated by money. Money, exchange and trade are therefore practically constitutive of human society and human intercourse on a very elementary, fundamental level. As will be further explicated below in Section 4, trade is the paradigm of human sociation, of the elementary nexus of human community in the realm of practices.
The question of justice also arises very naturally in the context of exchange among human beings, for the question of the just allocation of beings includes in particular and especially the just and proper allocation of property, especially when goods are traded. Fraud, theft and robbery, for instance, can all be thought as unjust, limiting cases of exchange through which beings, i.e. material goods in this case, are allocated unjustly. There is much that needs to be said about the justness of exchange and the distribution of property, a topic which Aristotle deals with in depth in Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics, but at the moment only one remark has to be made, and it has to be made with respect to Heidegger. Heidegger never turns his thinking to the being of the exchange relations among humans, nor to the being of money and property, even when he deals in depth with the being of human practices (pra=cij, Besorgen), say, in his early phenomenological investigations on Aristotle of 1924 or Sein und Zeit (1927).(3)
Heidegger provides a rich and thought-provoking interpretation of the famous passage from Aristotle's Politics in which Aristotle interlinks human being having language (z%=on lo/gon e)/xon) with its being in essence political (z%=on politiko/n). The passage in Aristotle reads:
lo/gon de\ mo/non a)/nqrwpoj e)/xei tw=n zÐ%/wn: h( me\n ou)=n fwnh\ tou= luphrou= kai\ h(de/oj e)sti shmei=on, dio\ kaiÜ toi=j a)/lloij u(pa/rxei zÐ%/oij (me/xri ga\r tou/tou h( fu/sij au)tw=n e)lh/luqe, tou= e)/xein ai)/sqhsin luphrou= kai\ h(de/oj kaiÜ tau=ta shmai/nein a)llh/loij), o( de\ lo/goj e)pi\ t%= dhlou=n e)sti to\ sumfe/ron kai\ to\ blabero\n, w(/ste kaiÜ to\ di/kaion kai\ to\ a)/dikon: tou=to ga\r pro\j ta\ a)/lla z%=a toi=j a)nqrw/poij i)/dion, to\ mo/non a)gaqou= kaiÜ kakou= kaiÜ dikai/ou kai\ a)di/kou kai\ tw=n a)/llwn ai)/sqhsin e)/xein: h( de\ tou/twn koinwni/a poiei= oi)ki/an kai\ po/lin. (Pol. A 2 1253a9 cf. GA18:46)and Heidegger provides a translation-cum-commentary on it as follows:
"Among living beings, only humans have their being in the mode of speaking-about.... A sounding with the voice (fwnh/) is an indication (shmei=on) of the h(du/ and luphro/n, the pleasant and depressing, of what uplifts or mistunes human being, for which reason it (fwnh/) as a mode of life is also present in other living beings [humans also makes sounds, but it is not what is i)/dion, characteristic for constituting human being]. The potential for being of animals has reached this mode of being of itself, to have a perception of what constitutes well-being and out-of-sorts, to be oriented about this state and to indicate this to one another. But speaking as such is oriented, it has within itself the function of making clear (dhlou=n) [not simply to refer to, but in such a way that what is referred to is brought to speech], to make clear what is beneficial and deleterious and thus also what is fitting and unfitting. This is namely vis-à-vis other living beings the unique characteristic of human being, solely to have a perception of good and evil, of the fitting and unfitting and other things of this kind. The being-together of such beings [i.e. which are in the world in such a way that they speak with the world] makes up the household and po/lij." Thus you can see that in this definition, lo/gon e)/xon, a fundamental character of human being becomes visible: being-with-one-another. (GA18:46f emphasis in original)What uniquely characterizes human being is that it has the lo/goj. This unique characteristic allows beings to be clarified, brought to light in such a way that they are defined, delineated by speech. Not only does human being perceive the world in moods according to whether it is uplifting or downcasting for a human being in a given situation, but, moreover, it perceives its situation in the world according to whether it is beneficial or harmful, in joint or out of joint, etc. By virtue of having the lo/goj, it can communicate articulately its world-perception with others with whom it shares the world. This sharing is the basis upon which human beings share a life in a household or a society. In having the lo/goj, human being is cast into having to distinguish between whether beings are good-for... or bad-for..., "and thus" (w(/ste kai\) whether a given situation in the world is in joint or out of joint, etc. Beings in the world never show themselves neutrally to human being, but always already in the dimension strung between being good-for... and bad-for... The defining power of the lo/goj in delineating a situation and making it clear is at one and the same time also the power (du/namij) of the lo/goj to make a situation unclear or not to define it in the way it shows itself of itself. Thus there are always differences of opinion (do/ca) among human beings sharing their lives in a household or a society about how things show themselves clearly, i.e. there is always also unclarity and dispute. Whether a situation is in joint or out of joint and how to act fittingly in such a situation as opposed to unfittingly is also always a matter of dispute whose task it is for the lo/goj to clarify in communication. This can go so far as to claim that "Society is maladjusted and 'out of joint' in its social relations and parts" (OED 1886 W. Graham Soc. Problem 18) or that "The world is out of joint" (OED 1862 H. Kingsley Ravenshoe xviii).
Aristotle says that sharing the logos is what enables human living together in household and society. Chapter 2 of Book I then goes on to investigate the social relations in the household, which are mainly the relations between master and slave. The slave is part of the master's property and a helpful organ or tool that serves him in the practices of everyday life. The ei)=doj or 'look' of a practice (pra=cij) is essentially different from that of production (poi/hsij) in that production brings forth something different from the act of producing itself, whereas in practices, things are used in themselves. The use of a shuttle, for instance, brings forth fabric as a product, whereas wearing a garment or lying in bed are end-uses of clothes or beds, respectively, in themselves (1254a3). The slave is said to belong wholly to his master in that he is "as property a practical tool and separable" from the master (kth=ma de\ o)/rganon praktiko\n kai\ xwristo/n 1254a17). Aristotle says that "the human who of himself is not his own but another's is of himself a slave, and a human belongs to another insofar as he, as a human, is property" (o( ga\r mh\ au(tou= fu/sei a)ll' a)/llou a)/nqrwpoj w)/n, ou(=toj dou=lo/j e)stin, a)/llou d" e)stin a)/nqrwpoj o(/j a)\n kth=ma v(= a)/nqrwpoj w)/n 1254a115) "Of himself" here renders fu/sei, 'by nature', 'of its nature' or 'in its being', 'in its essence'; it must be remembered that for the Greeks, fu/sij means the being of beings as they are of themselves.
In the modern age, human being is cast as subjectivity, and from this casting, there can be no human being who is wholly property of another and merely a helpful tool for a master for this would mean a surrender of the subjectivity of human being in the sense of underlying and being the point of origin of its own actions. But this does not preclude that the cited passage from Aristotle does not contain insights which are close to us today in considering relations of domination and subordination, of commanding and serving. It points to the phenomenon that there are humans who of themselves do not belong to themselves (mh\ au(tou= fu/sei) and who are therefore predisposed to being the tools of another, i.e. to serving and obeying the commands of another. The phenomenon of master/slave has not simply disappeared altogether from the Western historical world, but recurs in hierarchical social relations, and in both servile and serving relationships. Furthermore, the phenomenon of belonging to oneself, of being one's own person, independent and self-reliant, is certainly an aspect of how we today experience 'successful' human-being-as-subject in our historical world. Such a human individual leads its own life, is not beholden to others and does not conform slavishly to social convention.
It cannot be said that Heidegger devoted much of his thinking to social relations of domination and subordination, or hierarchical relations, although it must be conceded that the phenomenon and concept of being one's own self is central to his thinking, especially in Sein und Zeit in which, however, selfhood is marked off conceptually not from hierarchical relations but from the hegemony and domination exercised by abstractly average, conformist everyday understanding (Mansein). I know of no explicit commentary on the Politics Book I, Chapter 2 from Heidegger's pen, although his conception of Mansein in Sein und Zeit and the dictatorship of 'what people think' arguably could be considered as a 'translation' of this chapter to the modern world. The same lack of commentary on Heidegger's part holds for Chapter 3, concerning everyday social relations in the polis, to which we now turn briefly. This is the practical realm of the political as experienced 'at first and for the most part' in average daily life.
Chapter 3 starts, "We now want to look at all sorts of property and wealth-getting on the whole, being led along the normal way." (O(/lwj de\ peri\ pa/shj kth/sewj kai\ xrhmatistikh=j qewrh/swmen kata\ to\n u(fhghme/non tro/pon 1256a1). Xrhmatistikh/ is not just the activity and 'art' of procuring (pori/sasqai 1256a12) wealth but, more specifically, the activity of money-making. This widens the scope of investigation from the household, in which there is a head of the household and his wife, children and slaves, and thus social relations of domination and subordination, to the broader context of social relations which are specified in the first place as relations of property and the practices of acquiring property and money-making. Chapter 3 is the first site at which Aristotle examines exchange, and money-mediated exchange in particular, as the mode of acquiring the material goods of life. He points out that there is a "double way of using property" (kth/matoj ditth\ h( xrh=sij e)stin 1257a7), namely, for instance, a shoe can be used by wearing it but also by interchanging (metablhtikh/ 1257a10) it for something else (cf. Section 5.1 below).
It seems as if Heidegger, in passing in silence over Aristotle's thinking on property, money-making, exchange, etc. in the Politics and the Nicomachean Ethics which represent Aristotle's attempt to take Plato's thinking on the striving for money and wealth (to\ filoxrh/maton) further goes along with an unspoken rule of etiquette among philosophers today that it is impolite to talk about money matters. This is all the more surprising because Aristotle, who is so crucially important for Heidegger's entire thinking, is, along with Marx, the deepest thinker of the being of money, the essence of money, in all of Western philosophy. When Heidegger provides a definition of the essence of the po/lij as the pole "around which all beings turn in such a way that in the area around this pivotal place it becomes manifest how beings turn up and to what application they can be turned" (GA54:132f), the applications and applicability in view for him are those of useful, practical things, pra/gmata, but not the money-mediated exchange of such things which represents their second mode of use. The being of money, what it is good for, can only be thought fundamentally in the context of trade among people as a peculiar use sui generis. As we shall see, this neglect on Heidegger's part of the phenomenon of exchange and trade, i.e. human intercourse on an elementary, practical level, has far-reaching ramifications that amount to a truncation of the thinking-through of the way human beings associate in sharing the openness of the truth of being.
But what does Hergestelltsein say? One possible, but potentially misleading translation is "producedness", "having-been-produced" or "having-been-manufactured". Heidegger's thesis would then be: "Being means originally having-been-produced" or "Being means originally having-been-manufactured". Heidegger motivates this positing of a meaning for being by claiming that it is the sense of being that emerges from human existence, that it is the meaning of being "which ultimately characterizes human life". (MS:26)
Das Gegenstandsfeld, das den ursprünglichen Seinssinn hergibt, ist das der hergestellten, umgänglich in Gebrauch genommenen Gegenstände. (MS:26)There can be no doubt that Heidegger is here positing a meaning of being that arises from everyday life, from the daily production and use of useful things within the usages that make up quotidian existence, whilst ignoring the second use of things in exchange. He also explicitly links the German word Herstellen with the Greek poi/hsij, which can well be rendered in English as 'manufacturing' or 'producing'. But Heidegger will not rest content with the everyday meaning of the word Herstellen. More on that later.
In the same paragraph in which he introduces Hergestelltsein as the original sense of being in Greek experience, Heidegger also makes a connection with one of the prime words of Greek metaphysics, ou)si/a, which resounds throughout the history of Western philosophy, mainly in its Latin translations of the first Aristotelean category, as substantia and essentia.(4) Essentia in Latin is formed according to the model of the Greek word and in English could be rendered as 'beingness'. Given this more etymological translation of ou)si/a it could be asked why Heidegger does not focus on it as the leading meaning of being in Greek experience. But Heidegger follows another path. He writes:
Ou)si/a hat aber die ursprüngliche, bei Aristoteles selbst noch und auch späterhin wirksame Bedeutung des Hausstandes, Besitzstandes, des umweltlich zu Gebrauch Verfügbaren. Es bedeutet die Habe. Was am Seienden als sein Sein in umgangsmäßige Verwahrung kommt, was es als Habe charakterisiert, ist sein Hergestelltsein. In der Herstellung kommt der Umgangsgegenstand zu seinem Aussehen. (MS:26f emphasis in original)"Aussehen" (look) is Heidegger's oft-used translation of the fundamental term in Greek metaphysics, ei)=doj, the 'look' or 'sight' which beings present of themselves in coming to stand in presence (cf. MS:26), on which more below. The reduction of possessions to things in use in order to distil an unambiguous meaning of being is one of Heidegger's blatant but productive one-sidednesses. For ou)si/a has a richer, wider meaning in its original Greek usage. It comprises possessions not only in the sense of useful, manufactured things but also assets and property in general, land and cash assets, that is, it comprises the entirety of an estate. 'Estate' in English and Anwesen in German are both adequate translations of the everyday meaning of ou)si/a as a whole of possessions which also have value in exchange. Cash assets are ou)si/a a)fanh/j, that is, those assets which do not show themselves but remain invisible, unnoticed, hidden, private; and landed property is ou)si/a fanera/, property that shows itself, is visible, public. An original meaning of being in Greek experience which informs also Aristotle's thinking could thus be taken to be possessions and estate, that is, the entirety of things acquired and owned which stand at one's disposal in leading one's life. Ou)si/a would then be all that lies before one and is at hand. What lies before one ready to hand is the Greek u(pokei/menon, that which under-lies as a substratum. This word, too, finds its way into Aristotle's metaphysics as the substratum that supports the attributes or accidents; it is the substance in which qualities inhere (cf. OED substratum).
An original everyday meaning of being in the Greek life-world which then became theorized in Aristotle's metaphysics in an abstraction from practical life, I suggest, could be found in understanding being as possessions, belongings visible and invisible, German: Habe, in the broadest sense, what one has (e)/xein). This scope would then include, in particular, money, that peculiar being which, first and foremost, can be used to acquire other valuable things and mediates the exchange of goods between humans in daily intercourse. This sense of being can be put into relation with another, more literal meaning of the German verb herstellen, which is composed of the prefix her-, indicating 'from where', 'whence', and stellen, meaning 'to place' or 'put into position'. Herstellen in this sense signifies bringing into presence and putting in place in a stand. This signification covers also acquiring something as a possession and putting it into place as part of one's estate. Money used as a means of acquiring things brings them into presence and puts them in place at one's disposal within one's world. An estate or Anwesen is the totality of what has been brought into presence and stands at one's disposal as one's possessions. But Heidegger treats what has come into presence through acquisition and what has been fabricated and now stands at one's disposal as one and the same thing without distinction and without so much as mentioning the possibility of exchange relations. With reference to the primary meaning of being in Aristotle's thinking he writes in the passage we have been discussing:
Das in Umgangsbewegtheit des Herstellens (poi/hsij) Fertiggewordene, zu seinem für eine Gebrauchstendenz verfügbaren Vorhandensein Gekommene, ist das, was ist. (MS:26 emphasis in original)This formulation shows how Heidegger conflates into one two different meanings of te//xnh, namely te/xnh poihtikh/ and te/xnh kthtikh/, the art of making and the art of acquiring, a distinction which Plato makes use of in The Sophist. Acquiring and making are two different kinds of motion in the movement of human life, a distinction which is also respected by Aristotle's thinking on life in the po/lij. The action of making something involves humans having dealings with things. The action of acquiring something involves humans having dealings with each other in trade. Heidegger's concept of dealings (Umgang) in the primal cell to Being and Time, as well as Being and Time itself and all the lectures throughout the twenties, works out the fundamental ontological structure of everyday human dealings with useful things and does not concern itself with the ontological structure of everyday acquisitive dealings between human beings in trade and exchange. This is all the more surprising because the Nicomachean Ethics, whose VIth Book Heidegger focuses on, is an investigation of human practice in the broadest sense, and not only of production or the use of things, but also, in Book V, of the fairness and justness of exchange. To work out the ontological structure of practical dealings among humans in "factical life" (MS:40) would imply moving on to an explicit ontological analysis of the social and political dimension of practical human co-existence with its elementary cell of trade (cf. Section 5 below).
Heidegger does not take this route, however, and that not only in the "primal cell" text at hand. His entire thinking passes in silence over those parts of Aristotle's texts that think through the economic, social, sociating dealings of factical, practical intercourse in everyday life in which the political dimension of sociation or koinwni/a is elementarily rooted. Instead, he deepens the analysis of the movement of factical human existence by shifting to a closer investigation of Aristotle's Physics (a line of development which he follows also in his 1924 lectures on Aristotle). The motivation for this shift is that practical life is conceived as a living movement, and Aristotle's ontological examination of moving beings (o)/n kinou/menon) is undertaken in his Physics. For both early and late Heidegger, Aristotle's Physics remains the "hidden and therefore never adequately thought-through basic book of Western philosophy" ("Grundbuch" 1939 WM:240; 1956 SvG:111).
Heidegger consummately realizes the program announced in the "primal cell" of investigating Aristotle's Physics seventeen years later, in 1939, in his study, 'Vom Wesen und Begriff der fu/sij: Aristoteles, Physik B, 1'(5). The bare thesis that the original meaning of being from which Aristotle also develops the categories of his metaphysics is Hergestelltsein is fleshed out perhaps most fully in this 1939 study (cf. however also the 1924 lectures from Summer Semester published as GA18). This becomes apparent in Heidegger's translation of Aristotle's term, morfh/, which is normally rendered by the accepted, run-of-the-mill term, 'form'. Heidegger translates it instead as Gestellung in die Gestalt, that is, a "gathering which sets into a Gestalt or figure". The movement of beings which are in the mode of fu/sij is a gleaning and gathering which sets into a Gestalt, and this Gestalt shows itself as a look for being addressed. Aristotle says as much in the formulation of fu/sij as h( morfh\ kai\ to\ ei)=doj to\ kata\ to\n lo/gon (193a31) "the gathering which sets into a Gestalt, and that means, the look which shows itself for addressing" (cf. WM:271). The gathering is a setting into a delimited outline (like the surface extremities that define the outline of a solid body) which defines a look for showing. The gathering gleans the amorphous into the definite cast of a Gestalt, a look. This definite cast, outline or Gestalt can be addressed by the lo/goj in human understanding and communication (meta/dosij Eth. Nic. V v. 1133a2) and further refined by the lo/goj in discourse. It is now important to notice that the everyday sense of Hergestelltsein as having-been-manufactured has been radically abstracted from in transporting it into the metaphysical context. Hergestelltsein now means: having been gleaned by the gathering of the originary lo/goj into the stand of a delimited (pera/j) look in which the being shows itself in a well-defined way in the openness of presence. Hergestelltsein has now in effect been translated into ständige Anwesung, standing presence, the presence of something standing on display in a defined, delimited look. The a)pofa/nsij of beings, their showing of themselves to human being in such a way that they can be addressed by the lo/goj, is only possible through an originary gathering into the Gestalt of a look. It should also be noted that 'standing presence' is simultaneously the metaphysical translation of ou)si/a, the 'estate' of standing beings that stand in presence at one's disposal.
I do not want to put into question Heidegger's thesis that the original sense of being from everyday life that informs the fundamental categories (above all, du/namij, e)ne/rgeia and e)ntele/xeia) of Aristotle's, and therefore all, metaphysics is Hergestelltsein. On the contrary, we need to hold on to the abstracting translation of Hergestelltsein into a 'gathering which sets into a defined look'. But we do need to ask what this means for those pivotal economic, social and political phenomena treated in Aristotle, that is, those phenomena of practical Mitsein, which Heidegger passes over in silence. By pivotal I mean those phenomena which show the way into the political, sociating dimension and thus lever it open for an unfolding, an explication. For we cannot rest content with Heidegger's sublimation, or rather condensation, of the political in the broadest sense in determining it essentially from a)lh/qeia as "the place gathered into itself for the unconcealedness of beings" (GA54:133) where beings are thought primarily and almost exclusively as things. Nor, I claim, can Heidegger's thinking on the essence of technology as Ge-Stell (which is a direct consequence of his interpretation of Aristotle's metaphysics as being based on the paradigm of poi/hsij) be accepted as characterizing the sole historical constellation of being holding sway today.
My thesis is that the thinking of the technological setting-up of all that is has to be supplemented by and interwoven with the thinking of the movement of gain, the Gewinnst, which mobilizes the totality of beings in the movement of things we today call capitalism.(6) If the paradigm of production lies at the heart of how Heidegger thinks an historical constellation of being holding sway today in technological thinking, it is the paradigm of trade, i.e. of acquisition through exchange dealings, that lies at the nub of how the totality of beings is mobilized and how human beings are sociated with one another today. What now follows can only outline what I mean by the need to widen and shift the focus from those phenomena upon which Heidegger almost exclusively fixed his gaze to other genuinely social phenomena beyond humans merely speaking with each other. For, when Heidegger does turn to consider human being as being-together, he considers the lo/goj of rhetoric as the primary way in which human beings share the world (cf. e.g. GA18).
One could say that the precondition of things showing themselves to Dasein, of disclosing themselves to human being in their usefulness, is that they have been produced, manufactured. This is an ontic precondition, not an ontological one. But one could just as well say that an ontic precondition of things being available for disclosing themselves in their usefulness as ready-to-hand is that they have been acquired. In fact, that is, in the facticity of quotidian life, daily practice is involved just as much with acquiring things through exchange purchases as it is with using them. The practical business of life involves having to acquire what one needs and desires to live well (eu)= zh=n). This aspect is not neglected by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics nor in his Politics, nor by Plato in his Republic (Rep. 369b)(7). In fact, in both Plato and Aristotle, as already indicated with regard to Aristotle's Politics, the social nexus of human beings' practically having dealings (koinwni/ai) with each other is thought at first and germinally as trade. Trade is the paradigmatic germinal practice within the social dimension of human being at the culmination of ancient Greek thought.
The acquisition of things or trade is a phenomenon that requires looking at the practical mundane intercourse or dealings among people, a genuine phenomenon of Mitsein. Things are for the most part acquired by purchasing them with money. This possibility of acquisition through trade is understood by human being. Things do not just show themselves in what they are good for in use, but they also show themselves off in their a)pofa/nsij as being for sale, say, in a display window. That things put themselves on display in a look of valuableness is the ontological precondition for their being put practically on display in a shop window. In showing themselves off, things disclose not only that they are good for this or that use but also that they are worth such-and-such. The value of things resides not only in their concrete usefulness, but also simultaneously, and abstractly, in their quantitative monetary value. Their being is thus doubled into use-value and exchange-value, i.e. their concrete value in use and their necessarily abstract value in exchange for other things, abstract because widely diverse, different things are put into relation with one another and equated in exchange. The look in which things show themselves off discloses whether they are worth much or little. The look comprises, i.e. gleans and gathers, all the aspects that indicate the value of something in its self-showing. These various aspects are understood by human being, which is able to appreciate and estimate the value of a thing, even abstracted from its concrete usefulness and set abstractly equivalent to other useful things. The Seinsverständnis of human being reaches beyond the usefulness of what they are good for in practical life to encompass also the assessment of what they are worth abstractly in monetary terms.
Under generalized commodity exchange relations, which practically constitute sociated, social life on a rudimentary level, things having the most diverse uses are set practically equivalent to each other in the dimension of quantitative monetary value. If the uses were not different, there would be no point to the practice of exchange, as Aristotle points out in Eth. Nic. V v. However, even though one thing may be worth much and another very little in monetary terms, they are nevertheless practically equated in the same abstract dimension of monetary value. Their difference in value is only quantitative. The abstract value of things as expressed in amounts of money is a fathomless mystery. Wherein lies the essence or nature of abstract exchange-value which shows itself off to human understanding just as much as the use-value or usefulness of things does? Aristotle provides an answer in the Nicomachean Ethics, Book V, Chapter 5. Aristotle employs the example of the exchange of a physician's services for a farmer's products which, he points out, "have to be equalized" (dei= i)sasqh=nai 1133a18). He writes, "Thus everything must be comparable in some way if exchange is to be." (dio\ pa/nta sumblhta\ dei= pwj ei)=nai, w)=n e)stin a)llagh/. 1133a19) And how is this comparability achieved? Aristotle continues, "Money has arisen from this and becomes a kind of middle term, for it measures everything and so also too much and too little and how many shoes are equal to a house or food." (e)f" o(\ to\ no/mism' e)lh/luqe, kai\ gi/netai/ pwj me/son: pa/nta ga\r metrei=, w(/ste kai\ th\n u(peroxh\n kai\ th\n e)/lleiyin, po/sa a)/tta dh\ u(podh/mat" i)/son oi)ki/# h)\ trofv=. 1133a20) Money is the solution in practical human life for how different things which are suitable for very different uses can be compared and measured, thus forming the basis for a just exchange of everything in which a value is exchanged for an equal value. Even though everything differs from each other in their respective uses and thus their use-values, everything is comparable as being useful in abstracto. "So it is necessary for everything to be measured by some unity" (dei= a)/ra e(ni/ tini pa/nta metrei=sqai 1133a26) and this unity is "in truth, use, which holds everything together" (tou=to d" e)sti\ tv= me\n a)lhqei/# h( xrei/a, h(\ pa/nta sune/xei: 1133a28), for exchange is carried on in order to acquire the useful things which one lacks. Money as the medium of exchange is the glue of society, for society is sociated by human action, by human practice in living with one another, this practice on an elementary level is exchange. Monetary value is abstract usefulness which is understood by human understanding within the practice of trading, i.e. commodity exchange, and thus "holds everything together" in an association (koinwni/a).
If Heidegger can claim that Aristotle's Physics is the "hidden and therefore never adequately thought-through basic book of Western philosophy" (WM:240), then with equal justification one can claim that Aristotle's insights into the essence of money and its connection with the practical constitution of society as such through the exchange of goods have to the present day not been fathomed, least of all in the social science of economics.
The exchange of useful things in trade, such as a doctor's services for a farmer's grain, motivated by what each lacks, is the rudimentary germ or cell sociating one human with another practically and thus constituting the governing point of origin or a)rxh/ for society. The exchange relation, however, is an abstract social relation mediated by a thing: money. When buyer and seller meet on the market, this is an abstract social relation. The abstractness of the relation lies not only in the circumstance that the goods offered for sale show themselves in the abstract dimension of monetary value, but also in that both buyer and seller present themselves merely as the bearers of money and goods, respectively. In that the social relation is mediated by money and goods, it is a reified social relation, i.e. a social relation mediated by things (res).
On entering the rudimentary dimension of Mitsein, which must be taken as the basis for any thinking through of the socio-political dimension, it must be taken into account that the gamut of phenomena that show themselves becomes richer, for it is no longer only things that show themselves in a definite look to human understanding, but now also humans themselves show themselves off in a definite look as who they are to each other. It must be noticed and duly pondered that the Greek verb a)pofai/nesqai in the middle voice means not only 'to demonstrate' but also 'to show oneself off with one's abilities'. This middle voice indicates a fundamental shift of ontologico-phenomenological perspective, for it is no longer things showing themselves in their defining outline of being to human understanding, so to speak in the third person, but human beings showing themselves off to each other, so to speak in the second person, and also experiencing themselves, so to speak, in the first person. A human being is not a something or a somewhat, but a somewho, so that the self-showing of human beings as such is a showing-off of who one is.(8) Ontologico-existential thinking must accordingly focus specifically on the phenomenon of whoness if the phenomena are to come to their truth, their simple, undistorted disclosedness.
With the encounter between human being and human being, most rudimentarily and abstractly in the practical phenomenon of trade, the access to the being of beings is dispersed into one of its manifold folds. Human being in its openness to the being of beings is originally dispersed into the folds of being with beings that are not in the way of human being, being with other human beings and a self-reflective being with self, so to speak being in the first person, which is experienced not in a state of mental reflection, but in the moods in which one continually finds oneself. Being my self is in the first place how I feel. Heidegger calls the originary dispersal into the folds of being Streuung and Zerstreuung, scattering and dispersion (GA27:333). Being with others is thought in the thinking of Plato and Aristotle at the culmination of the Greek beginning not just in phenomena involving speaking with one another such as rhetoric, but in phenomena such as manliness (a)ndrei/a), the striving for money (filoxrhmosu/nh) and the striving for esteem and honour (filotimi/a).
Manliness is a phenomenon of self-being in which the self takes a stand in its own existence and stands ground against the dangers which confront it, these dangers having their source for the most part in others and their actions (cf. Rhet. B 5 1382a). It is a phenomenon which can only be thought adequately as a phenomenon of being against the background of the implicit Greek fundamental understanding of being as standing presence. The lack of courage to take a stand and be a man is called cowardice (deili/a). Manliness as a phenomenon of being includes within the compass of its dimension also the negative phenomenon of failing to take a stand, or cowardice. A man who is genuinely a man (o)/ntwj o)/n) takes heart and brings himself to a stand in standing presence and also shows himself off to others in this steadfast stance. The coward, on the other hand, fearfully relinquishes his stand and flees from his self. The Greek word for cowardly and fearful, deilo/j, is related to the verb, di/w 'to flee'. The flight of the man who flees is in the first place always a fleeing from himself, where the self has to be thought from standing presence as delimiting the self in a stand in which understanding has control over the passions and governs what action to take despite the momentary fluctuations of how I feel (angry, fearful, etc.).
Philotimy (filotimi/a), i.e. the striving for esteem and honour, is the striving to show oneself off in an imposing look and thus to stand in high esteem and regard with others. As such it is a social phenomenon par excellence which can come to light only if the second-person dimension of whoness is uncovered as a dimension of being sui generis, again against the background of the Greek understanding of being as standing presence in the sense that in esteem humans beings come to stand in a self-presentation to each other in each other's regard. As a concern (Besorgen) with being held in high regard by others, filotimi/a reveals a constitutive dependency on others' opinions and thus the declination from a firm, independent stand in one's own self. Human existence brings itself to a stand not only for itself in self-understanding and a manly self-stance, but also in declining oneself toward others in their understanding, their regard, whether it be in the second or third person.
The abstractly sociating relation of trade allows the phenomenon of striving for esteem and honour to recede into and conceal itself in a neutral background, for it is now valuable things that are estimated, not human beings in their who-status. Trading relations in their practical abstractness have to be only polite and cordial, a kind of abstract regard for each other. Mutual recognition as who is itself a kind of exchange which assumes many diverse and subtle forms apart from any trading relation. The exchange of glances, of greetings, of letters or of opinions is also a social relation in which a mutual recognition in the dimension of whoness takes place. Negative exchanges such as snubbing, ignoring or insulting likewise are situated in the dimension of whoness as forms of refusal to pay regard to each other.
The original, 'natural', implicit Greek sense of being as standing presence (ständige Anwesung) is thus not restricted to the stand which non-human beings or things take in the looks ( i)de/ai) they offer of themselves to human understanding, and it extends not only to the stand which an individual adopts toward him or herself in their manly self-understanding and self-control (a)ndrei/a), but it covers also the stands and postures which humans adopt in showing themselves off to each other to make an impression on each others' understanding and enjoy their regard (filotimi/a). Human showing-off in the second person (and then mediatedly in the third person) depends essentially on the regard shown by the second person, which may be taken as the germ of social interdependence in the shared openness of being.
In the exchange relation between buyer and seller, the phenomenon of philotimy is not pronounced since the relation is mediated by things, namely, money and goods, which abstract from the individuals' particularity and singularity. For the buyer, the goods are bought to remedy a lack and it matters little from whom they are purchased. Once acquired, the goods are at hand to be used and are incorporated into the cast which the individual has cast for its own existence. They may be used to project a certain look of their owner, thus enhancing their stand and prestige and regard in the eyes of others. The acquisition of goods is a component part of the management of the individual's household, or economics in the original meaning of the Greek word oi)konomikh/.
For the seller, the goods are sold to acquire money which is then at the seller's disposal. This money may then, in turn, be used as a means of purchase for other goods for use. But the doubling of things' usefulness into use-value and exchange-value which comes about with the advent of the practice of commodity exchange and money opens up a further existential possibility for human existence, namely, the acquisition of wealth as an end in itself. Aristotle takes account of this phenomenon in Book I, Chapter 3 of his Politics in distinguishing the striving to endlessly acquire money (xrhmatistikh/ 1256a12 cf. Plato to\ filoxrh/maton, the striving for money Rep. 436a) from the acquisition and use of money to manage the household of one's own existence (oi)konomikh/). Plato already saw the phenomenon of the endless lack in human existence, its endless desire and its endless striving to have more and named it pleoneci/a (Rep. 359c). Such wanting-to-have-more plays a role throughout Plato's discussion of justice in his Politeia. Money is a prime vehicle for the striving to have more. As the embodiment of abstract value it is differentiated only quantitatively within itself and thus lends itself also to quantitative augmentation and accumulation.
Two millennia after Aristotle formulated the distinction between chrematistics and economics, Karl Marx uses it to in turn make the distinction between money as a means of circulation and payment, on the one hand, and money as capital, on the other. Capital is the endless movement of augmentation of money, the limitless movement of the accumulation of abstract value. The limitless desire of human existence to have more gains a reified reflection in the endless movement of accumulation of money as capital. In the modern era, which could be called the consummation of Greek metaphysics, the totality of beings is mobilized by the movement of money as capital and not just by the cybernetic drive and will to power to bring the totality of beings into the grasp of calculative and precalculative knowing. Human being belongs to being (standing presence) in such a way that the totality of beings shows itself to human being as an abundance of opportunities for gain. Within this constellation of being, which I call the gathering of the gainable (Gewinnst) or the gainful game, human existence is cast historically in its futural striving as a striving for gain of all kinds. The gathering of all that is gainable as a constellation of the beingness of beings is the gathering of all the incalculable and risky possibilities of gaining in relations with each other. This gathering attracts human desire in how humans cast their lives forward into the temporal dimension of the future and thus directs their daily strivings. In essential contrast to the calculability and precalculability inherent in modern technology, the social nexus among humans constituted by trade and economic endeavour and situated in the disclosive dimension of the value of things, is incalculable and subject to unpredictable fluctuations. The unpredictability and non-precalculability arise from the circumstance that in exchange relations, as opposed to production, there are "at least four" (e)n te/ttarsin e)laxi/stoij Eth. Nic. V v. 1131a19, 32, 1131b10) terms involved, the exchangers and their respective goods, which vitiates any recurrence to a single a)rxh/, as can be done with the paradigm of poi/hsij. The trade nexus is also the germ of the practical sociation of human beings in everyday life, and this phenomenon does not conform with the understanding of being as Hergestelltsein. This claim will now be explicated in the following section.
pa=sai arxai/ tine/j e)isi, kai\ pro\j prw/thn mi/an le/gontai, h(/ e)stin a)rxh\ metabolh=j e)n a)/ll% h)\ v(= a)/llo. (Met. Theta 1, 1046a9f)This primary definition of du/namij could be regarded inter alia as the metaphysical source of the statement, 'Knowledge is power'. The standard illustrative example of this definition provided by Aristotle is that of the te/xnh or art of house-building, which is a du/namij meta\ lo/gou, i.e. a potential or power guided by the knowing insight of understanding. This know-how is a point of origin, or starting-point residing in a builder governing the change in wood, stone, tiles, etc. so that in the end a finished house comes about. The know-how is not the change in wood, stone, etc. itself, but only the starting-point for such a change, albeit the starting-point governing such change. Insofar as the know-how of house-building resides in the house-builder as a being other than the wood, stones, etc., he is able to (potentially) bring forth houses. The "insofar" qualification built into the definition covers the case when a know-how residing in a being is applied not to another being but to itself, as in the case when a physician treats himself. In this case, the starting-point for bringing about the change consisting in a restoration of health does not reside in another being, a doctor, but in the patient himself, but not insofar as he is a sick person, but insofar as he is a doctor. 5.6 Exchange as the core phenomenon of social intercourse: interchange) we will return to consider the phenomenon of exchange as the ontological structure of social intercourse in general. The exchange of goods in Greek is called a)llagh/ or metabolh/ which is already an indication that it involves change (metabolh/) in the sense of alteration (a)lloi/wsij) and interchanging one with another. Metabolh/ comes from the verb metaba/llein, which means most literally 'to throw into another position' and thus also 'to change one with another, exchange'. But is there an a)rxh/, i.e. a starting-point governing the exchange, involved here? One candidate for a starting-point governing the exchange is the owner of the goods. The owner of goods is able to exchange them for other goods (barter) or for money (sale). The exchange does not change the goods involved in the exchange themselves, but only 'changes one with another' in the sense of interchanging their ownership between two parties. Exchange is a social relation (pro/j ti, pro\j e(/teron) involving and associating two exchangers. This ability to exchange could be called a du/namij in the sense that the goods offered for sale have not only a use-value in use, but also an exchange-value in getting something else. As Aristotle points out, goods (pra/gmata) can be used in a double way, namely, not only in the use proper, but also for exchange (metablhtikh/, a)llagh/ Pol. I iii 1257a10,14).
e(ka/stou ga\r kth/matoj ditth\ h( xrh=si/j e)stin, a)mfo/terai de\ kaq' au)to\ me\n a)ll' ou)x o(moi/wj kaq' au)to/, a)ll' h( me\n oi)kei/a h( d' ou)k oi)kei/a tou= pra/gmatoj, oi(=on u(podh/matoj h(/ te u(po/desij kai\ h( metablhtikh/. a)mfo/terai  ga\r u(podh/matoj xrh/seij: kai\ ga\r o( a)llatto/menoj t%= deome/n% u(podh/matoj a)nti\ nomi/smatoj h)\ trofh=j xrh=tai t%= u(podh/mati $(= u(po/dhma, a)ll' ou) th\n oi)kei/an xrh=sin: ou) ga\r a)llagh=j e(neken ge/gone. to\n au)to\n de\ tro/pon e)/xei kai\ peri\ tw=n a)/llwn kthma/twn. e)sti ga\r h(  metablhtikh\ pa/ntwn,... Pol. I iii 1257a7-15)This passage is the primary source for the famous distinction between use-value and exchange-value made in political economy as it arose in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But we must ask in the present context: Does the owner of goods govern the exchange in the sense of having control over it? In the first place, the potential or power to exchange (if it is a du/namij at all) resides first of all in the goods, which have an exchange-value, i.e. a du/namij to exchange for some other good, and only secondarily in the owner of the goods, who enjoys such a power only by virtue of possessing the goods, just in the case of the du/namij of house-building, where the house-builder has the power to change stone and wood into a house only by virtue of possessing the know-how of house-building. But even granting that the du/namij or power to exchange resides first of all in the goods themselves by virtue of their 'usefulness' in exchange as possessing exchange-value, and not primarily in the owners of the goods, the answer to the question as to whether the owner of the goods governs the exchange of goods has to be 'no' because, in the first place, it requires two to make an exchange. An exchange can only come about if two parties agree to exchange goods for goods (barter) or goods for money (sale). The ownership of goods or money does provide the owner with the potential or du/namij for making an exchange, but this ownership is not enough to make it the a)rxh/, i.e. the governing starting-point, of exchange. One could say that in the case of exchange, there are two starting-points, two a)rxai/ which, however, have to coincide and reciprocate for any exchange to come about. The two a)rxai/ are the two goods in the quality as possessing exchange-value.
In the second place, let us consider the phenomena of money and value. Money and goods are said to have value or, more specifically, exchange-value. The owner of money is able to buy goods on the market to the value of the money he possesses. The goods are offered for sale on the market at more or less definite prices expressing their value, and the owner of money can decide at will to buy this or that, depending on how much money he has. The purchase of goods, as distinct from the exchange of goods, would thus seem to be conceivable as the exercise of a potential or potency or du/namij residing in money, its value potency, which allows its possessor to purchase goods to a certain value. This means that the potent starting-point for the purchase lies in the first place not in the owner of money, but in the money itself. A phenomenal proof of this is that, if the money is stolen, its new possessor, the thief, can spend it just as well as the original legitimate owner. The sole use-value of money is its exchange-value, which can be exercised at any time, and thus also held at the ready as a store of exchange-value. In its simple, perfect presence (e)ntele/xeia), money has the du/namij of exchanging universally with any goods of a given value. Only the quantitative relations of price can shift. In itself, money refers to all the other commodities available on the myriad markets with which it can potentially exchange.
The owner of goods, by contrast, does not seem to be in such a happy position as the owner of money. Even though goods, too, have a double value in both use and exchange, and the exchange-value can be regarded as a kind of du/namij, the realization of this value in exchange, i.e. in sale, depends on the momentary market conditions. The current situation on the market may preclude sale altogether at the moment (e.g. real estate), or it may dictate unusually low prices. Thus in both cases, namely, the purchase of goods with money and the sale of goods for money, if not a specific second party, then at least the market or markets or momentary market situation co-determine whether and in what quantitative proportions an exchange can come about. Insofar, the starting-point of exchange (sale or even purchase) can be said to reside neither solely in the owner of the goods or the owner of money respectively nor solely in the goods themselves nor solely in the money itself. The very exchange-value of goods or money is relational (pro/j ti), depending on two double poles, the buyer and the seller, on the one hand, and the goods and money, on the other, which meet together on the market or markets which in turn comprise many buyers and sellers, and many exchange-values. The phenomenon of exchange is, after all, a social relation involving sociation of at least two and, in general, of many.
But more than that, the two poles of even the simple exchange relation cannot be regarded as an actor on the one hand and another suffering the action on the other, as in the case of building a house, i.e. transforming wood and bricks into a finished building. Rather, the purchaser of goods has to have the 'active' consent of the seller for the exchange to take place; the seller does not simply passively suffer (pa/sxein) to have his goods sold. This would only be the case if the seller were under some sort of coercion to sell and therefore could not be regarded as the starting-point of a sales transaction. The exchange would then not be free, which is not the usual situation for commodity exchange.
The analogy of commercial know-how with productive know-how is imperfect, however, because the former is not a simple governing starting-point for effecting a change, a change-over. There are (at least) four poles involved and not just two. The other two poles are the purchaser and his money (or even: two multiple poles comprising the market of potential purchasers and their money). The purchaser embodies an active force for acquiring goods (which could be called desire or appetite or o)/recij, the striving to reach out), and the money has the passive du/namij to suffer itself to be transformed into goods at the behest of the purchaser. Is this an adequate characterization of the phenomenon? It seems not to be because the power of acquiring goods resides in the money, not in the purchaser. The money has an inherent power of self-transformation into goods and the purchaser as possessor of money merely employs this power. Similarly, the owner of goods himself does not have the active power of transforming the goods into money, but rather, the goods themselves have an exchange-value which expresses itself in the current prices on the market. The owner of the goods only realizes this inherent value in transforming his goods into money. Commercial know-how only facilitates this transformation of the value of the goods into money; it does not create the exchange-value of the goods. But what does it mean to 'create' exchange-value? Doesn't a skilful salesperson 'create', bring forth and not merely 'facilitate' exchange-value by arousing and stimulating the desire of the prospective customer and finally bringing the transaction to a close? Isn't there an analogy here with the skilful house-builder who knows how to create, to produce, to bring forth houses, but nevertheless still requires building materials to do so? To put these questions aside for the time being, it can still be said that in any case the potential for exchange, the exchange-value, does not reside in the respective owners of money and goods, but in the money and goods themselves, respectively, i.e. in both, and both are required in reciprocation for an exchange to come about.
Let us examine this more closely with regard to Aristotle's ever-deepening investigation of du/namij in Metaphysics Book Theta(9). In Chapter 2 he is concerned with investigating not just the lead or prime meaning of du/namij as du/namij kata\ ki/nhsin but more particularly, du/namij meta\ lo/gou, ability guided by the lo/goj, for which the paradigm is e)pisth/mh poihtikh/, the knowledge or know-how of producing, of bringing forth. Productive knowledge is guided by the sight of the look of what is to be produced, the ei)=doj (which is standardly translated in traditional metaphysics as 'idea', 'species' or 'form'). This sight or look is seen in advance, from the start, before any productive activity has commenced at all, and it determines how the productive activity is to proceed, its sequence, the materials chosen, the tools, the materials for the tools, the correction of mistakes, etc. With respect to the definition of the leading or guiding sight provided in the ei)=doj, the materials are without any form or limits; they are a)/peiron, whereas the ei)=doj, the defined, delimited look, is morfh/, form, shape, Gestalt. The materials only assume a form during productive activity under the guiding pre-view and consideration (diale/gesqai) of the sight of the ei)=doj, which is seen from the start as fore-sight. Heidegger elaborates further in his interpretation of Met. Theta, after having characterized the role of ei)=doj:
Beim Herstellen steht das Herzustellende obzwar noch nicht fertig, ja nicht einmal angefangen notwendig im Vorblick; es ist im eigentlichen Sinne nur erst vor-gestellt, aber / noch nicht als Vorhandenes bei- und her-gestellt. Dieses vorblickende Vor-stellen des e)/rgon in seinem ei)=doj, ist gerade der eigentliche Anfang des Herstellens, nicht etwa erst die Verfertigung im engeren Sinne des Handanlegens. Dieses In-den-Blick-nehmen des Aussehens ist in sich das Bilden eines Anblicks, das Bilden des Vorbildes. Damit aber wird etwas kund: Dieses Bilden des Vorbildes kann nur geschehen als Umgrenzen dessen, was zu ihm gehört; es ist ein Auslesen, ein auslesendes Sammeln des Zusammengehörigen, ein le/gein. Das ei)=doj ist ein so zusammengelesenes Ausgelesenes, ein lego/menon, es ist lo/goj. Und das ei)=doj ist te/loj das be-endende Ende, te/lion das Vollkommene, das Vollendete, Erlesene, Auserlesene; te/loj ist seinem Wesen nach immer ausgelesen: lo/goj. (GA33:141f)Here we have a concentrated view of how the lo/goj which guides production, poi/hsij, is to be seen phenomenologically as a gathering into a defined view. The guiding lo/gojis the defined foreseen sight seen by the knowing look which allows the knowing producer to make step-by-step what is to be produced. The materials are selected and formed under the guiding pre-view and consideration of the ei)=doj seen by the lo/goj, thus allowing continual corrections to be made during the making and the as yet undefined and unformed materials to gain form and assume the final shape of the product. Du/namij meta\ lo/gou as knowing foresight of the defined, standing ei)=doj according to which morfh/ is to be shaped into the materials knows how to bring forth if only the chosen materials are available. 'Assessing How Heidegger Thinks Power Through the History of Being' 2004). The 'know-how' of rhetoric is thus not a knowledge in the strict sense of a knowing starting-point for governing a change in something else, but a social skill and social power in talking others around, in engendering trust, in persuading others, which may or may not be successful. For the sake of clarity, it is therefore advisable not to speak of rhetoric as a kind of knowledge or a know-how.
In the case of trade, the motivating factor of desire for something, either money or specific goods, does not directly motivate a production process under the guidance of the foreseeing, knowing lo/goj which has gathered the sight of the goods to be brought forth into the foresight of the ei)=doj, but rather it immediately motivates an exchange transaction, a purchase or a sale. This transaction presupposes that the money or goods in the possession of the desiring person can be exchanged, i.e. that they have a du/namij for exchange, an exchange-value, within themselves (kaq' au(to/), for it is not the mere desire of the owners of goods or money which enables the desired thing to be acquired, but rather what the desiring person can give in return for acquiring what is desired, and what is given must have a potential, potency or du/namij which, in turn, makes it desirable for someone else to acquire for any reciprocal, complementary exchange relation to eventuate at all. There is a disjunction between the desire of the desiring person and the potential for exchange, or exchange-value, which resides in goods and money insofar as goods or money can be exchanged by whoever possesses them, even a thief, regardless of the desire motivating any exchange. The du/namij of exchange-value which resides in goods or money is essentially different from the du/namij meta\ lo/gou of e)pisth/mh poihtikh/ which resides firmly in the knowing producer by virtue of having been learned. The du/namij of exchange-value in the case of goods is their potential to be exchanged, but this potential to be exchanged is only derivative of their primary potential to be put to use in the usages for which they are suitable. The du/namij of exchange-value in the case of money is simply its ready potential to purchase anything offered for sale on a market. Neither of these potentials as such has to do with the power of knowledge or know-how to bring forth.
Social interplay in its fathomlessness is a fundamental hallmark of the social process of exchange of commodities, whether they be produced things or services provided. The products themselves are pro-duced, i.e. brought forth knowingly through the exercise or actualization of powers, namely, labour power, natural powers and the powers of already produced means of production. These powers working together as e)ne/rgeia in the literal Aristotelean sense on the raw materials, which themselves possess passive powers of being worked upon, constitute the labour process, whose product is then validated abstractly on the market as being valuable. To have value (G. Wert) is itself a power in the sense that these goods and services command a certain price and thus can be exchanged for something else. The original sense of value derives from L. valere which, apart from meaning 'to be able-bodied, strong, powerful, influential, to prevail' can also mean 'to be worth something in exchange for something else, to have monetary value'. Etymologically, 'valere' is related to German 'walten' which means 'to prevail', again from L. prζvalere 'to be very able', 'to have greater power or worth', 'to prevail' and thus itself a comparative or enhanced form of possessing power. L. valere, in turn, is the standard Latin translation of du/nasqai, so that the connection to the Greek word for power, du/namij, in all its senses, is secured. This is not merely a scholarly matter to excite philologists and lexicographers, since it points not only to power as a fundamental experience of human being in the world, but also to the multi-dimensional layers of the phenomenon of power. In particular, the productive powers that bring forth products of all kinds must be distinguished clearly on a fundamental ontological level from the 'exchange powers', i.e. the exchange-values of those products in being worth something in interchange on the markets where they are validated as actually (e)nergei/#), and not merely potentially (duna/mei), being valuable. Since this interchange is an interplay of powers, it is a game in the strict, i.e. not merely playful, sense that defies the specification of any single power, such as the labour power of the labourers producing one of the products in the exchange process, as prevailing over the others, thus determining the product's exchange-value independently of the fathomless interplay of powers itself.
Goods and money can be referred to collectively for the sake of convenience as assets, i.e. as the estate or effects in someone's possession which are sufficient (from the French legal phrase aver assetz, 'to have sufficient') for settling that person's debts arising through exchange transactions. Assets have the du/namij of exchange-value capable of effecting satisfaction in exchange transactions. The du/namij of value residing in assets is that they themselves are desirable in the eyes of others and therefore attract the attention and arouse the desire of others willing to acquire them. Valuable assets show themselves off as desirable for others and this gives them the power of exercising exchange-value in an exchange transaction which effects a change of money into goods and, simultaneously and reciprocally, goods into money, depending on which perspective is assumed. In an exchange transaction, the exchange-value potential of both goods and money are exercised to effect the exchange; they are complementary, reciprocal powers or duna/meij both largely disjunct from the respective motivating desires of the exchangers (i.e. apart from any 'powers of persuasion' which may come to bear to make apparent the good uses of the goods on offer), since the exchangeable, valuable assets owned by any one person are a matter of accident and the vicissitudes of fortune in life. Goods that are put on display in some way or other on the market show themselves off as being desirable in one respect or another in the sense that they are capable of fulfilling the desire of a prospective purchaser in some existential use or other. The goods potentially (duna/mei) suffer themselves (pa/sxein) to be used in a usage. This capability of fulfilling some desire or other in use, or use-value, is also a du/namij residing in the goods which discloses itself and can be perceived (ai)sqa/nesqai) by prospective purchasers who thus have the power (du/namij) of perception (ai)/sqhsij) of disclosing (a)lhqeu/ein) the goods in their desirability as use-values. The two duna/meij of being perceptible as valuable for fulfilling a desire and the perception of things in their suitability for satisfying desire are complementary passive and active powers of disclosure.
The perception involved here is not merely sense perception but a kind of understanding of the goods in their suitability for satisfying certain desires in use, i.e. the ai)/sqhsij is ai)/sqhsij meta\ lo/gou, perception guided by the lo/goj which gathers the sight put on view into an understanding of existential usefulness (a mode of being). This perception of the goods as desirable can motivate the prospective purchaser to acquire them by giving money in exchange for them. Money will only be accepted in exchange because it, in turn, has the du/namij of being able to universally purchase any goods offered on the market up to a total price equal to the amount of money involved. As universal means of payment, money is the universal du/namij or potential or potency for acquiring commodity goods and is therefore desirable as being universally valuable for the purpose of acquiring goods of all kinds. In other words, the use-value of money is its exchange-value.
Desire is always desire to acquire what one does not possess. Desire derives from lack, absence, ste/rhsij motivating the overcoming of lack by bringing what is lacking into presence by some method of acquisition, of reaching out (o)re/gesqai) and getting (kta=sqai). This presupposes that what is lacking, absent, is present in its absence as something lacking. Its absence is felt. Desire therefore motivates movement, a movement of sociation with the end of getting from another. Trade is a method of mutual, reciprocal acquisition motivated by mutual desire which constitutes a social relation, i.e. a relation associating two people with each other. The social relation is constituted for the sake of two goods (a)gaqo/n), namely, realizing an existential end in each of the exchange partners' lives. Something valuable is given away in return for something else of value. The motivation of desire can only come about because the goods are put on display in some way or other and reveal themselves, i.e. show themselves off, as being useful for satisfying certain existential desires. This is the function of a market or an exchange: to put goods for sale on display
This revelation of goods can and often does take the form of advertising, which puts up signs in the public domain drawing common attention to goods offered for sale. The goods are then not displayed directly and physically on a market-place, but indirectly through the means of advertising in its referential sign-function. Such signs have to be understood by prospective buyers. (All practical dealings with the world are in an elementary way meta\ lo/gou, i.e. guided by the basic perspectives uncovered by the categories, but not meta\ lo/gou in the sense of amounting to pro-ductive knowledge.(10)) Advertising endeavours to present the goods in their self-display in such a way as to stimulate prospective buyers' desires to acquire them. Advertising is thus motivating in the sense of a du/namij or power of persuasion which aims at bringing forth a decision on the part of prospective buyers to actually (e)nergei/#) purchase and thus bring about a change of hands (metabolh/) so that, after the turn-over, what is present-to-hand for the purchaser in full and final presence (e)ntele/xeia) is the commodity good in the stead of money and what is present -to-hand for the seller in full and final presence (e)ntele/xeia) is the money in the stead of the commodity good. In disclosing goods in their potential usefulness, advertising can also obscure this potential usefulness or present it falsely, or arouse potential buyers' desires which cannot truly be fulfilled by the goods in question. This is false advertising which arises when the advertising signs indicate not how the advertised goods show themselves of themselves but rather, misleadingly indicate that certain consumer desires can be fulfilled by them.
There is a peculiar and essential intertwining of the duna/meij of use-value and exchange-value. The potential or du/namij of use-value resides in goods (they are of themselves potentially useful), which potential can be perceived and understood by human beings. The potential is only exercised in use itself; the potential is then at work in the goods being used. This being-at-work of the potential is what Aristotle calls e)ne/rgeia, another central concept in Aristotle's thinking which the tradition translates as actuality or reality. The second potential or du/namij residing in goods is their exchange-value. This potential is exercised or realized only in the act of exchange, i.e. in the act of sale for money. Goods only have exchange-value by virtue of having a use-value. Said negatively, goods which are useless or no good (no a)gaqo/n) for any practice in human living in the widest possible sense do not have any exchange-value either. Why not? Because for goods to arouse the desire of prospective buyers to acquire them in an exchange transaction, they have to offer something in their self-display by way of being useful, i.e. good, for some practice or other. The du/namij of exchange-value is also the potential residing in goods to effect an actual (e)nergei/#) social relation between buyer and seller. When exchange-value is exercised and thus at work, i.e. in a state of e)ne/rgeia, a social relation between people is being realized. Such being-at-work of exchange-value effects a movement of social life, which consists, among other things, of a multitude of exchange transactions in which goods and money change places in a kind of metabolh/, i.e. change as ex-change. The end of this movement is the final and complete presence of money and goods in changed hands; the duna/meij of the exchange-values have achieved e)ntele/xeia.
With regard to money as distinct from goods, it can be said that the two duna/meij of use-value and exchange-value coincide, since the usefulness of money lies precisely in its being exchangeable universally for commodity goods offered on the market. The use-value of money is exercised in the act of exchange itself and not subsequently in a further practice of (individual or productive) consumption. The function of money as store of value, too, is simply due to its potential consisting in exchange-value, which is retained over time. This potential, exchange-value, may, of course, be impaired by the passage of time through a general rise in prices (price inflation), but this quantitative change does not entirely negate the function of money as store of value. The only requirement is that the money itself does not deteriorate so that it will still be recognized by others as money. Such longevity can be assured by a metal such as gold, or today simply by secured binary digits in an electronic medium kept in a bank and backed (usually) by a state as fiat money.
The function of money as store of value is entirely secondary to understanding the modes of being pertaining to goods and money with regard to the social practice of exchange. Insofar as goods and money possess exchange-value within themselves they are duna/meij in the sense of a)rxh\ metabolh=j, i.e. starting-point for a change or interchange, but this sense of a)rxh\ metabolh=j is neither the sense of productive know-how which resides in something other than what changes, nor is it the sense of natural change or movement according to which a living being changes itself through growth and decay, natural alteration, locomotion or progeneration. In the case of productive know-how, the governing starting-point brings about a change in something else, whereas in the case of physical beings, the starting-point governs a change within the being itself. The phenomenon of exchange-value as du/namij does not accord with either of these senses of starting-point. Why not?
Consider the potential of exchange-value residing in money. The money has reified within itself by virtue of the social usage of commodity exchange the power to purchase something else. The a)rxh/ therefore resides in the money, but the change that is brought about is neither within the money itself (fu/sij) nor in something else such as the goods that are purchased (poi/hsij). Rather, the change which the money brings about in being exercised as exchange-value at work is its own change of place (metabolh/) for something else, so that both itself and something else (the goods purchased) are affected by the change. This change of place (to/poj) is not a physical locomotion (ki/nhsij kata\ to/pon), but a change of social place or ownership: goods and money swap ownership places and re-place each other. The change that is brought about through the exercise of exchange-value is a social change of position or re-placement directly constituting a sociation and involving social relations, viz. the relation between buyer and seller and their respective ownership relations (for ownership, as rightful possession, is a phenomenon to be distinguished from possession as such).
A further peculiarity of the du/namij of exchange-value as a starting-point, as already noted, is that for an exchange to be effected, two reciprocal starting-points (two duna/meij) must be exercised (e)ne/rgeia) complementarily and coincidentally, i.e. the exchange-value residing in the money and the exchange-value residing in the goods must be exercised simultaneously and reciprocally to effect the re-placement change-over (e)ntele/xeia), which is an ownership swap in which money and goods interchange their ownership and possession status. A change of ownership and possession is a change only within the social dimension and makes sense only within this dimension. A change in possession, which could be regarded as a physical change in the sense of who has control over an article of property, is not necessarily a change of ownership, as is apparent in the case of theft. Here, however, it is the phenomena of exchange-value as du/namij and the social practice of exchange which are at the focus of investigation. Neither a poiaetic nor a physical understanding of du/namij suffices to account for the social phenomenon of exchange of goods against money, as banal and self-evident as this phenomenon may seem. Exchange can be thought of as a Herstellung in the broad sense of a (reciprocal) bringing-forth into presence through the (reciprocal) exercise of two exchange-value potentials so that another being stands present-to-hand for the exchanger (buyer and seller) but, as we have seen, such Herstellung is not only ontically, but ontologically distinct from poi/hsij, i.e. production.
For the sake of conceptual clarity and of avoiding a confusion inherent in the metaphysical tradition itself, we would be well advised to keep exchange and production, Austausch und Herstellen, kth=sij and poi/hsij quite distinct. We must be aware that there is an ambivalence in the term metabolh/ that lies at the very heart of Aristotle's key concept of du/namij, namely, metabolh/ can mean both 'change' and 'exchange'. In its meaning as 'change', metabolh/ points to beings in the way of fu/sij (self-movement) or poi/hsij (productive power over things), but in its signification as 'exchange', metabolh/ points to social interchange and interplay involving at least two starting-points ora)rxai/.
Furthermore, the exchange of goods for money must be motivated by desire (e)piqumi/a), especially the desire of the prospective buyer, who must be motivated to exercise the potential exchange-value inherent in his money. Such motivation presupposes an understanding of the goods on offer as having the potential to satisfy desire in some respect or another, i.e. the perceived use-value of the goods on offer is a necessary element in motivating a purchase as part of the movement of factical everyday life. The purchaser's motivation residing in his desire is thus also a decisive starting-point or a)rxh/ for an exchange relation. The seller, in turn, will attempt to gain control over this a)rxh/ by stimulating the prospective customer's desire, and that not just by extolling the virtues (i.e. use-value) of the goods on offer, but by persuading the prospective customer in any way possible, which includes also engendering trust (because exchange relations would be altogether impossible if trust, pi/stij, were completely lacking) and making the purchase seem as easy as possible (e.g. beguilingly easy terms of payment). Insofar as the seller has a know-how or technique of how to motivate and stimulate the desire of prospective buyers and gain their trust, this could be termed a psychological or rhetorical know-how or te/xnh through which the bipolarity or bilaterality of the exchange relation, consisting of two a)rxai/, would be reduced by subordination to one a)rxh/, namely, that of the seller's desire for money, albeit that a necessary precondition remains of having goods to sell at all. If it were possible to subsume the other as an a)rxh/ under one's own a)rxh/, that would indeed be an uncanny power. Such a psychological or rhetorical know-how is a knowledge, or at least a skill, of how to deal with people, how to gain their trust and persuade them of the fine qualities of a product offered for sale. Dealing with people with an eye to persuading them, gaining their trust and arousing their desire for purchase, however, is not the same thing as knowingly and surely impressing the form of a finished product step by step on passive materials under the guiding fore-sight of the ei=doj, as in the case of te/xnh poihtikh/, since the other, as a living being guided in its actions by understanding, is itself an origin of action, its own a)rxh/, i.e. it is free. The other's freedom is therefore the ontological limit to any rhetorical or psychological know-how employed as a technique of persuasion in order to bring about a sale. This bringing-about must be distinguished ontologically from bringing-forth under the guidance of a reliable, fore-seeing knowledge, i.e. from poi/hsij as a du/namij meta\ lo/gou.(11), the social relation of exchange can also be thought in the broadest sense as a Herstellung conceived as a bringing-to-presence to stand in the defined outline of a self-presentation. Such exchange-Herstellung is indeed a movement of practical life, but its ontological structure conforms neither with the ontological analysis of movement (ki/nhsij) constituting physical being (fu/sij) which Aristotle carries out in the Physics, nor with the ontological analysis of the movement of production (du/namij meta\ lo/gou) in Book Theta of the Metaphysics.
Exchange is the paradigm for a genuinely social relation sociating people in practical life which can be called commerce. The 'com-' in commerce means 'together', whereas the 'merce' comes from 'merx' for 'good' or 'ware'. Commerce is the social practice of goods coming together, sociating and changing places. Mediated through the goods, people come together and as-sociate. The social relation of exchange can therefore be termed reified. The prefix 'com-' or 'together' implies a horizontal, at least bipolar relation which cannot be hierarchized under a single dominating, governing a)rxh/. The coming together of goods on the market, their trafficking and trade, is a fundamental practice of sociation constituting society on an everyday, lived plane. Plato's and Aristotle's insight that society is constituted practically in the first place through trading in merchandise seems to be a genuine phenomenological insight into the ontological structure of sociation and social being. The exchange of goods on the market, in which the potential exchange-value of goods is exercised, is the common, rudimentary practice constituting social life. Etymologically, the word 'common' comes most probably from 'com-' 'together' and '-munis' 'bound, under obligation' (cf. OED). In the present context, this etymology, when interpreted with a view to the phenomena themselves, implies that trade is the bond which, at first and for the most part, brings people into association with one another. This bond also obliges them to exchange, to give and take and, for the purposes of exchange, to trust each other. In giving and taking goods through the mediation of money, humans individually practise the bond which sociates them in society. The giving and taking imply that this is not a relation of domination of one over the other, but one of equal intercourse between free individuals in which each constitutes an independent starting-point for diverse, renewable, potential transactions. In striving to fulfil their individual desires, people bring about and maintain the social bond forming the fabric of practical quotidian life and share to a greater or lesser extent in the wealth produced by the whole. Exchange as an elementary form of movement of social life depending on myriad transactions resulting from individual decisions to reciprocally exercise the exchange-value potential latent in goods and money, of course, does not and cannot bring about an equal distribution of social wealth.(12) Nevertheless, we have uncovered a paradigm for social ontology that has to be clearly distinguished from production as the paradigm for all of metaphysical thinking from its beginnings up to the present day. The ontological structure of exchange, although simple, is more complex ontologically than the phenomenon of production that has ruled metaphysical thinking from its inception. This ontological complexity has as yet untold and unthought consequences for philosophical thinking for it brings into play the interplay between human beings as an issue for ontological thinking and not merely, as has been the case hitherto, as a topic for philosophical ethics.
Ontological thinking goes deeper than ethical thinking, for it uncovers possibility, i.e. possible ways of historical existing, whereas (modern) ethics aims at what is good in the sense of what should be or ought to be, and especially in the sense of how human subjects ought to conduct themselves. It is as if thinking has always avoided the difficult questions of social ontology in favour of merely pronouncing (ethically, morally) what should be or criticizing social reality with a view to changing and improving it. In so doing, philosophy has gone along with the tendency of everyday life itself to flee existential possibility, to seek orientation, security and restriction in the Ought, and to gladly give its opinion about how the world ought to be. The bipolar and multipolar essence of exchange, its bi-archy or polyarchy,(13) breaks the mono-archic ontological cast of "productionist metaphysics" (Michael E. Zimmerman(14)) and opens up the realm of future historical possibility on the basis of a metaphysics that rests on the alternative paradigm of exchange or, employing terms derived from the Greek, katallaxy(15) or allagae.
The phenomenon of exchange is richer and more multifaceted than the mere exchange of goods, i.e. the practices of barter, trade, commerce, etc., and indeed it can be interpreted as the paradigm of social intercourse par excellence. For, not only goods are exchanged among people, thus sociating them in social relations in which they effectively serve each other, but people associate and maintain social intercourse with one another by exchanging also views, opinions, news, compliments, insults, blows, kindnesses, gifts, waves, glances, etc. They do this in social interchanges (metabolai/). 'Interchange' here is a bland term for human association and intercourse on the level of everyday practices. There is always a reciprocity in our interchanges. We do not just meet, but we meet each other or one another. This 'each other' or 'one another' expresses the reciprocity that is necessarily a part of our interchange, and this reciprocity is itself a kind of exchange based on our conducting ourselves toward each other that is always also a mirroring recognizing of each other. In my conducting myself toward you, I am from the outset attuned to how you, in return, conduct yourself toward me, i.e. my conduct toward you is always already reflected in an anticipated reciprocal conduct of you toward me(16). I can conduct myself toward things, but a thing cannot conduct itself toward me, and there is no reciprocity of conduct in my relations with things. I also do not expect anything from a thing by way of reciprocity. But my relations with people are all based on a reciprocity of our conducting ourselves toward each other, even when that conduct is deficient (e.g. impolite) or displays indifference. The very lack of response on your part when you conduct yourself indifferently toward me is precisely the (defective) reciprocity of your conduct in this case. In my relations with things, by contrast, there can be no indifference on the part of the things I use, because a thing cannot conduct itself toward me or respond to me at all.
Even prior to the reciprocity of our conducting ourselves toward each other, my own conduct is always essentially reflexive, i.e. I conduct myself. This self-conduct is always a presentation of myself, a self-presentation in which I show myself off to myself and to others as who I am. In conducting myself I am always at the same time mirroring myself reflexively as who I am in my self-understanding, i.e. in the i)de/a of my self. My ways of conducting myself are therefore an ensemble of masks of self-presentation of myself to myself and also to the world of others; they are modes of self-comportment in which I comport myself with (com-portare, literally, 'to carry with') the masks of self-presentation that show off who I am. The term 'comportment' will be employed in preference to 'conduct' to emphasize the bearing of masks that define and show off who I am as somewho (and not as something). I bear my who-masks with me in all my self-comportment. I cannot comport myself at all without presenting myself in the mask of somewho or other. Thus even in the most rudimentary interchange there is at the very least a reciprocal exchange of the most formal and non-descript masks in which we present ourselves in how we conduct and comport and bear our selves toward each other. Since I always conduct myself, no matter how alienated and conformist this self-casting may be, this self always has a mode of self-presentation in my conduct, and the same applies to you and everywho else. Our social intercourse is therefore always a reciprocal interplay of mask-presentations that are nothing other than the ways in which we comport ourselves and thus present ourselves and show ourselves off as who each of us is. This showing-off is one side of the ambivalent a)pofa/nsij in its middle voice as a)pofai/nesqai: not only do beings show themselves as what they are, but each of us human beings shows off him or herself as who he or she is.
The reciprocal showing-off of ourselves as who takes place in all interchange, including even the impersonal or anonymous exchange of things on the market in commercial transactions. Even the buyer and the seller present themselves as buyer and seller from within a certain understanding of themselves in their specific occupational who-roles in the exchange. At first and for the most part, occupational roles are the masks of self-presentation in daily life. The seller may be a professional seller whose occupation as somewho is designated as merchant or salesperson or middleman or cashier, etc., and in the exchange relation the seller presents him or herself as a seller, i.e. in the role of seller that defines their whoness in the outline of a certain understood 'look'. Likewise the buyer. This showing-off of who each is in the transaction is an abstract showing-off insofar as only the general roles of buyer and seller, particularized perhaps according to the particular market, occupation, etc. come into view within the transaction, which is usually carried out anonymously. Where the transacting exchange partners give their proper names, these signs of individual singularity function in this context merely formally, as singular designations only, say, for registration purposes or to deliver the goods. The singularity itself has no place in a formal, abstract exchange transaction that requires only general roles of self-presentation.
As we have seen, insofar as in all social interchange there is a reciprocal showing-off of who one is, all social intercourse is marked by conducting oneself toward the other as somewho or other and vice versa. This means that there is necessarily a reciprocal recognition and estimating of each other as somewho, no matter how privative, depreciating or indifferent this recognition may be. Any mode of comportment toward others presupposes some kind of recognition or the other, because I have always already presented myself to the other as somewho in masks of self-presentation, and any response to this self-presentation is a mirror of recogniton. Merely being always-already cast into the world, which is always also a social, shared world, casts me into the mould of whoness and also into the mould of understanding the others as presenting themselves similarly from within the ontologico-existential cast of whoness. In any interchange at all, we have a priori understood each other as somewho or other and comported ourselves toward each other as somewho or other and thus also recognized, estimated each other as somewho or other. Thus all social interchange is a mirroring recognition of who we are. It is not possible to evade the cast of whoness so long as we are human beings cast into the world.
At first and for the most part, recognition is in the mode of indifference or the mere abstract formality of recognition of personhood expressed by conducting ourselves politely toward each other, which signals respect for or at least distance from the other as a free human being. This kind of formal recognition in politeness is a kind of reciprocal acknowledgement of each other as who that lubricates everyday social intercourse when conducting the business of daily life. Politeness is the formal mode of recognition of the other as a free human being. Behind the mask of politeness there may be hidden a deep indifference toward the other or a mere instrumentalization of the other for the purpose of achieving one's own end (which is especially the case in commercial transactions), but the formal politeness and friendliness is adequate to the intercourse of everyday living. Viewed the other way around, the formal, abstract nature of recognition in commercial transactions, i.e. the exchange of goods and services, dispenses the parties to the transaction from having to make any more elaborate or impressive self-presentations. It is the goods and services and money involved in the transaction that 'do the talking' in the sense that each party is interested in acquiring what the other has on offer, and is hardly interested in with whom the transaction is to be carried out.
Because all social interchange comes about through individuals comporting themselves, it is based on human freedom, for each of us is free to comport him or herself in a variety of ways for which bearing we also ineluctably bear responsibility, i.e. for which we have to answer. This implies that we choose the masks and roles of self-presentation in choosing how we conduct ourselves toward others, and that we have the power (du/namij) of choosing such self-presentations. The power of freely being able (Seinkönnen) to choose my masks of self-presentation implies that there is a distance between myself as the governing starting-point (a)rxh/) of choice and myself as the ensemble of who-masks of self-presentation understood as embodied ways of comporting myself. Such a distance enables not only the possibility of belonging to my masks of self-comportment, thus shaping my identity as the ensemble of self-masks that genuinely belong to me, but also the possibility of presenting my self through bearing masks of self-comportment that do not properly belong to me and therefore fit ill and alienate me from my self in masks adopted from the other (alius) or even in masks that present me distortedly as someone who I am not (deception).
The power of freely being able to choose our self-presentation as somewho or other is neither a natural power of self-movement in the Aristotelean sense, nor is it a poiaetic, productive power, again in the Aristotelean sense. Why not? Because the power of self-presentation to others, of choosing the masks in which we show off who we are, is a social act of social interchange embedded in relations of willy-nilly recognition, but it does not demonstrate power over the other, i.e. my self-presentation to others certainly induces nolens volens recognition on the part of others, no matter how deficient or indifferent that recognition may be, but because the others in turn are likewise free human beings who comport themselves as somewho in showing themselves off as who they are, they are free to respond to my self-presentation in a variety of ways of self-comportment which I am not able to control. I can in-duce some kind of recognition in showing myself off, but I cannot pro-duce a desired, intended mode of recognition. My power of self-presentation does not reach so far as to rule how others respond, in turn, in their self-comportment toward my self-presentation. Others' responses lie outside the ambit of the a)rxh/ of my being able to choose my self-presentation masks. The interplay of recognition in mutual self-presentation as who is thus an interplay of powers that is ontologically isomorphic with the simple bi-archic ontological structure of commercial exchange relations investigated in previous sections. Whereas in the case of commerical exchange it is essentially the goods that are presented, and the roles assumed and shown off are merely the formal roles of buyer and seller, in the case of other social interchanges, the masks of self-presentation exchanged are more elaborate, more concrete, more particular and even individual, singular, idiosyncratic.
Even in exercising the power to present oneself as somewho in impressive ways of comporting oneself, these impressive masks of self-comportment aimed at making an impression on others are only ever an attempt at impressing the others in the desired, intended way. The will to power can indeed assume the form of the will to impress with one's own showing-off. This will to power has the structure of being the governing starting-point for a change in the other, namely, to leave a desired impression on the other. Such an impression is a kind of change (metabolh/) in the other, that will be reflected more or less openly in the other's response, in the way the other comports him or herself in response to my impressive self-presentation. For the most part, it is sufficient that the other give some small sign that one's own impressive self-presentation has been noticed at all. But there is no guarantee that my will to an impressive self-presentation in choosing my masks for showing off myself as an impressive who will in fact bring forth the desired impression in the other or the others, say, in the form of positive comments of admiration or simply in talking about me. My attempt to impress may not even be noticed at all. This interplay of social powers of self-presentation is indeed a power game, but the game allows no certain, precalculable strategy of winning because the interactors are all free human beings who choose their modes of self-comportment and thus how they respond to others showing off who they are. This is to be contrasted ontologically, i.e. in essence, with the power of production, i.e. of knowing surely how to bring forth a fore-seen, envisaged end-product, a topic which already investigated in some detail.
Quite apart from the reciprocal recognition of each other as who that is ineluctable in all social interchange, there are those practical interchanges in which the interchange concerns something practical. In practical everyday life, this something is either the goods involved in an exchange or an issue on which agreement is to be reached in an exchange of views. The former is the paradigm of commercial exchange; the latter is the rhetorical situation. Since each of the parties to an exchange of goods or views is a free starting-point of action with the power to act one way or the other, agreeing on a common course of action, whether it be a commercial transaction or some other practical project, depends on elevating the individual standpoints of the various parties as free starting-points of action into some kind of unity in which goods and money can actually be exchanged or a common course of concerted action can be agreed on the basis of a shared view of how the issue is to be practically approached. The very freedom of each of the parties as individual a)rxai/ means that agreement does not involve the exercise of power of one over the other but is only possible on the basis of trust that an agreement will be kept to. There is an essential element of trust in all practical social interchange. Therefore, for an agreement to come about at all, mutual trust must be won. Each of the parties must give credence to the other (or others) and believe that what has been agreed will actually be performed. In commercial transactions, this credence is called credit and the one giving credit in monetary terms is the creditor, i.e. the one who believes on good faith that the other will pay the agreed amount on the agreed date in the future. But the purchaser, too, gives credence in the sense that he or she has good faith that the seller will actually provide the goods (including services) at the agreed time, to the agreed amount, of the agreed quality, etc. In an exchange of views on a practical issue, the various views presented must be brought to some kind of consensus through an altercation, through having-it-out with one another in such a way that a common decision can be made. The altercation itself is an exchange of differing views (do/cai) on the issue supported by arguments pro and contra, by persuasive pi/steij (proofs) aimed at engendering pi/stij or trust and confidence. Such an engendering of trust in each other is necessary because social intercourse is an interplay of free starting-points each of whom remains in its freedom essentially incalculable for the other. This is the deliberative rhetorical situation described by Aristotle which is oriented toward the future, as opposed to the judgemental rhetorical situation that is oriented toward assessing actions in the past as just or unjust or the eulogical rhetorical situation that is oriented toward appraising someone who or something that is present as praisworthy or blameworthy.
In the interchange of a deliberative rhetorical situation (which may relate to a common political, social or business project), the other has to be won over to one's own view through a process of persuasion in which each of the views involved remains fluid. Reaching a consensus view on the issue is not merely a matter of attaining a common truth on the matter but above all of gaining each other's trust and confidence so that a common will to concerted action can be formed. Each of us must have faith that the other or others are genuinely involved in and committed to the issue and will also keep to the consensus reached. All agreement in a practical situation is based on trust and faith, and practical situations of interchange can only succeed if faith is not broken and each of the parties is reliable. This reliability, when demonstrated, in turn forms a further basis of trust, so that trust can be seen as the very element and lubricant of social interchange which also grows or can be destroyed and decays. In contrast to the reliability of things that dependably perform the use to which they are applicable, the reliability of other people depends on them fulfilling the faith that has been placed in them by freely acting according to what they have committed themselves to. The trust necessary for practical interchanges between human beings is the obverse of the abysmal circumstance that all social relations, all social interaction among human beings is dangerous and risky in the sense of incalculable and uncertain, because each human is and remains a free starting-point, a free a)rxh/ of its own self-movement. To take a phrase from Adam Smith, "...in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own..."(17)
The interplay of free powers in the practical situations of everyday life, if it is to be more than merely a chaotic interplay, has to be based on trust and confidence in each other. For practical purposes, whether it be the exchange of goods or the exchange of views in coming to agreement on a course of concerted action, we must have faith in each other. Such faith as a dimension of human beings sharing a world comprises the entire gamut of good faith and bad faith and the thoughtless indifference in between. Bad faith is where a show is made of commitment, a promise is made but without the intention of sticking to the commitment or promise. In all practical interchanges oriented toward future action, whether commercial exchange or united action (as in political deliberative situations), the word given by each of the parties must bridge the gap between the present and the future. This word is a promise, the sending-forth (L. pro-mittere) of a word that announces and gives hope to the other or others of the performance of a future action. Whether a word given is a rickety bridge and the consequences thereof will be considered elsewhere. In coming to an agreement in which a future interaction or concerted action is resolved we must have mutual trust and faith that promises will be kept. Keeping one's word in a defined future is where human reliability lies. The mutual giving of promises is thus a significant part of social interchange, and such promises are embedded in the dimension of trust and faith that opens up a bridge of enablement between free human beings who each has the power (du/namij) to freely act one way or another, but nevertheless find they also have to act in concert in any common project, or reciprocally in commercial and economic exchange. Without the bridge of faith and trust in its positive modi, individual practical human freedom could not be unified into a common action and practical social interchange would be impossible.
To return to the phenomenon of recognition: The will to power exemplified by the attempt to impress others with one's own self-presentations and the embeddedness of existence in the social interchanges of daily life show that existence as who essentially involves self-presentation to others and thus the mirroring of one's own standing as who in the recognition necessarily given by others. All my self-comportment in daily life is more or less a self-comportment in the eyes of others and is therefore always also a mirroring of my self-stand as who in and through the others, near and far. This circumstance indicates some kind of dependence on how the others mirror who I am in my self-presentation. My very own self-understanding depends in some way on the responsive reflections of recognition from others, and in particular on the recognition of certain others. These certain others are those whom I respect, i.e. whom I, in turn, recognize positively with high estimation in the inevitably mutual process of recognition. Those whom I estimate highly have more weight in mirroring who I am or can be. Their recognition of who I am matters most. Both with regard to these certain others and in general, entirely privative or indifferent modes of recognition undermine my self-standing, for I am not so independent and autarkic that I could entirely do without positive, uplifting recognition of who I am. The stand I assume as who can be encouraged and firmed by others' recognition just as it can be shaken by derogatory ways of recognizing me as somewho. My self, my standing as self is therefore co-constituted by the others in social interchange, and it is not possible to entirely insulate one's self-stand as who against the mirroring reflected by others' recognition in all its various positive, negative and neutral variants. In fact I become who I am also in learning how others mirror who I am. This is a possible interpretation of Pindar's famous line in the context of the interchange of recognition: "Become, learning who you are." (ge/noi', oi(=oj e)ssi maqw/n. 2nd Pythian Ode, line 72).
This ineluctable openness and exposure to estimating recognition by others makes itself felt above all in my mood, in my attunement as a whole with how I find myself in the world, especially the shared, social world. As a self, I always already feel some way about my self, either uplifted or downcast. This self-feeling is not just a self-reflexive feeling concerning myself as some kind of ego-point or inner self-consciousness, but the globalized, totalized feeling of how I currently am and find myself in the world. The degree of dependency of my feeling about myself on others' recognition does indeed, in turn, depend on my self-confidence, on the inner strength of my self-standing, and the sensitivity to recognition by others is expressed by saying that I am thin-skinned or thick-skinned, i.e. that I am more or less permeable to the mirroring of others' recognition. Feeling good or bad about onself is ontically one of those entirely banal, ubiquitous and familiar phenomena of everyday living, but its ontological underpinnings in whoness (a fold of being) have hitherto remained invisible in the blinding light of obviousness.
In the general social interchanges of daily life, recognition usually takes the form of abstractly formal recognition of each other as persons. We comport ourselves toward each other politely, i.e. respecting the social forms of the polity, which means, in particular, that we do not in general undermine each other's self-standing in our dealings with each other. In commercial transactions in particular, which are based on some kind of mutual satisfaction and gain to be achieved by the transaction, the mode of mutual recognition is for the most part friendly and polite, for this kind of formal, positive recognition lubricates everyday intercourse and the mutual satisfaction of what we want from each other. This formal politeness and friendliness themselves indicate just how much the self-standing as who of the actors in everyday life depends on the mirroring in the inevitable recognition given in everyday social intercourse. For the most part, we do not touch each other in our self-stands in our daily intercourse. Our encounters for the most part preserve a distance guaranteed by the formal recognition of each other as persons. But there are also closer encounters in which the interplay of recognition touches us and affects us in our self-standing against our will. Such an encounter may be merely an exchange of glances. Such a momentary glance is a mode of recognition, of mirroring the other. The glance can have erotic import, thus boosting my self-stand in an uplifting feeling, or the glance can be a 'look to kill' that tendentially undermines my self-stand and may even trigger some downcast mood. The exposure to the interplay of recognition in some mode or other that constitutes one essential aspect of sharing the world with others within the cast of whoness is the basis on which familiar, banal phenomena such as the striving for honour or fame or celebrity-status at first becomes ontologically comprehensible. Only by understanding the whoness of human beings in contradistinction to the whatness of things can we begin to understand the peculiar interplay of human social interchanges (metabolai/). The ineluctable daily game of recognition in relations with others and the inevitable exposure to how I am mirrored by others opens the possibility of me being touched by my interaction with an other. The other touches me in my self-standing often in a scarcely present, fleeting in-between. Even the exchange of words or glances with a stranger can touch me in a fleeting moment in which the other becomes a momentary 'you'.
A lasting relationship between you and me is constituted only within a positive mode of mutual recognition of each other in our respective standings as who and, on the whole, a sheer, uplifting enjoyment of each other's presence. Such a relationship must be borne by a mutual respect and esteem for each other and a mutual attentiveness to each other's world-predicament. Such respect, esteem and attentiveness enable a closeness that for the most part has no place in everyday social life. Mirroring each other by way of esteem, i.e. by valuing highly who the other is in his or her self-standing, is the precondition for us coming close in a relationship of you-and-me. Indifference and derogatory modes of recognition destroy the possibility of you-and-me. In general social intercourse, one is on one's guard and maintains a distance to protect one's own self-standing against the unkindnesses of those who would bring one down. For the power to show off who one is, to impress the others with one's own self-stand and to stand as high as possible is more often than not expressed in the striving to put others down in order to stand higher oneself. Since all standing as who is social, it is also relative, and therefore a higher who-status can be achieved in many situations by putting others down. This struggle over the altitude of one's own who-standing arises out of the vertical structure of the dimension of whoness itself and induces a self-defensiveness and distance in everyday social interchanges.
Far from abandoning the thinking of being or rejecting Heidegger's thesis that the original sense of being is Hergestelltsein, what I propose is that phenomenological thinking today has to venture to twist the thinking of being toward the folds of being which Heidegger himself left unfolded, unexplicated. Heidegger's thinking from start to finish is in large part an unfolding of the thesis that the first beginning of Western history is based on an understanding of being as Hergestelltsein, where Herstellung is interpreted suitably broadly as a bringing-to-stand in the presence of a presented, defined look as a kind of movement.
But the first beginning is also based on an understanding of human being as social being, also a kind of movement. Heidegger restricts his interpretation of social being, i.e. Mitsein, Miteinandersein, to human being having the lo/goj, i.e. to\ z%=on lo/gon e)/xon, and neglects an ontological investigation of practical social relations, starting with the exchange of goods, in favour of considering the phenomenon of Miteinandersprechen, i.e. the exchange of words (cf. GA18:103ff). As indicated above, social relations on the everyday level of exchange can be thought as a kind of Herstellung sui generis, in the sense of bringing-to-presence through a change of place, but this Herstellung no longer conforms in its ontological structure with the simple paradigm of production. Exchange is a kind of movement that needs to be analyzed ontologically in its own phenomenal right, as sketched above. Heidegger himself and above all Heidegger's phenomenological interpretations of Aristotle offer valuable starting-points for thinking through the movement of social life in exchange. Even a motto can be extracted from Heidegger's writings which serves very well as a characterization of the reciprocal structure of exchange as it permeates the movement of social life:
Das in Bewegung Seiende ist als Seiendes da im Mitdasein mit anderem, das Mitda bestimmt durch Bezug des einen auf das andere, des anderen auf das eine. (GA18:392)A certain small amount of hermeneutic violence has to be done to this passage to obtain the required motto insofar as in these early lectures, Heidegger does not yet restrict the meaning of Mitdasein to human togetherness, but applies the terms Dasein and Mitdasein to beings in general.
To put it in other words and by way of conclusion: If, as Heidegger claims, poi/hsij is the paradigm in Greek metaphysics for thinking the knowing relationship of human being to beings as such, stretching all the way up 'vertically' to theological knowledge (e)pisth/mh qeologikh/), a)llagh/ or exchange which is also metabolh/ is the paradigm in Greek thinking for thinking through 'horizontal' human association or koinwni/a,(18) i.e. the socio-political dimension of human living. The phenomenological task today is to bring the phenomena of human association to light as phenomena situated within the folds of the manifold openness of the truth of being, a 'horizontal' task towards which Heidegger's thinking did not turn. I regard this venture as a philosophical aspect of what Thomas Sheehan calls "the task of the endless humanization of the world"(19).