Heidegger's 1924 Lecture Course on Aristotle's Rhetoric: Key Research Implications


Only recently have we begun to realize how Martin Heidegger's 1924 lecture course on Aristotle's Rhetoric permanently altered the relationship between rhetoric and philosophy. This article explains how it did so, outlining what exactly Heidegger reclaimed in Aristotle's Rhetoric just as he was radically reformulating the history of Western metaphysics against his contemporaries in philosophy. Key are a couple of scholarly moves. Heidegger places Aristotle's Rhetoric in the Corpus Aristotelicum next to the Physics, away from the logical works and the Poetics. And he defines rhetoric as the hermeneutic of Dasein itself only after working out what he calls the "Greco-Christian interpretation of life." Finally, this article explains how and why Heidegger left rhetoric behind soon after 1924, as he actively took up Weimar politics and consequently lost faith in the analysis of factical life Aristotle made possible.