Witold Płotka

Is the Authentic Being a Virtue?

The question about ethics in Martin Heidegger’s thought contains an ambiguous term ‘ethics.’ With this regard, the author argues that one has to specify the problem, what kind of ethical theory is questioned. The paper is an attempt to interpret Heidegger’s fundamental ontology in terms of virtue ethics writers, e.g., Anscombe, MacIntyre, Watson, and Hursthouse. The purpose is justified, if one emphasizes that, firstly, for Heidegger, just as for virtue ethics the main source of inspiration was Aristotle, secondly, both philosophies denied rule-based understanding of rationality, and, thirdly, they focused on the acting person. The author sketches two ways of analysing Heidegger’s philosophy. On the one hand, a meta-ethical account consists in reconstructing Heidegger’s polemics with rule-based rationality. On the other, more importantly, an ethical viewpoint lies in the interpretation of Heideggerian terminology in the light of the virtue ethics thesis about the primacy of character, and aiming to wellbeing (eudaimonia) of the virtuous agent. Therefore, the author is able to interpret a possible equivalence of such Heidegger’s categories as ‘state-of-mind’ (Befindlichkeit), falling, trowness, or care, and virtue ethics terminology. Only in the theoretical frame, supported by referring to Aristotle, it will be worth to ask: Is the authentic being a virtue?