Thea Potter

Published On


Page Range

pp. 117-152

Print Length

35 pages

4. Terminological Horizons

  • Thea Potter (author)
The problem of determinate definition was assumed by Hegel and Heidegger but has been the problem for philosophy ever since Aristotle defined finding the ‘essence’ or being of something as the task of philosophy. The problem is always a terminological one, but we have inherited it also as a problem of translation. This problem belongs to the horos, the question of definition and the necessary overlap between words in both metonymy and metaphor. Chapter Four (‘Terminological Horizons’) focuses upon the translation of horos as ‘term,’ ‘definition,’ ‘determination,’ a sense of the word that is outlined by Aristotle in his Topics and Categories where he provides a definition of horos as the word that means ‘what it is to be.’ If horos (here ‘definition’) is a word that signifies the being of a thing, is it itself retained within the definition of a word even if in the form of a trace of this lithic term? Although the horos as ‘definition’ remains essential within the tradition of Western philosophy, its material presence has been confounded in the attempts at absolute conceptualisation and transcendental reasoning. That said, we do get a brief and telling glimpse of it in the preface to Hegel’s Phenomenology. Its echo remains also in the work of Heidegger, inherited from Husserl, as that which frames our position in the world, as the ‘horizon,’ verbal cognate of the horos.


Thea Potter