Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Origin of the Work of Art: Hearing the Title properly

It is very easy to let oneself be misled as to what Heidegger's sensationally received lecture Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes, is really about. One would think its about art. Certainly it is not a lecture in art history and probably more than one concerning the appreciation of art, but it would seem safe to say its a philosophical lecture about art, a lecture about the meaning of art.

Its not.

One path that leads towards understanding why this is so begins by listening carefully to something which Heidegger as a matter of routine in all of his self-interpretations stresses the ambiguity of, namely, the name of the lecture, the title. The title seems to be addressing artwork, but artwork precisely in a certain respect, namely with respect to its origin. This appearance is initially inevitable. However, there is another way to hear it, and one of the goals of the essay is to show how this alternative way is, surprisingly, the more appropriate of the two. According to this other way, what should be emphasized in the title is not the artwork, thought with respect to its origin, but rather the reverse. That this is so is indicated in the opening sentences of the lecture, which may be understood as a preparation for the destruktion of what the audience is inclined to have heard in the freshly announced title:

Origin means here that from which and through which a thing is what it is and how it is. That which something is, as it is, we call its essence. The origin of something is the source of its essence. 

The lecture is an attempt to show how we can think of origin more properly than all of the history of Western thought has yet been able to by way of a seemingly strange move: by thinking of origin as inherent to the artwork. In the title "The Origin of the Work of Art" the word "Origin" must eventually be heard and understood as a property of art. The artwork does not have its home in its origin; rather, the very idea of an origin has its forgotten home in the artwork. This is why, in the quote above which begins the whole lecture, Heidegger immediately defines ---that is to say, discloses the essence of---the origin. But his definition is peculiar insofar as it implies its own failure; it tells us that the essence of the origin, that is, what an origin is really supposed to be, is to be nothing other than the source of a thing's essence.  But the essence is "what something is, as it is".  Therefore the origin must precede anything "as it is". Of the essence of origin, then, two things may be inferred:

1.) The essence of the origin precedes itself. The origin is, essentially,  pre-essential.

2.) As pre-essential, the essence of the origin lies in a domain in which a thing can be disclosed in such a way that it is not disclosed in the manner of thinking, namely,  in the manner of disclosing "what something is, as it is".  

 What domain is this? That of the artwork. "Artwork" would then name that which belongs to a domain ahead of and prior to any thinking, a domain which the thinking of the present age of technology can only anticipate --and yet must anticipate if it is to still think at all. The reason why the lecture emerges  as a place of repose along Heidegger's denkweg  then, is not because Heidegger has turned to art in the fight against nihilism, but because in pursuing what the origin originally means, Heidegger comes to find that its meaning is not in thought but in art. One might say that origin properly means in the artwork, and thinking has been lead to give thought to this unthought meaning.

The title "The Origin of the Artwork" now sounds different: "The Origin" --that is the origin itself --"of"--that is, as it belongs to ---"the Artwork" (the artwork, which lies ahead of thought).

Friday, October 25, 2013


  In the comments recently, Still made the following remark en route to a worthy point regarding the differentiation of Seyn

"While Seinsvergessenheit holds sway, for instance, the mystery *cannot be thought from itself*, and the thinker is powerless from himself alone to open the space in which it may be so thought"

I will here permit myself the license to tear this quote from its context in order to consider it solely as an indication of the nexus of a peculiar seynsgeschichtlich ambiguity: the time during  which seinsvergessenheit holds sway can be said in more than one way. 

On the one hand,  there is an extensive sense of the time of seinsvergessenheit. The extensive time of seinsvergessenheit is the time that began with the "first beginning," i.e. the time which began with Greek thinking --a beginning of Western thought which also eventually buried the hidden possibility of that same thinking. In this sense, seinsvergessenheit has (increasingly) reigned as long as metaphysics has actually existed. According to this sense, the "mystery," as Still says,  "cannot be thought from out of itself," insofar as it is epochally withheld in order to provide the ages of Western history -- the ages which metaphysics each time grounds for a while. 

On the other hand, there is an intensive sense of the time of seinsvergessenheit. In this sense, the time of seinsvergessenheit is only the present age, the age, that is, where metaphysics consummates what has always been most distinctive of it, namely how Being withholds itself from metaphysics. In this case, the time of seinsvergessenheit is the dissipation of actual metaphysics into the various fields of the sciences, as the latter is ordered in advance into the constellations of technology, the invisible center of whose gathering is Das Gestell. But in this case, if seinsvergessenheit actually comes about through the actual loss of metaphysics in the present age of technology, then it is precisely at this time of the present age that the mystery may yet be thought from out of itself. That is to say, only now, in the reigning of seinsvergessenheit, is the possibility granted to think Being differently than metaphysics was ever eventually able to. Seinsvergessenheit thus becomes the mystery first giving itself to thought, namely in the offering of nothing ---but concealment. And this concealment is none other than the concealment of Being itself (Seyn). This is why Heidegger speaks of technology's essence as a Janus-Head: the sending of Sein as Nothing (seinsvergessenheit) is the giving of the refusal of Seyn. No longer an understanding of Being (Sein) but Being itself (Seyn) is finally given --given as the unthought. Seinsvergessenheit is yet to be thought as Seynsvergessenheit. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Teleology in Reverse Part 2: Revisiting Scholastic Idea-logy with Heidegger

Just Thomism has offered a succinct sketch of one possible Scholastic objection to Aristotle's claim that the middle term of a syllogism in scientific demonstration offers fundamental causal knowledge of the truth of that syllogism:
To know what is first requires knowing its ratio or logos.
The ratio or logos of anything is what an infinite mind intended it to be.
The human mind can only understand the intention of an infinite mind by a multitude of finite ideas it cannot reduce.

This is a fascinating objection to me, since it seems to espouse a very peculiar sort of idealism over naive realism (insofar as the latter fittingly names the direction of knowing toward “what is”). The primacy of “ratio or logos” in the knowledge of what is (“to know what is first requires knowing its ratio or logos”) means the privileging of the intentionality of infinite mind over Being, at least in terms of our finite conception. This is initially interesting simply with regard to whether and how this "scholastic" objection is compatible with Aquinas:

1.) How does this square with Aquinas’s claim that the first thing that falls into the intellect is what is, i.e. ens (Ita quod primo cadit in intellectu ens).
2.) How this can be reconciled with the primacy of the transcendental of Being over that of Truth.

It is further of interest to me because the claim that a logos precedes the comportment toward “what is” could also be considered to be Heidegger’s claim. How so?   By understanding that this logos is a seinsverstaendnis, whose wherein (worin) is Welt. Such a logos  would accordingly be the a priori condition for the possibility of encountering what is, i.e. any being (ens, seiend). But Heidegger subtly escapes any form of idealism such a logical precedent would imply by further insisting on the ontological difference --i.e. that what is can mean "a being" only if it already has an other meaning, and that Being makes possible both a being and the understanding of Being. Thus the logos that enables knowledge of what-is (seiend) hides within it a sense of what-is (Sein) that is not brought to light by the logos save as that which conceals itself in logos as what is unthought, indeed as what precedes thought. It is this precedence of what is unthought in the ontological difference that requires Heidegger to return to the Greek thought of τέλος and interpret it differently than the scholastic interpretation of "aim" or "goal" or "intention" (an interpretation which, as I have discussed elsewhere, is led by the Vorgriff of Mind as the ground of Being). This is a fundamental problem which provides Heidegger's rereading of τέλος the justification of its hermeneutic: the Greek meaning of τέλος, because it belongs to the first inquiry into Being, necessarily escapes us. However, and here is the crucial insight: precisely this is the Greek meaning of τέλος. In other words,τέλος, as opposed to the later causa finalis, does not refer to what presupposes mind but what is presupposed by mind, namely Sein as the unthought meaning of what is. This is why Heidegger translates τέλος as that which "circumscribes the bounds" in terms of which something "begins to be what, after production, it will be". τέλος so translated now names the beginning which precedes the thing whose own beginning it is. τέλος destines something, from a long time before, to a teleology in reverse, one for which Heidegger has also reserved the name Seynsgeschichte.      

Monday, June 10, 2013

Get Back In your Cave!: Bloom and Heidegger on the Question of Historical Freedom

The Whirlpool's Rim regularly posts such thoughtful things that I want to respond to but almost never actually do, so I don't want to pass the opportunity up yet again when Tony writes: 
I don't wish to derail the discussion of inauthenticity at Seynsgeschichte, but I wonder how Bloom's view of the value of "the experience of living in Plato's Cave" -- that is, of having lived within a defined cultural tradition -- differs from Heidegger's view of the presupposition of gerede and of the inauthentic as harbor of and "condition of possibility" for the authentic. Is it necessary, in the end, to leave the "vagaries of history" behind?
Eliot's Four Quartets instructs us or assures us or dissuades us with the following: "Only through time/Time is conquered"...and, again,: "History may be servitude/History may be freedom"

I think we may profit by wresting these lines in the direction of Heidegger's thought of history...that is, history as of Beyng. Let us employ the distinction often employed in discussions like those of the meaning of categories liberal and conservative, or those which invoke Burke to describe a proper relation to tradition. That distinction would be the one also used by Berlin in his essays on the topic...namely the distinction between negative and positive freedom. The claim from Deneen to which Tony refers above is that, on the level of "the vagaries of history," that is, the level of things inherited or inheritable as opposed to, say, 'ahistorical transcendentals' (e.g. the Straussian concept of Natural right or, at least, the foundations of this concept), Bloom's admiration of positive freedom was superficial and utilitarian. If historical positive freedom, in the sense of having a (respectable, genuine) cave, is to be lauded, it is only because it offers the opportunity of a higher form of negative historical freedom, that is, of a philosophic escape from one's cave --an escape also from history itself. This may or may not be a fair characterization of Bloom's position, but it does seem to resonate with my reading of his Closing. In fact, Closing  can be seen as a whole to be a long argument for the need for Western tradition to be upheld --and to be upheld for the sake of an eventual philosophic liberation from the bondage of tradition. As an aside I must say Deneen is flat out wrong, however, if he indeed (as it seems prima facie he does) conflates Bloom's contempt for a fraudulent notion of "muliculturalism" with a very different contempt for culture in general, which I, for one, do not see Bloom possessing. So-called multiculturalism and the self-defeating celebration of diversity which annihilates appreciation for real difference, Bloom rightly dealt with in a Nietzschean spirit as a thin rainbow sheet loosely covering a stinking carcass of nihilism and consummate cultural oblivion.
But however much credence we can lend to Deneen's characterization of Bloom's liberalism, there can be no doubt that it is at variance with Heidegger, who is often politically pegged as a conservative or by some of his not so secret unadmirers, a fascist. But the difference here is thoughtlessly missed if we stick to these unhelpful and nearly (I do not say "completely") meaningless categories. I would prefer to construe it with the help of another pair of problematic, though less problematic in my mind, categories, namely "negative and positive freedom". Like Eliot's lines above suggest, Heidegger does not see tradition as either a cave of bondage or a springboard for philosophic assent. For Heidegger and Eliot, tradition blindly masters us for better or worse at first, but --and here is the crucial point--it is that same tradition which is to be made the "object" of our positive freedom. Tradition not only must be labored for to be properly inherited --it is itself worth the labor. The ground and source of tradition is the only place where true freedom is to be achieved. History, properly understood, is transcendental and its bond can never be broken, only modified. In this modification, to which I recently referred  in an enjoyable discussion of Sein und Zeit with Jeremiah, as an "existentiell modification of the the existential of inauthenticty", real recovery of the forgetful condition of human existence is made possible ---and it is made possible precisely and only by a posture of anticipating, i.e. by an historical posture. Speaking modally, then, it is really (i.e. in an ontic site) made possible, but is not yet actual. Because of the non-actuality of this reality (a reality which the early Heidegger, still speaking in the tongue of Lebensphilosophie, would call the true and genuine scientific life, a life sprung from a science capable of recovering and returning to life instead of forgetting and objectifying it, a mature living possession of science), Heidegger's freedom cannot be called positive, but it is certainly even further away from the Enlightenment's exhalted "virtue" of negative freedom.  History and forgetfulness are necessary not only to the obfuscation of truth but for the achievement of truth. Nor are they an instrument for its achievement. They are inherent to its finite possession. Indeed, history is the truth in the sense the truth, in being true, historizes; truth is eventual. Inheriting is built into the very structure of truth. In this way, finitude is not simply man's. It belongs more primordially to truth ---to the way truth ITSELF withdraws, that is, withdraws itself.
       Bloom, like Strauss, seems only to have seen Heidegger in opposition to his own idea of a strictly negative historical freedom. Heidegger is, for him, a relativist of the most brilliant sort, or more precisely, Heidegger is an historicist, albeit one of top philosophic caliber. this is because Bloom sees Heidegger promoting and amplifying the Nietzschean mantra of "commitment" and decisionism --i.e. of willing the historical situation to which one has been fated and of considering all truth to be found in this will, and thus to be entirely historically enclosed or "horizonal." But, as I have had pause to remark before, Heidegger does not say this. If, in Sein und Zeit, he thinks of time as "the transcendental horizon for any possible understanding of Being", this is not because Heidegger thinks truth is a function of historical trend. Rather Heidegger is thinking of time and history differently --not as either a flux or a succession of moments (or ages). but rather as concealments of Being itself. Time gives an understanding of Being (Sein) but Being itself, i.e. Seyn as Ereignis, gives time by giving it itself. There is time only by virtue of the granting of Beyng itself. History is of Beyng. Authentic "positive freedom" lies not in willing one's current historical understanding but in binding oneself to what has already in advance given or made possible the understanding of an age...and that is something which such an understanding initially hides or conceals. To simply will one's historical situation is to misunderstand it. Nietzsche's perspectivism prioritizes history over truth. Heidegger, by contrast sees history as a path to truth, but unlike Bloom he also thinks this path to be part of the truth. To discard it as an instrument would be to discard the truth which we are seeking to reach by its means. The only other thinker who can claim this of history is Hegel, but, as I have discussed elsewhere, he does so in a manner violently opposed to Heidegger.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Inauthentic Authenticity: The Problem of Inheriting the Concept

We stumble upon a situation of remarkable irony when we realize that there is perhaps no concept in the Heideggerian corpus more improperly inherited than that of eigentlichkeit, or, as it has been most commonly inherited in English thought, authenticity. Ironic --and, when understood as an indication of an historical condition unique to the present age, ominous. This irony is prima facie not entirely lost on Stuart Shneiderman, who remarks on its historical significance, observing: 
In the age of authenticity more people aspire to authenticity than know what it is. But, we have it on the authority of no less a philosopher than Martin Heidegger, the godfather of authenticity, that small talk or idle chatter (gerede) is bad.
Heidegger extended the category of idle chatter to any use of language that is formulaic, that repeats commonly accepted wisdom and that expresses what everyone thinks, rather than what I think. Authentic speech, in Heidegger’s philosophy, wells up from the depths of your soul. It is original and personal and unique to you. It might involve your latest research into Western metaphysics; it might express your sentiments about the state of German politics in 1933.
There may be good reasons for calling ours "the age of authenticity," or, better, the age where an historical decision gets forced upon human beings regarding whether and how they can any longer be authentic, but as Shneiderman goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that his own rough account of the question of authenticity is itself an instance of a rather common, public acceptance of the term --an instance, that is, which is at variance with Heidegger's own nuanced use of it. Shneiderman has merely taken over this common notion of authenticity without first putting the very term itself up for question. His use of "authenticity" is as unexamined as it is inauthentic. To see why one need merely to return to Heidegger's own use of the term, since, by Shneiderman's own admission, Heidegger is none other than the "godfather of authenticity" (a rather hilarious title). And what is it that marks Heidegger's understanding of "authenticity" as a unique understanding? What is it that makes the meaning  Heidegger imparts to the words so distinctively...Heideggerian? Is it so obviously true that, for Martin Heidegger, "small talk or idle chatter (gerede) is bad." Not at all. Though this misunderstanding is persistent and widespread, the Heidegger of Sein und Zeit is emphatically clear on this, in a move that makes his understanding of authenticity uniquely his own: authenticity is a mere "existentiell modfication" of inauthenticity; the latter is presupposed by the former. That is to say, not only does "gerede" as a devolution or falling away from the more original "rede," but also "eigentlich rede," such as the eventual discourses of philosophy, poetry, the State, etc. has its origins in "Alltäglichkeit" ---and that means in a domain where the everyday "connection-making small talk" called gerede has its home. Thus when you write that Heidegger claims authentic speech "wells up from the depths of your soul" you misconstrue his unique insight. In fact, Heidegger goes so far as to say that there is no "your" in "your soul" unless it is first wrested from "Their" or "One's" soul or understanding (Das Man). To miss this is to miss the entire raison d'etre for the second division of SZ's prospectus, namely, the "Destruktion" of the history of ontology, in which the so-called "primordial understanding of Being" is to be retrieved precisely from those now formulaic traditional ontological assertions. The inauthentic harbors the authentic and is its condition of possibility. Recognizing the necessity and even worth of inauthenticity is not as un-philosophic a gesture as Shneiderman's amusing piece would have its readers believe, Indeed, it is, for Heidegger, the only way something that was once called philosophy can be done in the present age; the thought of Being is essentially historical, if by historical we mean inherited and not, therefore, initially owned up to. It presupposes a condition of historical irresponsibility. Shneiderman ends his piece offering the following advice:"The next time a Pied Piper comes along to suggest that you give up schmoozing in the name of authenticity, think twice before going along." But "thinking twice" is precisely what distinguishes the authentic from the inauthentic. By the same token, one wouldn't have the opportunity to "think twice" without encountering the received (inauthentic) wisdom (e.g. "inauthenticity is bad") of some pied piper. The matter is thus a complicated one and it indicates a unique historical danger in the present age. And it was Heidegger who first of all, in a dangerous move which threatened to eclipse itself simply by being communicated, so powerfully drew attention to this.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heidegger's "Teleology in Reverse" Part I: Intentionality and Scholastic Idea-logy

Gadamer once made the pedagogical gesture of characterizing the historical dimension of Heidegger's thought as a "teleology in reverse". Like all such gestures, this one carries with it the self-conscious necessity of distorting the matter to which it is supposed to lead. With Gadamer's characterization we are invited to glimpse how deliberately different Heidegger is from Hegel, but it takes only  the brief moment of focusing in on what we have glimpsed to lose what is really being gestured toward; if we pin Gadamer's words down to a formulation and lose the subtlety of its intentional evanescence, then it quickly becomes clear that the reversal of which it speaks is futile, or as Heidegger so famously wrote of Sartre in his letter to Jean Beaufret, "the inversion of a metaphysical statement remains a metaphysical statement". But how can we receive and preserve the intended benefit of Gadamer's gesture? We must follow where it points, i.e. to what is intended in "a teleology". And since it points to "a teleology in reverse", we must ask not about any end of teleology, as if the historical dimension of thinking could be characterized as a history of thought that culminated in the thought of its own teleologically achieved end. No, this teleology has a twist. It's order and movement is attracted by the force of something different--precisely, it is teleology reversed, a teleology belonging to the beginning. The question therefore presses upon us as to just how this teleology may affect the way we must think of it. In other words, there arises the question of how the Greek τέλος is to be understood at all. Consider the following typical remark made by Heidegger in one of his retrievals of Aristotle’s four causes:
“But there remains yet a third that is above all responsible for the sacrificial vessel. It is that which in advance confines the chalice within the realm of consecration and bestowal. Through this the chalice is circumscribed as sacrificial vessel. Circum-scribing gives bounds to the thing. With the bounds the thing does not stop; rather from out of them it begins to be what, after production, it will be. That which gives bounds, that which completes, in this sense is called in Greek telos, which is all too often translated as “aim” or “purpose’ and so misinterpreted.The telos is responsible for what as matter and for what as aspect are together co-responsible for the sacrificial vessel. ”
The Greek τέλος, Heidegger forewarns, must not be misinterpreted as “aim or purpose.” When we so misinterpret it, τέλος is an idea, that is to say a being of intentionality, a being referring to but lacking substance. Such an idea, as an intentional being, can also be thought of in a more substantive sense, namely, as a thing’s “nature,” e.g. the nature of things as the target aimed for in their development, the perfect species to which each individual thing strives –or in other words, the scholastic “Ideas in the Divine Mind.” Even so considered, these Ideas are in an interesting way properly intentional, not only because real individuals strive toward them (as in the way the form or outward look of a Greek statue gives us the enbodied form of man, of the "ideal" man ---of what Rainscape has, in talking about Achilles' heroic drive, insightfully called  the "drive to be beautifully, to fill out the limits of his form"), but also because, as Aquinas would have it, essentia is potentia to esse as the actus essendi. The primacy of esse over the Ideas unto and through which it is conferred allows those Ideas to still hold the trace of τέλος as “aim or purpose” which Heidegger wishes to avoid.This can be brought to greater schematic clarity in terms of a threefold concept of intentionality. When τέλος is thought as aim it is understood as a “possible” which may be perfected, that is, which may be actualized. This is true of the explicitly intentional aims of men (ideas of intention), the implicitly intentional aims of all natural beings (“drives” and natural movements or tendencies), and even those divine Ideas which serve to give the former (ideas of intention, drives) their teleological ground, in so far as even these divine Ideas are, if not possible, then yet potentia to the act of existence (they are, as it were, intended-to-be in a preeminent sense. The marks of this interpretation of τέλος may be summed up thusly: A.)τέλος as aim presupposes the priority of actuality over potentiality, and B.)τέλος as aim requires the grounding of mind, i.e. the aspiring intentionality of the human subject or the creative intentionality of the divine subject (the implicit intentionality of nature being grounded by both subjects, since aspiring intentionality is in some measure endowed with freedom). 
        It is with respect to the peculiar problem of  divine intentionality that the author of Just Thomism recalls a debate between the Averroists and Aquinas:
The Averroists, following a very probable reading of Aristotle, argued that God could not know anything other than himself – and certainly could not know individual things. Both arguments appeal to the idea that because God is the most excellent object of thought, he would only think of himself, and so would not have the diversity of rationes of created things in his mind.  St. Thomas, on the other hand, not only argued for a multiplicity of ideas of created intelligible natures in the divine mind, he claimed that these divine ideas reached even to the very concretion of the particular things.
 What is here carefully called "a very probable reading of Aristotle" may also be taken to stress the powerful discrepancy of Aquinas's reinterpretation --a reinterpretation which is among other things concerned with saving the worth, so to speak, of what is individuated, regardless of the sphere or gradation of existence that it enjoys. The Thomist reinterpretation, while countering a "very probable reading or Aristotle," raises many scholastic questions regarding its own reading. How, for instance, does the 'presence' of these Ideas in the divine mind not infringe upon the necessity of god being perfect esse, that is, pure act? One way to obviate the difficulty is to understand the divine Ideas as much different than the alleged divine intentionality I have somewhat crudely characterized above --a route that Just Thomism's author seems to advise: 
Thus the ideas or intelligible natures of things, which are similitudes of things in the mind of God, are most perfectly the similitudes of things not only because the knowledge of God is unable to err or be ignorant, but also because the divine mode of knowing, in a way that infinitely transcends the human intellectual power, can attain to a positive, intellectual apprehension of the concrete particular. The idea of a self within the divine mind is not an abstraction, a generalization, or an inadequate, subordinate representation of the concrete reality. It would not be going to far to say that, in a way that is comparable to how God can be said to be more present to the creature than the creature is to itself, so too the self – the that is me in the concrete existential situation of my life – more exists in the divine mind than it does in itself. 
The solution seems to have many interesting aspects --not the least of which is a metaphysico-theological account of the peculiar phenomenon that Heideggger himself made central to his preparatory Dasein Analytik, namely, that we precede our very own selves from the beginning -- a phenomenon not unrelated to what is being indicated in "a teleology in reverse." But this enticing aspect must also be confronted with other aspects of Thomistic thought that seem to temper it or even contradict it. For instance, if it is correct to affirm that the doctrine of the primacy of esse is distinctively Thomistic or, at least, that it lies at the center of Thomistic metaphysics, then it would seem difficult to simultaneously affirm that the divine Ideas actually exist more perfectly than those actual things of which they are Ideas. The difficulty lies in the relation between esse and essentia; if the former is always the act of the latter, god would have to actually create a second (or first) even more perfect totality of beings. The Divine Ideas would be a quasi-alternate universe. Not only would all-that-is be created through them by the conferring of esse; they would also, problematically, be more than a principle of creation: they would be anotherseparate creation. Even the separate substances would not just be essentia and esse, since there would have to actually exist a more perfect divine Idea which created them. And again, if this more perfect Idea existed, it would, as an ens, have to be other than god. One might even say that with this othering, yet another Idea mediating the creation of a divine Idea would be necessary ---ad infinitum. Of course, Aquinas, simply being a thinker of such a stature as he is, would not likely have maintained any position that held such implications. But I honestly don't know how he maintained a  multiplicity of actually existent divine Ideas in the mind of a god himself characterized by perfect act (comments emphatically welcome). My own initial inclination (and I admittedly have not done my homework on this debate with the Averroists) is to think of the scholastic concept of divine knowledge along lines not too different from the manner in which Kant inherited the problem in his concept of intuitis originalis, as it is distinguished from intuitis derivativus (and of course I am entirely bracketing the very different way Kant made use of this distinction). In other words, god's knowledge of a thing effects its existence, or, put another way, the existent thing (ens) is per se the object of god's knowledge. In this case, however, if we further posit Ideas in the mind of god, then they cannot exist ---rather god's Idea is the existing thing. And this returns me back to my rough notion of the divine intention as an instance of τέλος as aim.
         If through scholasticism the primary sense of τέλος first becomes definitively grounded in Mind, then this tendency becomes radicalized in modernity, especially in its most extreme and self-mirroring version in Hegel. It is this version that Heidegger is predominantly invested in freeing thought from.  Hegel is the most extreme representative of this interpretation of τέλος, since he proposes that all three different intentionalities (the implicit intention of nature, the explicit intention of finite mind, and the creative intention of divine Mind) are themselves teleologically directed to the insight that they are in actuality only one intentionality, one subjectivity or Mind comprehended in its own Concept. Importantly, for Hegel, this actual unity of the different intentionalities is not simply the case, but must be teleologically achieved, i.e. brought from the potentiality of an abstract Idea to the actuality of a concrete Concept --a Concept which grasps precisely the teleological necessity of this achievement.