In this article, I want to focus on two of the distinctions that inform Heidegger's discussion of ethics within “The Letter on Humanism.” By investigating the distinctions between action (Handeln) and effecting (Wirken), on the one hand, and ethics and ethos, on the other, and considering their roots within his lectures on Aristotle in the 1920s, I will argue that Heidegger's practical concerns are less connected with ethics as it is generally practiced and understood today than with the ancient notion of the good life. In grappling with the metaphysical grounding of Aristotle's conception of the good life and its essential relation to production, Heidegger examines the historicality of both ethos and action in the light of modern technology.

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