chapter  2
Seneca and the Translation of Being
Pages 21

One of the most dramatic moves made by Heidegger in his discussion of the problems that emerge in the translation of physis by natura is found in the larger claim that any translation of a Greek philosophical term by a Latin term involves the destruction of the 'actual philosophical force of the Greek word'. The philosophical letter, especially in the case of Seneca, introduces an intriguing mode of presentation and argument. The specific moral or epistemological problem is particular by its being the problem of one person. The value of Seneca's reflection on translation is that not only does it deploy conceptual structures allowing for the use of a specific vocabulary within which it is possible, initially at least, to discuss the problem of translation, it also embodies linguistic and ontological commitments which are at work within certain conceptions of translation and therefore of philosophy.