Sunday, December 1, 2013

autumn 2013

December 1:

I’m happily “lost” in some heights. The view is spectacular. I’ll do a good descent soon, I promise—first of the year. Or maybe next week. Anyway, I’m enthralled.

November 17 | Keeping my promise to update here regularly is good. But developing work can’t be synopted like progress reporting. If side trips postpone arrival at an appointed place, so be it; that’s part of creative process—which is going well! I’m happy in my work. And I’m having fun.

The next update will be December 1—not that I can promise anymore than to continue a love of learning that’s endless for me (sans death); and hope by then I’ve got more to share.

I’ve got many years of free time ahead (I hope). But I do want to share more soon!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Heidegger's lament and hope for Arrival

from MIndfulness, 1939, pp.377-8

Heidegger is 50 years of age when he wrote the following, below, ending a retrospective sense of his career—as if anticipating that his life may end soon—and having a large body of work that is to remain unpublished while he’s alive. Of course, he does live to work decades beyond this Moment in his pathmaking, which will antedate this Moment (especially his work of 1946 to the mid-'50s). But here, 1939, he anticipates that, in any event, he is likely to be misunderstood.
The worst that could happen to these efforts would be the psychological-biographical analysis and explanation, that is, the counter-movement to what is precisely assigned to us, namely, to [annul counter-movement, i.e., to] place everything “psychic-emotional”—however intimately this has to be preserved and enacted—at the service of that aloneness which is demanded by the work that strikes one as strange....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

a note on the phenomenality of a text

A given passage in the transcript of a Heidegger lecture is presumably expressive of what he intended to draw attention to. But that’s not always the case!

As he notes in the second Appendix of Mindfulness, 1939! (p. 373), “In all the lecture-courses, the occasional remarks about contemporary circumstances are factually without relevance....Occasional references are mostly responses to the queries from the audience.”

This is profoundly implicative for “scholarly” narratives that pull isolated, odd passages from various lecture courses and then proffer the lot as a constellation of symptoms.

the question of being now

Writing at the New York Times on “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene,” doctoral student Roy Scranton notes that…
...the biggest problems the Anthropocene poses are precisely those that have always been at the root of humanistic and philosophical questioning: “What does it mean to be human?” and “What does it mean to live?” In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the question of individual mortality — “What does my life mean in the face of death?” — is universalized and framed in scales that boggle the imagination. What does human existence mean against 100,000 years of climate change? What does one life mean in the face of species death or the collapse of global civilization? How do we make meaningful choices in the shadow of our inevitable end?…
Well, the end has no shadow. And the question is thrilling, to me.

Yet, such is the scale of Heidegger’s calling, in the wake of WW-I and -II and the Holocaust and his mid-century position of “planetary thinking.”

This posting, that article, is just a tiny preface (for persons new to the scale of questioning that called philosophy into being, way back.) to a very long trek that will not mainly turn back.

So far to go—for me: happily.

This posting is associated with the “being in Time” area of

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Framing Heidegger is just “doing business”

[May 2016 note: This was written as part of the Facebook Project on Heidegger, for readers unfamiliar with Heidegger’s work and perhaps steered away from dwelling with his work because a hermeneutics of gossip feeds some academic careerism. It’s now part of my project on “Heidegger and political times.”]

Integral to philosophy is reflecting on the basis for your views. Integral to teaching philosophy is evincing reflection on one’s views and situating that relative to good philosophical work. One can have very detailed views that are still invalid because they’re contrary to evidence or violate accepted norms or are motivated by phony interests, such as presuming bad faith by the other (i.e., the other is guilty until proven innocent, but the presumptuous person doesn’t have time to understand complexities that vindicate the other). This happens in the philosophy profession, too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Heidegger and metaphysicalism

Metaphysical-ism (‘metaphysics’ with quote marks) is an ideology that seeks to totalize metaphysical views resulting from inquiry into this area of philosophy. Metaphysics as such is part of history and has a place in history, e.g., for development of conceptual competence (historicity of one's thinking) and for appreciating our historicality. We will always have conceptual issues of the conceptuality as such. In that sense, every generation has its metaphysical issues, just as every life has its youth.

The translator of Heidegger's notes on “overcoming metaphysics” indicates the difference (The End of Philosophy, p. 84): It’s the difference between [A] “something... being... incorporated” (into a history of Being that is growing/thinking beyond this history, yet as integral to how we came to where we are in going on) and [B] “something...being...defeated and left behind.” Heidegger works to defeat totalizing metaphysical-ism, while not negating the metaphysics of history as worthless history.

Heidegger: to malicious readers

Toward the end of Heidegger’s Collected Works (GA: Gesamtausgabe, “Total Oupute”), in a volume of “Comments” (Anmerkungen 2, #77, in GA 97), Heidegger makes a critical comment (c1946) about claims of prophecy as “will to power” (leading, e.g., to heinous messiansm), which—Heidegger notes—includes the Jewish tradition of prophets—a comment that a noted Jewish scholar of Heidegger agrees with (Allen Scult) in some detail. (I might do a long posting someday on Scult’s comment about Judaism during the Babylonian Exile). Heidegger ends his main comment with a parenthetical comment. Quoting that now from another Jewish scholar’s translation of Heidegger’s parenthetical comment in German:
Heidegger: “...(A note for jackasses: this [his] remark [about prophecy] has nothing to do with ‘anti-Semitism’ [sic: H’s quote marks, as he continues...], which is as foolish and abominable as the bloody, and above all unbloody, actions of Christianity against ‘the heathens’ [sic]. The fact that even Christianity brands anti-Semitism ‘un-Christian’ is a mark of the high development of the refinement of its power technique.)…”
The quote marks are as important as the notion of “They” in Being and Time or a notion of enframing in critique of ideology.

This power technique—i.e., perhaps, a capacity for deceitful posturing, which relates to the 1930s’ well-known Vatican support for fascism (as well as relating to Heidegger leaving the Catholic Church before WW-I)—is the political dimension of what Heidegger later (c1954) calls the “ontotheological” character of metaphysics (Identity and Difference, which Heidegger, 1969, regarded as among his most important sets of lectures, according to the English translator at that time).

But there’s a difference between metaphysical-ism and metaphysics, a difference which is integral to Heidegger’s thinking, but easy to miss, because he notes the difference in terms of misunderstanding his de-construction of metaphysics.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Heidegger’s leadership

briefly hoping that philosophical practice could be emancipatory administration

[May 2016: This was part of my Facebook project on Heidegger, which I’m gradually transposing to this blog. It was intended for persons not very familiar with Heidegger who may be steered away by hermeneutical gossip.]

Living with, working with, and thinking through Heidegger’s texts can be wonderful—delightful and profoundly engaging.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Heidegger letter to Richardson, 1962

Famously, Heidegger wrote a letter in 1962 to Father William J. Richardson, S.J., which I’ve made available.

The letter (originally in German) was in response to Richardson’s query for his book Heidegger: through phenomenology to thought (1963), which was the first authoritative attempt to understand the entirety of Heidegger’s career in thinking. The book is outdated now, but famous (reprinted, 2003) for its role in mid-century English-language understanding of Heidegger. Indeed, it was important to me circa 1974-76.

Monday, September 30, 2013

a note on Heidegger’s early philosophy

Here is a review by Theodore Kisiel (the leading scholar in English of Heidegger’s early development) of a 2008 book, Heidegger’s Early Philosophy: The Phenomenology of Ecstatic Temporality. Kisiel uses the occasion of his review to provide the best succinct conception of Heidegger’s early thinking that I’ve ever read (as something short). What can be said briefly about Being and Time? Kisiel shows the reader.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

January 2008 — September 2013

June 9, 2017

This blog began during spring of 2017, but inherited postings from other blogs, one canceled, one re-purposed. The canceled blog had begun in 2013; the re-purposed blog had postings routed also to “our evolving,” but it had ceased (more or less) by 2010, as I focused on writing that didn’t pertain to that blog. So, the gap here between 2008 and 2013 echoes that situation.

Aren’t you glad to know.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heidegger and onticism of globalization

Heidegger never supported Nazism. Bernhard Radloff published an outstanding book, to that effect, in 2007 on Heidegger’s critique of German ideology, Heidegger and the Question of National Socialism, which has not come into paperback; but he later provided a thorough synopsis of his book as a response to two critical reviews of the book, which is available here: “Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Globalisation.”