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 Output”), 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
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.
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