„Der sittliche Wert eines Menschen beginnt erst dort, wo er bereit ist, für seine Überzeugung sein Leben zu geben.“ [The moral worth of a human being emerges when she is willing to give her life for her convictions] - Henning von Tresckows -.
Scholarship in Heideggerian philosophy can be broadly differentiated into three groups, which evolved in the European and Anglo-American discourses after WWII, namely, first a transcendental (idealist Kantian) approach; second, an Aristotelian approach; and third, a Christian approach to Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein and his fundamental ontology. All of these basic positions are a result of Heidegger’s philosophy on his way to Being and Time (1927) which he developed both in his broad ranging and fascinating lecture courses in Freiburg, where he (...) taught as Husserl’s assistant between 1917 and 1923, and in Marburg, where he taught between 1923 and 1927 (before he returned to Freiburg in 1928 as Husserl’s successor). Interestingly, the analytic reception of Heidegger focuses on Heidegger’s main work Being and Time, whereas the European and “Continental” discourse is oriented towards larger issues, which include philosophical anthropology, theology, hermeneutics, and the history of philosophy. McGrath’s study belongs to the theologically motivated studies on Heidegger’s phenomenology and ontology and thereby contributes to the recent renewed interest in Heidegger’s early philosophy, which arose after his early lecture courses were published in his Collected Works and after it became clear that Heidegger’s way to Being and Time (and his later thinking) not only was heavily influenced by Scholasticism, especially by Duns Scotus, but also by Augustine, Eckhart, and Luther, all of which took effect before Heidegger encountered Husserl’s phenomenology, Neo-Kantianism or Aristotle’s philosophy. The greatness of Being and Time is indeed a result of the ingenious transformation of all these sources into something new. (shrink)
Reviewed: The Philosophy of Husserl, by Burt C. Hopkins. Mc-Gill-Queen’s University Press, 2010. 290 pp., pb. $22.95, ISBN-13: 9780773538238; hb. $95, ISBN-13: 978-0773538221. Burt Hopkins’s The Philosophy of Husserl presents a challenging and thoughtful elucidation of Husserl’s phenomenology that pays special attention to important methodological aspects of Husserl’s philosophy, and, thereby, to Husserl’s characterization of phenomenology as a pure and transcendental philosophy. Unlike other texts that attempt to elucidate Husserl’s philosophy, Hopkins carries out his project in an unusual fashion, by (...) beginning with a consideration of the conflict between Plato and Aristotle regarding the meaning and status of the eide, and ending with a systematic critique of two of Husserl’s most fierce opponents, Heidegger and Derrida. This review essay gives an overview of Hopkins’s book and offers some critical remarks. (shrink)
I argue from a hermeneutic point of view that formal elements of poetry can only be identified because poetry is based on both the phenomenon and the conception of poetry, both of which precede the attempt to identify formal elements as the defining moment of poetry. Furthermore, I argue with Gadamer that poetry is based on a rupture with and an epoche of our non-poetic use of language in such a way that it liberates “fixed” universal aspects of everyday language, (...) and that through establishing itself in a new, self-referential and monologue unity, it individualizes speech . From the hermeneutic position, poetry is a form of speaking rather than a “fixed” object. As such, I will try to make sense of what Paul Celan said in his famous “Meridian” speech: namely, that the poem is “actualized language, set free under the sign of a radical individuation, which at the same time stays mindful of the limits drawn by language, the possibilities opened by language.”. (shrink)
In this paper I shall present an argument against Deleuze’s philosophy of painting. Deleuze’s main thesis in Logic of Sensation is twofold:  he claims that painting is based on a non-representational level; and  he claims that this level comes out of the materiality of painting. I shall claim that Deleuze’s theses should be rejected for the following reasons: first, the difference between non-intentional life and the representational world is too strict. I submit that the non-intentional relation that painting (...) opens up is itself part of and emerges out of the representational force of painting. If this would not be the case, then the criterion for differentiating between paintings and other objects cannot be developed. Indeed, Deleuze fails to give us a criterion. Second, Deleuze’s way of dealing with materiality in painting remains unsatisfactory, insofar as he is unable to take into account how materiality is charged with an “attitude towards the world.” In sum, materiality can only be painting’s materiality if we understand it as being formed and disclosed in representation. (shrink)
Hubert L. Dreyfus has worked out a critique of what he calls “representationalism” and “cognitivism,” one proponent of which, according to Dreyfus, is Husserl. But I think that Dreyfus misunderstands the Husserlian conception of practical intentionality and that his characterization of Husserl as a “representationalist” or as a “cognitivist” is thereby wrongheaded. In this paper I examine Dreyfus’s interpretation by offering a Husserlian critique of Dreyfus’s objections to Husserl, and then by outlining Husserl’s account of practical intentionality and the practical (...) lived Body. I sketch the critique and the approach of Dreyfus in three steps. First, I deal with his objections against Husserl’s theory by arguing that Dreyfus understands neither the role of the reduction nor the function of background-awareness in Husserl’s phenomenology. Second, I elucidate the central role that the “practical lived Body” plays in practical intentionality for Husserl, and, third, I highlight the consequences that follow from the analyses offered in the previous sections. (shrink)
In this paper, I will present an argument against Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness. Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness (as it can be found primarily in the recently translated volume Husserliana 23) moves from a theory of depiction in general to a theory of perceptual imagination. Though, I think that Husserl’s thesis that picture consciousness is different from depictive and linguistic consciousness is legitimate, and that Husserl’s phenomenology avoids the errors of linguistic theories, such as Goodman’s, I submit that his (...) overall theory is unacceptable, especially when it is applied to works of art. Regarding art, the main problem of Husserl’s theory is the assumption that pictures are constituted primarily as a conflict between perception/physical picture thing and imagination/picture object. Against this mentalist claim, I maintain, from a hermeneutic point of view, that pictures are the result of perceptual formations [Bildungen]. I then claim that Husserl’s theory fails, since it does not take into account what I call “plastic perception” [Bildliches Sehen], which plays a prominent role not only within the German tradition of art education but also within German art itself. In this connection, “plastic thinking” [Bildliches Denken] was prominent especially in Klee, in Kandinsky, and in Beuys, as well as in the overall doctrine of the Bauhaus. Ultimately, I argue that Husserl’s notion of picture consciousness and general perceptive imaginary consciousness must be replaced with a more dynamic model of the perception of pictures and art work that takes into account (a) the constructive and plastic moment, (b) the social dimension and (c) the genetic dimension of what it means to see something in something (Wollheim). (shrink)
In this essay, I shall attempt to shed light on central practical concepts, such as action and decision, in Heidegger’s existentialism and in Fichte’s idealism. BothFichte and Heidegger, though from different philosophical frameworks and with different results, address the practical moment by developing  a non-epistemic concept of certainty, in connection with  a temporal analysis of the conditions of action, which leads to the primacy of future in their analyses. Both  and  shed light on their concept of (...) the self, and on the concept of freedom. In addition, my paper offers a further clarification of what was called before Fichte’s “proto-existentialism” (G. Zöller, D. Henrich). The ontological framework of both philosophies and their concept of the practical self, finally, leads to the proposal to merge both perspectives into what I would like to call “existential idealism.” Fichte’s and Heidegger’s practical philosophies can be taken as two sides of the same coin. (shrink)
Christian Lotz shows in this book that Husserl's Phenomenology and its key concept--subjectivity--is based on a concrete anthropological structure, such as self-affection and the bodily experience of the other. The analysis of the sensual sphere and the lived Body forces Husserl to an ongoing correction of his strong methodological assumptions. Subjectivity turns out to be an ambivalent phenomenon, as the subject is unable to fully present itself to itself, and therefore is forced to allow for a fundamental non-transparency in itself.
In this paper, I will perform a "step back" by showing how Derrida's analysis of forgiveness is rooted in Kantian moral philosophy and in Derrida's interpretation of Kierkegaard's concept of decision. This will require a discussion of the distinction that Kant draws in his Groundwork between price (the economic) and dignity (the incomparable), as well as a discussion of the underlying notion of singularity in Kant's text. In addition, Derrida universalizes Kierkegaard's concept of the agent so that, with this perspective (...) in view, the interpretation of Kantian morality as something that must be described in a paradoxical way, becomes fully transparent. Whereas the interpretation of Kantian morality will provide us with a concept of morality that remains a "blind spot" for the agent, with the help of Derrida's Kierkegaard interpretation we can see that the concept of decision remains ultimately ambivalent. In conclusion, both (a) the deconstructed concept of morality and (b) the concept of decision will finally (c) let us understand Derrida's radical concept of forgiveness, which is both a non-economic act of morality in the sense explained and an unpredictable, uncontrollable decision and event. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with the central issue of philosophical anthropology: the relation between nature and culture. Although Rousseau was the first thinker to introduce this topic within the modern discourse of philosophy and the cultural sciences, it has its origin in Diogenes the Cynic, who was a disciple of Socrates. In my essay I (1) historically introduce a few aspects of philosophical anthropology, (2) deal with the nature–culture exchange, as introduced in Kant, then I (3) relate this topic to (...) the Ancient Cynic Diogenes. Surprisingly, although we usually identify Critical Theory and Freudian psychoanalysis as theories that have shown that cultural progress should not be comprehended as a development from nature to culture, and that instead it should be conceived as a development from culture against (external as well as internal) nature, I show that Cynicism can be conceived as a vivid example within the history of our culture that reveals a double sense of repression and alienation, which is part of human civilization and mankind. (shrink)