"Daimon Life is life-enchancing. To read it is to become richer in word." –John Llewelyn Disclosure of Martin Heidegger’s complicity with the National Socialist regime in 1933-34 has provoked virulent debate about the relationship between his politics and his philosophy. Did Heidegger’s philosophy exhibit a kind of organicism readily transformed into ideological "blood and soil"? Or, rather, did his support of the Nazis betray a fundamental lack of loyalty to living things? David Farrell Krell traces Heidegger’s political authoritarianism to his (...) failure to develop a constructive "life-philosophy"—his phobic reactions to other forms of being. Krell details Heidegger’s opposition to Lebensphilosophie as expressed in Being and Time, in an important but little-known lecture course on theoretical biology given in 1929–30 called "The Basic Concepts of Metaphysics," and in a recently published key text, Contributions to Philosophy, written in 1936–38. Although Heidegger’s attempt to think through the problems of life, sexual reproduction, behavior, environment, and the ecosystem ultimately failed, Krell contends that his methods of thinking nonetheless pose important tasks for our own thought. Drawing on and away from Heidegger, Krell expands on the topics of life, death, sexuality, and spirit as these are treated by Freud, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Irigaray. Daimon Life addresses issues central to contemporary philosophies of politics, gender, ecology, and theoretical biology. (shrink)
The “deconstruction” that is commonly seen to be the method of Derrida’s philosophy has an inescapably negative connotation. To counter this view of Derrida’s thought as basically destructive, David Farrell Krell invites readers to understand how it may instead be seen as fundamentally affirmative—just as Nietzsche’s philosophy, so allegedly nihilistic, is at heart a call for tragic affirmation, in _amor fati_. But, while affirmative, Derrida is also engaged in a thinking of mourning, which he views as the promise of memory—a (...) fragile yet vital promise that binds past and future. The book explores what mourning means in Derrida’s writing and how the labors of mourning and affirmation are mediated by works of art. Thus the book engages many different areas of Derrida’s work, from the classic texts of deconstruction to the more recent meditations on art and mourning. "This chance [affirmation without issue] can come to us only from you, do you hear me? Do you understand me?... And me, the purest of bastards, leaving bastards of all kinds just about everywhere.” This passage from Derrida’s _La Carte postale _nicely encapsulates what David Farrell Krell wants to convey about Derrida’s thought_—_its astonishing mix of negativity and affirmation in his labors of mourning. (shrink)
"Three Ends of the Absolute" discusses Schelling's notion of inhibition in the philosophy of nature, Hölderlin's notion of separation in his "Seyn, Urtheil, Modalität," and Novalis' notion of the density of God in his late scientific notes. All three thinkers can be contrasted with Hegel on the basis of their attacks on philosophical absolutes. Schelling , in his First Projection of a Philosophy of Nature , reflects on the conundrum of absolute inhibition in nature, an inhibition of absolute freedom that (...) is necessary if there is to be a procession of natural products. Inhibition conditions all putative absolutes. Hölderlin argues that absolute separation is essential to consciousness of any kind. Whereas he advances no "doctrine" of the end of the absolute as such, he does emphasize the tragic separation and dissolution to which all intellectual intuition comes. The absolute "original" suffers from an irremediable "debility." Novalis , in his Universal Sketchbook , continues the work of his early Fichte Studies by resisting the notion of the absolute ego. "Everything pure is . . . a deception." For Novalis, the absolute can only be our absolute inability to think or act in conformity with an absolute. The article ends with a reflection on Goethe's opposition between "relative" and "absolute" death. (shrink)
In 1990-1991 Jacques Derrida taught a seminar in Paris involving the scientific-philosophical notebooks of the German Romantic writer and thinker Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg, 1772-1801). The present article offers an account of that seminar, which was entitled, "The Rhetoric of Cannibalism.".
A critical appraisal of husserl's lectures on internal time-Consciousness and passive synthesis (touching the theme of memory) is followed by an appreciation of merleau-Ponty's "problem of passivity". I argue that husserl's descriptions of memory processes embody prejudices stemming from the 'objective time' he claims to have bracketed out and that his phenomenological method is itself a phenomenon of the mathematical imagination. The latter pursues inherited ideals of clarity, Evidence, Immanence and presence which distort all mnemonic phenomena. Merleau-Ponty eschews the representational (...) thought, Objective-Linear time, Evidence and immanence of husserlian epistemology. Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of ambiguity responds with greater suppleness and subtlety to the most ambiguous of phenomena--Memory. (shrink)
"Infectious Nietzsche is simply one of the most interesting and engaging works to appear on Nietzsche’s philosophy in years." —David Allison Krell explores health, illness, and creativity in the life and thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. Drawing on a varied literature of philosophical reflections on health, and analyzing Nietzsche’s confrontation with traditional values, Krell skillfully engages the legacy of Platonism and Western metaphysics that is at the core of Nietzsche’s thought. Nietzsche’s genealogical critique, his doctrine of eternal recurrence of the same, (...) and the Nietzschean physiology and psychology of decadence are principal foci. Anyone interested in a philosophical reflection on questions of genius and pathology, and all readers of Nietzsche, will find Krell’s new book compelling reading. (shrink)
Derrida’s Geschlecht series, along with the books Of Spirit and Aporias, constitutes his most sustained close-reading of Heidegger. Three essays of the four-partGeschlecht series have been published: the first, second, and fourth, these together comprising some 130 book pages. The third Geschlecht exists only as a thirty-three-page typescript prepared sometime before March 1985 and distributed to the speakers at a colloquium in Chicago organized by John Sallis. These thirty-three pages are among the 100 to 130 pages that Derrida by his (...) own account devoted to Heidegger’s Trakl essay of 1953 (“Die Sprache im Gedicht”); however provisional and fragmentary, the typescript tells us much about the themes that “magnetize” the entire Geschlecht series. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 3 - 34 The article, based on a course taught at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in 2015, has three sections: 1) Derrida’s first major seminar on Heidegger, taught in 1964–65, asks whether the language of _Sein_ is ontological or mere “ontic metaphor”; 2) Derrida notes that the first paragraphs on historicity in _Being and Time_ offer an intriguing interpretation of birth as “the other end of Dasein”; 3) Derrida focuses on the theme of the (...) past as an _ekstasis_, which is literally “_une sortie hors de soi_.”. (shrink)
This article reflects on the complex nature of Nietzsche's enduring appreciation of Emerson. Rather than rely on merely coincidental similarities between the two thinkers, the essay discerns a more difficult relationship—that of friendship—which somehow, perhaps through character, unites the two without making them the same.
Heidegger’s thinking has an underlying unity, this book argues, and has cogency for seemingly diverse domains of modern culture: philosophy and religion, aesthetics and literary criticism, intellectual history and social theory. “The theme of mortality—finite human existence—pervades Heidegger’s thought,” in the author’s words, “before, during, and after his magnum opus, _Being and Times_, published in 1927.” This theme is manifested in Heidegger’s work not “as funereal melodramatics or as despair and destructive nihilism” but rather “_as a thinking within anxiety_.” Four (...) major subthemes in Heidegger’s thinking are explored in the book’s four parts: the fundamental ontology developed in _Being and Time_; the “lighting and clearing” of Being, understood as “unconcealment”; the history of philosophy—with emphasis on Heraclitus, Hegel, and Nietzsche—interpreted as the “destiny” of Being; and the poetics of Being, explicated as the “fundamental experience” of mortality. Neither an introduction nor a survey, this book is a close reading of a wide range of Heidegger’s books, lectures, and articles—including extensive material not yet translated into English—informed by the author’s conversations with Heidegger in 1974_–_76. Each of the four subthemes is treated critically. The aim of the book is to push its interrogations of Heidegger’s thought as far as possible, in order to help the reader toward an independent assessment of his work and to encourage novel, radically conceived approaches to traditional philosophical problems. (shrink)
John Sallis, Force of Imagination: The Sense of the Elemental. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 2000, pp. 237 + xiv.John Sallis, Logic of Imagination: The Expanse of the Elemental. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 2012, pp. 287.The most common German word for imagination, especially after Kant, is Einbildungskraft. If one were to translate John Sallis’s title, Force of Imagination, back into German, it would be something like Die Kraft der Einbildungskraft. “Force” would constitute the beginning and the end, (...) performing a redoubling that overpowers the “in-forming” itself. By contrast, the word Einbildungskraft does not appear at all—not even once, much less redoubled—in the first part of Hegel’s “System of Science,” the science of the experience of consciousness, namely, Die Phänomenologie des Geistes. It is not as though Hegel shies from discussions of productive and associative imagination in Kant, Fichte, and Schelling both prior to and after his ow .. (shrink)
Nietzschean reminiscences of Schelling? The title seems to suggest either that Schelling can remember forward to Nietzsche or that some more positive reminiscence of Schelling lies hidden in Nietzsche’s work. Perhaps there is something like a forward-looking remembrance. Perhaps every thinker looks forward to those few who will pick up the thread of his or her thinking—not as the “unthought” of that thinking, but as the very thread that Ariadne ravels and allows to trail behind her. Perhaps too there is (...) something in Nietzsche’s work that demands a more sympathetic and protracted response to Schelling than the response Nietzsche appears to offer. (shrink)
After listing a series of topics in Scott’s Living with Indifference that I would have wanted to address but, if only for reasons of space, could not, I focus on the uses of narrative or fiction in Scott’s book. I am particularly interested in the relation of fiction to trauma. It is the resilience of fiction that perhaps enables it to speak—or to write—so eloquently about traumatic occurrences. As a writer of fiction, I am gripped by the proximity and even (...) intimacy of fiction and trauma in Scott’s thinking. (shrink)
This chapter offers an innovative “thetic”, approach to Theodor W. Adorno's essay by revisiting the much-discussed concept of parataxis that Adorno first developed in his confrontation with Friedrich Hölderlin's poetry and with Martin Heidegger's ontological interpretation of it. The philosophical theme that pervades Hölderlin's late hymns—if there is one, and if it can be distinguished from the “metaphysical” or Heideggerian theme of being—is what Adorno calls “an allegorical history of nature”. Later in “Parataxis” Adorno will describe this theme as resistance (...) to the will to dominate nature, resistance to the compulsion to Naturbeherrschung. However, here Adorno also rejoins the scorned Heidegger, whose resistance to the essence of technology arises from his analysis of the will-to-will that expresses itself preeminently in the drive to subdue beings as a whole. (shrink)
Countless poets and thinkers over the ages have identified closely with Empedocles of Acragas. Friedrich Hölderlin is one of these. The threeversions of his mourning-play, The Death of Empedocles, give us an opportunity to conceive of the unity of the Empedoclean project—to confront nature and humanexistence alike as tragic. Central to this tragic view of both On Nature and Purifications, reputedly the two books of Empedocles, is the theme of doubling and duplicity, especially the presence in the sphere of love (...) and strife. Tragic doubling is a unity in perpetual dispersion. (shrink)
The present essay offers a brief commentary on Paul Klee’s The Tightrope Walker. Klee’s painting is brought into connection with Nietzsche’s famous figure of the Seiltänzer in the prologue to Thus Spoke Zarathustra and to the recent film, Man on Wire. The general context of the essay, “descensional reflection,” is inspired by Heidegger’s remark that thinking in our time is “on the descent” from metaphysics.
Countless poets and thinkers over the ages have identified closely with Empedocles of Acragas. Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) is one of these. The threeversions of his mourning-play, The Death of Empedocles, give us an opportunity to conceive of the unity of the Empedoclean project—to confront nature and humanexistence alike as tragic. Central to this tragic view of both On Nature and Purifications, reputedly the two books of Empedocles, is the theme of doubling and duplicity, especially the presence in the (one) sphere (...) of love and strife. Tragic doubling is a unity in perpetual dispersion. (shrink)