Abstract The purpose of this paper is to argue that the connection between hermeneutics and practical philosophy is so strong that one needs to consider hermeneutics as the outline of an ethical sensibility, one that takes up the challenges that are outlined by Heidegger's call for an “original ethics.“ Part of this argument entails demonstrating how understanding, the real task of every hermeneutic project, is ultimately a form of self-understanding.
What are the assumptions and tasks hidden in contemporary calls to "overcome" the metaphysical tradition? Reflecting upon the internal contradictions of the notions of "tradition" and "finiteness," Dennis J. Schmidt offers novel insights into how philosophy must relate to its traditions if it is to retain a vital sense of the plurality of "edges" that constitute its finiteness. He does this through a close examination of issues found in the work of Hegel and Heidegger, two philosophers who made the ideas (...) of both tradition and finiteness the center of their concern.Schmidt begins by asking how Heidegger can claim to have destroyed metaphysics despite Hegel's claim to have perfected its possibilities. Systematically following the development of Heidegger's critique of Hegel, Schmidt generates a dialogue between them. The topic of that dialogue is the nature of finiteness as it is articulated in time, nothing, the dialectical and hermeneutical circles, and in the notions of experience, work, technology, history, and preSocratic thought.Beginning with Heidegger's critique of Hegel in Being and Time, Schmidt's strategy is to disclose the complexities of philosophical discourse about the finite by drawing out the proximities between Hegel and Heidegger. The dialogue that results presents novel portraits of both philosophers. It also reveals that Heidegger's early, unacknowledged failure to separate himself from the Hegelian dialectic is the motive behind many of the turns and decisions of his later career.In concluding, Schmidt offers an interpretation of the wider significance of the results of that dialogue, and connects his study to other contemporary discussions of postmodernism. He expands upon the idea of the plurality of edges opened by finiteness, arguing that philosophy only understands its own past and future once it recognizes the meaning of its own finiteness.Dennis J. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Binghamton. The Ubiquity of the Finite is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy. (shrink)
A typical view of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit takes the view that it traces the forward march of spirit and that this forward moving education outlines a path of pure progress. My contention is that what most needs to be said about spirit is that it is indeed a slow learner: lessons must be learned over and over again, structures get repeated, the same mistakes are made in different contexts. Repetition, not progress, is the rule of spirit's education. Two questions (...) are addressed in this essay. First, what is it about spirit that makes it such a slow learner of the lessons it must learn? Second, how is it that the crisis of tragedy and its resolution in the form of comedy represent a new stage in the education of spirit, one in which there is some hope of finally learning the lessons it must suffer? (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to begin to renew the theme of nature as a central, even unavoidable, question for philosophizing today. Furthermore, the argument is made that this question is most productively posed as a question concerning ethical life. Texts by Aristotle, Kant and Höderlin are considered. Attention to Heidegger's concerns with technology also serves to guide the issues here.
Whitehead’s widely cited and accepted remark that the history of philosophy is but a series of footnotes to Plato has implications for how both Plato and the history of philosophy is to be understood. Such an understanding does an injustice to both Plato and the history of philosophy. A recent book by John Sallis, Platonic Legacies, presents us with a counterview, one that offers a more exciting view of both Plato and the meaning of his legacy for the history of (...) philosophy. The chief purpose of this article is to unpack some of Sallis’s contributions in this regard. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to raise the question of ethical life independently of the framework of metaphysical assumptions, above all, independently of the language and idiom of conceptual reason. In order to carry out this project, which is akin to what Heidegger described as the project of formulating an “original ethics,” I take up several works by Charles Scott that I find offering especially productive openings for that project.
The intention of this article is investigate ways in which the image and metaphor of the garden open productive avenues for thinking the being of nature. The primary focus of this investigation is found in two instances in which gardens play significant roles in presenting, even if only tacitly, an image of nature: Homer’s Odyssey and Plato’s reference to the “Gardens of Adonis” in Phaedrus.
The image and the idea of the garden play a prominent role in both Klee’s paintings and in his theoretical work. The purpose of this paper is to ask about the significance of gardens for Klee. In the end, I argue that the garden provides an image of growth and of place that opens possibilities for understanding the human place in the world.
The largest purpose of this paper is to ask about how it is that life is re-presented by us. The argument is that life should be considered as a matter not of a collection of objects, but of a movement, of time. Furthermore, the claim is that the conceptual language of philosophy has the liability of ossifying this movement of life but that music, which is time and movement above all, is able to keep pace with this movement of life.
Ernst Bloch, one of the most original and influential of contemporary European thinkers and a founder of the Frankfurt School, has left his mark on a range of fields from philosophy and social theory to aesthetics and theology. Natural Law and Human Dignity, the first of his major works to appear in English is unique in its attempt to get beyond the usual oppositions between the natural law and social utopian traditions, providing basic insights on the question of human rights (...) in a socialist society. Natural Law and Human Dignity is a sweeping yet synthetic work that critically reviews the great legal philosophies, from Plato to the present, in order to uncover and clarify the normative features of true socialism. Along the way it offers thoughtful reflections on topics as diverse as the abolition of poverty and degradation, the nature of the state, and the installation of freedom and dignity.Taking the idea of natural law as his guiding thread, Bloch argues that revolution and right, rather than being antagonistic, are fundamentally interconnected. With their emphasis on human dignity, the traditions of natural law have an irreplaceable contribution to make to the socialist vision of a more humane society. In his effort to wed the demands of law and right to the agenda of social revolution, Bloch offers a radical restructuring of our understanding of the social world. This rethinking of the fundamental principles of political philosophy is the product of a long personal and philosophical odyssey. Bloch lived as a writer in Munich, Bern, and Berlin until he was forced to emigrate to Czechoslovakia and then to the United States during World War 11. After the war he returned to East Germany, where he held a chair in philosophy at the University of Leipzig. He emigrated to the west as the Berlin Wall was being built, and he taught at the University of Tübingen until his death. Natural Law and Human Dignity is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy. (shrink)