This paper argues that Theodore Kisiel, in his article published in Studia Phænomenologica, vol. 5 (2005), pp. 277-285, completely overlooks the “hermeneutic principles” involved in translating philosophical texts when he arbitrarily denounces Parvis Emad’s and Kenneth Maly’s translation of Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis). By locating the distinctive place that translation occupies, this paper argues that the kind of “neologisms” which Emad and Maly employ are not only acceptable, but necessary, insofar as the translation of such an extraordinary work as (...) the Beiträge tests the limits of language where the word emerges from silence. (shrink)
In his book Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, Peter E. Gordon attempts to reconstruct the historical circumstances which shaped Martin Heidegger’s and Ernst Cassirer’s debate at Davos in 1929, as well as outline the key points of contention in their arguments. Gordon argues that the primary source of disagreement between Heidegger and Cassirer lies in their different concepts of what it means to be human. In this review essay, I argue that rather than a “conceptual” or “thematic” divide, the divergence (...) between them is primarily methodological, and, in Heidegger’s case, unfolds on two fronts: first, by shifting the focus of philosophy away from the modern concern for “man” in favor of the question of being, and, secondly, by pioneering a new strategy for reading the history of philosophy that emphasizes the “historical [geschichtlich]” as the recovery of the past in terms of its relevance for the future, versus providing a “historically [historisch]” accurate record of what has been. (shrink)
I address the ethical treatment of animals from a Heideggerian perspective. My argument proceeds in two stages. First, it is necessary to develop a nonanthropocentric concept of freedom which extends beyond the sphere of human interests. Second, it is essential to show that our capacity to speak must serve the diverse ends of “dwelling,” and hence can be properly exercised only by balancing the interests of animals with those of our own. Rather than point to naturalistic similarities between humans and (...) animals, or even ontological ones, the better strategy lies in expanding the scope of moral agency in a way which allows the differences between humans and animals to suggest guidelines as to why the former should exhibit benevolence toward the latter. In this way, I show that the basic percepts of Heidegger’s philosophy support an ethic which can attend to, and speak in behalf of, the welfare of animals. (shrink)
In mid 1930's, Heidegger recognized that thinking must relinquish its claim to self-guidance in its hermeneutical mode in order to regather its impetus through an encounter with what is presumably antithetical to it, namely, the “systematic philosophy” of a figure like Schelling. By entering into this tension, it becomes possible to dislodge more fertile ways of speaking ; the opportunity arises to juxtapose apparently incongruous forms of discourse. These are as divergent as that aimed at in addressing the etymology of (...) the word “being,” or that involved in the exposition of the character of evil which is found in Schelling's Of Human Freedom. The linkage of these two forms of discourse allows for a reformulation of the question of being, whose hallmark lies in redirecting thought through the issuance of an attunement rather than through the self-guidance of hermeneutics. Schelling's question as to the enigmatic character of evil and the question of being do not even remotely seem to share the same kind of lexicon. The purpose of this paper is to show how the rekindling of the concern for evil as it arises in Heidegger's 1936 lectures on Schelling poses a special challenge; for it involves inscribing within Heidegger's discourse a set of assymetrical meanings to express the basic motifs of his thought. Such assymetry resounds with a special attunement by calling forth the tragedy of human being's imperfect kinship with the Divine, of our enduring the tension of a greater conflict as the counterpole of darkness against which to illuminate the essence of human freedom in a new way. The prospect of finding an index to correlate disparate terms proves far more difficult in this case than with Heidegger's dialogue with other thinkers like Kant and Nietzsche where he links more symmetrical terms such as temporal finitude/sensibilized reason or resolve/will to power. (shrink)
The publication of band 28 of Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe yields one of his most detailed encounters with the three luminaries of German idealism, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Heidegger devotes other works to the study of Hegel’s and Schelling’s thought. But what sets band 28 apart is the meticulous way in which he considers the precepts of Fichte’s Wissenschaftlehre. Indeed, this volume provides the richest treatment of Fichte’s thought in all of Heidegger’s corpus.
Schelling’s philosophy has been construed either as endorsing a Christian view of revelation or as setting the stage for an existentialist account of human freedom. There has been a tendency to ignore the interface of Schelling’s task, namely, as exploring the presuppositions that govern an attempt to rethink the affinity between the Divine and the human will. This paper aims to rectify the above deficiency; it shows how Schelling offers a more radical account of human freedom than can be found (...) in either a conventional Christian or in a secular account of the frailty of the human situation. The key to this interpretation lies in showing that Schelling developed a dialectic of human freedom which establishes how the self-devisiveness of evil can arise as a corollary to the harmony of love. Through his dialectic, Schelling cultivates the insights of German idealism in a manner which clarifies rather than undermines the basic motifs of Christianity. (shrink)
Amongst philosophers, perhaps Heidegger displayed the greatest resistance to defining thought; for him, thinking can only be appreciated by diverting our attention from any extant characteristics and instead undertaking its practice directly. This practical limitation requires that we relinquish any claims of self-possession, certitude, and reflexivity in the Cartesian sense, paradoxically ascribing to thought only the gesture that defers in favor of that matter or concern granting its own occasion. Thinking arises in this movement of transposition as a response to (...) the otherness spawning it, for example, in provoking a question. Heidegger describes this radical inducement to thought as a “leap.” But unless we become immersed in a mystery prematurely, it is important to recognize that the distance such a leap traverses can arise only due to a relationship which remains tantalizingly close, namely, thought’s dependence on language. (shrink)
This paper highlights Max Scheler’s contribution to developing a ‘phenomenological’ account of religious transcendence in a way which remains unique among other proponents of that tradition of continental thought. It is argued that even in formulating his own concept of ‘world-openness’ Scheler continues to foster a vision of the human person’s eternality and kinship with the Divine.
My aim here is to approach Hegel's thought as prefiguring Heidegger's attempt to reawaken an interest in the issue of language and to develop a relation to it which is not based on conventional linguistic forms. In this light language should not be construed abstractly as a structure unto itself that confines truth to the univocal meanings cemented in judgment; instead, language must be addressed in terms of its dynamic role in drawing attention to being and to the backdrop against (...) which the entirety of what is can be revealed as opening the way to thought. Heidegger often credits a reawakening to the powers of logos to Hölderlin as the "poet of the poets"; but it is not easy to adopt Hölderlin's insights immediately from the domain of poetry without also considering the specific nuances with which language must be endowed in order to provide the fertile soil for thought. It should not be surprising, then, that Heidegger should seek a philosophical analogue to his own efforts in a figure such as Hegel; for it is well known that Hegel not only appreciated the contributions of Hölderlin, but also saw an important correlation between the philosophical and poetic modes of expression. Thus Hegel, in both the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Logic, examines the process of the determination of thought in such a way that he raises a question as ancient as Parmenides' concern for the interrelation between "being and thinking." More importantly, Hegel's attempt to unearth a perennial problem of this magnitude demands a retreat to a more basic level where language carves a deeper path within traditional ontology. (shrink)
This paper develops a new interpretation of Heidegger's concept of conscience in order to show to what extent his thought establishes the possibility of civil disobedience. The origin of conscience lies in the self's appropriation of language as inviting a reciprocal response of the other (person). By developing the social dimension of dialogue, it is showsn that conscience reveals the self in its capacity for dissent, free speech, and civil disobedience. By developing the social roots of conscience, a completely new (...) light is cast on the political implications of Heidegger's thought. (shrink)
This paper attempts to show that a fuller treatment of imagination than offered by the deconstructionists depends upon ascertaining more completely its temporal character as originally outlined in Heidegger's dialogue with Kant. Emphasis is placed on the need to consider imagination as extending the temporal horizon both for the revealment and concealment of being. An adequate response to the deconstructionists lies in identifying the "economy" of imagination as the foothold for considering both the forgetting and recollection of being.
Books which are difficult due to their complexity and yet which stand apart as original contributions require special attention. William Desmond’s most recent effort, Being and the Between, is no exception since it displays both of these elements. Desmond’s book is complex because it draws upon so many varied perspectives of the Western tradition and weaves them together into a unique presentation of a central motif: to think the “happening of the between” as the interface of being and truth. At (...) the same time, his book is original insofar as it does not identify with any philosophical school in exclusion of another. Instead, the author formulates an integrated metaphysics of individual and community, self and other, God and creation, which transcends the specialization of contemporary thought. (shrink)
As a central legacy to the dialectical journey chronicled in the Phenomenology of Spirit, the uniquely Hegelian proviso to think concretely poses a special challenge when developed as the chief motif in Theodor Adorno’s attempt to guide us through the maze of Hegel’s texts. In Hegel: Three Studies, Adorno shows with extraordinary intensity how the continual challenge of grappling with Hegel’s writings converges with the apparently separate effort to pioneer novel philosophical insights. The passivity of reading and the activity of (...) original thinking are not disparate tasks, but may instead distinguish complementary sides of the life of spirit in its historical movement. (shrink)
Has hermeneutics become so diffuse in its applications as to lose its relevance for contemporary philosophy? In Beyond Interpretation, Gianni Vattimo raises this provocative question. He argues that hermeneutics fosters skepticism, which promotes a “conflict of interpretations” and undermines the possibility of any agreement in the search for truth. By contrast, Vattimo seeks to recover the importance of hermeneutics for addressing specific areas of knowledge, while avoiding its dissolution into a poetic venture devoid of any determinate content. In place of (...) an “irrationalism” of divergent interpretations, Vattimo calls for a new rationality, which upholds rigorous standards of philosophical knowledge. In order to recover its rich heritage, hermeneutics must evolve in a new direction and recover the rational thread of its mission. (shrink)