Investigates the possibility of an ethics of compassion based upon the experience of human mortality, applicable to an age in which transcendental sources of meaning and appeals to human rationality are rapidly becoming obsolete.
The search for an ethics rooted in human experience is the crux of this deeply compassionate work, here translated from the 1983 German edition. Distinguished philosopher Werner Marx provides a close reading, critique, and Weiterdenken , or "further thinking," of Martin Heidegger's later work on death, language, and poetry, which has often been dismissed as both obscure and obscurantist. In it Marx seeks, and perhaps finds, both a measure for distinguishing between good and evil and a motive for preferring the (...) former. The poet Hölderlin posed the question, "Is there a measure on earth?" His own answer was emphatic, "There is none," for he was convinced that the measure for man was to be found only in the domain of the heavenly beings. Such metaphysical assumptions, as well as the attempt to found ethical conduct in the nature of man as a rational being, have been rejected by many contemporary thinkers, particularly Heidegger. Yet these thinkers have not been able to provide a satisfactory alternative to metaphysical foundations of the standards for responsible human conduct. Marx, therefore, goes beyond Heidegger in demonstrating how several of his most basic notions could be relevant to a secular morality in our age. It is death, Marx claims, that unsettles man and transforms his conduct toward his fellow man. the common experience of mortality nourishes ethical life--and leads to the measures of compassion, love, and recognition of one's fellow human beings. "It is only on the basis of these 'traditional virtues,'" Marx writes, "that we can find a motive for averting the impending dangers which have often enough been described so vividly and convincingly.". (shrink)
This lecture by Professor Werner Marx, of Freiburg University, was presented at the Moscow Hegel Convention on November 2, 1974. It is here translated for the first time by Professor James C. Risser, of Seattle University.
Otto Pöggeler, the well-known Hegel scholar and Director of the Hegel-Archiv of Bochum, Germany, has published a collection of essays relating to the “idea” of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Of the seven essays in this book, we shall discuss only the fourth and fifth - “Zur Deutung der Phänomenologie des Geistes” and “Hegels Phänomenologie des Selbstbewusstseins” - because they are immediately related to this topic.
Hegel 's classic Phenomenology of Spirit is considered by many to be the most difficult text in all of philosophical literature. In interpreting the work, scholars have often used the Phenomenology to justify the ideology that has tempered their approach to it, whether existential, ontological, or, particularly, Marxist. Werner Marx deftly avoids this trap of misinterpretation by rendering lucid the objectives that Hegel delineates in the Preface and Introduction and using these to examine the whole of the Phenomenology. Marx considers (...) selected materials from Hegel 's text in order both to clarify Hegel 's own view of it and to set the stage for an examination of post-Hegelian philosophy. The primary focus of Marx's book is on the account. Hegel gives of the phenomenological journey from natural consciousness to philosophical wisdom. In showing that Hegel 's many statements concerning consciousness 'finding itself' or 'knowing itself' in its world can be understood as discovering the rationality of the conditioning world, Marx offers a solution to several sets of interrelated problems that have troubled students of Hegel. His book contains valuable analyses of the relation between Hegel 's thought and that of Descartes and Kant as well as that of Karl Marx, and it also sheds considerable light on the question of the internal unity or coherence of the Phenomenology. (shrink)
Werner Marx. ality is accessible to him. Therefore, instead of looking for the ' ultimate causes and principles of being as such', he must confine himself to finding the principles and causes of substantiality. If then this is ousia (that which is ...
Summary In this paper I inquire by way of a phenomenological description whether the experience of an encounter with one's own mortality could not so transform a person's ethos that the virtues of justice, compassion and neighborly love could ensue. I will concentrate on such an encounter in and through the mood of dread. This paper, in opposition to Heidegger, is only concerned with it's effect regarding our ethical comportment. I claim that the mood of dread not only destroys the (...) mood of indifference, but also sends him on a pathway of self‐transforming moods. As to the “understanding” accompanying moods in the field of ethical comportment I try to show that it has the character of a direct non‐ratiocinative insight.RésuméJe voudrais dans cet article examiner, à l'aide d'une description phénoménologique, si l'expérience que constitue la rencontre avec la perspective de sa propre mort ne peut pas transformer l'éthique d'un homme de telle manière que les vertus de justice, de pitié et de reconnaissance de la dignité humaine puissent s'y développer. Je me limite ici à une telle rencontre avec un sentiment d'horreur. Cet article n'aborde — contrairement à la manière dont Heidegger conçoit l'angoisse — que l'effet sur le comportement éthique. Je suis d'avis que le sentiment d'horreur non seulement détruit celui d'indifférence, mais dispose l'homme à vouloir se changer lui‐me̊me. Quant à la »compréhension« des sentiments accompagnant le comportement éthique, je montre qu'elle a le caractère d'une intuition immédiate et non rationnelle.ZusammenfassungIn diesem Aufsatz möchte ich auf dem Wege einer phänomenologischen Beschreibung untersuchen, ob die Erfahrung einer Begegnung mit der eigenen Sterblichkeit das Ethos eines Menschen nicht so verwandeln kann, dass sich die Tugenden von Gerechtigkeit, Mitleid und mitmenschlicher Anerkennung entwickeln können. Ich beschränke mich dabei auf eine solche Begegnung in der und durch die Gestimmtheit des Entsetzens. Dieser Aufsatz erörtert — im Gegensatz zu Heideggers Auffassung der Angst — nur die Wirkung auf unser ethisches Verhalten. Ich bin der Auffassung, dass die Gestimmtheit des Entsetzens nicht nur die Stimmung der Gleichgültigkeit zerstört, sondern den Menschen auch auf einen Weg der selbstverändernden Gestimmtheiten sendet. Was das »Verstehen« begleitender Stimmungen im Bereich des ethischen Verhaltens betrifft, so versuche ich zu zeigen, dass dies den Charakter eines unmittelbaren, nicht‐rationalen Einsehens hat. (shrink)