Once Husserl had put “phenomenological eyes in my head,” as he said in 1923 (GA 63: 5.22–23),
Heidegger fought against the naïve objectifying realism of the Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics he had
been steeped in, which held that “the real” is id quod habet esse or id cui existentia non repugnat, i.e., that
which exists independent of any subjective constitution by human beings. In that traditional view the
realness of a thing is its existentia or Vorhandensein, its “mere existence” (1) outside of nothing and (2) out
there in the real world. The phenomenological attitude breaks with that naïveté and draws us back
reflectively and thematically to where we always already stand without noticing it: within meaning-giving
fields of possible intelligibility. There we relate to things not merely as objects positioned spatio-temporally
in the universe, independent of us, but rather in terms of their significance, their meaningful presence to us
as personally, socially, and bodily engaged with them. From the start of his career Heidegger affirmed, “I
live in a first-hand world of meaning; everything around me makes sense, always and everywhere” (“In
einer Umwelt lebend, bedeutet es mir überall und immer: GA 56/57: 73.1–8). Heidegger’s philosophy, like
all phenomenology worthy of the name, is correlation research. For us “the real” is not simply what’s-out-there-now;
it is the meaningful—not necessarily the “true,” but always the meaningful. Huis clos: there is
no hors-texte, no exit from meaning. For us who are condemned to λόγος, outside of meaning there is only
In LARB, Brad Evans interviews Gil Anidjar on destruction.
Learning from Avital Ronell, I have tried to argue that Heidegger is among a handful who did pursue a thinking of destruction. Heidegger did not advocate for destruction — he was no Nietzsche — but he proposed a typology of destruction (incidentally, a highly troubling one, as troubling as other and very much related issues that have attracted much more attention), where he discriminates between destruction, extermination, and devastation.
Throughout the film, Trezenga weaves together his twin fascinations with the works of German philosopher Martin Heidegger, and Norwegian author and poet Tarjei Vesaas.
“‘Gavagai’ is about poetry and Heidegger/Hölderlin, Godard/Tarjei Vesaas as poets reaching into ‘the abyss,’” Tregenza explains in his director’s commentary. “The method of creation is to employ the language of a poet, Tarjei Vesaas, and the practice of cinema to uncover how Being and death can call for a different, more meditative event. Gavagai has its origin in thoughts on Being. We follow a forest path set forth by Martin Heidegger, not on a country lane in the Black Forest of Germany, but in Telemark, Norway.”
The film is concerned with the impossibility of perfect translation, the movement between media: most literally with a husband’s attempt to finish his wife’s work, and, more abstractly, the filmmaker’s cinematographic application of an unconventional Heideggerian time concept.
In NDPR Catherine Zuckert reviews Susan Meld Shell's The Strauss-Krüger Correspondence: Returning to Plato through Kant.
Reputed to be Heidegger's most promising student, [Krüger] was lecturing at the University of Marburg. Some of the letters contain Strauss's requests for assistance from his friend in finding a supervisor for his habilitation as well as, more urgently, employment. The letters thus reveal the problems Jewish scholars in Germany faced even before the Nazis took power. The primary reason why the letters are of interest today, however, is that, agreeing that modern philosophy is fundamentally defective, Krüger and Strauss point to different, one might even say, fundamentally opposed paths from Heidegger. For Krüger, Heidegger's re-raising the question of being pointed to the importance of ontology, which involved theological and moral as well as strictly philosophical issues.
In NDPR Anthony D. Traylor reviews Bradley B. Onishi's The Sacrality of the Secular: Postmodern Philosophy of Religion.
Heidegger's breakthrough discovery (beginning with the summer lecture course in 1919) is that all Neo-Kantian talk of "value" (the stuff of "worldviews") presupposes a more original encounter with the world which is prior to its theoretical articulation by both science and philosophy. Understood pre-theoretically, meaning is something that arises immediately out of lived-experience (Erlebnis) and takes hold of me directly. This recovery of pre-objectified experience (what Heidegger calls the "es weltet" or the "it worlds") before it has undergone a process of "de-vivification" (Ent-lebnis) marks, for Heidegger, the critical juncture not only for the fate of meaning but for the future of philosophy itself if we are to avoid the "abyss" of worldly reification, or as Onishi has it, Weberian disenchantment. Insofar as the es weltet unfolds within the temporal flow of "factical life," it resists reduction to rational mastery and reveals a certain "uncanniness" or layer of mystery that situates worldly meaning in close proximity to what we normally think of as the "sacred."