In City Journal, Jerry Weinberger reviews Arthur M. Melzer's Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing.
As Strauss discovered, the Enlightenment conspiracy to rationalize the world aimed not simply to defang meddlesome prelates. Its thinkers, confronted with their inability to refute the claims of faith and revelation, turned to a “Napoleonic strategy” to laugh them out of the world and to use material prosperity and rational calculation to bludgeon the religious impulse. They wanted to force the harmony of theory and practice, philosophy and politics, by subordinating politics to philosophy. The rationalistic, Procrustean bed of the French Revolution, however, provoked the counter-Enlightenment, exemplified by Burke and the German Historical School that praised custom and local tradition over reason’s calculation. And later, Heidegger’s existentialism described the claims of such rational calculation as a massive attempt to hide from the groundlessness and especially the fatefulness of life. For Heidegger, genuine thinking required grasping resolutely the brute fact of what you are, not what you ought to be. The paradoxical result, says Melzer, was again to harmonize philosophy and politics, but this time by subordinating philosophy to the arbitrariness of political life.
The modern Enlightenment project of Napoleonic conquest really was dogmatic, as Heidegger argued. But classical rationalism was not, as Heidegger failed to see. It was inquiring and skeptical and involved living both within the “mysterious nature of the whole” and the “fundamental and enduring problems” of human life. Classical rationalism held “that we are more familiar with the situation of man as man than with the ultimate causes of that situation.” For Strauss, says Melzer, nothing more than the permanence of the fundamental problems is needed to legitimize reason as classical philosophy understood it.
In Corriere Della Sera, Richard Wolin thrashes a straw man.
[T]he most recently published volume of the Black Notebooks (Gesamtausgabe 97) seems to have been the final straw.
Given the history of l’affaire Heidegger, I expect Wolin will continue to find straw for his scarecrow.
His first significant publication following the war, the 1947 «Letter on Humanism», was in reality a manifesto of antihumanism. Let there be no underestimating the ethical stakes at issue. By declaring war on «humanism», Heidegger was simultaneously declaring war on the principles of «human dignity», «human rights», «self-determination», and «democracy». In sum, he scorned the «ideas of 1789» as «unGerman».
Three decades ago, Wolin published an anthology that starts with Heidegger's "The self-determination of the German University". Now he tells us Heidegger was at war with «self-determination». Good thing scholars have a journalist to tell them what to think.
[H]is philosophy makes a mockery of the Kantian ideal of moral autonomy.
Kant: "The euthanasia of Judaism is the pure moral religion.", Streit der Fakultaten, 1798, 'nuff said.
¶ 7:22 AM0 comments
When Antisthenes objected to Plato, ‘I see the real horse but I don’t see the idea of horseness,’ Plato replied: ‘You have what is required to see the real horse, but you do not yet have the eye to see the idea of horse.’ Heidegger wants to overcome this dualism between empirical and ideal by making the idea of horse the ontological pre-understanding that allows us to see and recognize actual horses. For Heidegger, what Antisthenes lacked was not dialectical ability, the capacity for abstract thought, but phenomenological sensitivity.
Heidegger in the 1930s was working his way to a more integral phenomenology of the togetherness of being and thinking, which he summed up in the idea of the Ereignis. The interrogation of beings in view of their being is continued in the interrogation of being itself in view of what one can call the phenomenological conditions of its possibility. If the eidê represent the breakthrough in Plato of a vision of being in its difference from beings, the Good, the idea of ideas, points to a more radical difference, that between being and the Ereignis, as that which ‘grants’ being: ‘Es gibt sein.’Thus for a while Heidegger seems to have caught a glimmer of the Ereignis in Plato’s thought of the Good. The Good, too, represents a step beyond being, not toward a transcendent non-being, but toward the innermost essentiality of being. It is possible that the nascent thought of the Ereignis inspires Heidegger’s interest in the theme of the Good and guides his exegetical steps.
[I]f we look at the way in which Heidegger defines human existence (as ‘Dasein’ or ‘being-in-the-world’), a peculiar picture of death begins to emerge. It is not a terminal event that
happens at the end of one’s life and generally accompanied by a failure of biological functioning. It is, rather, a kind of ‘collapse’ or ‘breakdown’ (Zusammenbruch) of meaning itself, where what dies or comes to an end is not a physiological entity but the ability to understand and make sense of the world and oneself. Understood this way, death refers to the uncanny experience of having one’s way of being or identity slip away because the familiar world—that is, the shared background of meaning on the basis of which I understand who I am— has collapsed into meaninglessness. This is an ‘ontological death’ in the sense that I cannot be anything because the intelligible context of equipment, roles, and practices I draw on to fashion my identity and sustain my sense of self has lost all significance for me. I am, quite simply, ‘unable-to-be’. On this account, what Heidegger calls ‘dying’ is not only an event that I can physiologically live through; it is an event that discloses the structural vulnerability at the core of my identity and can occur numerous times throughout the finite span of my life.
I have just pushed the latest version (1.3) of my GA App to the cloud.
The major new feature is that books and papers are now linked to Google Scholar. For example, on a book's page you'll see the following External links:
Ereignis: Information about the book on Ereignis web site. I haven't entered all the information about some books into the app. That's especially the case for books with essays by multiple people. This link only shows if I've linked the book to its entry in the Ereignis bibliography.
Amazon: The book on Amazon. This link only shows if the book has an ISBN.
Google Books: The book on Google Books. This link only shows if the book has an ISBN.
OneDrive: The PDF file of the book. This link only shows if I have the PDF, and only works if you are collaborating with me on a project, or your app login is connected the author, translator, or editor of the book.
Google Scholar: The book on Google Scholar.
Besides the new links, this update also adds lots of new content which can be found using the app's Search feature.
¶ 11:56 PM0 comments
I'm still reading it, but I found it indicative of the state of the web today that the paper appears on a social media site, before it appears on Malpas's own jeffmalpas.com. A couple months ago The Economist had a cover story on the mobile internet. They found it significant that internet users now spend more time in apps (e.g., Facebook) than they spend browsing the web. When I started Ereignis in 1995, I imagined that in the future anyone with anything to say would publish it on their own web page, and Ereignis's role would be to facilitate learning by linking to those web pages that were about Heidegger's way of thinking, filtering away pages with the string "heidegger" for extraneous reasons.
Today I'm thinking that the way to facilitate the path towards making sense of Heidegger, is to produce an app for that purpose. Instead of merely indicating where the relevant papers are on the web, the app should process the web content, and present it within the app.
¶ 9:19 AM0 comments
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
In Sputnik International, challenging the truth (ἀλήϑεια-3, "the agreement of a propositional
statement with the state of affairs to which it refers") in the Ukraine.
If truth emerges from the clash of opinions, it is only when both sides seek the truth
Clearly, this is not the case. So what should we do? What should we do about Ukraine?
Heidegger believed that a thinker should not engage in arguments, as when he does so he begins to think for the sake of the argument. We should analyze our own position, question, expand, and deepen it.
Czar Putin's serfs say they need to expand their position, indicating they remain stuck metaphysically.
Space and time comprise the framework for our calculative domination
and ordering of the "world" as nature and history. This pervasive measurement
of the world in a calculative, discovering. and conquering manner is
undertaken by modern human beings in a way whose distinctive metaphysical
feature is modern machine technology. Metaphysically, it remains undecided
in this process whether this procedure on the part of modern human
beings—a procedure of conquering space and of time-lapse—serves merely
to bring about a position within the planet as a whole that secures this
humanity a suitable "living space" [Lebensraum.]