Monday, December 31, 2007
{1} The Western Tradition of Philosophy, a chapter from George Joseph Seidel's Martin Heidegger and the Pre-Socratics.

The history of western metaphysics might be called the story of the great tragedy of being. It is but a chapter in the history of being, but it has, unfortunately, been a very long chapter. For that which has tended to characterize the history of western metaphysics has been a degeneration from the authentic truth of being (Wahrheit des Seins), a degeneration which Heidegger has characterized as the forgetting of being (Seinsvergessenheit). This forgetfulness is not, as Heidegger points out, the absentmindedness of a philosophy professor who has left his umbrella someplace but cannot remember where. This forgetfulness of being is something that has affected the fate of being's essence. Neither does the anxiety which the true thinker must necessarily feel in the face of this forgetfulness of being have anything to do with psychiatry or psychoanalysis.

That this forgetfulness of being is something which has occurred historically could be known from the necessity of the analysis of Dasein which Heidegger found it necessary to carry on in Sein und Zeit. Why this forgetting of being should have occurred, the tragic flaws of which were already contained in the thought of the pre-Socratics--flaws which were carried to their inevitable, but nevertheless unfortunate conclusions by Plato and Aristotle only to find their conclusion and consummation (Vollendung) in the metaphysics of Hegel and Nietzsche: this is a matter which remains to be seen.
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