Saturday, May 30, 2009

Todd Colby's Glee Farm has a couple of quotes. This one rubs me the right way.
"What is decisive is not to get out of the circle, but to get in it in the right way." -M.H. Being and Time, p143
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Ontology makes for better motorcycle maintenance.
Crawford's book documents the many valuable life lessons learned and philosophical insights gleaned from fixing motorcycles, lessons he would never have learned at the think tank, and insights he would never have gleaned were it not for a doctorate in political philosophy. Nothing against motorcycle mechanics, but most simply don't have the language and knowledge base to compare a leaky oil cylinder on a 1983 Honda Magna V45 with Heidegger's question of being.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I've had to turn on "comment moderation" because of a spike in spam. Comments won't appear on the site until I've eyeballed them.

Distropia explains stuff.
Heidegger provides a deflationary ontology, a historicization of the process of reification and forgetfullness of this fundamental ground of philosophy. At this point, the idea of ontological difference comes at play as a form of veiling and unveiling something about the beings that are in the world. The question of worldliness is thus connected to this methodological proceedure, the World is that which we are capable of comprehending about the World, as beings are revelated into language in time.
And goes on to explain why it matters to archeology.
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bert Olivier profiled in paper.
Through Harries, he was introduced to the work of a number of renowned philosophers, including Martin Heidegger, who soon became one of his main influences.

“Heidegger was one of the first people who thought in post-structuralist terms”. A new paradigm of philosophy, post-structuralism emerged in France in the 1960s, and is broadly understood as a body of distinct elaborations on structuralism, which attempted to explain the world as a neat system of inter-related structures.

“Structuralism was a manifestation of the culmination of modern thought, which turns the world into a series of mathematically articulated objects – essentially the precondition for technology.

“Heidegger rebelled at this attempt to control the earth through technology. Instead of setting upon nature in the form of an assault, Heidegger believed we must become like listeners to discover our place on this earth.”
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Wozu Dichter?

From Roy Arthur Swanson's Blue Margin.
Being itself, the margin margining, is blue,
the deepest structure of all spectral fact,
nor blue eyes or sky or sadness of the sea,
of barren hills, of empty streets,
of those who live in rooms that echo
shadowed memory of movement
and laughter in young gatherings,
bur blue prescinding every color,
every brearh, and every resurrection—
the blue of creativity of quantum elevation,
the blue that is a poet’s contemplation of
the margin of the one reality that is the Self.
Ereignis makes the ge-stell possible, the ge-stell hides ereignis, and yet in the ge-stell is the opening to experience ereignis.
For a thinking that pursues Appropriation can still only surmise it, and yet can experience it even now in the nature of modern technology, which we call by the still strange-sounding name of Framing (Ge-Stell). Because Framing chllenges man, that is, provokes him to order and set up all that is present being as technical inventory, Framing persists after the manner of Appropriation, specifically by simultaneously obstructing Appropriation, in that all ordering finds itself channeled into calculative thinking and therefore speaks the language of Framing.

Pp. 131-2
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Jean-François Mattéi asks the question:
“What is Ereignis?” is a question that is halted on the hurdle of its very possibility of accord. For it is necessary that Being first be granted to us so that we may accord our question with Ereignis, which itself is originary accord. If we think of the simplicity of Being as what gives us the world in an accord and accords us with it, then it is no longer Being conceived as a supreme concept that determines the advent-in the sense that Ereignis is this or that—but the advent that freely grants Being. Being would then be a mode of Ereignis, not Ereignis a mode of being (Dann ware das Sein eine Art des Ereignisses und nicht das Ereignis eine Art des Seins).
(TB, 21, mod.)

Once more Heidegger is careful when dealing with this “reversal” (Umkehrung): Here the chiasmus can no longer play out since we have arrived at the central point where the four branches are crossed, at the simple point without dimension that sheds light without being itself part of the clearing. To be sure, there is no more presence between Being and Ereignis. Thought, watchful for forgiveness, only allows the same to come forth: Das Ereignis ereiggnet, the accord accords what is ownmost, which must be heard at the same time as “what is ownmost” and “what is ownmost.” Being and ownmost: accord.

The “‘es gibt’ das Sein” (‘There is’ Being) in the Letter on Humanism (LH 1976, 214) already owns a legacy to the “‘There is ‘Being” of Sein und Zeit (SZ, 212) and proves the marvelous unity of a path that never deflected from its own course. This unity is what accords thought with the peace of silence.

The only thing left to is to listen to the simple murmur “Es—das Ereignis—eignet” (OWL, 128) in the silent lightning of Ereignis within which we anticipate such an accord, “Being disappears within Ereignis” (TB, 22)

Pp. 118-9
TB: Time and Being
OWL: On the Way to Language
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
From a review of Antonio Calcagno's The Philosophy of Edith Stein.
Stein the Jewish girl who embraced atheism as a teenager, converts to Catholicism at thirty-one, and takes the veil at forty-six; the Catholic feminist, the victim of invidious sexism and racism, identified as Edmund Husserl’s “secretary,” accused of merely emulating Husserl’s work, than victimized again by Heidegger who “took Stein’s edited manuscript of Husserl’s On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time and credited himself with editing it. In the face of all these insults and more, Stein never wavered.


In the final chapter, Heidegger and Stein on the Question of Being, Calcagno engages in a systematic and in-depth analysis of the phenomenological differences in the work of Heidegger and Stein. He explores Stein’s critique of Heidegger’s Being and Time, concentrating on Stein’s inquiries into the definition of the word, Dasein, the adequacy of that term, and posits the question, is the Heideggerian analysis sufficient to act as a ground for “approaching the question of the sense of being?”

Calcagno explains that Stein’s objection with Heidegger’s use of the term Dasein (human being, humankind, being-in-the-world) is that he associates the essence of being as existence, a definition formerly ascribed to God, thereby destroying the metaleptic reality.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Research as Second Language is keen on "The Age of World Picture".
Modern science, he says, is an "ongoing activity", the activity of research. In German he calls it Betrieb, which can also mean business or enterprise or operation. In Being and Time this word is translated as "hustle". On this view, then, science is a hustle and bustle of equipment and procedures, conferences and publishers. "The scholar disappears," he tells us, and what gets written is determined by negotiations with peers and editors. Sound familiar?

Leiter Reports continues to confuse doing philosophy with ad hominem attacks, Stanley Fish is Philosophically Incompetent. Such puffery beats having to actually read texts and ask helpful clarifying questions.
Monday, May 18, 2009

Jacques Rancière, the blog, reviews Olive Marchart's Post-Foundational Political Thought.
The centrality of Heidegger to post-foundational political thought relates to his philosophical engagement with questions of ontology and difference. This – what has been called the ontico-ontological difference – has many dimensions; but here it pertains directly to those questions which became, in debates in French, for instance, carried out in terms of the difference between le politique and la politique, or politics construed as ontic arrangements of society, its institutions and orders. These contingent ('political') arrangements arise as such (with different aspects of them becoming at different times the stuff of 'politics') because of the nature of ontology – an ontology that has come to be thought of as 'political'. That is, it is only because the ontological level enables/necessitates contingent arrangements that politics both possible and indeed inevitable. Thus, contingency is necessary for fundamental reasons. The 'foundations' of society are fundamentally contingent. Politics is contingent. Ontology is political.
Sunday, May 17, 2009

Timothy Goering on the Heidegger in Foucault.
The point to stress is that Foucault, similarly to Heidegger, notes a force that structures Dasein's life. Foucault is not content, however, with identifying a force or institution in the general fashion of Heidegger. Rather he is at pains to scrutinize and make sense of the “nameless voice,” which reveals the established order of things.
Karsten Harries on the matter of art.

What mattered to him, he insisted, was “the question about Being.” Heidegger underscored that remark by adding to that essay quite a number of footnotes that relate what he had to say to his thinking of the Ereignis, or event or happening of the truth of being, i.e. the emergence of beings, which by 1936 had come to preoccupy him. He thus glosses his question: “What is truth that it can happen as, or even must happen as art?” with “truth from the Ereignis!” (G5, 25/57); “World is the ever-nonobjective to which we are subject as long as the paths of birth and death, blessing and curse keep us transported into Being (G5, 30–31/44) with Ereignis; “The work lets the earth be an earth” (G5, 32/46) again with Ereignis. Ever since 1936, as Heidegger tells us, Ereignis had become the guiding motto of his thinking. That he should have chosen it for the subtitle for what has been called his main or at least his second main work, the Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) is significant. With that work Heidegger pushes self-consciously against the limits of language in a finally not successful attempt to say the truth of Being now understood as the Ereignis. As the later footnotes make clear, “The Origin of the Work of Art” is underway towards the Beiträge. The two works illuminate one another and given the hermetic character of the Beiträge, “The Origin of the Work of Art” may well offer the best access to the central thought of this enigmatic later work. Even the three footnoted passages I just cited give us a first understanding of what Heidegger has in mind when he speaks of the Ereignis: it names the counterplay of world and earth, which is the happening or event of truth.

The Ereignis does not make its first appearance in the Beiträge. Already in his early Freiburg lecture Zur Bestimmung der Philosophie (1919) Heidegger had distinguished a mere event from an Ereignis, a happening to which I belong and that belongs and therefore matters to me (G56/57, 186). Heidegger contrasts an astronomer considering the rising of the sun objectively as a natural phenomenon and the chorus of the Theban elders in Sophocles’ Antigone, who, after a successful battle, greet the rising sun. They are engaged with what they see in a way that is very different from the astronomer’s distanced beholding. That it is art—here three lines from a Greek tragedy, cited in a translation by Hölderlin—that gives us a first insight into the nature of what Heidegger calls Ereignis is significant. The same work will be mentioned in “The Origin of the Wok of art” as an example of works that have been “torn out of their native sphere.”

In Zur Bestimmung der Philosophie an experience is said to be an Ereignis when it is truly one’s own, while the experiencing individual is open to what so beautifully manifests itself in its own splendor, here the rising sun (G56/57, 74–75). Here already Er-eignis names what comes to be understood as authentic experience. Ereignis and Eigentlichkeit belong together. In Being and Time Dasein is said to be essentially “in the truth” (G2, 293). And, as we saw, Heidegger understands, resolve (Entschlossenheit) as “the most primordial, because authentic truth of Dasein” (die ursprünglichste, weil eigentliche Wahrheit des Daseins) (G2, 394). But as Heidegger recognizes when he makes Being (Sein), but not beings dependent on Dasein, there is a sense in which Being understood as the transcendent ground of experience (Seyn) transcends Being understood transcendentally (Sein). This demands that we think of Being (Sein) not just as dependent on Dasein, but as belonging to Seyn. The happening of truth thus comes to be understood as the presencing (das Wesen) of Seyn. That the attempt to think this happening, however, inevitably will become entangled in some version of the antinomy with which I began this chapter is suggested by this explanation: “Seyn needs the human being for it to be (wese), and the human being belongs to Seyn, so that he fulfill his ultimate vocation as Da-sein” (G65, 251). For Seyn “to be,” it must disclose itself as Sein.

Pp. 111-1
Friday, May 15, 2009

Harvard University Press Publicity resurrects an interview with German historian H. R. Jauss.
M. Olender. There is an enormous bibliography on World War II, in Germany and elsewhere, many, many studies by historians, sociologists, and psychologists, on the crimes committed by the Nazis. But how are we to explain the fact that the major German academics who were compromised by Nazism have said nothing about their past, have been able to say nothing, or very little, to the succeeding generations of students of the last half a century?

H. R. Jauss. It’s difficult for me to talk about the silence of my teachers, of Heidegger or Gadamer. The exceptions were indeed quite rare. Apart from Jaspers and the articles in Die Wandlung, you have to turn to authors such as the great Marxist philologist Werner Krauss to hear a few isolated voices. Karl Löwith does talk about Heidegger’s silence. In his statements, Löwith indicates how far Heidegger’s seminars in the early 1930s had pushed the destruction of metaphysics, to the point of being within arm’s length of what Nazi ideology was about to become. Although our teachers were silent, our generation did draw a lesson from them, which was also our motto: “Never again Auschwitz, never again Hiroshima.”

M. Olender. Can you say more about that silence of a generation?

H. R. Jauss. The silence in this case is undoubtedly linked to a refusal to understand what is inhuman. Leo Spitzer shed light on that phenomenon for us in an article called “The Familiar and the Strange,” also published in Die Wandlung. Spitzer wondered why German academics, who played such a major role in legitimating Nazism, had so much trouble after the war talking about what had happened, as if the incomprehensible inhumanity of the crimes committed by that regime confined everyone who had participated in it — in what ever capacity, as actors or as witnesses— to total mutism. The radical strangeness of Nazi barbarism has paralyzed a generation of intellectuals, confining them to passivity, a mental inertia, literally to stupidity — if stupor indeed renders one mute.
Did you know the government can track your printouts back to your printer? I didn't until I stumbled across "Is Your Printer Spying On You?" on the EFF website. Apparently the government got some companies to print unique-idientifier yellow dots on every printout. The EFF has a list of printers that have this feature, and instructions on how to detect if your printer is secretly tagging your printouts.

OnFiction on psychogeography.
[I]n Heidegger's vocabulary, a hammer, for example, in its very design, affords a particular readiness-to-hand, or way to be used. The behaviors and emotions that particular settings afford are central to our experience of place, and to our consequent ways of imagining, behaving in, maintaining, and reproducing places -- both material and fictional, as I have argued in my effort to show the similarities between constructing characters and constructing settings.

The radical exploration of urban affordances of the Situationist dérive can be perceived in tension with phenomenological traditions of engagement with places that sought to create in the landscape character of a different sort -- often national, or white, related to homeland and security. Rhetoric inheres powerfully in setting, partly because it is so often perceived in a taken-for-granted way as a given. So while coin-toss or ripped up and re-taped together map guided rambles may seem silly from some perspectives, from others - and particularly, perhaps, from the sympathetic view of fiction writers who have considered the task of setting the scene - such disruptions of assumptions about place can be seen as powerful tools of invention.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
From a review of a local art exhibit in the Twin Cities.
[R]estraint not shown by the appropriationist Sturdevant, who evidently felt that Joseph Beuys “Fat Chair”—a chair covered in vegetable fat that Beuys made in 1963—should be one step closer to a dinner set. So she copied it. Which is what she does, building her work on a theoretical foundation of mumbo-jumbo from Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietschze, and several other philosophers whose first language was not English. According to the helpful curator recordings that accompany the exhibit, “Sturdevant replays the process by which artworks first come into being, and in so doing returns the replica to a state of originality.” In journalism we call this plagiarism, but then again, most journalists can’t defend themselves by quoting Foucault. Appropriation is for artists only, apparently; everyone else has to come up with their own ideas.
Maybe we can learn from artists. Nothing is unappropriated.
Yahia Lababidi has advice on how to deal with crises.
Perhaps less predisposed to determinism than stoicism (its members held varying beliefs regarding fate and free will), existentialism was itself a philosophy in a state of emergency -- no longer content to unquestioningly accept previous givens such as God, goodness or purpose, this worldview presents us as 'thrown-into-being' (Heidegger) and quite possibly alone in an absurd world. Thus, it is entirely up to us to negotiate how to get up, begin walking and give meaning to our existence.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This is a good introduction to what's going on with cosmology today. John D. Barrow explains: What happened before the Big Bang, and more, including a podcast.



Laurens Laudowicz on technology.
The essence of modern technology is the conversion of the whole universe of beings into an undifferentiated "standing reserve" (Bestand) of energy available for any use to which humans choose to put it. Heidegger described the essence of modern technology as Gestell, or "enframing." Heidegger does not unequivocally condemn technology: while he acknowledges that modern technology contains grate dangers, Heidegger nevertheless also argues that it may constitute a chance for human beings to enter a new epoch in their relation to being.
Derrida gets economical with Heidegger.

A problem is now imposed on me that I seek to entitle as briefly as
possible. For reasons of economy. I seek a title for it as formalizing and thus as economical as possible: well, precisely, it is economy. My problem is: economy. While respecting the constraints of this colloquium, which are above all temporal constraints, how shall I determine the most inclusive and most interlaced guiding thread possible through so many virtual trajectories in Heidegger's immense corpus, as one says, and in his tangled writing? How to order the readings, interpretations, or rewritings of them that I am tempted to offer? I could have chosen, among many other possibilities, the one that has just presented itself to me under the name of entanglement or interlacing—-something I have long been interested in and on which I am currently working in another manner. In the form of the German noun Geflecht, it plays a discreet but irreducible role in "Der Weg zur Sprache" and designates this singular, unique interlacing between, on the one hand. Sprache (a word I will not translate, so as not to have to choose between language, tongue, and speech) and, on the other, path (Weg, Bewegung, Bewegen, etc.), a binding-unbinding inter-lacing(entbindende Band) toward which we are incessantly and properly being led back, following a circle that Heidegger proposes thinking or practicing otherwise than as a regression or vicious circle. The circle is a "particular case" of the Geflecht. Just like "path," Geflecht is nor one figure among others. We are implicated in it. interlaced in advance when we wish to speak of Sprache and of Weg, which are “already in advance of us" (uns stets schon voraus).

But after a first anticipation, I had to decide to leave this theme in the background [en retrait]: it would not have been economical enough. And I must speak here economically of economy. For at least four reasons, which I will name algebraically.

a. Economy in order to articulate what I am going to say with the other possible tropical system of usure, in the sense of usury, thus of interest, surplus value, fiduciary calculation, or interest rate, which Ricoeur indicates but leaves in the shadows, although it forms a heterogeneous and discontinuous supplement. a tropical divergence irreducible to that of being-worn-out or worn down.

b. Economy in order to articulate this possibility with the law-of-the-house and the law of the proper. oiko-nomia, which led me to reserve a particular Place for the two motif of light and home (Du Marsais cites "borrowed home" in his metaphoric definition of metaphor: "Metaphor is a species of Trope; the word that one uses in metaphor is taken in another sense than the proper meaning. it is, so to speak, in a borrowed home, says an ancient; this is common and essential to all Tropes" [Des tropes, ch. 10]).

c. Economy in order to steer, if one can say that, toward the value of
Ereignis, so difficult to translate and whose entire family (ereignen, eigen, eigens, enteignen) is intersecting, with increasing density in Heidegger’s last texts, with the themes of the proper, of propriety, of propriation, of de-propriation, and with that of light, the clearing, the eye (Heidegger says that one may hear Er-aügnis in Ereignis), and finally, in current usage, with what comes as event: what is the Place, the taking-place, the metaphoric event, or the event of the metaphoric? What is going on, what is happening, today, with metaphor?

d. Economy, finally, because the economic consideration appears to me to have an essential relation with the determinations of the passage or of path-breaking according to the modes of trans-fer or trans-lation (Über-setzen) that I believe must be linked here to the question of metaphoric transfer (Übertragung). By reason of this economy of economy, I proposed to give this discourse the title of retrait. Not economies in the plural, but retrait, withdrawal/redrawing.

Pp. 60-1
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Here's an article on the copyright suit against Heidegger en castellano. There's some quaint touches. I liked the bit about Derrida's widow getting royalty checks. Marguerite Derrida's a psychoanalyst, and perhaps was the primary bread earner in their family. I can't imagine that French published books sold in Argentina amount to many zeros on those checks. It's more likely professor Potel's web site helped sales, by allowing destitute students an introduction to Derrida, so that they might later buy some books when they can afford them. I also liked the bit about students in the provinces not having access to urban bookstores. Is there somewhere Amazon doesn't deliver?
Monday, May 11, 2009
Wozu Dichter?

From Edward Dorn's Gunslinger.
So your name is not
Heidegger after all, then
what is it? I asked.
Do I look like his spouse?

Pp. 34-5
Friday, May 08, 2009

Illustration by Felipe Massafera
for Alan Moore's Light of Thy Countenance
Werner Heisenberg concludes Science and Religion (1927) with this anecdote.
Niels [Bohr] closed the conversation with one of those stories he liked to tell on such occasions: "One of our neighbors in Tisvilde once fixed a horseshoe over the door to his house. When a common friend asked him, `But are you really superstitious? Do you honestly believe that this horseshoe will bring you luck?' he replied, `Of course not; but they say it works even if you don't believe in it.'"
Just like locality and causality.

Heidegger looking up to Heisenberg.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
The WSJ on Hardy's paradox.
In 1990, the English physicist Lucien Hardy devised a thought experiment. The common view was that when a particle met its antiparticle, the pair destroyed each other in an explosion. But Mr. Hardy noted that in some cases when the particles' interaction wasn't observed, they wouldn't annihilate each other. The paradox: Because the interaction had to remain unseen, it couldn't be confirmed.

In a striking achievement, scientists from Osaka University have resolved the paradox. They used extremely weak measurements -- the equivalent of a sidelong glance, as it were -- that didn't disturb the photons' state. By doing the experiment multiple times and pooling those weak measurements, they got enough good data to show that the particles didn't annihilate. The conclusion: When the particles weren't observed, they behaved differently.
I thought as much: if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, it didn't make a noise.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Dinesh D'Souza reflects on Peter Singer's ethics.
But this position creates a problem outlined more than a century ago by the atheist philosopher Nietzsche. The death of God, Nietzsche argued, means that all the Christian values that have shaped the West rest on a mythical foundation. One may, out of habit, continue to live according to these values for a while. Over time, however, the values will decay, and if they are not replaced by new values, man will truly have to face the prospect of nihilism, what Nietzsche termed "the abyss."
I've followed up on this abyss business, and what I've found is Nietzsche referring to this and that abyss, but not the facing-the-prospect-of-nihilism abyss. Isn't that one of Kierkegaard's? Or the Straussian reading of Nietzsche? Perhaps William Deresiewicz had it right when he wrote: "'the abyss.' This is a venerable trope in modern thought, typically employed with a great deal of self-pity and a great want of precision."

Apparently being secular, means purging yourself of transcendental foundations.
Why haven't the atheists embraced Peter Singer? I suspect it is because they fear that his unpalatable views will discredit the cause of atheism. What they haven't considered, however, is whether Singer, virtually alone among their numbers, is uncompromisingly working out the implications of living in a truly secular society, one completely purged of Christian and transcendental foundations.
I haven't read Singer, but can there be an ethics without transcendental foundations? Singer privileges the individual's right to decide over institutional dictats, which sounds sensible to me - obviously the individuals closest to a situation can assess it best. And what about the central committee of athiesism (Hitchens, Dawkins, etc), if Trots and scientists don't have transcendental foundations, who does? Just the mythical foundationalists?
Sunday, May 03, 2009

Jon Cogburn argues for a Kantian interpretation, via Hume.
Marburg school neo-Kantianism never did spread prior to the Third Reich, so after it was suppressed by the Nazis in the Riech nobody abroad would view Heidegger in that light. Yes Heidegger worked for Husserl and eventually got his seat, but he was Rickert's student before that and he wrote his first thesis under him. And it's the Marburg school neo-Kantian Rickert he's responding to while making his key Zuhandenheit/Vorhandenheit inversion, the move most people take to be the key to all his thought.
Do they? We need a poll.
For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

Appropriation appropriates! Send your appropriations to enowning at gmail.com.

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