Thursday, July 08, 2010

Minds and Brains on manifold interpretations and how to rate them.
Thomas Sheehan, Taylor Carman, Hubert Dreyfus, and Michael Wheeler come closest to my interpretation, but I find that each author suffers from theoretical hangups when it comes to paraphrasing Heideggerian concepts into concrete examples. For me, concrete examples are the highest standard of clarity in Heideggerian scholarship. If you can’t give a concrete example or description of the phenomenon that Heidegger is discussing, then in my mind you do not understand Heidegger’s meaning. If you haven’t experienced an authentic moment of vision and don’t know how to describe that experience, then you do not understand the concept of authenticity in phenomenology.
In a way, "concrete examples" (I'd prefer something like "factical", but I already drank the kool-aid) are the flash of genuine philosophy that make Being and Time readable in the first place. People assault Heidegger for his impenetrable language, but he's always working from a phenomenal experience that gives serious legitimacy to every claim, and that lets his language build up its own meaning around it.
I always found Dreyfus, at least in his classes, to be pretty good about finding concrete examples. I've only read a few works by Carman but he seemed reasonably good as well. That said I think the criticism is apt for a lot of Heideggerese where I often forget what is being discussed. Although I find most of those are works aping Derridese or else are comparing Heidegger to some other movement. (Say for instance Sikka's otherwise excellent Forms of Transcendence (I get the parallels with mystic theology I just have no idea what they ultimately mean)
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