Thursday, February 10, 2011
Thomas Sheehan on what Heidegger means by Ereignis, from "Geschichtlichkeit /Ereignis /Kehre".
The paradigm of movement qua absence-dispensing-presence also sheds light on Heidegger's key term Ereignis. In ordinary German Ereignis means "event," but in Heidegger's retrieval of the unsaid in Aristotle, it becomes a name for the structure of the ontological movement that enables all being-significant. Playing on the adjective eigen ("one's own"), Heidegger comes up with the neologism Er-eignung: ontological movement as the process of being drawn into what is "one's own" by the apposite οὑ ἔνεκα. Formally this structure applies to any "natural" entity: the being of any φύσει ὄν that is moved καθ'αὐτό consists in its being-pulled by, and thereby its anticipation of, its τέλος. However, for Heidegger it functions preeminently as the kinetic structure of differential openness. The ultimate possibility of such openness is the possibility that ends all possibilities, such that openness is "claimed" by the unsurpassable τέλος that is ever-enacted in its being and "pulled forth" by it into finite, mortal becoming. This being-drawn by and into its intrinsic absence, in such a way that a differentially structured semantic field is engendered and sustained, is appropriation-by-absence (κίνησίς). It is what Heidegger means by Ereignis.
It is when scholars argue over the Greek that I feel most helpless. Fortunately, Sheehan, in good scholarly fashion, provides a comprehensive summary.

"The Kehre is another name for the structure of the ontological movement of differential openness: it says that (1) this movement is a priori evoked by its own intrinsic (if relative) absence as hou heneka, such that (2) there opens up a semantic field in which entities are "already" significant. In a word, the Kehre is Ereignis."

Now if I only could be sure I understood what that means. I think it means that for Dasein, after the turn, a present absence (Derrida's "differance"?) takes priority over even a present presence (scientific realism), an absent presence (remembered) and an absent absence (nothing at all).
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