Saturday, May 03, 2014
In The American Interest, Roger Berkowitz reflects on his discussion with Peter Trawny and Babette Babich on the black notebooks.
In short, humans are increasingly treated and acted upon as resources just as things. Which is one reason we have such difficulty thinking about the study of the humanities outside of questions of utility. In another vein, Heidegger’s philosophy offers one of truly meaningful defenses of the dignity of humanity that might provide a ground for human rights.
Berkowitz's remark about Heidegger's perspectives on the origins homelessness and worldlessness is the sort of analysis that has been sadly lacking in all the karfuffle about the Notebooks. it's shocking to me that so far there has been no serious and intelligent dialogue about such matters, rather than the rather superficial broad condemnations that have been repeatedly presented. And i really expected more from the director of the Martin Heidegger Institute to be a present a more insightful and subtle reading than what he has. To quote Berkowitz: "The problem with Trawny’s argument is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Heidegger’s philosophical discussion of worldlessness and homelessness in his history of being has its roots in his antisemitism. On the contrary, Heidegger traces the emergence of worldlessness and homelessness to the birth of modern science in the work of René Descartes and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. At times, Heidegger even traces this development back to Plato and the beginning of Western philosophy. In the modern era, Heidegger points to Americans, the English, Bolsheviks, and Nazis as examples of such worldlessness and homelessness. All of these groups receive more attention in the Black Notebooks than do the Jews. The argument that because antisemitism often sees Jews as worldless and homeless then they must be the source of Heidegger’s philosophical interest in homelessness and worldlessness simply makes no sense. "
Jeff Malpas: "Indeed, part of what is striking about the Notebooks is that they indicate the depth of Heidegger's hatred for the bourgeois culture that he identifies with modernity and that he sees epitomized in Nazism as well as in many other aspects of the world around him (including Jews and Christians alike)." from his comment here
For an interesting conversation touching on Levinas, see: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/fren-ital/opinions/kearney.html

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