Tuesday, June 23, 2015
In NDPR, Laurence Hemming reviews Thomas Sheehan's Making Sense of Heidegger: A Paradigm Shift.
what is odd about Sheehan's account is not what it describes, but what it leaves out. His claim that Being and Beingness are co-equal, and that Heidegger also meant the same with them is unsustainable. Not once but often Heidegger attacks beingness as the metaphysical name for presence -- most importantly in the works of Aristotle (see esp. GA6.1, p. 488: "the beingness of beings, this says constant presence"). In his Nietzsche lectures he argues (GA6.1, p. 540 ff) that because Aristotle privileges being as beingness he is unable to think the ambiguity implicit to man in being the placeholder of permanence and impermanence, presence and absence, at one and the same time. Only through this ambiguity is man capable of dissolving his relation to beings as such through his belonging to his own 'unessence' (Unwesen) (GA6.1, p. 543). It is this belonging to his unessence that explains Heidegger's central description of the forgetfulness of being in a way that Sheehan's own and very truncated account ignores -- that man forgets being and that being is itself a forgetting, a letting pass-away. Sheehan is disturbed by what he sees as a kind of anthropomorphism or agency of being in some of Heidegger's language, but all that Heidegger's language really means is that an essential feature of (our) being is this letting-pass-away (Greek phthora). Aristotle's turning away from the unessence of man, and his assertion of the principle of non-contradiction as a privileging of that which is 'presently' or constantly present, disbars a fundamental understanding of how contradictories can be held together in the same time and place. This inability to understand how contraries belong together is the very inception of the 'logic' of metaphysics (in Aristotle), a logic that underpins the syllogism, and from which Nietzsche is not able to break free.
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