Saturday, January 04, 2020
Matthew J. Sharpe on Faye v. Sheehan.
One thing that we can learn from Sheehan’s 2015 criticisms of Faye—and that Faye might well have learnt from previous broadsides against him—is the wisdom of the old adage: be careful about what you write in the opening and closing parts of your books. Sidonie Kellerer, one of the scholars Sheehan dismisses en passant as a Faye “acolyte”, has commented critically in a 2014 reflection on the German reception of Faye’s book about what a “free kick” Faye’s famous conclusion(that Heidegger’s books should no longer be considered philosophy at all) has ironically proven to be for Heidegger’s defenders. “Uselessly provocative and counterproductive”, Kellerer comments, this single polemical thrust has allowed the preceding 100s of pages of evidence and argument to be dismissed as partisan, out of court. Heideggerians convinced in advance that the great thinker was neither a National Socialist nor an anti-Semite, or that these commitments(however regrettable) were unconnected with, or do not negatively colour, his contemplative thought-paths, have cited this provocative conclusion as reason not to read Faye’s works at all, long before Sheehan’s 2015 denunciation of the French author.
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