Tuesday, June 30, 2015
On concealed views.
An example from Homer, Odyssey VIII, 93, where Odysseus says that he remained concealed before all the others as one who was shedding tears. A person, then, remains in a certain concealment. We do not say: he remained concealed to all the others. We say: he shed tears without any of the others noticing. We speak beginning with the other who is perceiving.
These are quite clear proofs of the tremendous power that ἀλήθεια had in the Greek experience of Dasein. Before we enter the confrontation with the Greeks, our fundamental task is to have a completely clear knowledge of how they stood in relation to beings.
The word δόξα also belongs among these fundamental meanings: I come forth; that which comes forth, that is, strikes others as such and such, that which shows itself; the look, the appearance of something, the respect in which something—an achievement, a person—stands; also fame. δόξα θεοῦ in the New Testament = the majesty of God. But what is decisive is this meaning of δόξα: looking a certain way, standing in visibility and respectability.
Now, this meaning goes together with a second meaning. The second we grasp in a certain sense with the words believe, belief. With this, a double meaning comes to light. We are familiar with this double meaning when we translate δόξα as view. A picture postcard or vista postcard, is a card that shows a picture, a vista—a view in the objective sense; it shows the look of a landscape as it strikes us. View in the objective sense of a multiplicity of objects. But we also use the word “view” in this sense: My view is . . . The postcard has no belief, it offers a look. So there is a double sense: (a) as a characteristic of the thing, look; (b) in the sense of believing, thinking such and such. This double character always resonates among the Greeks from the start; it is based on what the word means.
P. 189
Monday, June 29, 2015
New strip at Existential Comics, Despair Bears.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
John McDonald on the uncanny goddess.
[W]e will now determine how, in the oldest sense, deinon, the uncanny, for the Greeks can mean the unhomely, and then later pursue the determination into its culmination in Sophocles. In Homer, Kalypso is the deine theos, the uncanny Goddess, and is understood as preventing Odysseus from returning home. This is why Heidegger can understand the deinon as opposing the homely in the Greek. Athena says "[i]t is Laertes' son, whose home is in Ithaca. I have seen him on a certain Island, weeping most bitterly: this was in the domains of the nymph Kalypso who if keeping him with her there and thwarting return to his own country (from Odyssey, IV, 549-643).
The connection between Lustre and the uncarmy (deinon) that captures ones' eye, which is really the most important point of this whole thesis, and one that Heidegger does not ever make explicitly but in nonetheless central to his entire theory, is brought out quite explicitly when Hermes comes to the Island of Kalypso, the deine Theos, to demand the release of Odysseus, "[i]n the space within was the goddess herself, singing with a lovely voice, moving to and fro at her loom and weaving with a shuttle of Gold. Around the entrance a wood rose up in abundant growth - alder and aspen and fragrant cypress ... Even a Deathless One, if he came there, might gaze in wonder at the sight and might be happier in the heart (from Odyssey, V, 38-125)." The general point of the Odyssey is the absurdity of man's condition that he at all times abandons and neglects his hearth and family in the pursuit of adventure and the lustrous and that, in the end, the greatest and most lustrous beauty is nothing in comparison to what one already has anyway in the everyday of one's home.
P. 135, 137-8
Saturday, June 27, 2015
What you are thinking about is not in your brain.
When one begins to explain the perception of the blackboard from sensory stimuli, one has indeed seen the blackboard. In this theory of sensory stimuli, where is [there a place for] what is meant by "is" [being] ? Even the greatest possible accumulation and intensity of stimuli will never bring forth the "is." [What is meant by it] is already presupposed in every [act of] being stimulated.
Even imagining can only be seen as directed into a world [in eine Welt hinein] and can only happen into a world. To imagine a golden mountain can always really only happen in such a way that even this [mountain] is somehow situated in a world. Even in such imagining there is more there than just the isolated golden mountain. I do not imagine a golden mountain within my consciousness or within my brain, but rather I relate it to a world, to a landscape, which in turn is again related to the world in which I exist bodily. The golden mountain is present as something imagined which is a specific mode of presence and which has the character of a world. It is related to men, earth, sky, and the gods.
The whole starting point within the psychic and the point of departure from a consciousness is an abstraction and a nondemonstrable construct [eine nicht ausweisbare Konstruktion]. The relationships of a thing to the surrounding world [Umwelt] do not require explanation; they must simply be seen [in a phenomenological sense].
P. 162
Friday, June 26, 2015
This Sunday, 6/28 10 AM PST (GMT 1700), Thomas Sheehan is on Philosophy Talk: Can we make sense of Heidegger?
Richard Polt on why you can't explain things physiologically.
The sciences take it for granted that there are beings, and presuppose an understanding of the being of beings; this seems to cut them off from the question of be-ing. If we tried to explain be-ing sociologically, for example, we would have to take society for granted as something with a self-evident way of being. We could then give a factually correct description of how people operate within society and how their behavior brings with it certain beliefs about what it means to be. In doing so, however, we would have to leave our own beliefs about what it means to be unquestioned, so that they could serve as the stable basis for our empirical research. The question of the status and origin of our own understanding of the being of beings would have to be left unaddressed. Similarly, we might be able to give a physiological explanation of the workings of the brain, “explaining” consciousness in terms of the various complex neural responses that are associated with it. But in order to do so, we have to assume that the brain and consciousness have a certain way of being that we understand. If all our observations depend on this understanding of the being of brains and consciousness, then our observations cannot provide a satisfactory explanation of how the understanding of the being of beings occurs. If these considerations are valid, then any scientific attempt to explain be-ing is circular: it must presuppose a given sense of the being of beings. Now, if we are willing to embrace the circle by revising this sense in the course of our investigation, the circle may not be vicious; this is what Being and Time does, after all (SZ 153, 315). But then we are engaging in philosophy, not just empirical science. We are struggling with the limits of our sense of the being of beings, and thus experiencing it as contingent and finite. This distinctively philosophical experience is needed in order for being to trouble us.
Pp. 62-3
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Sein und Feld.
When professor William Irwin assembled a book of essays called Seinfeld and Philosophy in 1999, the book’s release garnered a media reaction ranging from dubious to hostile.
Writing about the book for Salon.com, James Nestor said, “After reading that even the title of the show holds etymological affinity to German existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (Sein und Zeit in German), one wonders if Seinfeld and Philosophy is merely an elaborate gimmick, an attempt to cash in on a sitcom with mass appeal and crass (book) sales potential. What better way to propel one’s career than creating a buzz and turning hours wasted in leisure into a dissertation?”

Quest For Meaning practices meaningfulness for the soul.
The Twentieth Century philosopher Martin Heidegger—a somewhat reasonable man— enumerated three diseases of the soul:

We forget that we are alive;
we forget that everything is connected;
we forget that we are free to live for ourselves.

How do we remember these things? The need for this remembering—the need to reason concerning these matters—is why we live in the Age of Practice. A sufficient number of people have realized that the endless dance of belief and doubt does very little to improve the human condition, from the way we make it through a day to the way we sustain human society.

What do we mean by “meaning,” and what would living a life of meaning look like? Back to Heidegger’s trilogy:

It is a life in which we remember that we are alive;
a life in which we remember that everything is connected;
a life in which we remember that we are free to live for ourselves.
For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

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