Tuesday, October 06, 2015
In NDPR William McNeill reviews The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides.
Heidegger goes on to show, through Parmenides' own statements, that Being, thus understood as presence, is not exclusive of absence but rather encompasses absence and incorporates it within itself. For something can be absent only within the expanse of presence that lets it be at all. "This," exclaims Heidegger, "is what Parmenides is trying to say!" Being is understood as the originary unifying presence, a unifying gathering that occurs prior to all differentiated beings and non-beings, a gathering that is apprehending, noein, conceived as a "waiting against" or "waiting toward" presence (this "waiting against" expressing the literal sense of the German for presence or the present: Gegen‑wart).
Monday, October 05, 2015
In the LARB, Charles Clavey reviews Matthew B. Crawford's The World Beyond Your Head : On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.
These philosophers deserve more than the cursory treatment they receive or total neglect they suffer in The World Beyond Your Head. The same goes for the theories of labor as socially necessary and morally valuable propounded by Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Instead, Crawford, it seems, subscribes to a narrowly circumscribed philosophical canon.
Certainly the most striking omission from this canon is Martin Heidegger. Crawford’s belief that we encounter our world as laden with pre-given meanings and significances, his claim that we act in the world through the pragmatic use of skill in the pursuit of projects, and, above all, his argument that true individuality consists in both the rejection of the dominant opinion of an anonymous public and the authentic embrace of tradition — in short, the entire scope of the book’s argument — relies heavily on the recondite philosophical anthropology the young Heidegger developed in Being and Time. Moreover, Crawford’s dim evaluation of the dominant philosophy of the subject — as a sovereign self at once isolated from the world yet imperiously demanding authority over it —resonates deeply with the later Heidegger’s trenchant critique of Western metaphysical thought and its concomitant humanistic worldview. Modern technology, Heidegger argued, encapsulated this view of man as an all-powerful subjectum, a tyrant who orders, manipulates, and controls the things of the world. Heidegger urged a clearer thinking that would abandon this position in favor of a humble view of man — of human being — as subordinate to the larger sway of Being. Though couched in a poetic idiom foreign to The World Beyond Your Head, this must, I believe, be the inspiration for Crawford’s complaint about the autonomous Kantian subject and advocacy for an embedded human condition.
But Heidegger’s thinking, an occluded polestar for Crawford’s arguments, does not point toward Kant. True, Heidegger took Kant to be a powerful interlocutor. But Heidegger’s thought points in this instance to another source: to the ancient Greeks and, in particular, to Aristotle.
Friday, October 02, 2015
Spiked interviews Raymond Tallis.
I ask Tallis about his attitude towards a certain existential tradition of thought, in which the idea of death, of one’s finitude, is mobilised to revelatory, ‘live every moment as if it’s your last’ effect. ‘I am much closer to the existentialists than perhaps you think’, he tells me. ‘And it seems that authentic being towards death is a way of breaking out of the carapace of habitual ways of thinking. It is a way of going beyond Heidegger’s everydayness most certainly. Because it looks at everydayness from the outside, not necessarily rejecting it, but to see it from the outside. And I think that is part of being towards death. The knowledge that because you’re finite, and that if you do X you can’t do Y, that as you get older, you define yourself ever more narrowly because the plenipotentiality you had when you were young boils down to the actual life you’ve lived. Again it’s something that existentialists were aware of, and it’s something I believe very strongly.’
Oz The Saturday Paper reviews Julia Holter's Have You In My Wilderness.
She said, “All the people run from the horizon”
This is, I believe, a reference to the horizons of temporality and consciousness spoken about by Heidegger in Sein und Zeit. It is non-being, or death, that lies beyond the horizon. Eric Gerlach explains Heidegger’s concept this way: “One cannot run from the horizon, as it always remains with us.” This isn’t exactly standard-issue pop material.
Still waiting for the vinyl to arrive. Her song about the sculptures in Marienbad is a favorite 'round here.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
In 3AM, Bobbi Lurie channels Hannah Arendt.
I was not raised by a father. Don’t forget that. Karl Jaspers was a father to me. You may not believe me, because of the nature of our relationship, but Heidegger was a father to me too. Heidegger never forgave me for becoming famous. I did my best to be solicitous. Unrequited love is my addiction. Heidegger is my real father. He was Mein Vater.
A bit Elektra-ish.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Scott McLemee on l’affaire Heidegger.
Every few years, somebody notices that Martin Heidegger was a Nazi -- and it all starts up again: the polemics, the professions of shock, the critiques of his philosophy’s insidious role in the humanities. At times the denunciations have a rather generic quality, as if a search-and-replace macro had been used to repurpose a diatribe again John Dewey or Jacques Derrida. Calls for a boycott of Heidegger’s writings are made, issued by people who cannot name two of them.
Monday, September 28, 2015
PopMatters reviews Heidegger's Hegel.
This is not “Hegel for Dummies”, nor does this new translation make Heidegger’s interpretations of Hegel easier to comprehend. In fact, in their introduction, the translators themselves concede that much of Heidegger’s original text is “fragmentary and much less polished than many of his other works.” In places the introduction even reads like the translators’ apology for the incomprehensibility of much of the book, perhaps wishing to absolve themselves of responsibility for the readability of the text.
Some of the lesser Gesamtausgabe volumes have this, it's a list of jottings not a book, problem. If you are interested in Hegel read Hegel, or the secondary lit. Heidegger's only interested in teasing his understanding out of Hegel.
Pieces of the text will literally be Greek to readers, as the text uses not foreign words but characters from foreign alphabets, as well. The Latin, Greek, and German to English translations are as epic in scope as a Gutenberg bible reading.
At this point (first translation), specialists want to get as close to what Heidegger wrote, as possible. Later, the consensus interpretations will present themselves.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
The THE reviews Peter Trawny's Freedom to Fail.
Released from the straitjackets of “argument” and ethics, Trawny contends, Heidegger is free to combine the true and the untrue in a poetic drama. “Truth in its essence is untruth”, as the master once wrote. Correction! “Truth is un-truth”; the hyphen signifies concealment, which links to the notion of the “clearing” – the dangerous and ambitious task Heidegger set himself.
For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

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