the question of public space is not simply a matter of physical or geometrical extension; in a way, it shares the awe surrounding spatiality as such. Clearly, the “public” is not just the “others,” nor is it me; it is neither their property nor mine. Differently put: it cannot be appropriated, instrumentalized or controlled by any side. In traditional languages, the public is something “in-between” or “metaxy” (as Plato called it), and even something beyond “in-between” because it involves what makes the “between” possible. To this extent, the public has an ethical quality, or perhaps an ethical-spiritual quality, because genuine ethics is always transformative, a move beyond you and me. This is why dealing with the “public” is always a demanding or challenging enterprise; it means participating in a happening or “event’ (Ereignis) stretching us beyond ourselves. In Heideggerian language, the happening is neither an external fate, nor can it be engineered. It occurs at the edge of human self-interest—or, if you will, at the edge of the Platonic “cave.”
I was pasting from GA 24 -- from a PDF that circulates -- and noticed that ὄρεξις had been OCRed as δρεξις, not a Greek word. I shouldn't complain, the quality of the GA PDFs just keep getting better with each new batch. But when I googled δρεξις, I discovered that there are hundreds of pages with the error, including pages from Aristotle on Google Books... I wonder how long before dictionaries have an entry for δρεξις: desire, De anima 433 a 9. File under digital hazards.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017
In LARB, Joseph S. O'Leary reviewsReimagining the Sacred. Richard Kearney Debates God by Jens Zimmermann and Richard Kearney.
Before that meeting in Paris, Beaufret told Kearney and me that Heidegger did not like people to take his thought as a pretext for kicking metaphysics down the stairs, because, “after all, metaphysics is true.” Overcoming metaphysics would then mean a step back to the forgotten soil in which the tree of metaphysics grows, namely, to a thinking of Being as event and phenomenon. This would not diminish the great edifice of onto-theo-logy — that is, the effort to analyze the beings of beings rationally, and to ground their being in a supreme being, sometimes called God — so well built up over the centuries from Aristotle to Hegel. But it would contest the sole authority of metaphysical reason in approaching being. That is how Kearney’s mentor, the late William J. Richardson, S. J., read Heidegger, in the only book to which Heidegger himself wrote a substantial preface.
In NDPR, Arun Iyer reviews Adam Buben's Meaning and Mortality in Kierkegaard and Heidegger: Origins of the Existential Philosophy of Death.
Buben claims that both Heidegger and Kierkegaard encourage the cultivation of the fear of death in opposition to the Epicureans, who want us to reject death and the fear of death as a nullity. However, Kierkegaard himself can be seen as someone who overtly rejects the objective fear of death just like the Epicureans in favour of radically different subjective fear of death. In Heidegger, there is an explicit distinction between anxiety and fear (which Buben notes is also found in Kierkegaard) and the experience of anxiety entails a rejection of the fear of death.
Rhys Tranter interviews Robert Doran about his book, The Ethics of Theory.
Why is the example of the philosopher Martin Heidegger so important?
Heidegger was very influential for many of the figures examined in my book, as well as for Continental thought more generally. He takes Nietzsche’s challenge to philosophy (discussed above) and makes it more philosophically potent. Nietzsche was, after all, trained as a classical philologist, and so his main target is Platonism, rather than Cartesianism or Kantianism–the whole edifice of modern philosophy (i.e., epistemology, subject-object split, correspondence theory of truth) that Heidegger goes after. Even such a Nietzschean as Foucault remarks that (in an interview I cite in my book) “I had tried to read Nietzsche in the 1950s, but Nietzsche by himself didn’t hold much interest for me. But Nietzsche and Heidegger, that was a philosophical shock!”
The human disappears in Heidegger’s conception of thought, as the irrelevant site through which thought occurs. His approach to thinking entailed that we leave out the thinker, as thought itself proceeds on a level which is entirely independent of the one who thinks. In contrast, Arendt casts thinking in a thoroughly quotidian frame as “the internal dialogue of a thinking ego that is directed to objects in the world”, ascribing to this “general anthropological capacity of stop and think” the ability of humans “not only to regain some control over their lives but to creatively envisage something that is new”.