Sunday, July 27, 2008
Beyng, ontology beyond the ontological difference, emerging beyond the metaphysics of presence. Kenneth Maly explains:
[P]hilosophy as the thinking of be-ing is distinct from the thinking of the 'ontological difference.' When Heidegger, already in Being and Time, introduces the notion of ontological difference, he means to think being over against beings. But, as he says in Contributions, this thinking is still bound or de-fined by beings. Thinking the ontological difference is thinking beings and being in their difference. Proceeding from what is present/extant (beings), thinking moves toward being in its difference from beings. One might say that the 'necessity of thinking' called for thinking to say the question of being as ontological difference - but then, drawn on by that very necessity, to think be-ing itself, where be-ing does not get it determination from being-as-other-than-beings, but from be-ing as such.

Heidegger calls what is present das Anwesende (beings in their presence) and the being of those beings das Anwesenheit (being as what 'grants' beings or what is present). It is possible to translate Anwesenheit as 'presence.' That translation would imply a certain static presence, maybe even a unity - a metaphysical unity. Thus one might be tempted to say that, whereas Heidegger says that his thinking moves out from within a metaphysics of presence or unity, this word here indicates that his thinking remains (imprisoned?) within that metaphysics of presence. But things are not so simple.

In a little text from a larger work entitled 'Die Seinsfrage: Der Holzweg' Heidegger says that all talk of 'being' in Being and Time is thought as Anwesenheit. 'Even the being in "Da-sein" is ecstatic, a manifold emerging to...what emerges [Anwesen zu...Anwesendem].' Then he say, 'Anwesenheit is never and in no way something present [ein Anwesendes]; in this regard it is the nothing.' Hardly a metaphysics of presence! Thus granting a certain unclarity on the level of 'grammar' or literal meanings, the saying/showing in the word Anwesenheit cannot be said adequately in English as 'presence.' So, Anwesenheit as 'presence' becomes Anwesenheit as 'emergence.'

Pp. 25-6

Aside on translation: One problem with translating Seyn as be-ing is the ambiguity when it is split at the end of a line, the hyphen might be a continuation character. Is that instance of "be-ing" referring to Seindes, Sein or Seyn; a being, the being of beings, or Beyng?
Good quote. This gets at some of the criticisms of Heidegger. But it also highlights his difference from the way most see the various guises of Platonism - especially of those influenced by Plotinus. The One as ultimate presences versus a relation to what emerges. There are huge temporal differences.
A fine consideration of anwesenheit by Maly...but --and of course this is the point of what has been considered --what does this consideration demand we say about it in order that it may properly be heard in the first place? If I could, I would like to emphasize the peculiarity of the necessity of erring which Heidegger is drawing attention to when "he says in Beitrage [that] the thinking [of the ontological difference] is still bound or de-fined by beings", a necessity which is underscored in Maly's excellent suggestion that "One might say that the 'necessity of thinking' called for thinking to say the question of being as ontological difference - but then, drawn on by that very necessity, to think be-ing itself". The "necessity" upon which Maly here remarks is twofold: it both requires the intial point of departure called the ontological difference, but also demands that this point of departure not be surpassed but undermined. We may add to this that the thinking of Seyn is not only demanded by the inadequacy of the ontological difference but that the ontological difference already harbors within it something in terms of which alone Seyn can be thought; Heidegger himself tells us this in Beitrage: "the Seynsfrage --the basic question --would have understood nothing of what is most questionable in this question, if it were not forthwith conducted back to the question concerning the origin of the 'ontological difference'." How can we consider what kenneth Maly has said about the ontological difference in light of the above statement from Beitrage concerning the Seynsfrage's being directed toward what has once been said as the ontological difference? The origin of the ontological difference is that in terms of which it is bound, namely the factical necessity of its ontic beginning. But this very binding, in accord with which Being and Time tells us that "all ontology has ontic roots", remains NECESSARILY unthought in the thinking of the ontological difference. The exciting and paradoxical point here to be kept in mind is that precisely what this binding binds thought to is nothing other than that which remains unthought --the unthought origin of thinking. The bind is a bind of forgetting! But if thinking is bound to the unthought, and in this manner is from the outset bound to forget, then the attempt, proper to the seynsfrage, to conduct thinking back into the origin of the the 'ontological difference' bears witness to the surprising manner in which it is not metaphysics which is primarily constituted by the forgetting OF Being, but rather seynsgeschichtlich denken. In other words, the more primodial name for the ontic half of the ontological difference is the forgetting proper to Seyn itself: ENTEIGNIS.
I haven't yet reached beyng-historical thinking (seynsgeschichtlich denken). I tried to get through Contributions section 259, but my eyes glazed over - I got lost amidst the crossings, reversals, and detours. I'll give it another try in a few years, when I'm more familiar with the chasms in the abyss.
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