There are three “convergences” that Merleau-Ponty sees between Husserl’s phenomenology and Heidegger’s ontology, more precisely, what remains "unthought" in Husserl and Heidegger’s explicit thinking.
The first and most general is that Husserl’s idea of the genesis of sense (Stiftung) converges with Heidegger’s idea of the Ereignis of Being. We can see this same convergence in the course "la philosophie aujourd'hui"; at the end of his discussion of Heidegger there, Merleau-Ponty says that the philosophic sense of his course on nature consists in "the advent of being," and adds between parentheses "cf. Husserl Ineinander and Einfühlung." Husserl’s idea of the genesis of sense converges with Heidegger’s idea of the advent of Being because Husserl does not define the genesis of sense as what Merleau-Ponty calls a "horizontal history," meaning a succession of causal events. Thus Merleau-Ponty can say that the relation between the origin and its sedimentation in Husserl is "vertical," "vertical history". It is, of course, Heidegger who provides Merleau-Ponty with the idea of vertical Being, when he speaks of the ground as an Abgrund, an abyss, in the essay "Language".
Kant’s highest principle of synthetic judgments, then, discloses the context for the encounter of the human being and things. In the 1927 Being and Time, Heidegger calls this the temporal disclosedness of care and in his later thinking this "between" unfolds from "appropriation" or "enowning" (Ereignis). In the 1936–1938 Contributions, the “between” comes to expression again and again; Heidegger radicalizes it in a manner evocative of Plato as the place of divinities and mortals. In the 1946 Letter on Humanism, he writes, "[T]he human being in his essence is ek-sistent into the openness of being, into the open region that first clears the 'between' within which a 'relation' of subject to object can 'be'".
Kant is misunderstood, Heidegger says, when we approach him in our everyday or scientific attitude which wants to understand everything as something on-hand. Instead we must adopt the transcendental "viewpoint and position of questioning" (Blick- und Fragestellung), which brings to light the originary relation of experience and the object of experience. Kant’s breakthrough in judgment, reads Heidegger, is based on the transcendental attitude which does not analyze articulated objects themselves (as in science and everyday experience) or the form of articulations considered apart from the objects (as in logic) but thinks the prior, originary unity of the two. Kant thereby regains some measure of the logos-phenomenon unity of the ancient Greeks and of phenomenology. Heidegger thinks the union of language and thing happens within the pre-subjective and pre-objective open “between,” and he thinks Kant’s transcendental thinking discloses this domain. Both the logical and mathematical prejudices are thereby subject to critique.
Heidegger’s reading of Kant becomes even more significant when we understand it in the context of the previous semester course. Heidegger's interpretation of Kant’s highest principle of synthetic judgment echoes his interpretation of Parmenides’s saying about the reciprocal belonging-together of apprehension and being. But it is not enough for us simply to note Kant’s Parmenidean-like originality. This similarity illustrates the thesis about Kant the 1935–1936 lecture course advocates, namely, the transitional role Kant plays in overcoming the disjunction, "being and thought." We recall that in the 1935 lecture course, Heidegger specified two requirements for the overcoming of the disjunction. (a) The first was to show the limits of its inceptive truth. As we have seen, Heidegger thinks that the tradition takes its bearing from the end of the inceptive beginning. The end of the beginning saw the emergence of the logical prejudice which becomes, in modernity, the mathematical prejudice. But Kant shows the limits of the mathematical prejudice and in doing so shows the limits of inceptive truth.
Overcoming [Überwindung] metaphysics is thought in the manner of the history of Being. It is the preliminary sign of the primal incorporation [Verwindung] of the Oblivion of Being. More prior, although also more concealed than the preliminary sign, is what shows itself in that sign. This is the Appropriation [Ereignis] itself. What looks to the metaphysical way of thinking like the preliminary sign of something else, is taken into account only as the last mere illusion of a more primal opening out.
Overcoming is worthy of thought only when we think about incorporation. This perduring thinking still thinks at the same time about overcoming . Such remembrance [Andenken] experiences the unique Appropriating of the expropriating [Enteignung] of beings, in which the need [Not] of the truth of Being, and thus the origination [Anfaengnis] of truth, opens up and radiates upon human being in the manner of a parting [abschiedlliich]. Overcoming is the delivering over of metaphysics to its truth. [Die Ueberwindung ist die Ueber-lieferung der Metaphysik in ihre Wahrheit.]
One way we can make the distinction between interpretation and understanding, on the one hand, and cognition, on the other, more visible is through the fore-structure of interpretation. Interpretation is never just a mere looking at something present-to-hand. Rather it looks both backwards and forwards: 'backwards' in the sense that it is shaped by 'facticity', and forwards by possibilities. The analogy here is with reading. I never come to a text presuppositionless. My reading is already shaped by both my prejudices and expectations. We cannot avoid this. Context-free knowledge is an illusion. Even the most abstract way of looking at something hides its own prejudices and expectations, because this belongs essentially to the way Dasein is. Every interpretation supposes an understanding which guides it, but to complain this is a 'vicious circle' is to take logic to be the guide of existence, rather than existence the guide of logic. The problem with traditional metaphysics is that it thinks logic is true precisely because it believes it to be contextless (which it is not), and thus completely distorts the meaning of existence.
Heidegger’s prime interest in discussing language here is to purport language’s elusively creative power, the play of multiple meanings that later writers like Derrida would attach themselves to. Though the factual utterances of what is and has been spoken may be aligned systematically, language as a preexisting phenomenon cannot be restrained or contained before it manifests itself in human consciousness. Such is the phenomenological component of Heidegger’s argument, which studies how Being is constructed by human consciousness, a path not far distanced from language’s ontology, or how language “is” language.
Heidegger’s thesis hinges on the idea that only language manifests the perceptible traits of things of the world, and embodies this in the term ereignis, translated here as “appropriation.” As he states repeatedly throughout the essay, language is the inaugural granting of things in human consciousness, and the ereignis is that original appearance; that which gives rise to the perception of things.
[A]side from Marxism, which peaked in 1988, and social constructionism, which declined starting in 2002, the others began to fall from roughly 1993 to 1998. It is astonishing that such a narrow time frame saw the fall of fashions that varied so much in when they were founded. Marxism, psychoanalysis, and feminism are very old compared to deconstruction or postmodernism, yet it was as though during the 1990s an academia-wide clean-up swept away all the bullshit, no matter how long it had been festering there.
Notice the similarity in phrasing between Heidegger and Adorno: they both talk of unveiling (Adorno uses the word ent-hüllen, Heidegger ent-bergen, they both imply that truth is revealed by lifting a barrier that prevents it to be seen), but the crucial difference is that for Adorno truth is revealed through a critical relationship to the world, for Heidegger it is purely affirmative.
A key distinction that comes up below separates "Being" that presences from an "Abground" that does not. Being is not ontologically independent but depends on Abground. Being is constituted through the contribution by the q-brain's Abground. Other than Being there is only the "is" of default, an Alter that is an unknowable and indescribable Abground lacking in all Being. Abground cannot be "outside" the brain because Abground has no spatial properties, indeed, "defaults" space altogether. Abground should be sharply distinguished from nothing, no-thing. Standard negation depends on some thing to negate. Abground is beyond objectuality, originary to no-thing, indeed, even no-thing is annihilated "there." The only trace of Abground: addresses of default in the ground.
To discuss the meaning of Ereignis further really falls out of the scope of Neoplatonism and discussion of mystical experiences. I understand that late Heidegger is often characterized as 'mystical' - but this is usually because people fail to understand his language then impose any interpretative device (such as comparative studies), or they consider his early interest in Duns Scotus and Eckhart as the main basis of interpretion of his work, or they did not have access to the development of his language in his 'private' works of the 30's, such as Beitraege, which (by his request) was not published in German until 1989, and translated in English in 1999, His 1962 essay, "Time and Being" for instance makes little sense without going back to his introduction of Ereignis in the 30's.
We all have our own personal values, the sense of what is right and what is wrong that's morality. Ethics is the systematic examination of morality. Ethics digs deeper. It looks at our morality and asks questions. What happens when my values conflict with yours? How do you resolve that conflict of values? How do you determine whose values are more important in each particular instance?
And the students can relate to that, whether we're talking about cheating on exams or cheating within relationships.
Q: Those all sound like pretty weighty topics. What do you do to relax?
A: Well, I read a lot, although my bedtime reading might consist of Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time" or something like that.
Understanding the words is, everyone will agree, itself a toil. One not only has to learn the grammar of the language, but also the meaning, use and construction of words. The latter leads one to the psychology of the person, whose context is wider than the individual and extends to a whole society, even an entire epoch. No wonder, in the end Schleiermacher concludes that "the totality of understanding is always a collective work." In my own discipline, for example, it is not possible to understand Martin Heidegger if one fails to reckon with the two-thousand-year history of the West. And, indeed, one has to listen to what countless writers on Heidegger are saying if one is adequately to understand what he means.
Here at the chateau, questions of the meaning of life have been surfacing a lot lately. Maybe I'm getting my mid-life crisis in early. Maybe it's the fact that my employer keeps instigating rounds of redundancies. More probably, it's the result of a wife who keeps enrolling in philosophy courses at uni. Every now and again she comes home and tells me about thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, the 20th century German who argued that an authentic human existence belongs only to those experience angst in the fact of life's emptiness. Heidegger argued that the individual is always in danger of being swallowed up by the quotidian, of losing him or herself in everyday objects and routine.
My fried from university days, who had helped me with my own thesis and was about to become a philosopher of fame, Martin H--------, thought that the problems of knowledge were not 'problems' at all; that the 'problem' stemmed from Plato who had set the whole of Western philosophy on a wild-goose chase with the observer, the human mind or eye or senses as subject taking in the object - the external reality. The Greek philosophers who were earlier than Plato, the pre-Socratics, had in common with some of the great texts of Hinduism and Buddhism not made this distinction. The real mystery was Being itself and we were all, observers and observed, part of this 'Being'. (I think Martin H-------- derived some of his earliest thoughts about all this from Schopenhauer, whom Richard Wagner claimed to be the guide of his second phase of life.)
Western philosophy begins around 500 B.C. with Thales, who believed water was everything; Heraclitus, who believed change was everything; and Parmenides, who believed nothing changed. Athens's golden age came around 400 B.C., with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle as its primary figures. What you need to know: Socrates was killed by the city of Athens because he asked too many bothersome questions and seduced too many young men; Plato, Socrates's student, hated Athens for killing his teacher (his philosophy is nothing but an expression of this hate); and Aristotle, a student of Plato, was almost killed by Athens but got out of town just in time ("I will not give Athens a second opportunity to commit a crime against philosophy," Aristotle said as he ran from the city with his belongings). As for the Romans, they did not philosophize. The next important period for philosophy is the 13th century with the Scholastics—all they could think about was Aristotle. After the Scholastics, we leap to the end of the 18th century and enter what we now call German Idealism (from Kant to Marx). After German Idealism, there's Heidegger—he became a Nazi. After Heidegger, there are the French Nietzschians. After their work (mostly produced around 1968), the story of speculative philosophy comes to an end. That's all, folks.A-ba-dee ba-dee ba-dee-- Th-th-that's all Völks.
You go back to them again and again and each time you learn something about thought and language. Other texts, you get through. But not these. In fact, I'm always skeptical of people who say they are trying to get "beyond Heidegger". How far did Heidegger get with Being and Time? How far did you get in your reading of Being and Time? In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Heidegger's own attempts to get beyond himself are ridiculous. (As a person, Heidegger may well have been ridiculous. So was Wittgenstein.)
We must recognize that screen scanning is but one kind of reading, a lesser one, and that it conspires against certain intellectual habits requisite to liberal-arts learning. The inclination to read a huge Victorian novel, the capacity to untangle a metaphor in a line of verse, the desire to study and emulate a distant historical figure, the urge to ponder a concept such as Heidegger's ontic-ontological difference over and over and around and around until it breaks through as a transformative insight — those dispositions melt away with every 100 hours of browsing, blogging, IMing, Twittering, and Facebooking.Whoops, too late. Carry on grazing.
Protesting that he's a stranger in a strange land, Žižek nonetheless let drop a few comments about the presidential campaign. Barack Obama's rhetoric may be genuine, he says, but "Obama" is being transformed into an icon of democratic stasis, just as Martin Luther King, Jr., is revered for what he accomplished, rather than what he was bent on accomplishing. And the American left, like the left everywhere, still struggles to connect with the working class--only the populist right is willing to harness the anger of people who "don't know what's going on but have had enough!"Another point Zizek made about the election is that if you ask yourself, "Where is the working class?", the answer is Todd Palin. It's looking like the electorate is being presented with a choice between Western egalitarianism and Eastern elitists. I myself am uncommitted until Ladies Home Journal publishes Todd's favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe.
Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls is a treatise on time to rival anything Heidegger ever wrote. Far more than the 'dolls' - the depressants, uppers, sleeping tablets and diet pills of the title - it's time that proves the real downer, stripping the girls of their looks, pulling power and careers by the age of twenty-five. Horizon of possibility? That's a showbiz lifespan to rival the mayfly. And unlike Heidegger's death, which, after all, simply coincides with the end of Being-in-the-world, even if one paradoxically can't quite live one's own demise ('Dying is not an event'), for the aging girls of Valley of the Dolls one is, in the blink of a heavily made-up eye, dead within life - 'washed up'. If you haven't taken care to get a trustworthy husband, secure your finances and preserve your reputation, then you might as well take too many pills and get it over with.
MARTIN (softening) Phenomenal. (stepping down from the ladder, helping HANNAH down) And of course what they ALL forget... What they all forget to even consider is the fundamental mystery. (Beat.) The fundamental mystery... that something... exists. Rather than nothing. (Beat.) That the world IS. (As he scribbles ‘Being’ and ‘being’ on the blackboard) BEING is the primordial condition for beings to exist. (He turns off the light. Silent darkness except for the fire crackling, and the clock ticking.) Without light... we can't see. (He switches on the light.)
HANNAH Without light, we can't see. Without BEING, beings can't be.
Thanks and thinking are indeed closely related, she writes, for when one is given a gift, one is compelled to think about the one who took the trouble to give it. Thinking, for Visser - and, as she notes, for philosopher Martin Heidegger - is inevitably a response, a recognition, a remembering. In this way, thoughtfulness, mindfulness and thanks are woven into a whole. And the notion of thoughtlessness acquires an added sting.
The entire tradition from pre-philosophy (Parmenides: 'thinking and being are the same') to Heidegger's post-philosophy ('being-in-the-world') relies on a kind of primordial 'accordance' between thought ('man') and world - even in Heidegger, Dasein is always-already 'in' the world (or, as Heidegger puts it in his famous reversal of Kant: the scandal is not that the problem of how we can pass from ideas or representations in our mind to objective reality remains unresolved; the true scandal is that this passage is perceived as a problem at all, since it silently presupposes that an unbridgeable distance separates the subject from the world...).
Lacan, however, insists that our 'being-in-the-world' is already the outcome of a certain primordial choice: the psychotic experience bears witness to the fact that it is quite possible not to choose the world - a psychotic subject is not 'in-the-world', it lacks the clearance [Lichtung] that opens up the world. (For that reason Lacan establishes a link between Heidegger's Lichtung and the Freudian Bejahung, the primordial 'Yes', the assertion of being, as opposed to the psychotic Verwerfung.) In short, 'subject' designates this primordial impossible-forced choice by means of which we choose (or not) to be 'in the world' - that is, to exist as the 'there' of being.
This partly ironic, self-conscious Will to Order – a classificatory impulse that is supremely aware of its own futility, and of the fatal contingency of its classificatory criteria – is the precise juncture where the archival and/or encyclopaedic impulse in contemporary art enters into the picture: the "art of classification" that is implied in the archive, the atlas and the encyclopaedia (or its corollaries, the data-base and image-bank) is an integral self-reflexive part of what Martin Heidegger has called "the fundamental event of the modern age" – the "conquest of the world as picture."I'm surprised that quote isn't used in more art show anouncements.
In spite of humanity's special, scientific verisimilitude, natural circumstances of independent lives draw out certain natural proclivities within the context of our individual psycho-social realities, creating both differentiation and the paradox of conflict. The enshrinement of this complex of proclivities that forms an over-arching subjectivity, Heidegger called 'enowning'. As an enowning being, the human subject shelters the self in ideology, closing off from and concealing to the other.It seems one human's enowning, is another human's Cartesian subject.
The auditorium of the lecture-hall was a semi-circle of wooden stalls rising steeply in tiers. I thought - This is like that café-theatre in Berlin: will Heidegger's message be conveyed by coloured lights and splashing music? When he did appear he was a short, sedate-looking man with a huge head. He peered amongst the audience as if there might be someone there he might recognise - not someone he already knew, but someone (it seemed) who might understand if not his words then still what he would be saying. When he spoke his voice was lilting, almost caressing: as he looked amongst the audience he seemed to be asking - Is it you? Is it you?The author, Nicholas Mosley, 3rd Baron Ravensdale, is the son of Sir Oswald Mosley.
What Heidegger said in his inaugural lecture (or what I imagined him to have said: I have kept my notes) was roughly this -
Science takes us to the limit of what we can know about objects: beyond science there is nothing. But this nothing is postulated by science, for how can science be aware of itself except from a standpoint of what is beyond it? Facing this nothing we experience dread: but we also experience rapture, because it is what gives us a sense of our freedom from the tyranny of things. It also gives us the possibility of being in a knowing relation to things. Without this nothing, we would ourselves be just things.
Heidegger spoke this stuff in his quiet, melodious voice: he peered amongst his audience. It was as if the riddles that he posed were not the kind that required answers, but of the kind that go round and round and by which things are sifted, either remaining or falling through.
After the lecture I looked for Bruno, who had come straight to the lecture-hall from the train. I wondered - Will Bruno be someone I still recognise? who has not fallen (or has fallen?) through.