Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Continuing the milieu in James Miller's Passion of Michel Foucault.
That the Frenchman should have thus discovered, and embraced, a German philosophy of Untergang in the midst of World War II was an irony that Sartre himself wryly noted. As he pointed out, Being and Time was, on one level, a kind of daunting philosophical codicil to Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West. Still, in Satire’s view, Being and Time expressed “a free surpassing toward philosophy of this pathetic profile of history. . . . So I can rediscover Heidegger’s assumption of his destiny as a German, in that wretched Germany of the postwar years, in order to help me assume my destiny as a Frenchman in the France of ‘40.”

If nothing else, Sartre’s enthusiasm helped change the course of Heidegger’s career: after Germany’s defeat, just as he was being stripped of his chair in philosophy, and exiled to his home in the Black Forest, he became, thanks to the global uproar over Sartre and existentialism, a prophet with honor, and not just in France. But the story is stranger still. For Heidegger, far from being pleased with the claims made on his behalf, took pains to disavow them. After reading the text of Sartre’s “Existentialism is a Humanism,” he was moved to explain that he himself was neither a humanist nor, for that matter, an “existentialist” In response to a series of questions posed by his most prominent French disciple—the École Normale’s own Jean Beaufret—Heidegger composed an open “Letter on Humanism,” first published in 1947. Like some demigod glowering atop a philosophical Mt. Olympus, the disgraced German sage hurled thunderbolts. Sartre, he declared with a withering scorn hard for the uninitiated to savor fully, “stays with metaphysics in oblivion of the truth of Being.”

With one fell stroke, Heidegger made his own work a central influence on Foucault’s generation of French philosophers—the very generation anxious to escape from Sartre’s shadow.

In strictly philosophical terms, Heidegger was obviously right to disavow Sartre’s lecture. His own thinking, he insisted, had never been designed “for the sake of man so that civilization and culture through man’s doings might be vindicated.” For him, as for Nietzsche and Spengler, modern history was nothing less than a calamity—not the happy emergence of the harmonious human freedom anticipated by Kant, Hegel, and Marx. In these circumstances, to reproduce without modification or serious criticism the formulas of modern humanism, as Sartre seemed to, amounted to an evasion: it was as if the French philosopher had flinched when faced with the full implications of the essence of being human. This essence Heidegger throughout his life described not in terms of “consciousness,” but of “transcendence”: “Being is the transcendens pure and simple.”

Pp. 47-48
“Being is the transcendens pure and simple.”

Stambaugh somewhere in The Finitude of Being writes that MH disavowed that conceptualization. I don't know if he also redacted "Shepherd of Being."
Existence precedes essence, dewdd.

What did Heidegger think of Sartres unrelenting atheism? (and JPS calls Heid.an atheist as well). Is Being..godless? Again, I don't really care for Sartre's philosophical writing (or necessarily agree), but....Sartre didn't fuck around--he intended to "work out the consequences of a godless world," where..per Ivan Karamazov everything is permitted. rhapsnow....but
we don't rate folks by their best intentions round these parts. Bring on the do-ers.

Stambaugh actually puts the words in MH's mouth, it's in the imagined interview with a buddhist monk epilogue.
But that passage is actually in Being and Time, enowning.
the happy emergence of the harmonious human freedom

Perhaps Miller (or Enk) should provide a cite to..a Sartre text where he wrote something like that----alienation ,forlornness, bad faith..wasn't that Sartre. Nausea, no exit, etc. The humanism was..part of his atheism.
And "Nausea" was doing, wasn't it. Perhaps it's sort of trite but....the anti-Sartre types seem religious. Heidegger's sortof accepted by theology people (incluing muslims). Or is it something else, like ID politics..better nazi daddies than like little french marxists....

Did Spengler read/respect Heidegger? He finally broke with nazis.
I know Spengler and Heidegger corresponded, but I don't know the details about their mutual rapport.

I'll pass on the details about Sartre; it's been decades since I knew my way around his oeuvre.

I'm not keen on binary oppositions; if you're not with us, you must be with them. As Zizek points out, you can be alive or dead, but there's a third possibility, you could also be un-dead, which doesn't mean you're alive.
Hey bzfgt,

In Stambaugh, MH putatively says: "I would no longer state, as I did in Being and Time, that being is the absolute transcendens." [P. 177]

So I don't understand what you mean by: that passage is actually in Being and Time.
What I recall re: Sartre/MH is that Sartre attended some of MH's lectures prior to WWII and before writing Being and Nothingness.

Somewhere recently (here?) I saw a contrasting of S's and MH's use of "nothing." For S it is das nichte Nichts, nothing at all. And the vacancy becomes for S the possibility of freedom. For MH, it is more complex. I can never remember all his distinctions between the versions of nothing. I just recall that for MH nothing is dependent on Beyng rather than antithetical.

Hazel Barnes, an American interpreter of Sartre, has written an ethics she claims is consistent with S. MH refuses that possibility for himself in Letter on Humanism.
Sartre studied for a short time in Berlin, but never in Freiburg, not with Heidegger.
I'm not keen on binary oppositions; if you're not with us, you must be with them.

Yeah, nazis and stalinists got issues (were't existentialists supposed to be above both,in theory). But in some circumstances...the law of the excluded middle does hold (your computer's either on or off, or...Homie's guilty or not) as does law of non-contradiction ( in yr compsci courses you probably had to use proofs, ala reductio A.A).
Sorry, I thought you were talking about "Being is the trans...etc."

In "Letter on Humanism," Heidegger does say that being only shows itself as transcending when thought from the perspective of beings.
MH equatea being is the transcendens in several places. There's a bit from The Finitude of Being on the matter, queued to post on the 5th.
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