From Plato’s contempt for “the madness of the multitude” to Kant’s lament for “the great unthinking mass,” the history of Western thought is riddled with disdain for ordinary collective life. But it was not until Kierkegaard developed the term chatter that this disdain began to focus on the ordinary communicative practices that sustain this form of human togetherness.
The Chattering Mind explores the intellectual tradition inaugurated by Kierkegaard’s work, tracing the conceptual history of everyday talk from his formative account of chatter to Heidegger’s recuperative discussion of “idle talk” to Lacan’s culminating treatment of “empty speech”—and ultimately into our digital present, where small talk on various social media platforms now yields big data for tech-savvy entrepreneurs.
In this sense, The Chattering Mind is less a history of ideas than a book in search of a usable past. It is a study of how the modern world became anxious about everyday talk, figured in terms of the intellectual elites who piqued this anxiety, and written with an eye toward recent dilemmas of digital communication and culture. By explaining how a quintessentially unproblematic form of human communication became a communication problem in itself, McCormick shows how its conceptual history is essential to our understanding of media and communication today.
In the spring of 1929, Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer met for a public conversation in Davos, Switzerland. They were arguably the most important thinkers in Europe, and their exchange touched upon the most urgent questions in the history of philosophy: What is human finitude? What is objectivity? What is culture? What is truth?Over the last eighty years the Davos encounter has acquired an allegorical significance, as if it marked an ultimate and irreparable rupture in twentieth-century Continental thought. Here, in a reconstruction at once historical and philosophical, Peter Gordon reexamines the conversation, its origins and its aftermath, resuscitating an event that has become entombed in its own mythology. Through a close and painstaking analysis, Gordon dissects the exchange itself to reveal that it was at core a philosophical disagreement over what it means to be human.But Gordon also shows how the life and work of these two philosophers remained closely intertwined. Their disagreement can be understood only if we appreciate their common point of departure as thinkers of the German interwar crisis, an era of rebellion that touched all of the major philosophical movements of the day—life-philosophy, philosophical anthropology, neo-Kantianism, phenomenology, and existentialism. As Gordon explains, the Davos debate would continue to both inspire and provoke well after the two men had gone their separate ways. It remains, even today, a touchstone of philosophical memory.This clear, riveting book will be of great interest not only to philosophers and to historians of philosophy but also to anyone interested in the great intellectual ferment of Europe’s interwar years.
In The Crisis of Meaning and the Life-World, Ľubica Učník examines the existential conflict that formed the focus of Edmund Husserl’s final work, which she argues is very much with us today: how to reconcile scientific rationality with the meaning of human existence. To investigate this conundrum, she places Husserl in dialogue with three of his most important successors: Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, and Jan Patočka.
For Husserl, 1930s Europe was characterized by a growing irrationalism that threatened to undermine its legacy of rational inquiry. Technological advancement in the sciences, Husserl argued, had led science to forget its own foundations in the primary “life-world”: the world of lived experience. Renewing Husserl’s concerns in today’s context, Učník first provides an original and compelling reading of his oeuvre through the lens of the formalization of the sciences, then traces the unfolding of this problem through the work of Heidegger, Arendt, and Patočka.
Although many scholars have written on Arendt, none until now has connected her philosophical thought with that of Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka. Učník provides invaluable access to the work of the latter, who remains understudied in the English language. She shows that together, these four thinkers offer new challenges to the way we approach key issues confronting us today, providing us with ways to reconsider truth, freedom, and human responsibility in the face of the postmodern critique of metanarratives and a growing philosophical interest in new forms of materialism.
The author of discipline-defining studies of human cognition and artificial intelligence, John Haugeland was a charismatic, highly original voice in the contemporary forum of Anglo-American analytic philosophy. At his death in 2010, he left behind an unfinished manuscript, more than a decade in the making, intended as a summation of his life-long engagement with one of the twentieth century’s most influential philosophical tracts, Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927). Dasein Disclosed brings together in a single volume the writings of a man widely acknowledged as one of Heidegger’s preeminent and most provocative interpreters.A labyrinth of notoriously difficult ideas and terminology, Being and Time has inspired copious commentary. Not content merely to explain, Haugeland aspired to a sweeping reevaluation of Heidegger’s magnum opus and its conception of human life as Dasein—a reevaluation focused on Heidegger’s effort to reawaken philosophically dormant questions of what it means “to be.” Interpreting Dasein unconventionally as “the living of a living way of life,” Haugeland put involvement in a shared world, rather than individual persons or their experience, at the heart of Heidegger’s phenomenology of understanding and truth. Individuality, Haugeland insists, emerges in the call to take responsibility for a collective way of being in the world. He traces this thought to Heidegger’s radical conclusion that one does not truly understand philosophical concepts unless that understanding changes how one lives.As illuminating as it is iconoclastic, Dasein Disclosed is not just Haugeland’s Heidegger—it is a major contribution to philosophy in its own right.
Although it is sometimes said that Martin Heidegger’s later philosophy no longer concerned itself with the theme of authenticity so crucial to Being and Time (1927), this book argues that his interest in authenticity was always strong.
After leaving the seminary to become a philosophy student, Heidegger began to “de–mythologize” religious themes for his own philosophical purposes. Like the Christian notion of faith, Heidegger’s notion of authenticity involves relinquishing the egotistical self–understanding which blocks our openness for possibilities. Yet authenticity as “resoluteness” includes an element of voluntarism foreign to the idea of faith. Heidegger’s brief engagement with National Socialism (1933–1934) helped him to re–think the Nietzschean concept of will which had influenced his early views on authenticity. Although part of the meaning of resoluteness is to allow things to be revealed, it also suggests that an individual can somehow will to be authentic. After about 1936, Heidegger emphasized that an individual can only be released from egoism (inauthenticity) by a power which transcends him. The abiding theological issue concerning the efficacy of works as against the saving power of grace finds expression in the distinction between resoluteness and releasement.
French philosopher Luce Irigaray has become one of the twentieth century's most influential feminist thinkers. Among her many writings are three books (with a projected fourth) in which she challenges the Western tradition's construals of human beings' relations to the four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—and to nature. In answer to Heidegger's undoing of Western metaphysics as a "forgetting of Being," Irigaray seeks in this work to begin to think out the Being of sexedness and the sexedness of Being.
This volume is the first English translation of L'oubli de l'air chez Martin Heidegger (1983). In this complex, lyrical, meditative engagement with the later work of the eminent German philosopher, Irigaray critiques Heidegger's emphasis on the element of earth as the ground of life and speech and his "oblivion" or forgetting of air.
With the other volumes (Elemental Passions and Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche, published elsewhere) in Irigaray's "elemental" series, The Forgetting of Air offers a fundamental rereading of basic tenets in Western metaphysics. And with its emphasis on dwelling and human habitation, it will be important reading not only in the humanities but also in architecture and the environmental sciences.
Heidegger’s later thought is a thinking of things, so argues Andrew J. Mitchell in The Fourfold. Heidegger understands these things in terms of what he names “the fourfold”—a convergence of relationships bringing together the earth, the sky, divinities, and mortals—and Mitchell’s book is the first detailed exegesis of this neglected aspect of Heidegger’s later thought. As such it provides entrée to the full landscape of Heidegger’s postwar thinking, offering striking new interpretations of the atomic bomb, technology, plants, animals, weather, time, language, the holy, mortality, dwelling, and more. What results is a conception of things as ecstatic, relational, singular, and, most provocatively, as intrinsically tied to their own technological commodification. A major new work that resonates beyond the confines of Heidegger scholarship, The Fourfold proposes nothing less than a new phenomenological thinking of relationality and mediation for understanding the things around us.
A bold new conception of Heidegger’s project of Destruktion as a method of interpreting history
For Martin Heidegger, our inherited traditions provide the concepts through which we make our world intelligible. Concepts we can also oppose, disrupt, and even exceed. First, however, if Western philosophy is our inheritance, we must submit it to Destruktion—starting with Aristotle. Heidegger and the Destruction of Aristotle: On How to Read the Tradition presents a new conception of Heidegger’s “destruction” as a way of reading.
Situated between Nietzschean genealogy and Derridean deconstruction, this method uncovers in Aristotle the most vital originating articulations of the Western tradition and gives us the means to confront it. Sean D. Kirkland argues this is not a rejection of the past but a sophisticated and indeed timely hermeneutic tool—a complex, illuminating, and powerful method for interpreting historical texts at our present moment. Acknowledging the historical Heidegger as a politically compromised and still divisive figure, Kirkland demonstrates that Heideggerian destruction is a method of interpreting history that enables us to reorient and indeed transform its own most troubling legacies.
This volume collects and translates Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s studies of Heidegger, written and revised between 1990 and 2002. All deal with Heidegger’s relation to politics, specifically through Heidegger’s interpretations of the poetry of Hölderlin. Lacoue-Labarthe argues that it is through Hölderlin that Heidegger expresses most explicitly his ideas on politics, his nationalism, and the importance of myth in his thinking, all of which point to substantial affinities with National Socialism.
Lacoue-Labarthe not only examines the intellectual background--including Romanticism and "German ideology"--of Heidegger's uses and abuses of poetry, he also attempts to reestablish the vexed relationship between poetry and philosophy outside the bounds of the Heideggerian reading. He turns to Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, as well as Paul Celan, arguing for the necessity of poetry as an engagement with history. While Heidegger's readings of Hölderlin attempt to appropriate poetry for mythic and political ends, Lacoue-Labarthe insists that poetry and thought can, and must, converge in another way. Jeff Fort provides a precise translation capturing the spirit and clarity of Lacoue-Labarthe’s writing, as well as an introduction clearly situating the debates addressed in these essays.
Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time can be broadly termed a transcendental inquiry into the structures that make human experience possible. Such an inquiry reveals the conditions that render human experience intelligible. Using Being and Time as a model, I attempt to show that Alfred North Whitehead’s Process and Reality not only aligns with Being and Time in opposing many elements of traditional Western philosophy but also exhibits a similar transcendental inquiry.
With this reading, Process and Reality contains concepts much like Being-in-the-world, ecstatic temporality, and others found in Being and Time. More important, this interpretation considers Whitehead’s treatment of human experience paradigmatic for understanding his cosmological scheme in general. Finally, the results of this study are employed to sketch a phenomenology of holy experience.
— Prefatory Note to Heidegger and Whitehead
There are moments when things suddenly seem strange—objects in the world lose their meaning, we feel like strangers to ourselves, or human existence itself strikes us as bizarre and unintelligible. Through a detailed philosophical investigation of Heidegger’s concept of uncanniness (Unheimlichkeit), Katherine Withy explores what such experiences reveal about us. She argues that while others (such as Freud, in his seminal psychoanalytic essay, “The Uncanny”) take uncanniness to be an affective quality of strangeness or eeriness, Heidegger uses the concept to go beyond feeling uncanny to reach the ground of this feeling in our being uncanny.Heidegger on Being Uncanny answers those who wonder whether human existence is fundamentally strange to itself by showing that we can be what we are only if we do not fully understand what it is to be us. This fundamental finitude in our self-understanding is our uncanniness. In this first dedicated interpretation of Heidegger’s uncanniness, Withy tracks this concept from his early analyses of angst through his later interpretations of the choral ode from Sophocles’s Antigone. Her interpretation uncovers a novel and robust continuity in Heidegger’s thought and in his vision of the human being as uncanny, and it points the way toward what it is to live well as an uncanny human being.
Understanding the political and ecological implications of Heidegger’s work without ignoring his noxious public engagements
The most controversial philosopher of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger has influenced generations of intellectuals even as his involvement with Nazism and blatant anti-Semitism, made even clearer after the publication of his Black Notebooks, have recently prompted some to discard his contributions entirely. For Michael Marder, Heidegger’s thought remains critical for interpretations of contemporary politics and our relation to the natural environment.
Bringing together and reframing more than a decade of Marder’s work on Heidegger, this volume questions the wholesale rejection of Heidegger, arguing that dismissive readings of his project overlook the fact that it is impossible to grasp without appreciating his lifelong commitment to phenomenology and that Heidegger’s anti-Semitism is an aberration in his still-relevant ecological and political thought, rather than a defining characteristic. Through close readings of Heidegger’s books and seminars, along with writings by other key phenomenologists and political philosophers, Marder contends that neither Heidegger’s politics nor his reflections on ecology should be considered in isolation from his phenomenology. By demonstrating the codetermination of his phenomenological, ecological, and political thinking, Marder accounts for Heidegger’s failures without either justifying them or suggesting that they invalidate his philosophical endeavor as a whole.
One of the century’s greatest philosophers, without whom there would be no Sartre, no Foucault, no Frankfurt School, Martin Heidegger was also a man of great failures and flaws, a Faustus who made a pact with the devil of his time, Adolf Hitler. The story of Heidegger’s life and philosophy, a quintessentially German story in which good and evil, brilliance and blindness are inextricably entwined and the passions and disasters of a whole century come into play, is told in this brilliant biography.Heidegger grew up in Catholic Germany where, for a chance at pursuing a life of learning, he pledged himself to the priesthood. Soon he turned apostate and sought a university position, which set him on the path to becoming the star of German philosophy in the 1920s. Rüdiger Safranski chronicles Heidegger’s rise along with the thought he honed on the way, with its debt to Heraclitus, Plato, and Kant, and its tragic susceptibility to the conservatism that emerged out of the nightmare of Germany’s loss in World War I. A chronicle of ideas and of personal commitments and betrayals, Safranski’s biography combines clear accounts of the philosophy that won Heidegger eternal renown with the fascinating details of the loves and lapses that tripped up this powerful intellectual.The best intellectual biography of Heidegger ever written and a best-seller in Germany, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil does not shy away from full coverage of Heidegger’s shameful transformation into a propagandist for the National Socialist regime; nor does it allow this aspect of his career to obscure his accomplishments. Written by a master of Heidegger’s philosophy, the book is one of the best introductions to the thought and to the life and times of the greatest German philosopher of the century.
Readings in Interpretation was first published in 1987. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Readings in Interpretation — a volume primarily on the texts of Holderlin, Hegel, and their interpreter Heidegger—locates itself strategically between literature and philosophy. In keeping with this juxtaposition, it treats the question of self-consciousness and reflection on the levels of "theme" and "text." For both Hegel and Holderlin, selfconsciousness and its relation to knowing are explicit themes, but Waminski's readings show that a more disruptive reflection is operative on the level of text.
In an argument that centers on the textual aspects of Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit,Warminski demonstrates that the negative moment—which is often interpreted as a prelude to a unified self-consciousness—cannot be accounted for by interpretive models drawn from outside the text—by concepts like the self, consciousness, or the subject. Instead, a completely different practice and theory is necessary. The author's "Prefatory Postscript" at the beginning of the book therefore serves as an introduction to sketch the theoretical basis of the readings that follow and as a "postscript" that explains the difference between "reading" and "interpretation" which those readings make necessary.
Heidegger’s lectures delivered at the University of Freiburg in 1936 on Schelling’s Treatise On Human Freedom came at a crucial turning point in Heidegger’s development. He had just begun his study to work out the term “Ereignis.” Heidegger’s interpretation of Schelling’s work reveals a dimension of his thinking which has never been previously published in English.
While Schelling’s philosophy is less known than that of the other major German Idealists, Fichte and Hegel, he is one of the thinker with whom Heidegger has the most affinity, making this study fruitful for an understanding of both philosophers. Heidegger’s interpretation of On Human Freedom is the most straightforward of the studies to have appeared in English on the Treatise, and is the only work that is devoted to Schelling in Heidegger’s corpus. The basic problems at stake in Schelling’s Treatise lie at the very heart of the idealist tradition: the question of the compatibility of the system and individual freedom, the questions of pantheism and the justification of evil. Schelling was the first thinker in the rationalist-idealist tradition to grapple seriously with the problem of evil.
These are the great questions of the philosophical tradition. They lead Schelling and, with him, Heidegger, to possibilities that come very close to the boundaries of the idealist tradition. For example, Schelling’s concept of the “groundless”—what reason can no longer ground and explain—points back to Jacob Boehme and indirectly forward to the direction of Heidegger’s own inquiry into “Being.” Heidegger’s reading of Schelling, especially of the topics of evil and freedom, clearly shows Schelling’s influence on Heidegger’s views.
How are we to think and act constructively in the face of today’s environmental and political catastrophes? Gail Stenstad finds inspiring answers in the thought of German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Rather than simply describing or explaining Heidegger’s transformative way of thinking, Stenstad’s writing enacts it, bringing new insight into contemporary environmental, political, and personal issues. Readers come to understand some of Heidegger’s most challenging concepts through experiencing them. This is a truly creative scholarly work that invites all readers to carry Heidegger’s transformative thinking into their own areas of deep concern.
The World Unclaimed argues that Heidegger’s critique of modern epistemology in Being and Time is seriously flawed. Heidegger believes he has done away with epistemological problems concerning the external world by showing that the world is an existential structure of Dasein. However, the author argues that Heidegger fails to make good his claim that he has “rescued” the phenomenon of the world, which he believes the tradition of philosophy has bypassed. Heidegger fails not only to reclaim the world but also to acknowledge its loss. Alweiss thus calls into question Heidegger’s claim that ontology is more fundamental than epistemology.
The World Unclaimed develops its powerful critique of Being and Time by arguing for a return to Husserl. It draws on Husserl’s insight that it is the moving and sensing body that discloses how we are already familiar with the world. Kinaesthesia provides a key for understanding our relation to the world. The author thus suggests that thinkers in the vein of Husserl and Kant -who, for Heidegger, epitomize the tradition of modern philosophy by returning to a “worldless subject”- may provide us with the resources to reclaim the phenomenon of the world that Being and Time sets out to salvage.
Alweiss’s fresh and innovative study demonstrates that it is possible to overcome epistemological skepticism without ever losing sight of the phenomenon of the world. Moreover, Alweiss challenges us to reconsider the relation between Husserl and Heidegger by providing a forceful defense of Husserl’s critique of cognition.
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