In a provactive work that brings new tools to the history of philosophy, Karen S. Feldman offers an elegant account of how philosophical language appears to produce the very thing it claims to describe. She demonstrates that conscience can only be described and understood through tropes and figures of langugae. If description in literal terms is impossible, as Binding Words convincingly argues, perhaps there is no such thing. But if the word "conscience" has no tangible referent, then how can conscience be constructed as binding? Does our conscience move us to do things, or is this yet another figure of speech?
Hobbes's Leviathan, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, and Heidegger's Being and Time dramatize conscience's relation to language and knowledge, morality and duty, and ontology. Feldman investigates how, within these works, conscience is described as binding upon us while at the same time asking how texts themselves may be read as binding.
Critics have charged that Heidegger's account of authenticity is morally nihilistic, that his fundamental ontology is either egocentric or chauvinistic; and many see Heidegger's turn to Nazism in 1933 as following logically from an indifference, and even hostility, to "otherness" in the premises of his early philosophy.
In The Fragile "We": Ethical Implications of Heidegger's "Being and Time," Lawrence Vogel presents three interpretations of authentic existence—the existentialist, the historicist, and the cosmopolitan—each of which is a plausible version of the personal ideal depicted in Being and Time. He then draws parallels between these interpretations and three moments in the contemporary liberal-communitarian debate over the relationship of the "I" and the "We." His book contributes both to a diagnosis of what there is about Being and Time that invites moral nihilism and to a sense of how fundamental ontology might be recast so that "the other" is accorded an appropriate place in an account of human existence.
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.
Few philosophers held greater fascination for Jacques Derrida than Martin Heidegger, and in this book we get an extended look at Derrida’s first real encounters with him. Delivered over nine sessions in 1964 and 1965 at the École Normale Supérieure, these lectures offer a glimpse of the young Derrida first coming to terms with the German philosopher and his magnum opus, Being and Time. They provide not only crucial insight into the gestation of some of Derrida’s primary conceptual concerns—indeed, it is here that he first uses, with some hesitation, the word “deconstruction”—but an analysis of Being and Time that is of extraordinary value to readers of Heidegger or anyone interested in modern philosophy.
Derrida performs an almost surgical reading of the notoriously difficult text, marrying pedagogical clarity with patient rigor and acting as a lucid guide through the thickets of Heidegger’s prose. At this time in intellectual history, Heidegger was still somewhat unfamiliar to French readers, and Being and Time had only been partially translated into French. Here Derrida mostly uses his own translations, giving his own reading of Heidegger that directly challenges the French existential reception initiated earlier by Sartre. He focuses especially on Heidegger’s Destruktion (which Derrida would translate both into “solicitation” and “deconstruction”) of the history of ontology, and indeed of ontology as such, concentrating on passages that call for a rethinking of the place of history in the question of being, and developing a radical account of the place of metaphoricity in Heidegger’s thinking.
This is a rare window onto Derrida’s formative years, and in it we can already see the philosopher we’ve come to recognize—one characterized by a bravura of exegesis and an inventiveness of thought that are particularly and singularly his.
Margins of Philosophy
Jacques Derrida University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress B53.D4613 1982 | Dewey Decimal 190
"In this densely imbricated volume Derrida pursues his devoted, relentless dismantling of the philosophical tradition, the tradition of Plato, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger—each dealt with in one or more of the essays. There are essays too on linguistics (Saussure, Benveniste, Austin) and on the nature of metaphor ("White Mythology"), the latter with important implications for literary theory. Derrida is fully in control of a dazzling stylistic register in this book—a source of true illumination for those prepared to follow his arduous path. Bass is a superb translator and annotator. His notes on the multilingual allusions and puns are a great service."—Alexander Gelley, Library Journal