Featuring a foreword by Heidegger scholar Taylor Carman, this essential collection provides readers with a concise introduction to the groundbreaking philosophy of this brilliant and essential thinkerFew philosophers have had influence on the shape of western philosophy afterthan Martin Heidegger Basic Writings offers a full range of this profound and controversial thinker s writings in one volume, including The Origin of the Work of ArtThe introduction to Being and TimeWhat Is Metaphysics Letter on HumanismThe Question Concerning TechnologyThe Way to LanguageThe End of Philosophy


10 thoughts on “Basic Writings: Ten Key Essays, plus the Introduction to Being and Time

  1. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I created a podcast version of this review, which you can find here Every valuing, even where it values positively, is a subjectivizing It does not let things beA Gentle Warning In matters philosophical, it is wise to be skeptical of interpretations An interpretation can be reasonable or unreasonable, interesting or uninteresting, compelling or uncompelling but an interpretation, by its very nature, can never be f I created a podcast version of this review, which you can find here Every valuing, even where it values positively, is a subjectivizing It does not let things beA Gentle Warning In matters philosophical, it is wise to be skeptical of interpretations An interpretation can be reasonable or unreasonable, interesting or uninteresting, compelling or uncompelling but an interpretation, by its very nature, can never be false or true Thus, we must be very careful when relying on secondary literature for what is secondary literature but a collection of interpretations Personally, I don t like anybody to come between me and a philosopher When a philosopher s views are being explained to me, I feel as if I m on the wrong end of a long game of telephone Even if an interpreter is excellent quoting extensively and making qualified assertions his interpretation is, like all interpretations, an argument from authority to interpret a text is to assert that one is an authority on the text, and thus should be believed.Over generations, these interpretations can harden into dogmas we are taught the received interpretation of a philosopher, and not the philosopher himself This is dangerous for, what makes a classic book classic, is that it can be read repeatedly not just in one lifetime, but down the centuries while continuing to yield new and interesting interpretations In other words, a philosophical classic is a book that can be validly and compelling interpreted a huge number of ways So if you subscribe to another person s interpretation you are depriving the world of something invaluable your own take on the matter In matters philosophical, I say that it is better to be stupid with one s own stupidity, than smart with another s smarts To put the matter another way, to read a great book of philosophy is not, I think, like reading a science textbook the goal is not simply to assimilate a certain body of knowledge, but to have a genuine encounter with the thinker In this way, reading a great work of philosophy is muchlike travelling someplace new what matters is the experience of having been there, and not the snapshots you bring back from the trip Even if you go someplace where you can t speak the language, where you are continually baffled the whole time by strange customs and incomprehensible speech, it isvaluable than just sitting at home and reading guide books So go and be baffled, I say This is all just a way of warning you not to take what I will say too seriously, for what I will offer is my own interpretation, my own guide book, so to speak I will make some assertions, but I d like you to be very skeptical After all, I m just some dude on the internet An Attempt at a Way In The best advice I ve ever gotten in regard to Heidegger was in my previous job My boss was a professor from Europe, a very well educated man, who naturally liked to talk about books with me At around this time, I was reading Being and Time, and floundering When I complained of the book s difficulty, this is what he said In the Anglophone tradition, they think of language as a tool for communication But in the European tradition, they think of language as a tool to explore the world He said this last statement as he reached out his arm in front of him, as if grabbing at something far away, to make it clear what he meant Open one of Heidegger s books, and you will be confronted with something strange First is the language He invents new words and,frustratingly, he uses old words in unfamiliar ways, often relying on obscure etymological connections and German puns Evenfrustrating is the way Heidegger does philosophy he doesn t make logical arguments, and he doesn t give straightforward definitions for his terms Why does he write like this And how can a philosopher do philosophy without attempting to persuade the reader with arguments You re right to be skeptical but, in this review, I will try to provide you with a way into Heidegger s philosophy, so at least his compositional and intellectual decisions make sense, even if you disagree with them Since Heidegger s frustrating and exasperating language is extremely conspicuous, let us start there.Imagine a continuum of attitudes towards language On the far end, towards the left, is the scientific attitude There, we find linguists talking of phonemes, morphemes, syntax we find analytic philosophers talking about theories of meaning and reference We see sentences being diagrammed we hear researchers making logical arguments Now, follow me to the middle of this continuum Here is where most speech takes place Here, language is totally transparent We don t think about it, we simply use it in our day to day lives We argue, we order pizzas, we make excuses to our bosses, we tell jokes and sometimes we write book reviews Then, we get to the other end of the spectrum This is the place where lyric poetry resides Language is not here being used to catalogue knowledge, nor is it transparent here, in fact, language is somehow mysterious, foreign, strange we hear familiar words used in unfamiliar ways rules of syntax and semantics are broken here nothing is as it seems Now, what if I ask you, what attitude gets to the real essence, the real fundamentals of language If you re like me, you d say the first attitude the scientific attitude It seems commonsensical to think that you understand languagedeeply theyou rigorously study it and one studies language by setting up abstract categories, such as syntax and phoneme But this is where Heidegger is in fundamental disagreement for Heidegger believes that poetry reveals the essence of language In his words Language itself is poetry in the essential sense But isn t this odd Isn t poetry a second or third level phenomenon Doesn t poetry presuppose the usual use of language, which itself presupposes the factual underpinning of language investigated by science In trying to understand why Heidegger might think this, we are led to his conception of truth.If you are like me, you have a commonsense understanding of what makes a statement true or false A statement is true if it corresponds to something in reality if I say the glass is on the table, it is only true if the glass really is on the table Heidegger thinks this is entirely wrong and in place of this conception of truth, Heidegger proposes the Greek word aletheia, which he defines as unconcealment, or letting things reveal themselves as themselves It s hard to describe what this means abstractly, so let me give you an example Let s say you are a peasant, and a rich nobleman just invited you to his house You get lost, and wander into a room It is filled with strange objects that you ve never seen before You pick something up from a table You hold it in your hands, entranced by the strange shape, the odd colors, the weird noises it omits You are totally lost in contemplation of the object, when suddenly the nobleman waltzes into the room and says Oh, I see you ve found my watch According to Heidegger, what the nobleman just did was to cover up the watch in a kind of veneer of obviousness It is simply a watch, he says, just one among many of its kind, and therefore obvious The peasant, meanwhile, was experiencing the object as an object, and letting it reveal itself to him.This kind of patina of familiarity is, for Heidegger, what prevents us from engaging in serious thinking This is why Heidegger spends so much time talking about the dangers of conformity, and also why he is ambivalent about the scientific project for what is science but the attempt to make what is not obvious, obvious To bring the unfamiliar into the realm of familiarity Heidegger thinks that this feeling of unfamiliarity is, on the contrary, the really valuable thing and this is why Heidegger talks about moods such as anxiety, which, he says, discloses the Nothing Now, it is a favorite criticism of some philosophers to dismiss Heidegger as foolish by treating Nothing as something but this misses his point When Heidegger is talking of anxiety as the mood that discloses the Nothing to us, he means that our mood of anxiety is the subrational realization of the bizarreness of existence That is, our anxiety is the way that the question faces us Why is there something rather than nothing This leads us quite naturally to Heidegger s most emblematic question, the question of Being what does it mean to be Heidegger contends that this question has been lost to history But has it Philosophers have been discussing metaphysics for millennia We have idealism, materialism, monism, monadism aren t these answers to the question of Being No, Heidegger says, and for the following reason When one asserts, for example, that everything is matter, one is asserting that everything is, at base, one type of thing But the question of Being cannot be answered by pointing to a specific type of being so we can t answer the question, what does it mean to be by saying everything is mind, or everything is matter, since that misses the point What does it mean to be at all So now we have to circle back to Heidegger s conception of truth If you are operating with the commonsense idea of truth as correspondence, you will quite naturally say The question of Being is meaningless Being is the most empty of categories you can t give any further analysis to what it means to exist In terms of correspondence, this is quite true for how can any statement correspond with the answer to that question A statement can only correspond to a state of affairs it cannot correspond to the stateness of affairs that s meaningless However, if you are thinking of truth along Heidegger s lines, the question becomessensible for what Heidegger is really asking is How can we have an original encounter with Being How can I experience what it means to exist How can I let the truth of existence open itself up to me To do this, Heidegger attempts to peel back the layers of familiarity that, he feels, prevents this genuine encounter from happening He tries to strip away our most basic commonsense notions true vs false, subject vs object, opinion vs fact, and virtually any other you can name In so doing, Heidegger tries to come up with ways of speaking that do not presuppose these categories So in struggling through his works, you are undergoing a kind of therapy to rid yourself of your preconceptions, in order to look at the world anew In his words What is strange in the thinking of Being is its simplicity Precisely this keeps us from it For we look for thinking which has its world historical prestige under the name philosophy in the form of the unusual, which is accessible only to initiates What on earth are we to make of all this Is this philosophy or mystical poetry Is it nonsense That s a tough question If by philosophy we mean the examination of certain traditional questions, such as those of metaphysics and epistemology, then it might be fair to say that Heidegger wasn t a philosopher at least, not exactly But if by philosophy we mean thinking for the sake of thinking, then Heidegger is a consummate philosopher for, in a sense, this is the point of his whole project to get us to question everything we take for granted, and to rethink the world with fresh minds.So should we accept Heidegger s philosophy Should we believe him And what does it even mean to believe somebody who purposely doesn t make assertions or construct arguments Is this acceptable in a thinker Well, I can t speak for you, but I don t accept his picture of the world To sum up my disagreement with Heidegger as pithily as possible, I disagree with him when he saysOntology is only possible as phenomenologyOn the contrary, I do not think that ontology necessarily has anything to do with phenomenology in other words, I don t think that our experiences of the world necessarily disclose the world in a fundamental way For example, Heidegger thinks that everyday sounds arebasic than abstract acoustical signals, and he argues this position like so We never really first perceive a throng of sensations, e.g., tones and noises, in the appearance of things as this thing concept alleges rather we hear the storm whistling in the chimney, we hear the three motored plane, we hear the Mercedes in immediate distinction from the Volkswagen Much closer to us than all sensations are the things themselves We hear the door shut in the house and never hear acoustical sensations or even mere sounds In order to hear a bare sound we have to listen away from things, divert our ear from them, i.e., listen abstractly.To Heidegger, the very fact that we perceive sounds this way implies that this isfundamental But I cannot accept this Hearing first the door shut is only a fact of our perception it does not tell us anything about how our brains process auditory signals, nor what sound is, for that matter This is why I am a firm believer in science, because it seems that the universe doesn t give up its secrets lightly, but must be probed and prodded When we leave nature to reveal itself to us, we aren t left with much.And it was clear that I m not a Heideggerian from my introduction As the opening quote shows, he was partly remonstrating against our dichotomy of subjective opinion vs objective fact whereas this notion is the very one I began my review with You ve been hoodwinked from the start, dear reader for by acknowledging that this is just one opinion among many, you have, willingly or unwillingly, disagreed with Heidegger.So was reading Heidegger a waste of time for me If I disagree with him on almost everything, what did I gain from reading him Well, for one thing, as a phenomenologist pure and simple, Heidegger is excellent he gets to the bottom of our experience of the world in a way way few thinkers can What s , even if we reject his ontology, many of Heidegger s points are interesting as pure cultural criticism by digging down deep into many of our preconceptions, Heidegger manages to reveal some major biases and assumptions we make in our daily lives But the most valuable part of Heidegger is that he makes you think agree or disagree, if you decide he is a loony or a genius, he will make you think, and that is invaluable.So, to bring this review around to this volume, I warmly push it into your hands Here is an excellent introduction to the work and thought of an original mind much less imposing than Being and Time I must confess that I was pummeled by Heidegger s first book I was beaten senseless This book was, by contrast, often pleasant reading It seems that Heidegger jettisoned a lot of his jargon later in life he even occasionally comes close to being lucid and graceful I especially admire The Origin of the Work of Art I think it s easily one of the greatest reflections on art that I ve had the good fortune to read.I think it s only fair to give Heidegger the last wordif man is to find his way once again into the nearness of Being he must first learn to exist in the nameless In the same way he must recognize the seductions of the public realm as well as the impotence of the private Before he speaks man must first let himself be claimed again by Being, taking the risk that under this claim he will seldom have much to say.


  2. Michael Michael says:

    020220 220918 this is a much much much later addition four years in choosing the most interesting and influential philosopher of the 20th century, i nominate h over say analytic favourite wittgenstein i am also told w is interested in the therapeutic use of philosophy, showing the insect s way out of the bottle or br 020220 220918 this is a much much much later addition four years in choosing the most interesting and influential philosopher of the 20th century, i nominate h over say analytic favourite wittgenstein i am also told w is interested in the therapeutic use of philosophy, showing the insect s way out of the bottle or breaking down questions dissolving them by showing they are incoherent questions, rather than engaging and clarifying the questions this attitude to me seems only appropriate if you think thinking is somehow a disability, an illness, rather than exploration, understanding, an opening of the world and of others through the medium of words, words you might have to recast or invent, words you might struggle with much as any artist to express ideas or senses or Being and this is no disease or disability or mistakethis is a later addition it is said that every writer begins as an obsessive reader, always looking for that perfect book for herself inevitably failing, she must write it herself i believe to some degree this applies also to philosophy, as read, as searched, as frustrated, so eventually writing out your own this is construction,than creation, by using thoughts previously read here or there, so this new philosophy is born of however much precedes it this is definitely the case with h, who is so conscious of the history, the thoughts, the worlds, the words he uses for myself, there is desire to see how h and all other European continental philosophy might engage with Indian philosophy, classical or current, but this is hampered for me in that i have not read much Indian philosophy, so at the moment trying to, knowing it isthan just the Buddhism read,than the intros read so very hopeful i can find this philosophical style080914 first review a review greatreview great but helps to have already read so many works on the man s thought tried to read one long or short chapter each time, tried to glean significant thoughts, almost enthuses me enough to try his being and time almost had read some previously, decided to try this after latest heidegger arise, as usual do i like his thought or the way it is shared but this is the man himself, and not near as complicated to read if you are afraid of trying, if you have heard he is difficult noor less than kant whom i do not read and this selection has useful abstracts before each reading, chronologically follows him, shows how his original conception of being and time over the years becomes clearing and presencing but he never abandons his primary concern the question of being even as his language matures, he forms neologisms, he offers provoking thoughts, engaging thoughts, and some of his concepts easily misinterpreted become decidedly cleareri do not know if this would work independently as introductory i have had the good fortune of so many texts already read on him on his thought on how he is misunderstood in some ways, i am sympathetic to those readers, those philosophers, who are annoyed by his ways rather than rigorous logic or positivistic assertions they can take apart he wants us to think, not just expect his answers, not just resolve questions yes he is eventuallypoet than philosopher, but this is intrinsic, this is there from the beginning if husserl wanted to create philosophy as a first science , heidegger goes with phenomenology as a starting point, to express, to understand, philosophy as an art this is fine with methere are eleven chapters, a forward, a preface, a general introduction on the question of being read this introduction this covers his work leading up to being and time hereafter b t , and clarifies the culture he came through, his religious background, his locale, his heritage in thought as well as beliefs he did not erupt with b t out of nowhere he did arrive on campus, arrive as a lecturer, with great drama, and this introduction gives some idea of how well he must have engaged students perhaps it is good to read the abstracts before each chapter before deciding which to read when or why this book could serve as research source and need not be read all in one go i have read other books at the same time not philosophy texts but some selected texts are already familiar and possibly the reader is only interested in this essay or that essaythe first chapter is introduction to b t and covers the development, the ideas, the investigating concept hiedegger will use dasein but this chapter also frustrates because he never did fulfill his plans, and later when he does go on, it is not the same structure it is unfair to ask a thinker to stop thinking, to go back and elaborate previous work but even had he never written anything else, his place as thinker in his time and ours would be assured the next chapter is one that becomes a book, is what is metaphysics , after that on the essence of truth , next the origin of the work of art , next letter on humanism , next modern science, metaphysics, and mathematics , next the question concerning technology , next building dwelling thinking , then what calls for thinking , then the way to language , finally the end of philosophy and the task of thinking what a lineup having just finished it, reading four chapters in a row, i am remembering thoughts sparking from thesethan his earlier work but i know those chapters were equally fascinating i know they each gave me pleasure i do not know how else to find everything from dasein to clearing or is that lightning from how there is a difference from speaking and saying , there is language in which we dwell and language we find ways to , that there is the unacknowledged metaphysics that underlies all regions of science, that there is the conceptual mistake of believing science precedes technology, that technology is mastered rather than mastering, there is the argument that we diminish humanity or diminish Dasein if we think of man only in body in mathematical, scientific, technological, terms yes there is to much here to explain, to quote, and how much do i fully retain anywayand why do i read philosophy am i doing so the right way if i enjoy it am i mistaken well, there is only the answer i gave previously in and there is nothing here to add just to say, yes really this is immensely fun almost enthuses me enough to try his being and time almost and why am i so engaged by this selection, why do i find it easier to read than big books yes partly it is all 19 other books read on or involving him, plus 4 works by the man himself, this makes it easier to understand his discourse without heidegger this past century would lack so much insight to our being, to Being as it is explored, theorized, in all social sciences i have heard that his translations of aristotle, for example, are not necessarily agreed upon there is suspicion over his refusal to propose any ethics grown out of his thought, even when he uses ethically loaded terms like anxiety , fallenness , resolute , authentic , to characterize his conceptions and is he avoiding actual failures of his own support of the nazis this is the end of his thought, an irreconcilable, mistaken, appraisal of hitler saythis is hindsight 20 20 but cautionary as his real life acts trying to link philosophical aspirations of some sort, yes i can see how many philosophers refuse to take anything from him apologists use his dense, difficult prose, to avoid certain interpretations not the least favourable to h in his later career, going back, going poetic, invents his fourfold gods, mortals, earth, sky to deal with what he sees as limits to causal theories of aristotle material, formal, efficient, final is this just a way to not talk about current horrors so i still feel conflicted about where leads his thought enough, now i cannot offer an answer i cannot say i refuse to read him this is not the solution read, read, read yourself free


  3. Khashayar Mohammadi Khashayar Mohammadi says:

    Heidegger is not as comprehensible as most people deem him to be and this book certainly is a key to unlocking Heidegger as a thinker Its the perfect peak into his ideology from early on to late I also feel Heidegger s philosophy becomes exponentially easier with a basic grasp on the German language, and also a basic knowledge of the Greek prefix suffix Its certainly a great introductory book to one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.


  4. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    We read this collection for Tom Sheehan s Continental German Thought Heidegger course during the second semester of 1981 82 at Loyola University Chicago.Tom s treatment of Heidegger was exceptionally clear clearer than any other commentator I ve yet read Two things were unusual in his approach First, he put Heidegger in specific contrast to Aristotle Second, he conceptualized the presence of beings as occurring by their absence or what he termed pres absenciality This latter point was We read this collection for Tom Sheehan s Continental German Thought Heidegger course during the second semester of 1981 82 at Loyola University Chicago.Tom s treatment of Heidegger was exceptionally clear clearer than any other commentator I ve yet read Two things were unusual in his approach First, he put Heidegger in specific contrast to Aristotle Second, he conceptualized the presence of beings as occurring by their absence or what he termed pres absenciality This latter point was reminiscent of Freud s treatment of the development of the sense of self as opposed to other when the infant begins to be denied instant gratification It also made me think of what is traditionally termed ordinary grace, like, for instance, our atmosphere Unless confronted by inconvenient extremities like intense winds, or a vacuum, or painful pollution, we take it for granted, which is to say we are unconscious of it Our lives are upheld by grace abounding in this sense and we are generally oblivious to our fortune until a breakdown of such vital relationships occurs Think, for instance, of the unforeseen prolonged absence or even death of a companion In the primary instances of such loss we become, according to classical psychoanalytic theory and, one would imagine, common sense , conscious of things, of beings distinct from ourselves Of course, this awakening can also occur in terms of self as when one become sick or disabled in a new way And it can also, Heidegger would have us think, happen in even deeper ways as in the sense of Being and not just beings The task of Heidegger s philosophy would seem thus to be in accord with the ancient sense of philosophy as being the love of wisdom, wisdom being to recognize and appreciate and be open to what the tradition termed ordinary grace


  5. Greg Greg says:

    This is one of theaccessible collections of Heidegger s work In the decade since my immersion in Heidegger I ve forgotten quite a bit of the nuances of his philosophy All those German words that don t quite translate to English, and then with de put in front of them to make them mean something entirely new, and evenuntranslatable Heidegger has a bad rap, not that it is undeserved, entirely He flirted dangerously close to National Socialism, even after his disillusionment with H This is one of theaccessible collections of Heidegger s work In the decade since my immersion in Heidegger I ve forgotten quite a bit of the nuances of his philosophy All those German words that don t quite translate to English, and then with de put in front of them to make them mean something entirely new, and evenuntranslatable Heidegger has a bad rap, not that it is undeserved, entirely He flirted dangerously close to National Socialism, even after his disillusionment with Hitler and company he still stayed very quiet about the whole incident and the whole incident that could be called the Hitler years At the same time Hannah Arendt could still praise works of his like Letter on Humanism , probably the most striking silence of Heidegger s on the Nazi s There is something reactionary, and old fashioned about Heidegger, but those same things are also what lead directly to the post structuralist s and hip and edgy philosophy Two works especially in this book, one on art and the other on technology are especially interesting, and have occupied my thoughts pretty regularly in the past ten years Now I m going to attempt to put them to some kind of, do I say practical , use Maybe there will beof a review, some thoughts or something here or in the comment section while I try to figure out how I m going to use this book to bewilder a professor and get myself invited to an academic conference


  6. Katie Katie says:

    Martin Heidegger changed my life Really Every aspect I m not joking.


  7. Mr. Mr. says:

    This volume, published by HarperCollins in the sixties and edited by translator David Farrell Krell serves as the perfect compendium to the thought of Martin Heidegger, one of the most significant thinkers of philosophy in the 20th century Heidegger s methodology is necessarily difficult, as he is trying to remove himself from the average everyday language we employ and he is trying to approach the meaning of being concretely and originally Therefore, stop complaining about the obscurity of This volume, published by HarperCollins in the sixties and edited by translator David Farrell Krell serves as the perfect compendium to the thought of Martin Heidegger, one of the most significant thinkers of philosophy in the 20th century Heidegger s methodology is necessarily difficult, as he is trying to remove himself from the average everyday language we employ and he is trying to approach the meaning of being concretely and originally Therefore, stop complaining about the obscurity of his style and work your way through this text, for it will remain one of the major works of European thought The first essay is the introductory chapter to Heidegger s opus Being and Time It is actually rather senseless to read it without going on to read the complete text However, for those readers who simply want a taste of Heidegger s basic philosophic project and methodology, it is summarized here He says at the outset This question has today been forgotten although our time considers itself progressive in again affirming metaphysics All the same we believe that we are spared the exertion of rekindling a gigantomachia peri tes ousias a Battle of Giants concerning Being, Plato, Sophist But the question touched upon here is hardly an arbitrary one 41 For Heidegger, philosophy has lost touched with the question what is the meaning of being, as such However, in order to resolve the question of the meaning of Being, you must examine the Being of the questioner, Dasein , leading us to do fundamental ontology The second essay in the collection is titled What is Metaphysics It is an inaugural address the delimited many of the major ideas he would later expand in Being in Time In it, Heidegger again examines the meaning of Being, but he also discusses the unheimlichkeit the uncanny , and Dasein s confrontation with the nothing 100 , and with attunement and Nihilism generally This is a particularly famous, though cryptic essay, the major ideas in it are expanded at great lengths by Heidegger in his book Introduction to Metaphysics, published later in 1953 The next essay is titled On the Essence of Truth, and it is particularly difficult Heidegger begins with Our Topic is the essence of truth The question regarding the essence of truth is not concerned with whether truth is a truth of practical experience or of economic calculation, the truth of a technical consideration or of political sagacity, or, in particular, a truth of scientific research or of artistic composition, or even the truth of thoughtful reflection or cultic belief The question of essence disregards all this and attends to the one thing that in general distinguishes every truth as truth 115 Heidegger will later suggest in the essay that the essence of truth is freedom, or unconcealment Heidegger does not adhere to radical skepticism, nor does he believe in eternal truths He is interested in the essence of this question with regard to Da Sein s liberation for ek sistence The Origin of the Work of Art is unlike any essay in the history of aesthetic philosophy or criticism, because Heidegger is not at all concerned with the beauty of art, nor with the thinking of the artist He is interested in the capacity for art to reveal worlds He writes The temple work, standing there, opens up a world and at the same time sets this world back again on earth, which itself only thus emerges as native ground But men and animals, plants and things, are never present and familiar as unchangeable objects, only to represent incidentally also a fitting environment for the temple, which one fine day is added to what is already there 168 Heidegger values the art of poetrythan any other He says, Art happens as poetry Poetry is founding in the triple sense of bestowing, grounding, and beginning 202 , and he valued Holderlin, Trakyl, and Rilke above all other poets Art is an origin, and it serves to preserve the historical existence of man One could go on and on This volume also contains the Letter on Humanism, Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics, the Question Concerning Technology, Building, Dwelling, Thinking, What Calls for Thinking , the Way to Language, and the End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking They will keep you busy for quite a while


  8. sean sean says:

    i never had heidegger prescribed to me at school, but i was given a lot of theorists whom you apparently can t understand without having read him by consequence i ve always thought of him as a big hole in my knowledge of philosophy and the history of ideas, but one that i ve held off on reading because of his famously impenetrable prose having now read a fraction of his writing, i feel i have at least some grasp on the project of phenomenology and how enormously important his thought is to lat i never had heidegger prescribed to me at school, but i was given a lot of theorists whom you apparently can t understand without having read him by consequence i ve always thought of him as a big hole in my knowledge of philosophy and the history of ideas, but one that i ve held off on reading because of his famously impenetrable prose having now read a fraction of his writing, i feel i have at least some grasp on the project of phenomenology and how enormously important his thought is to later critical theory the writing is tough in large part because of the impossibility of translation, which leads to many paragraphs where the words Being and being are used 20 times , but not as inaccessible as you might think, and it never leaves you floundering i find hegel, derrida and deleuze to be much tougher sledding and though i m far from fully understanding his thought, i ve so far found reading heidegger to be a pretty astonishing experience maybe as powerful as first reading nietzsche s genealogy in high school philosophy class the introductory material here is an extremely useful preliminary to reading the being and time what is metaphysics stuff


  9. Uxküll Uxküll says:

    Review forthcoming


  10. Xander Xander says:

    German philosopher Martin Heidegger is a strange figure in the history of philosophy Arguably one of the most influential of the twentieth century philosophers, he s also one of the most obscure and unintelligible writers of that century Throughout his long life, Heidegger occupied himself almost solely with asking the question of Being In his early career, while he was a student of the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, he was primarily occupied with the theory of theory that is, h German philosopher Martin Heidegger is a strange figure in the history of philosophy Arguably one of the most influential of the twentieth century philosophers, he s also one of the most obscure and unintelligible writers of that century Throughout his long life, Heidegger occupied himself almost solely with asking the question of Being In his early career, while he was a student of the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, he was primarily occupied with the theory of theory that is, he was looking for a way, following his master, to ground all of human knowledge in some overarching theory an ontology During 1920 s he started to follow his own path, eventually ending up with an almost hostile vision on reality to that of Husserl.It goes too far to dive into this divide Safe to say, Husserl was looking for an ontology that was ultimately scientific philosophical Heidegger, in his magnum opus Seind und Zeit 1927 ended up with a rejection of such an ontology For him, human existence is the foundation of all of Being, while at the same time Being is the foundation of human existence It is through human existence, when authentic and not absorbed in its everydayness, that Being is enlightened, disclosed Bertrand Russell called Heidegger s metaphysics extremely eccentric and highly obscure Earlier that century, he called reading Husserl s Logische Untersuchungen 1900 1901 a huge work that tries to establish logical foundations through descriptive psychology as swallowing a whale Russell, himself a child of Anglo Saxon analytic philosophy which is characterized by rigorous and strict logical analysis as a means to establish certain knowledge , is arguably the most important philosopher of the twentieth century, and these two quotes illustrate the divide between Anglo Saxon analytic and continental phenomenological philosophy The nature of this divide, and the reasons for Russell s characterizations of Husserl and Heidegger, lies in the following Husserl developed a whole new method descriptive psychology phenomenology in order to answer age old questions of metaphysics To master this new method, one has to work through hundreds and hundreds of pages of very convoluted and obscure prose, and after this, only a tiny portion of the whole programme is unfolded Heidegger not only developed a whole new method hermeneutics the continuous interpretation of certain words phrases , he developed a whole new language To understand Heidegger s worldview and its implications requires to learn a whole new language, at the end of which the new student isn t any further at all since Heidegger never answers the question of Being This is not to downplay both Husserl s or Heidegger s importance nor to imply their barrenness phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism three of the most important modern philosophical schools would not have existed without these two philosophers Yet I do agree with Russell on his scepticism about both and I have my doubts about the usefulness or validity of all of 20th century continental philosophy To be frank, it seems to be much ado about nothing.Anyway, back to Heidegger Sein und Zeit was meant to offer an analysis about how human existence ultimately is first in its everydayness and then, when including time as a dimension, as an authentic existence The third part of the book would use human existence in light of the horizon of time to answer the question of existence itself After this, Heidegger wanted to show how the whole western tradition since Plato and Aristotle occupied itself with superficial questions he wanted to destruct the philosophical tradition and to return to the original revelation of the question of Being as took place in the earliest phases of Ancient Greece He never published both his answer to the question of Being the third part of Sein und Zeit and his destruction of western philosophy Instead, the book secured him his rectorship at the University of Freiburg in 1929, after which he never published a major work any During the 1930 s and 1940 s Heidegger became member of the Nazi s and actively participated in their reign of terror he initially governed the university on Nazi principles, and after being sacked in 1935, he tried to develop a coherent Nazi philosophy that would fuhr the F hrer Of course, this never became reality and he devotedandof his time to lecturing and writing down his thoughts After the war he downplayed his involvement with the Nazi s something he would keep up until his death and never spoke about the calamities that had happened From the 1940 s on, Heidegger basically lectured and published short works which became everobscure and mythological.Parallel to these developments, somewhere in the early 1930 s, his perspective on philosophy radically changed He gave up his quest to answer the question of Being and he moved everradically into the position that his only mission was asking the question of Being which meant to him being able to wait, a whole life long This whole process started with his inaugural lecture at Freiburg in 1929 Was ist Metaphysik In this lecture he posited two controversial claims 1 The Nothing, which is revealed to man in anxiety, is not, as contemporary metaphysics had it, a negation but something positive Das Nichts nichtet as he would claim 2 This is no contradiction, since the principle of contradiction is a logical principle, and logic disintegrates when we ask original questions questions about Dasein and Being Russell and Carnap claimed this view is psychologism Heidegger reduced Nothing to a feeling But philosophy is only occupied with logic rules of reasoning , so according to the logical positivist verification criterion of truth Heidegger s claim is literally meaningless For Heidegger truth is revealing enlightening which itself is intrinsically connected to our throwness Gewurfenheit into the world we feel in a certain way within our own world and we either act on it or not this is prior to any scientific questioning We understand beings as wholes and Being only when we transcend these beings, including ourselves as beings, through fear of death This annihilation of all meaning allows us to relate to beings through conscious, resolute decisions in our world Without Nothing there is neither self nor freedom The whole debate between Carnap and Heidegger remains unresolved, but it boils down to what came first theory or life Heidegger grounds truth and being in life as mode of being while someone like Carnap grounds truth and being in theory about theory as logic Evenshort Heidegger claimed, like Husserl did, that our existence is prior to any knowing it is already given when we start raising questions In another lecture Vom Wesen der Wahrheit 1930 Heidegger delves deeper into this notion of truth He asks what is truth and how does it arise He starts with the broadly accepted correspondence theory of truth truth is the correspondence of a thought to an object But Heidegger moves beyond this and asks what allows correspondence And here he is able to plug in his own ideas According to him, the openness of my disposition to the world which he equates with freedom I literally let beings be In my wonder I let things show themselves as they are So what Heidegger does is use human freedom my openness to the world as principle of truth I un cover things through my freedom, and while I do so the meaning of all things disappears into the background I become absorbed in what I am doing I become one of the many and stop existing as an individual I become Das Man selbst and in so doing I forget my own relationship with time, i.e the past and the future So un covering leads to covering up I now perceive a world in which un covering of things seems to be natural, I forget my own role in this process of un covering, and I lose sight of the mysteriousness of this process So in living as a human being, delusion and error are intrinsic parts of my life This means, for Heidegger, that perfect clarity and certainty the aim of all of traditional philosophy, as well as science are impossible The best I can do is to recognize the mystery of un covering things and my own role in this as Dasein.This essay based on the lecture is the bridge between the Heidegger of Sein und Zeit and the later Heidegger In it he seems to throw out any pretensions to truth and clarity and to set himself up for asking the question of Being as a means to focus on the mystery of Being the rest of his life After this essay, Heidegger becomes to me at least everobscure and ungraspable He ventures into territories such as art, mysticism, technology, poetry and language and continuously seems to raise the same sort of questions but never offering any concrete answers His whole undertaking seems to be pre occupied with destructing all existing truths and to make himself invisible through the mists of obscure language For example, in Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes 1935 he claims that art, just like political revolutions, religious revelations, essential sacrifices and philosophy, is a means to experience our own existence in a new light Art thus functions as a tool with which we perceive how we inhabit a world that is filled with things And supposedly political revolutions 1935 Germany, anyone and religious revelations Question of Being in Ancient Greece, anyone share this function He now claims that truth reveals itself we seem to have become passive recipients of it as a struggle between the world and the earth The world is, according to Heidegger, the place we things receive their mode of existence a destiny in relation to a historical people Volk Earth then functions as the foundation of this world, it is the mysterious source from which we and all other beings originate And these two seem to be in conflict I literally don t know what to make of this and, unfortunately, it seems to be the bridge to evenobscure thoughts.After World War 2, Heidegger wrote a letter to Jean Beaufret a French philosopher fan on Jean Paul Sartre s adaptation of Heidegger s earlier thoughts in Sein und Zeit In this letter he criticizes Sartre s generalization of his own work and the Brief ber den Humanismus 1947 is characteristic for the later Heidegger He rejects existentialism he calls it reversed metaphysics Sartre s claim that existence precedes essence an accuses Sartre of using old metaphysical notions He rejects humanism he calls man the shepherd of Being , where Being is both the flock and authority of man And he rejects ethics any valuation is an objectification of things, a leaving behind of beings as beings and making them objects How we should act or not, is something Heidegger basically cannot be bothered with being resolute in the face of death seems to be the most concrete thing that comes out of his pen.This letter is characteristic for the later Heidegger in two respects 1 he rejects any definite claims that pin him to some circumscribed meaning of what he says, and 2 he shrouds himself in vagueness For example, in rejecting ethics he claims that valuation of beings is part of the modern technological worldview which has to be rejected and he replaces this with an empty formalism being resolute he doesn t answer in what we should be resolute.Heidegger takes this whole line of thinking ever further In parts of Die Frage nach dem Ding 1962 he claims, for example, that humanity designs the thingness of things and modern man does this through a mathematical design We do this, because we are obsessed at least according to Heidegger with wanting to know everything in an axiomatic deductive fashion In short us moderns want to know things with certainty and hence our will designs Entwurf the things that make up our world And then we find the things that we wanted to find, all the while deluding ourselves in steering ever further from Being Heidegger mentions Galilei, Newton and Descartes as the three godfathers of this modern worldview with respect to mathematics, physics and metaphysics One can see here a trace of Husserl s philosophy Husserl claimed that history is the sedimentation of ideas, and that the philosopher should trace these sedimentary layers, study them, and find the origin of this whole development This process of sedimentation leads to the fading of the original questions and to our knowledge of the existence of original question as such The later Heidegger follows a similar train of thought, in that he tries to trace the philosophical tradition back to its starting point he tries to scratch off all the sediment and to find the original revelation of the question of Being This offers us a very interesting interpretation of Heidegger s later career,on this at the end of the review.In Die Frage nach der Technik 1953 , another short essay, Heidegger asks What is the essence of technology According to him, technology is a way of revealing the totality of being which now permeates the whole western world The origin of this way of viewing the world lies, not in the scientific revolution, but in Plato and Aristotle, especially the latter Why Because from Aristotle onwards the world was conceptualized in terms of matter and form The technological worldview orders the world in such a way that manipulation of this world all its objects becomes possible For Heidegger, this technological framework reduces everything in the world nature and man to availability and manipulability and transforms both man and nature in stock something stored that can be used for technological aims Basically in the same vein as Aristotle s example illustrating matter and form of the sculptor who views the block of marble as matter and imposes his design on it Heidegger s main problem with this technological worldview is the fact that it creates a world where things continuously become present to us and then disappear again It diverts our attention from the underlying mystery that makes this presenting and disappearing possible in the first place The un covering of this underlying Being becomes possible when we stop being in the World and become an authentic Dasein a human being who fears death and in so doing wakes up to the world as it is Art, especially poetry, is a useful tool to reveal this Being a claim that seems to contradict Heidegger s earlier remarks on art as a means of perceiving ourselves as being in the world with other things The final essay that I ve read from this bundle is Bauen Wohnen Denken 1951 Its central theme is the relationship between building and dwelling, and the type of thinking that springs from focusing on this relationship The lecture is a further reflection of the divide between the modern technological scientific worldview that sees things as objects and the authentic worldview that reveals things as the place were un covering of Being happens This essay demonstrates the end of Heidegger s path, where he ends up in the domains of language and poetry He tries to explain how the modern notion of me as a thinking thing Ich denke, ich bin etymologically springs from the notion of building Bin derives from the Indo Germanic bheu , from which bau also derives The original meaning of bauen is living in, dwelling In short building means claiming a piece of land, cultivating it, existing on it, making it your home So language connects building bauen with dwelling wohnen and both are intimately connected to thinking as existing thing, ich bin So a thinking thing builds a world for himself, in which it lives and in this it is , it exists As Heidegger concludes this relationship un covers Being.But this is not all Heidegger sees in this agricultural primitive human existence the source for a certain mythology According to him, there is a fourfold consisting of earth, sky, mortals and divinities In building on the earth, we cultivate the land Things grow upwards, towards the sky This sky is the realm of divinities These divinities ascend us, and in their ascendance Being shows itself as contrasted with the Nothing to us earthly mortals Being thus becomes a unifying principle of the fourfold.After this essay, the bundle offers someessays of Heidegger on language, poetry and the end of philosophy But I have had enough of this for a long while It seems that with the years he became everconvoluted and obscure, and also muchnonsensical To end this review on the later Heidegger, I will first mention my own thoughts limited as they are on this obscure philosophy, and after this I will briefly mention a very convincing analysis of a contemporary Dutch philosopher.Personally, I think the post Sein und Zeit Heidegger should be seen as someone who had the ambition to formulate a new philosophy and who saw in the Nazi s an opportunity to carrying out this plan Becoming frustrated within the Nazi apparatus because who would have thought that they had no use of a philosopher king he retreatedandinto his own personal sphere Heidegger came from a provincial region and was raised as a catholic he even studied theology and I think there are clear signs of his revulsion and rejection of the modern world The later Heidegger shows much resentment against modern technology and the accompanying worldview which he deems to be superficial and meaningless Reading his essays on technology and modern science, combined with his later notion of the fourfold that is heavily drenched in primitive agriculture, one can almost feel the nostalgia for a time that never was Heidegger liked to retreat into his own hut in the forests and to ski in the winter this was a man who was born many, many centuries too late His flirt with mysticism, mythological archetypes and divinities seems to me, at least to be an escape valve from a world that he rejected but still was intrinsically a part of And with the fear of psychologizing the man, this seems to mirror his earlier ideas of leading an authentic life in the face of death anything but being absorbed in the world of everyday One can still see this type of mentality all around us today Many people feel uncanny in the ever changing global, digital and technological world and long for a mythological past These people resent modernity so much that they flee into self created realities They truly believe their own stories and they genuinely feel threatened by the modern way of life And I think this is one of the root causes of fundamentalism then and now Heidegger s active participation with the Nazi party much less innocent then he and many fellow travellers and fans of his work like to admit should be seen in the broader context of millions of uprooted people who felt alienated Again, the notion of alienation forms an important part of the early Heidegger As modern philosopher Sam Harris always proclaims Ideas have consequences and I think in Heidegger s case this cannot be said enough Last two paragraphs in comments