Heidegger

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lem
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Jan 4 2007 09:48
Heidegger

I've got a independent study module on him this term, and have done quite alot of reading on him. Anyone got any important points/short articles critiquing him, especially on historical meaning. Cheers

smile

lem
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Jan 4 2007 09:50

Can't edit topics! I will have read quite a bit in a few weeks, anyway.

Are the admins ok in me trying to use libcom as a undergraduate resource?

lem
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Jan 4 2007 10:52

Yeah. I'm not trying to defend him against arguments though.

I thought it was fairly bad idea to get interested in his work, but the idea has grown on me. I would guess that any appreciation of his work has to be critical: e.g. he doesn't like anonymous people. Interesting mixture of individualism (Kantian?) and collectivism (Hegelian?), though.

Anyway, iirc we, as a life story, must open up to the past, which we share with other people, by being open to the future, in order to project ourselves with greater understanding upon future possibilities. Iirc that is historicity, which is our historical mode of existing.

confused

JonC
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Jan 4 2007 15:11

He was actually a member of the Nazi party, and a lot of his thinking, especially his later (post-1933ish) thinking is clearly marked by it - there's a strong kind of blood-and-soil element to his aesthetic thought, certainly.

Some of his earlier, more existentialist (though he totally disavowed the term) stuff I still think is interesting - or rather useful, because even when he was talking total bollocks it was still interesting, if you see what I mean.

As for good criticism - I'm sure there's loads, but Terry Eagleton's chapter on him in The Ideology of the Aesthetic is the only thing that comes to mind (though it's many years since I've read it). Derrida was always sympathetically interesting on his stuff too, and there was loads of stuff about his nazism in relation to his influence on both existentialism and deconstruction - but that's unhelpful because I couldn't tell you what any of it's called. Actually, I've just remembered there's Adorno's The Jargon of Authenticity and Lyotard's Heidegger and 'the jews'.

lem
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Jan 4 2007 15:27

Derrida Adorno Lyotard Levinas each got cited in the last book I read discussing reactions to him. Apart from Levinas who I've read some of but his criticisms aren't very specific to Heidegger, anyone want to guess which I should read?

lem
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Jan 4 2007 15:39

Sorry, I should probably make it clear that I'm interested in meaning (especially historical coherence) and ethics (toward other people). Derrida's criticisms of Levinas seemed ok... but maybe wrong.

ticking_fool
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Jan 4 2007 15:40

The Adorno's short and in print - but I must confess I never finished it.

lem
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Jan 4 2007 15:40

Yeah, I'll read that. Thanks.

ticking_fool
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Jan 4 2007 15:46

Don't blame me if it causes unscheduled naps - I fell asleep in a pub reading the thing a few years ago, missing an appointment to look at a house in the process.

This is the edition I was talking about anyway (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jargon-Authenticity-Routledge-Classics/dp/041528...)

lem
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Jan 4 2007 16:07

No, I might read the Lyotard one instead, as he cites Adorno in it. Carry on smile

magidd
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Jan 4 2007 19:05

Heidegger is one of the most intresting filosofists in my understanding. He was far right (but not rasist). He joined nazi party in 1933 and become rector of Friburgs University. But after 10 monthes left university.
After his filosoficle "turning" of 1935 he moved to anarchism. He never was an anarchist but he critisised industrialism and totalitarism. His ideas become the bases of green movement in Germany. I've red positiv text about him odf some spanish anarchists.
And here is my artikle but it is in russian
http://zhurnal.lib.ru/m/magid_m_n/xaidegger.shtml

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Jan 4 2007 19:28

Heidigger also worked to get Edmund Husserl -- a German Jew and the founder of phenomenology -- fired at Freiburg.
Heidegger's writing style is elitist -- constant neologisms and obscure terminology that make it difficult to understand what he is going on about.

Since you've asked about things to read, for a critique of so-called "post-structuralism" and the people who base themselves on it like Derrida, I highly recommend John Post's little book, "Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction." His alternative to the anti-realist philolsophers like Derrida et al is a materialist theory of meaning developed by the American feminist-materialist philosopher Ruth Garrett Millikan.

I wrote a brief introduction to some aspects of her
theory for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/states-of-affairs/biosemantics.html

But this is from the point of view of ontology rather
than philosophy of language/meaning.

t.

RedHughs
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Jan 4 2007 21:12

I found the following article on him interesting.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/apr2000/heid-a03.shtml

Red

magidd
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Jan 4 2007 22:49
Quote:
Heidegger's writing style is elitist

I think it is strange to blame filosofist for elitist style. Filosofist is not somebody who make propoganda at the factory. Do you blame scientist for elitist style?

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Jan 4 2007 23:02

In order to be open to evaluation as to its truth/usefulness, jargon needs to be minimized and when it is used, it has to either be standard in the field, or explained or unpacked in ordinary language or language that is standard in the field. If this is not done, it becomes very difficult to evaluate. Heidegger is guilty of this. The excessive construction of neologisms and obscure terminology means that only a handful of graduate students who spend years at the feet of the "old man" are going to be able to say what he meant, and even then it is likely there will be useless disputes about "what he meant."
This writing style is clearly intended to be understood only by the "elect" few who have the time and resources to attend graduate school and spent a long time working out and pondering what is said. It becomes unaccountable to the broader public of readers. I have a PhD in philosophy but even i have a hard time figuring out what Heidegger is getting on about. This sort of style, i suspect, is intended to inculcate a false sense of "profundity" which I find not especially useful.

t.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 4 2007 23:15

i'd agree with syndicalistcat here, i'm reading Being and Time at the moment and the edition i have even has untranslated/unfootnoted greek and latin phrases/quotes throughout.

magidd
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Jan 5 2007 01:02
Quote:
jargon needs to be minimized and when it is used, it has to either be standard in the field, or explained or unpacked in ordinary language or language that is standard in the field. If this is not done, it becomes very difficult to evaluate. Heidegger is guilty of this.

Comment
I partly agree with this if we talk aboute scientist.
But filosofist, painter, poet must not minimize jargon. We say in Russia: "Everybody wrights as he breathes". And you have right do not read it.

magidd
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Jan 5 2007 01:06

Reading of Heidegger is difficalte work of think. But it's o'key. It's like gymnastics. Very useful.

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Jan 5 2007 03:16

magidd, it sounds as tho you take philosophy as something like poetry, or music. There are actually some philosophers nowadays who take that sort of view (or say they do). But i do not agree. Before going on, I suppose I should mention i used to be a college teacher of philosophy, a philosopher by profession.

My view is that philosophy is about truth, like the sciences. In fact I think there is no fundamental distinction between philosophy and the sciences. Here I should maybe mention a trend in philosophy in the English-speaking world since the '60s. Kant tried to defend the idea that there was a fundamental distinction between philosophy and the sciences, by arguing that philosophy deals with apriori foundations of all knowledge or thought. But in the '60s Quine, an American philosopher, engaged in systematic attacks on the basis of the traditional post-Kant distinction between science and philosophy: the analytic/synthetic distinction and related ideas. A lot of philosophers were persuaded that Quine had shown that the old philosophy/science distinction was untenable. I agree with this conclusion. Just as scientists develop ideas that explain things -- hypotheses as they say in the academic world -- I think philosophy does the same thing. The distinction is that the test of a philosophical hypothesis is a bit more indirect than that of a hypothesis in an "empirical science."

t.

magidd
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Jan 5 2007 12:44
Quote:
magidd, it sounds as tho you take philosophy as something like poetry, or music.

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Yes. But there are different tipes of filosofy. Some of filosofists can be close to sciences. Overs like Heidegger are not.

Quote:
My view is that philosophy is about truth, like the sciences.

Poetry and music are olso about truth. But there is another part of it. You can reserch the luddist movement in UK as scientist, historian. But olso possible to wright poem about it as lord Byron. Isn't that poem about the troof?

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Jan 5 2007 17:36

magidd: "But there are different tipes of filosofy. Some of filosofists can be close to sciences. Overs like Heidegger are not"

That is true. I take philosophy to be a search for truth. Music and poetry do react to facts, or describe facts, but it isn't so much about the search for truth as expressing an emotion towards it, or taking a stand about it.

t.

magidd
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Jan 5 2007 18:28

There is problem. Fact doesn't exsist withaut us. Emotion is the part of world. Subject-and-object thinking is not one possible way of thinking.

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Jan 5 2007 20:31

well, I don't agree with that sort of subjective idealism. The existence of a reality independent of human consciousness is a presupposition of language itself. Why do humans have the sentence-making capacity? It is a biological trait. It serves a biological function. "Functions" in evolutionary biology are understood in terms of contribution to survival, and the passing on of one's genes. Eyes have the "function" of sight because the past contribution of eyes to doing that activity in animals explains the continued existence, the persistence, of those structures in animals over the thousands of years. The sentence-making capacity of humans has tremendous contribution to "fitness," to our ability to survive and prosper as a species. If we consider the situation of an early human in a hunter/gatherer band many thousands of years ago, a hunter returning generates a sentence. It makes a difference whether the situation represented is a predator -- a large cat, say -- or a new source of food he's found. Let's suppose that, because of his sentence, the tribe now goes off and successfully returns with a lot of fish from a nearby lake located by the first hunter. The best explanation for this success is that his sentence referred to, represented, that situation of a lake full of fish nearby. The sentences of the hunter "adapt" the others in the tribe to that state of affairs, of a lake with fish nearby.

If sentences don't have the function of mapping onto, of representing, states of affairs in the world, how can we account for why the sentence-producing capacity has continued to be replicated for thousands of generations?

But this explanation presupposes that there are real states of affairs that sentences map onto when they are true. "True" is a word like "health," in that the absence of truth is a defect of a descriptive sentence, it is a sentence that failed to serve its biological function. "False" is like referring to a tissue or organ as sick, as unable to perform its function, like the bindness of an eye. If we ddon't suppose that sentences represent situations in our environment, how can we account for the fact that sentences are part of communicative behavior that leads to cooperative behavior, and people modifying their behavior in ways that indicates we have passed information to them they are using?

It is especially important for those of us interested in the class struggle to hold onto the notion of truth because when the bourgeois media or corporatiosn lie about the conditions of their workers in struggle, we want to insist there is a REAL TRUTH TO THE MATTER.

t.

lem
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Jan 6 2007 00:12

I've always felt that evolutionary arguments used for philosophical dilemmas are fairly unsuccesful. Explanationism, perhaps?

I also think that the use of 'health' is a poor decision. Imho, 'health' cannot be located by tying into evolutionary design in any useful way: why is evolutionary dysfunction the peculiar ehical term "health" - why do we treat evolutionary dysfunctions; and we have no way of deciding which supposed disorders meet the criteria of evolutionary dysfunction.

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Jan 6 2007 00:53

I was making an anology. Ill health impedes the ability of an organ or tissue or other biological entity to perform its function(s). The issue is the ability to perform a function. The function of sentences is to represent a state of affairs that actually occurs
-- a fact, that is. A false sentence is defective in that it fails to perform its function.

t.

magidd
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Jan 6 2007 03:40
Quote:
The existence of a reality independent of human consciousness is a presupposition of language itself. Why do humans have the sentence-making capacity? It is a biological trait. It serves a biological function.

Comment
But that is funny.
As for Biological function- it is scientific notion. But science is already based on the particular way of thinking. This thinking uses anyway the instruments of human consciousness: categorys of time, spase, color ets. So where did you find reality wich is "independent of human consciousness"?

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Jan 6 2007 03:49

"Where" isn't a proper question to ask in this context. You might as well ask "What does it weigh?" The question has no meaning. "Where?" would have meaning if you asking about the locaion in space of some spatial being such as a cat or a planet or a human being.

Reality is made up of all the states of affairs that occur, and the particular entities and their features that make up these states of affairs. All of the states of affairs that occur make up the total history of the physical cosmos.
Now you could ask, in regard to any possible state of affairs, does it occur? And we could consider the reasons pro and con on that question.

t.

lem
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Jan 6 2007 05:43
Quote:
I take philosophy to be a search for truth. Music and poetry do react to facts, or describe facts, but it isn't so much about the search for truth as expressing an emotion towards it

As I understand it Heidegger does believe in the existence of objective truth, its just that the all "knowledge" has the unity of ekstases by Dasein as a precondition. Not sure if that relevent.

Not sure how I see that emotion has no crietria to correpsond to states of affairs.

The question that interests me, is, yes, I suppose there is a mind independent reality; but why think that scientific truths are true about that reality?

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Jan 6 2007 06:07

lem: "The question that interests me, is, yes, I suppose there is a mind independent reality; but why think that scientific truths are true about that reality?"

Well, I'm not quite sure what you're asking.

There are truths about, say, physical forces. Forces that existed before humans and will after we're gone, that act in ways we are not aware of now.

It's sort of built in to the relevant hypotheses that the things they are about exist independently of my perceptions.
So, if they're true, there are things that exist independently of my consciousness.

Maybe you're suggesting some sort of phenomenalist reduction of physical propositions, to re-interpret them as about "possible sensations" or something like that.

This notoriously won't work. The reduction can't be carried out. This is why phenomenalism, among academic philosophers, is of merely historical interest at this point, sort of in the category of interest in collecting American Civil War memorabilia.

The basic problem is that you can't reduce the notion of a physical capacity or possibility to actual sensations or experiences. When we posit, as a hypothesis, that things have capacities or powers -- and we do this endlessly, our language constantly makes these assumptions -- we are going beyond the content of actual experience.

t.

magidd
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Jan 6 2007 06:59
Quote:
Now you could ask, in regard to any possible state of affairs, does it occur?

No i am not going to ask that right naw. I alredy had another qestion. Give me please example of "existence of a reality independent of human consciousness"

magidd
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Jan 6 2007 07:02
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As I understand it Heidegger does believe in the existence of objective truth,

Comment
No he didn't. Or at list he trys to built new filosofy out of Subject-and-object division.