• Angelo Cannata
    246
    I felt stuck, in my reflection, about the subjectivity being condemned to be impossible to prove, impossible to find evidence, impossible to share. The simple reason is that, if anything I said was possible, then it would be objectivity, not subjectivity.

    Now I am exploring a way that could make the magic, and I would like to check your notes and criticism.

    Let’s go in order.

    1) Heidegger: we cannot talk about objective things, because we are always immersed in the objectivity we talk about.

    2) Subjectivity, in this context, is not an objective fact, but a human necessity: being deprived from objectivity, we cannot but refer to subjectivity, even if it is completely unreliable, without evidence, without anything clear. We just don’t have anything better to do.

    3) Subjectivity needs to be conceived as something subject to change, becoming, so, we cannot give any stable definition of it. We are just forced to refer to it, and then stop, we cannot say anything more, anything better.

    4) In this condition, we can say that subjectivity is whatever you think it is, or whatever you feel, when you think about you being you. At this point we need to face the objection that a different concept is able to conceive our condition as a whole with reality, instead of differentiated subjectivities. In other words, something similar to the Buddhist idea that we, or our destiny, are just an element of the whole universe, so that separated subjectivities are just our mental creation. This way, there is not me, you, they, but just the whole, with some kind of apparent distinctions not very important.

    5) Even in this context, we have at least some experience of difference: we cannot deny, as a human experience, that each of us can be distinguished from the other ones, for example as different bodies. I am not talking about any fundamental evidence here: I am just talking about human perception, so, I still agree that what I am talking about has no evidence; it is just some kind of rough human experience.

    6) At this point I would say: your subjectivity is whatever you think it is, in whatever philosophical or spiritual context you like to think of it. What is important is that, as I said before, however we conceive subjectivity, we are forced by Heidegger to think of it and, even in the flattest conception of a world where we are just elements of it, nonetheless, in everyday life we make reference to something that can be called subjectivity.

    In a synthesis: whatever you think subjectivity it is, you cannot deny that we are forced to have it as an essential reference point of our existence, although it is just a human reference point, a non-strong idea. We can say: subjectivity is a completely unrealiable idea, but we are forced to it because of the demolition and radical criticism that objectivity is inevitably affected by.
  • Xtrix
    4k
    Heidegger: we cannot talk about objective things, because we are always immersed in the objectivity we talk about.Angelo Cannata

    This has little to do with anything Heidegger has written, ever. In fact he rejects the notion of subjective and objective— over and over again.

    I wish you’d stop invoking Heidegger in your own musings if you can’t put the minimal amount of effort into representing him accurately.
  • Janus
    12.8k
    1) Heidegger: we cannot talk about objective things, because we are always immersed in the objectivity we talk about.Angelo Cannata

    As I understand Heidegger the "objective" would be the "vorhanden" or "present at hand"; objects as we examine and analyze then. You seem to be suggesting that this is not "true" or absolute objectivity, because the examining and analysis is always from a subjective point of view. There can be determinable agreement and this is what I think is usually referred to as "inter-subjective". Since we obviously cannot place ourselves "outside" of our experience "pure" objectivity is impossible, even an incoherent idea.

    Subjectivity needs to be conceived as something subject to change, becoming, so, we cannot give any stable definition of it.Angelo Cannata

    I agree; since subjectivity consists in us being subjects of, even subjected to, experience, and experience is ever-changing, insofar as we are transformed by experience we are also subject to change.
  • Angelo Cannata
    246

    Yes, this is what I mean.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    I agree with the some elements of your post, but you could detach it from Heidegger and it would work just as well.

    There's also a distinction that can be made between 'subjectivity' and 'subject-hood'. The latter is a rather awkward neologism, but it's supposed to get at the state of being a subject, rather than the more narrowly-defined 'defined by one's own interests'. The subject in that sense is simply the pre-condition of all experience.

    In other words, something similar to the Buddhist idea that we, or our destiny, are just an element of the whole universe, so that separated subjectivities are just our mental creation. This way, there is not me, you, they, but just the whole, with some kind of apparent distinctions not very important.Angelo Cannata

    I don't know if that is 'the Buddhist idea'. The teaching of non-self, anatta, is always given adjectively, as a description of the attributes of phenomenal experience which are anatta, anicca (impermanent) and dukkha. The Buddha however does not deny personal agency, contrary to millenia of misconceptions about this point - see for instance this sutta.

    The key point is that 'the subject' is unknowable - not that 'it' exists or doesn't exist - both the idea that self exists, or doesn't exist, are faulty, according to Buddhism, being the so-called 'extreme views' of eternalism and nihilism, respectively.

    In Hinduism, which the Buddha differentiated his teaching from, the subject is conceived as ātman which is usually translated as something like 'transcendental ego' or 'self of all beings'. Buddhists don't recognise that idea, except in the sense that all beings have the potential capacity for enlightenment.

    Have a look at It Is Not Known but it is the Knower, (pdf) Michel Bitbol. He's a philosopher of science, historian of Schrodinger's writings, and is well versed in Indian philosophy. Might be closer to what you're looking for than Heidegger.
  • Joshs
    3.8k
    I wish you’d stop invoking Heidegger in your own musings if you can’t put the minimal amount of effort into representing him accurately.Xtrix

    I would have loved to say that to Sartre.
  • fdrake
    5.2k
    You seem to be suggesting that this is not "true" or absolute objectivity, because the examining and analysis is always from a subjective point of view.Janus

    Yes, this is what I mean.Angelo Cannata

    I felt stuck, in my reflection, about the subjectivity being condemned to be impossible to prove, impossible to find evidence, impossible to share.Angelo Cannata

    Besides the usual dead horse about the subject/object distinction and Heidegger (which @Xtrix has I think rightly continued to flog here), there's actually a similar concept to what you're describing in Heidegger's text The Question Concerning Technology, called enframing.
    *
    (intro to that essay goes into considerable detail on p.25 onwards regarding enframing and disclosure)


    In terms of Heidegger exegesis, enframing is a modification of how being is disclosed in societies that have technology at their centre. Disclosure is Heidegger's word for how people encounter the world as it is. To throw more words at that concept; disclosure is the a see-through veil of perception, the perspectival aspect of belonging to an environment and that aspect's ability to be true. Neither of these things are the exact concept, but I think they will do for now.

    So disclosure is the practice of entering into relationship with an environment by means of forming a perspective within it. Enframing is a flavour of that, a type of way of entering into a relationship with an environment. In enframing, the elements of the environment are viewed in an instrumental, calculative and objective aspect; weighed, measured, found wanting. Enframing is not a mode of perspective which imbues the environment with a pathos of its elements, it instead imbues the environment with its cognizable trajectories of development; the eye of an engineer and not a poet.

    In enframing, the cognizable trajectories of an environment's development are highlighted - when that same searchlight is turned upon a person, their personhood is fragmented into a kinematics of their behaviour. A person becomes a diagnosis of what they're going to do; everything is replaced with its operational definition, even you. You are what you can be represented to do.

    In a sense, then, for (later) Heidegger, we can now only talk about things as if they are only objective. What would it take to change that?

    SPIEGEL: Obviously, you see a world movement -- this is the way you, too, have expressed it -- that either is bringing about an absolutely technical state or has done so already.

    Heidegger: That's right.

    SPIEGEL: Fine. Now the question naturally arises: Can the individual man in any way still influence this web of fateful circumstance? Or, indeed, can philosophy influence it? Or can both together influence it, insofar as philosophy guides the individual, or several individuals, to a determined action?

    Heidegger: If I may answer briefly, and perhaps clumsily, but after long reflection: philosophy will be unable to effect any immediate change in the current state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all purely human reflection and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The only possibility available to us is that by thinknig and poetizing we prepare a readiness for the appearance of a god, or for the absence of a god in [our] decline, insofar as in view of the absent god we are in a state of decline.
    — Heidegger, The Spiegel Interview

    (linked here).


    Only a god can save us. But we have a choice in how we are not saved - the principle he expressed there of return to a poetic and spiritual sensibility (@Wayfarer), or the one he embodied in practice, or, not to put too fine a point on it, a forceful politics of nostalgia and mythical reclamation. The poetic violence of fascism.

    SPIEGEL: Fine, that is understandable. But we seem to perceive a new tone in your rectoral discourse, when, four months after Hitler's designation as Chancellor, you there talk about the "greatness and glory of this new era (Aufbruch)."

    Heidegger: Yes, I was also convinced of it.

    SPIEGEL: Could you explain that a little further?

    Heidegger: Gladly. At that time I saw no other alternative. Amid the general confusion of opinion and political tendencies of 22 parties, it was necessary to find a national and, above all, social attitude, somewhat in the sense of Friederich Naumann's endeavor.
  • Jackson
    1.8k


    First, I have no problem with any of your posts.

    But a friendly suggestion--it could help others understand your comment if you included even a sentence or two from Heidegger.
  • Joshs
    3.8k
    Only a god can save us. But we have a choice in how we are not saved - the principle he expressed there of return to a poetic and spiritual sensibility (@Wayfarer), or the one he embodied in practice, or, not to put too fine a point on it, a forceful politics of nostalgia and mythical reclamation. The poetic violence of fascism.fdrake

    That’s quite a leap you made there from Enframing to fascism. The concept of Enframing arose out of Heidegger’s analysis of the inauthentic comportment the of present to hand in Being and Time. Do you see any hints of mythical nostalgia or fascism in his distinction between inauthentic present to hand and authentic Dasein in that book?
  • fdrake
    5.2k
    Do you see any hints of mythical nostalgia or fascism in his distinction between inauthentic present to hand and authentic Dasein in that book?Joshs

    I see a clear connection between enframing in QCT and inauthenticity in B&T, and a clear connection between 'Only a God Can Save Us' and enframing, yes. I see a less clear conceptual connection between 'Only a God Can Save Us' and fascism, but I'm fairly sure we've both read things that make the case. In all honesty, I've no interest in going down the rabbit hole, especially if you feel it needs to start in B&T.
  • Joshs
    3.8k
    In all honesty, I've no interest in going down the rabbit hole, especially if you feel it needs to start in B&T.fdrake

    You can start it wherever you want, but I think you’re making the wrong case. Fascism is a simplistic explanation, which mostly ignores or misreads rather than properly addresses his work. The best philosophical arguments connecting his ideas and his political actions I’ve read come from Derrida and Levinas , both of whom avoid oversimplified notions of fascism.
  • Gregory
    4.3k


    Is it for Heidegger that he wanted to see existence purely by leaving to the side "objectivity and subjectivity" and perceiving life raw and apart from old categories? This would be the opposite of what you describe
  • fdrake
    5.2k
    You can start it where you want, but I think you’re making the wrong case. Fascism is a simplistic explanation, which mostly ignores or misreads rather than properly addresses his work. The best philosophical arguments connecting his ideas and his political actions I’ve read come from Derrida and Levinas , both of whom avoid oversimplified notions of fascism.Joshs

    You know the 'Heidegger makes ethics subservient to ontology' line then, do you feel like it's that much of a stretch from there to fascism? I don't, I think the technology stuff is a fairly big enabler for his Naziism. Here are some breadcrumbs from QCT.

    The revealing that rules throughout modern technology has
    the character of a setting-upon, in the sense of a challenging forth. That challenging happens in that the energy concealed in nature is unlocked, what is unlocked is transformed, what is
    transformed is stored up, what is stored up is, in turn, distributed,
    and what is distributed is switched about ever anew. Unlocking,
    transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about are ways
    of revealing. But the revealing never simply comes to an end.
    Neither does it run off into the indeterminate. The revealing
    reveals to itself its own manifoldly interlocking paths, through
    regulating their course. This regulating itself is, for its part,
    everywhere secured. Regulating and securing even become the
    chief characteristics of the challenging revealing

    (QCT) - a 'setting upon' and 'challenging forth' instrumentalizing all of Being for calculated purposes characterises enframing. That this is a deeply troubling thing for Heidegger, troubling enough for Heidegger to devote a large part of his later years to thinking around, I'll leave uncited. How old is enframing, how far back in our conceptual genealogy do you have to go back to get to it?

    From the intro blurb of the Question Concerning Technology version I linked, since it's making this connection better than I could:

    The dominion of Enframing as the essence of modern technology and the concomitant presence of the standing-reserve are
    most clearly seen in the realm of machine technology, where no
    object has significance in itself and where the "orderability" of
    everything, from energy and statistics to machines and persons,
    is all-important. It can be found also, Heidegger says, in the
    sphere of science, namely, in modern physics. There again, the
    object, otherwise the hallmark of the sciences, has disappeared.
    In its stead the relation between subject and object comes to the
    fore and "becomes a standing-reserve" to be controlled

    In metaphysics too the rule of the essence of technology appears. Perhaps rather surprisingly, Heidegger finds in Nietzsche
    the culmination of the movement of modern metaphysics begun
    in Descartes and carried forward by subsequent thinkers. Standing within the modern metaphysical outlook, Nietzsche, in asking
    concerning the reality of the real, found the will to be fundamentally determinative. The self-consciousness of the subject,
    which Descartes established as normative, is raised in Nietzsche
    to full metaphysical expression. Self-consciousness is here the
    self-consciousness of the will Willing itself. The will to power,
    fundamental for Nietzsche, is no mere human willing. It is the
    mode of Being now ruling in everything that is, which must find
    accomplishment through man

    A long time (modern physics), and it's also intimately connected with the the centrality of will and freedom; on one side of the seesaw of modernity you have the objectivity of scientific inquiry and on the other you have the subjective aspects of self determination and subjectivity. That this self determination is a making something of yourself as you choose is to see yourself as a standing reserve to be manipulated by your own calculus of self determination.

    The essence of freedom is originally not connected with the
    will or even with the causality of human willing.
    Freedom governs the open in the sense of the cleared and
    lighted up, i.e., of the revealed.23 It is to the happening of revealing, i.e., of truth, that freedom stands in the closest and most
    intimate kinship. All revealing belongs within a harboring and a
    concealing. But that which frees-the mystery-is concealed and
    always concealing itself. All revealing comes out of the open,
    goes into the open, and brings into the open. The freedom of
    the open consists neither in unfettered arbitrariness nor in the
    constraint of mere laws. Freedom is that which conceals in a way
    that opens to light, in whose clearing there shimmers that veil
    that covers what comes to presence of all truth and lets the veil
    appear as what veils. Freedom is the realm of the destining that
    at any given time starts a revealing upon its way.
    (Heidegger again)

    So you've got enframing being an ancient spiritual danger... How do you overcome it? Poetry and old things - go back in history before modern physics geneologically, go back in conceptual priority through art:

    What, then, was art-perhaps only for that brief but magnificent time? Why did art bear the modest name techne? Because it was a revealing that brought forth and hither, and
    therefore belonged within poiesis. It was finally that revealing
    which holds complete sway in all the fine arts, in poetry, and in
    everything poetical that obtained poiesis as its proper name.
    The same poet from whom we heard the words
    says to us:
    But where danger is, grows
    The saving power also.
    ... poetically dwells man upon this earth.
    The poetical brings the true into the splendor of what Plato
    in the Phaedrus calls to ekphanestaton, that which shines forth
    most purely. The poetical thoroughly pervades every art, every
    revealing of coming to presence into the beautiful.

    And you better really devote yourself to it because it's a planetary philosophical struggle for humanity's eternal soul:

    Only when insight brings itself disclosingly to pass, only when
    the coming to presence of technology lights up as Enframing, do
    we discern how, in the ordering of the standing-reserve, the truth
    of Being remains denied as world. Only then do we notice that
    all mere willing and doing in the mode of ordering steadfastly
    persists in injurious neglect. In this same way all mere organizing of the world conceived and represented historiographically
    in terms of universality remains truthless and without foundation. All mere chasing after the future so as to work out a picture of it through calculation in order to extend what is present
    and half-thought into what, now veiled, is yet to come, itself
    still moves within the prevailing attitude belonging to technological, calculating representation. All attempts to reckon existing
    reality morphologically, psychologically, in terms of decline and
    loss, in terms of fate, catastrophe, and destruction, are merely
    technological behavior. That behavior operates through the device of the enumerating of symptoms whose standing-reserve
    can be increased to infinity and always varied anew. Such
    analyses of the "situation" do not notice that they are working
    only according 1;0 the meaning and manner of technological
    dissecting, and that they thus furnish to the technological consciousness the historiographical-technological presentation of
    happening commensurate with that consciousness. But no historiographical representation of history as happening ever brings
    us into the proper relation to destining, let alone into the essential
    origin of destining in the disclosing coming-to-pass of the truth
    of Being that brings everything into its own.
    --All that is merely technological never arrives at the essence
    of technology. It cannot even once recognize its outer precincts.

    Therefore, as we seek to give utterance to insight into that
    which is, we do not describe the situation of our time. It is the
    constellation of Being that is uttering itself to us.

    And that constellation of being; the 'world-picture' which we inhabit; does not contain a god who puts calculation back in a nondestructive place:

    But we do not yet hear, we whose hearing and seeing are perishing through radio and film under the rule of technology. The constellation of Being is the denial of world, in the form of injurious neglect of the thing. Denial is not nothing; it is the highest mystery of Being within the rule of Enframing.

    Whether the god lives or remains dead is not decided by the
    religiosity of men and even less by the theological aspirations
    of philosophy and natural science. Whether or not God is God
    comes disclosingly to pass from out of and within the constellation of Being.

    Let's take Levinas' 'subordination of ethics to ontology criticism' as just true, and now consider the claim that Heidegger sees a humanity destroying catastrophe as unfolding as technology tightens its grip on the human spirit in tandem with it. In the same way that the subordination of ethics to ontology 'made room' for fascism, a strong driver in what made it so urgent for Heidegger to advocate was his diagnosis of the catastrophe eroding the human soul.

    I think the above lays the groundwork for the claim that something old and mythical and poetic fit the bill, I'll leave it unevinced that building an ancient (nation) myth and reclaiming what was lost (our - whose? - humanity) are strong unifying themes between Heidegger's malaise with modernity and the mytho-poetic structure of Naziism. I'm sure Heidegger noticed that resemblance, he really cared about how the presentation of norms contained 'primordial' structure.

    Anyway, as you can see the story's long enough when you don't start at B&T, and this post is just one work with a pretentious reference to another thrown in.
  • 180 Proof
    9.7k
    I wish you’d stop invoking Heidegger in your own musings if you can’t put the minimal amount of effort into representing him accurately.
    — Xtrix

    I would have loved to say that to Sartre.
    Joshs
    I would have loved to say that to Heidegger.

    :fire:
  • Angelo Cannata
    246
    A lot of topics would distract from my main point. Let's say that I am interpreting Heidegger my way, or I am drawing some consequences from his philosophy, or whatever. I just need Heidegger as a starting point because he made impossible carrying on while considering being as an abstract, perfect and independent philosophical concept. In other words, after Heidegger, certain metaphysical philosophers like Parmenides and Aristotle cannot be agreed anymore as if nothing happened after them. What is important is that Heidegger proceeded in a very systematic, methodologic, severe way, so that it is ontology itself that forces ontology to be connected with time and human condition. This means that human condition and time, that are unreliable and subjective experiences, actually are also unavoidable and necessary, because of the demolition of objective ontology made by Heidegger.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    after Heidegger, certain metaphysical philosophers like Parmenides and Aristotle cannot be agreed anymore as if nothing happened after them.Angelo Cannata

    What makes Aristotle a metaphysical philosopher? I am wondering if you ever read him.
  • 180 Proof
    9.7k
    What makes Aristotle a metaphysical philosopher? I am wondering if you ever read him.Jackson
    If you have ever read him, explain why you raise this question. In other words, on what grounds do you doubt that "Aristotle is a metaphysical philosopher"?
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    "Aristotle is a metaphysical philosopher"?180 Proof

    I do not even know what you mean by that sentence.
  • 180 Proof
    9.7k
    I quoted you, dude. No surprise that you don't know what you mean by that sentence. Are you a bot? :lol:
  • Angelo Cannata
    246

    Yes, I was a bit surprised by this question: didn’t the very term “metaphysics” come from the name they gave to some Aristotle’s books sorted after the “physics” ones, and then metaphysics became based on what Aristotle wrote on those books? I know that now “metaphysics” means a lot of things, even contradictory things, but, again, if we turn this thread into a debate on what metaphysics is, we just leave my main point. I have no interest here in discussing deeply what metaphysics is today: let’s do this way: everybody in this discussion gives to every word whatever meaning they consider the most appropriate, while understanding that other people can have a different approach. Otherwise we will just pass the time in the definition of each word, that actually seems very similar to those who see the trees, but can’t see the forest.
  • Jackson
    1.8k


    If you refuse to take responsibility for what you write, there is no reason to read your posts.
  • Angelo Cannata
    246

    Yes, I think that not reading my posts is an option that deserves high respect.
  • 180 Proof
    9.7k
    If you (I) refuse to take responsibility for what you (I) write, there is no reason to read your (my) posts.Jackson
    A crack'd pot calls the kettle black again.
  • Joshs
    3.8k
    You put a lot of effort into researching this, which I appreciate.
    You know the 'Heidegger makes ethics subservient to ontology' line then, do you feel like it's that much of a stretch from there to fascism? I don't, I think the technology stuff is a fairly big enabler for his Naziism.fdrake

    In his deconstructive reading of Levinas , Violence and Metaphysics (in Writing and Difference) , which I discuss here,

    https://www.academia.edu/38323356/Reading_Heidegger_Against_Levinas

    Derrida takes apart Levinas’s claim that Heidegger privileges ontology over ethics.

    I want to point out that what Heidegger is attempting to do in his analysis of enframing and the essence of the technological is perform a deconstruction of the metaphysics of presence, which Derrida also does , ina different manner. When Heidegger harks back to the Greeks for inspiration, he isn’t suggesting that we can or should dial back history in a nostalgic move. Instead , the only way is forward.

    In Basic Questions of Philosophy (1936), pp. 96-130, Heidegger deals with the issue of why the original Greek discovery of truth as the unconcealment of Beings was turned into the notion of truth as correctness of an assertion, first with Aristotle , and then more fully in medieval and modern western thought. This transformation of the meaning of truth is tied to the origin of Enframing.

    He concludes that it was not simply a mistake or omission on the part of the ancient Greeks that they did not fully define truth as unconcealment, but that it was part of their genius as establishing the beginning that they did not define it. The West, particularly thanks to the genius of Nietzsche and Holderlin, is now at the transition to the end of that first beginning and Heidegger wants to take us into the new beginning, a wholly other beginning, prepared for but not glimpsed by Nietzsche.

    “Just what have we gained thereby? What else than the historiographical cognition that for us today, and for the West since long ago, the original essence of truth has been lost because of the predominance o f truth as correctness. Hence we have gained the recognition o f a loss. But it is not at all decided that we have here a genuine loss. For that would be the case only if it could be shown that the not-losing, the preservation, of the original essence of truth (aXf)deia) is a necessity and that we consequently need to gain back what was lost.

    The knowledge of the essence o f dXfj'deia did not get lost because later on aX-rjOeux was translated by Veritas, rectitudo, and " truth , " and was interpreted as the correctness of an assertion, but just the opposite, this translation and this new interpretation could begin and could gain prevalence only because the essence of otXf)'deLa was not unfolded originally enough and its unfolding was not grounded strongly enough. The occurrence of the submergence of the primordial essence of truth, unconcealedness (aXfj'dciot), is nothing past and gone but is immediately present and operative in the basic fact it determines, namely the unshaken domination of the traditional concept of truth.”(p.99)
  • fdrake
    5.2k


    I'm aware, by the sounds of it you're highlighting that enframing vs phusis/physis in QCT is a continuation of the discussion of propositional vs hermeneutical as structures in previous work (see Logic the Question of Truth Part 1 a). Which is an important point. I don't think focussing entirely on that continuity in your analysis is an appropriate thematisation to get political implications out of Heidegger's thought, though, effectively focussing on the wrong thing in an occlusive way. This is a similar point, to my understanding, as Levinas' ethical charge against Heidegger - too much focus on ontology makes you forget the world. By highlighting that Levinas perhaps had an inadequate understanding of the ontological aspects of Heidegger's ontology in response to someone highlighting a political implication of his ontology, it looks to me like you're making a similar move to the one criticised.

    Why not both? Why not a continuation of the discussion from previous work which also betrays some easily co-optable nostalgia? You've done a good job of highlighting another aspect of what it is, not undermining the points I've made. Perhaps it wasn't your intention to undermine the political dimension of this I highlighted after all.
  • Joshs
    3.8k
    This is a similar point, to my understanding, as Levinas' ethical charge against Heidegger - too much focus on ontology makes you forget the world. By highlighting that Levinas perhaps had an inadequate understanding of the ontological aspects of Heidegger's ontology in response to someone highlighting a political implication of his ontology, it looks to me like you're making a similar move to the one criticised.fdrake

    Those philosophers who are most sympathetic to Levinas’s critique of Heidegger’s ontology tend to be theologically oriented. When they accuse Heidegger of privileging ontology over ethics, by making ontology a neutral concept, what they really mean is that Heidegger follows Nietzsche beyond good and evil.
    Their beef with Heidegger extends to all ‘radical relativism’, because whereas
    Levinas holds onto a traditional religious notion of the Good as that which transcends all contingent contexts , for the atheistic postmodernists there is no such role
    for the Good.

    Reading the relativists this way, they fear the latter excuse totalitarianisms by sanctioning an ‘anything goes’ posture. I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind by ‘fascism’.

    There is a commentary concerning the relation between Heidegger’s philosophy and his politics that I o
    find meaningful, by the philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin.

    “Gandhi, Marx, Dilthey, Buber, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, McKeon, and many others taught me deeply. But so did three writers whose politics were highly objectionable to me: Jung, Dostoevsky, and Heidegger.

    Jung offers deep and indispensable insights. I did not like knowing that Jung had said: "Hitler is the embodiment of the German spirit." The Nazis knew his views. Records show that they considered sending for Jung to help Rudolph Hess with his mental trouble.

    Similarly, I had not wanted to know that Dostoevsky hated Jews, Germans, and Poles. He gave influential speeches in favor of the Panslavic movement. That movement was a direct cause of the Russian-French alliance and the World Wars.

    What I heard of Heidegger's Nazi views made me decide not to read him at all. I read him when I was almost 40 years old. Then I realized that Heidegger's thought was already in mine, from my reading of so many others who had learned from him.

    With these three we are forced to wonder: Must we not mistrust their seemingly deep insights? How could we want these insights for ourselves, if they came out of experience so insensitive to moral ugliness? Perhaps it might not matter if the insights were less deep. But they open into what is most precious in human nature and life. The depth is beyond question. The insights are genuine.

    So one attempts to break out of the dilemma on the other side: Is there a way Nazism or hatred of other peoples might be not so bad? Could it have seemed different at the time? No chance of that, either. I am a Jewish refugee from Vienna, a lucky one to whom nothing very bad happened. I remember what 1938 looked like, not only to a Jew, but to others. I remember the conflicts it made in people. They could not help knowing which instincts were which. Many writers and ordinary people had no difficulty seeing the events for what they were, at the time.

    So we return to question the insights again. But by now they are among our own deepest insights. We go back and forth: Nothing gives way on either side. Did these men simply make mistakes? We can forgive mistakes. A human individual can develop far beyond others, but surely only on one or two dimensions. No one can be great in more than a few ways. And silently to myself, when other Americans discuss and share Heidegger's view that to be human is to dwell historically as a people on a soil. How do my fellow Americans manage to dwell with Heidegger on German soil?

    My colleagues read this in a universalized way. For us, in the Heidegger Circle, the human is the same everywhere in this respect, and equally valuable. Humans are culturally particularized, certainly, but this particularization is itself universal. Humans are one species. They are all culturally particular. This universal assertion holds across us all, and we see no problem.

    Indeed, after 1945 Heidegger writes of the dangers of technological reason on a "planetary" level. But it is reason, which is thus planetary---the same universal reason he says he had always attacked. (Spiegel Interview.) Heidegger's planetary view differs from our more recent understanding of human universality. The difference has not been much written about, so there are no familiar phrases for it. For Heidegger there is no common human nature which is then also particularized and altered in history. There is no human nature that lasts through change by history. There is only the historical particular, no human nature.

    Humans eat and sleep differently in different cultures. They arrange different sexual rituals, build different "nests," and raise their young differently. In an animal species the members do all this in the same way. Humans are not even a species. So, at least, it seemed to those thinkers who entered into what is most deeply human. To them, the deepest and most prized aspect of humans was the cultural and historical particular.

    In our generation we easily and conveniently universalize the particularization. Not Heidegger. For him, what is most valuable is the necessarily particular indwelling in one people's history and language, on its land, and not another's. We change it without noticing, to read: any indwelling in any people's history is this most highly valued aspect.

    it was Heidegger who pioneered a thinking beyond logical universals, beyond the thin, abstracted commonality categories. He pioneered the thinking which consists of situatedness (Befindlichkeit). He said that situational living is already an understanding. He said that understanding is always befindlich. "Understanding always has greater reach than the cognitive can follow." He called it "dwelling" (see Gendlin, Conference Proceedings, 1983). He also called it "indwelling" (einwohnen). He thought its more-than-logical creativity limited within historical soil and nation. To him non-rational meant non-universal.

    But with his own books, and through Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and many others, it was he who opened the way to our kind of thinking---the kind that now dwells universally beyond the rational common---although it is only beginning to say how. To work on that is our problem. He contributed enough for one human.

    Heidegger must be credited for a great share in that very development because of which we no longer feel the old either/or: either the deeply human historical particular with its political savagery and sadism, or the merely rational commmon.

    It is partly the influence of his work in us, which now makes us unable to grasp how he could have failed to sense the nonrational universality of humans. Today, in Chicago, when we look at Louis Sullivan's buildings, the ones that created modern architecture, we wonder why he used so much granite. Why didn't he use just steel and windows?

    To understand may be to forgive, but it is certainly not to excuse. Without pretending to lighten the horror, we need to understand why that tradition of thought also brought horror. Only so can we think through what we draw from our immediate past. Only then can we recover the other past, right behind that one. We need both, to articulate our own, non-rational universalization of human depth.” Eugene Gendlin
  • Enrique
    829


    What's the problem with the rational common in a cultural relativist's view? Seems to me the foundation of public life and something we were transforming the entire species into for good before giving up on ethical progress became a paradigm. Did humanity's teachers become jaded by abuse?
  • Joshs
    3.8k
    What's the problem with the rational common in a cultural relativist's view?Enrique

    There is no problem with it for postmodernists. Discursive
    conventions are what allow us to come to agreement on ethical , inter social and scientific issues. But if we try and fix in stone any particular set of conventions as based on a true external reality we deprive ourselves of the ability to forge new and perhaps deeper agreements as the world continues to change. There must be a continual
    back and forth between living within a given rational
    common and the transformation of the schematic basis of rational conventions. This means assuming that all of our scientific and ethical beliefs are ultimately contestable.
  • Enrique
    829


    The analysis of enframing is interesting. I think that is a main psychological impetus for the value form transition from labor to information in the presence of an increasingly technological society. Is enframing new or is it fundamentally a Jungian archetype coming to dominate the psyche? I agree that almost every rational convention can be contested as per postmodernism except that inflicting unwanted pain is a violation and the root of evil. Rejecting that obvious truth from any subjective or objective stance is guaranteed social turmoil. Am I just not beyond good and evil?
  • fdrake
    5.2k


    Does it really need to be said that you're massively oversimplify the enculturation of multiculturalism in the political north by tying it to the work of a philosopher obscure even among graduates of philosophy?
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