• Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k
    I propose a reading group for Being and Time where we set weekly targets for reading and discuss what is covered on this thread.

    When the date is reached, I will add weekly targets to this page and hopefully encourage some interesting discussion on an interesting book.

    Please feel free to discuss the concepts raised in the book now and at any point in the future as I am sure it will only benefit the reading group when it starts.

    Have you read Being and Time? What concepts stood out to you? Did you enjoy the book or hate it?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    822
    45e568c683278abf3c6bd6a8a5603a657c11e8cbeb8958dd6bb7979f9d1cb105.jpg

    Haven't read the book. Hate Heildegger; sorry, Heidegger. I just wanted to say so, once again. Never mind.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k


    Ad hominem? Lol I know he’s a controversial figure. I still want to read his work though. I’m pretty sure Being and Time isn’t a ‘how to be a Nazi’ manual lol
  • fdrake
    2.3k
    Ignore introductions 1 and 2 until you've read the first volume.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k


    Ok. Thanks for the advice. How come if you don’t mind me asking?
  • fdrake
    2.3k


    They're incredibly dense sections of methodology and he describes lots of his phenomenological 'results' in even more condensed and difficult language than usual.
  • unenlightened
    3.6k
    Meanwhile, in another part of the forest... "Why should we read High Digger, Piglet?", said Pooh, sadly.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    Actually, read them first, but read them until you pretty much understand them. Joan Stambaugh translation (English) is best imo.

    It's a big help if you can "get" the rhythm of Heidegger's sentences, what word receives the emphasis, and so forth. If you've read Kant, likely you noticed that all-of-a-sudden reading other things became easier. Same with Heidegger. Stick with the Intros.; they lay the foundation. You will get it - and when you do, you'll like it! Skipping ahead in the hopes it will be easier or make more sense sooner, is like being a beginning skier and skiing the most dangerous trail, because the beginner trails are too difficult!
  • bloodninja
    309
    this sounds like a great idea!
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k

    Ok so now I will read them :) I enjoy a challenge anyway.


    Do you have the book already?
  • Erik
    596
    It's an extremely difficult read, but I think Heidegger does a good job in Being and Time of constantly circling back in order to (briefly) highlight key concepts he's developed up to that point before moving to the next step.

    I've read the book a number of times and once you get familiar with the conceptual framework it actually flows fairly well in that rhythmic, circular fashion.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k

    It would be great if you could keep an eye on this thread then if you wouldn’t mind? Would be nice to have people familiar with the material at hand to give us their input while we discuss it.
  • Erik
    596


    Sure thing. I've noticed there are a few TPF posters who have a really good grasp of Heidegger's philosophy. Better than mine I'd say. But I will definitely look in on occasion.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k
    I'm sure they'll get involved when they see this thread bouncing around the top of the page from time to time. look forward to your input :)
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.7k
    Heidegger introduces some very puzzling usage of terms. Or maybe my translation wasn't very good.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k


    I think it has something to do with translation from German. Their grammar can be a bit weird and literal at time. His use of the word Dasein translated is there-being. Which i think is to relate to the being who is there. And not to assume there is a common notion of being human? So avoids referring to it as other than Dasein.

    I think any way? I’ve not read the book yet but we’ve spoken a little about the concept in Uni.

    German is strangely literal. The name for a bicycle in German is Fahrrad, which literally translated means driving (Fahr) wheel (Rad).

    Lol driving wheel.
  • Erik
    596


    From the linked book review:

    "Yet in retrospect, he appears to have acted not too late but too soon, for the truly shocking question posed by the Black Notebooks is not: was Heidegger a Nazi? Or: was Heidegger an anti-Semite? But: would Germany’s greatest 20th-century philosopher have endorsed Donald Trump?"

    And further:

    "This might sound uncomfortably familiar. Analogies with Weimar have become one of the commonplaces of commentary in this year’s American election. But Donald Trump is not so much America’s Hitler as an American Heidegger, a self-appointed expert on greatness, who in Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again insists both that ‘the idea of American greatness … has vanished’ and that ‘our best days lie ahead."

    A man who loathed pretty much everything he associated with America - its consumerism, its lack of culture, its glorification of quantity as the highest quality, its subordination of every aspect of life to economic considerations, etc. - probably wouldn't have supported another man who appears to be the most extreme possible embodiment of the values underlying those things.

    That's just a guess. Come to think of it, though, in that hypothetical world where Heidegger was still alive and assessing the phenomena of Trump, it would make sense for him to support the buffoon if he wanted to see the United States destroy itself as quickly as possible. Outside of that, comparisons between Heidegger and Trump based on the idea that they were/are both critics of the status quo, they both long(ed) for something better, they both appeal(ed) to notions of home and rootedness in place as opposed to abstract universalism, they both share(d) a fondness for using the term "greatness", etc., is unconvincing. It's absurd even.

    I would also add, having read much of the Black Notebooks, that the disparaging remarks directed at Jews (and they are indeed dumb caricatures) are few in comparison with those directed at the biological racism, the national egotism, the manipulative propaganda, and other underpinnings of National Socialism as it played out.

    The comparison and selective use of quotes taken out of context makes Heidegger look silly, but is it silly to lament (and prepare the way for an overcoming of) the continued cheapening and trivialization of human existence? the destruction of communal bonds? the loss of feelings of awe and wonder which underlie a sense of the sacred? the reduction of all beings to the one level of exploitable resource? and other such things? I don't think so, no matter uncool that sounds among sophisticated, highly-educated and cultured people like the writer of this article.

    This may sound like hyperbole but Heidegger's thinking represents a challenge to the ontological foundations of the modern world, just as Descartes and other modern thinkers represented a challenge to the guiding presuppositions of the medieval world. And it especially calls into question the smug complacency of those who find the absurd situation we find ourselves in to be beyond criticism.

    Eh I just needed to get that off my chest. Heidegger is open to criticism form a number of angles, there's no doubt about that, but to compare him to Trump, and to try to find points of significant philosophical (or other) convergence between the two in terms of aims and methods, is really, really, REALLY dumb. I say that as someone who rarely makes any strong claims.

    It may be that I'm just being uncharitable towards the writer of this piece based upon my interest in Heidegger, but it's pretty clear that he was extremely uncharitable towards Heidegger too. If one were so inclined, they could probably take any two figures (or political movements, etc.), find a couple things they had in common - no matter how trivial or inessential - and then exaggerate the significance of said things in order to make a stronger connection between the two than is warranted by the facts.

    You see that sort of sophistry quite often from conservative pundits as they attempt to deceive the public and discredit their political opponents with outlandish claims like (e.g.) "modern leftists and progressives are essentially the same as Hitler (and the Nazis) because they share a belief in protecting the environment, they prioritize the community over the individual, etc., etc.," and other such nonsense without also taking the time to point out the many essential areas where they differ. How convenient if one's sole or primary concern is with displaying their cleverness and/or manipulating others rather than with the truth.
  • fdrake
    2.3k


    I only grokked the second a bit intro after finishing the book. If someone manages to struggle through the methodological elements in intro 2 without seeing any examples of it first - power to them.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k

    I’ll check them out. Thank you for sharing :)
  • Ciceronianus the White
    822
    There are too many references to Heidegger. I fear I'm losing control. It's my spiritual mission to execrate him.

    You must read his rectorial address to fully understand him. You'll find it here: http://la.utexas.edu/users/hcleaver/330T/350kPEEHeideggerSelf-Assertion.pdf
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k
    It's my spiritual mission to execrate him.Ciceronianus the White

    Good luck with that. I’m still gonna be reading him none the less. I hope that doesn’t dampen your mission too much :)

    I’ll add that to my ever growing reading list. Hopefully get round to it soon.
  • fdrake
    2.3k


    I've always wondered why you hate Heidegger so much. Do you have bad personal experience with him in a course? If you are able to bracket the Naziism for even a moment I think you'd've realised that he has a surprisingly pragmatist worldview.

    Maybe you could contribute a critique of why his ontology necessitates authoritarian/racist politics, instead of throwing spitballs from the sidelines?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    822
    He did indeed have a pragmatist worldview, if you ignore his mysticism, romanticism and fear of technology. The much underrated John Dewey (my favorite pragmatist, his dense and difficult style of writing notwithstanding) reportedly said after reading Heidegger: "Heidegger reads like a Swabian peasant trying to sound like me."

    It's his mysticism and romanticism, and the resultant or attendant belief in the special mission of the German people, that likely influenced his deplorable politics, I think. But I have an unfortunate tendency to denigrate sacred cows, this one in particular, and shouldn't be hijacking this thread.
  • tim wood
    2.5k
    I recommend a companion book to B&T:

    https://www.amazon.com/Commentary-Heideggers-Being-Time/dp/0875805442/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1521129676&sr=8-2&keywords=a+commentary+on+heidegger%27s+being+and+time

    A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Michael Gelvin. (And the reviews there.) Near it is a book with a similar title by Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World. A Commentary.... For present purpose I think Dreyfus's book is a mistake because it reads as difficult as B&T itself. (See the reviews for the Dreyfus's book.)

    There is a lot of secondary literature on B&T, a lot of it a waste of time. For a general intro to Heidegger:

    https://www.amazon.com/Heidegger-Introduction-Richard-Polt/dp/0801485649/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521130461&sr=1-1&keywords=polt+heidegger

    Heidegger, an, Introduction, Richard Polt. (Again, the reviews).

    One can easily get lost in commentaries and introductions. Better to start wrestling with the bear pretty early. It's doable and rewarding - it is also completely normal on occasion to spin away from reading Heidegger wondering where the hell you've got to and if you have something better to do, like folding underwear or eating potato chips. Heidegger apparently understood this. He describes Holzwege: Black Forest wood paths that are loggers' paths to the trees (not through the forest!) and that otherwise don't go anywhere. He explains that it's easy to get lost on - in - Holzwege.

    Small point. Da, in German, also can mean here. Dasein, then, expands from there-being to here/there-being. Every little bit helps.
  • fdrake
    2.3k


    Being and Time + History of the Concept of Time + Basic Problems aren't particularly mystical. I can certainly see an argument for the charge of mysticism and romanticism in later Heidegger, earlier writings are definitely systematic and non-mystical though.

    I'm sure there's an interesting angle that could be taken on Heidegger's (lack of) understanding of morality in ontological terms making space for the deplorable politics. I have a suspicion that the Nazi 'nation myth' - hard working disciplined people in touch with the land and each other and those who oppose it - resonates quite well with Heidegger's favourable disposition to 'the primordial' and 'the ancient', but I've never pursued the connection in the literature.

    I also think that despite all the effort Heidegger put into analysing experiential temporality he doesn't do very much about how humans make history - either in terms of existential analysis of a person's life history (how their experiences coagulate into history, what the long-term historicisng elements of consciousness are), nor does he analyse collaborative projects. Dasein's surprisingly lonely and insensate.

    Though, I might be remembering wrong and be confusing what I thought with what I read, it's been a long time since I studied Heidegger.

    Anyway, as you suggested, this discussion's orthogonal to the aims of a reading group about Heidegger - but any critical engagement with him in a broader context could be useful once it's gotten going.
  • bloodninja
    309
    yes I have both translations. Always keen to read and discuss Heidegger!
  • Ilyosha
    33
    Sorry to bump this thread a month out. Just wanted to ask: Is this still happening?
  • Ilyosha
    33
    It's his mysticism and romanticism, and the resultant or attendant belief in the special mission of the German people, that likely influenced his deplorable politics, I think. But I have an unfortunate tendency to denigrate sacred cows, this one in particular, and shouldn't be hijacking this thread.Ciceronianus the White

    Is he a "sacred cow" though? My feeling is that most people inside and outside academia hate him. The only people who like him qua philosopher tend to be hyper-partisan in his favor, everyone else seems to hate or ignore his philosophy. And even then those hyper-partisans always like Heidegger's philosophy *despite* his being an awful person. As far as I can tell he's in the running for most hated canonical figure in any academic subject. I've never met anyone who would be willingly argue that he wasn't an awful person.

    As far as his philosophy is concerned, I think the question of his fascism is perhaps too philosophically important to simply attack polemically. What separates him, for example, from Frege? Is it malpractice for a philosopher's thought to leave an opening for fascism? (If so, then I suppose we ought to throw a lot of analytic philosophy into the flames.)

    I find that my views largely align with Heidegger's, but that he (as you say) cloaks his views in a deplorable and unnecessary mysticism and romanticism. I also agree that this opens the door for his fascism. But I'm not comfortable simply calling him a fascist and ignoring him. I genuinely wish that I could cut Heidegger out of my philosophical life -- because he's a monster, a pedant and a bore -- but I just can't be talked into making that leap. :(

    (Edited for clarity, sorry my first post was a mess.)
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.3k
    Yes but it may not occur till a few days after. The 15th falls on Ramadan, and I’ll be doing a 10 day retreat until about the 17th(ish - depending on the visibility of the full moon) and will be cut off from the world until I get out.

    If you don’t mind waiting a couple more days then awesome. If not, you’re welcome to start without me and i’ll play catch up when i’m free.

    How much we planning on doing in a week by the way?

    Shall we cover one section at a time?

    So week one, cover the introduction:
    I. The necessity, structure, and priority of the question of being., (1-4)

    So in the Blackwell edition that would be pages 21-35

    The week after cover intro section 2 (pp. 36-64)

    Or would it be better to cover a certain amount of pages each week (random example, 10 pages a week) until it’s completed?

    The less we cover in one week the deeper into the text we could delve, give us time to read some secondary sources on the particular parts we reach etc..

    Let me know what you think.

    Also, what version of the text will everyone be reading?
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