• Xtrix
    1.1k
    I've found myself referencing Heidegger a lot in the past several discussions. I'd like to ask the Forum what they think of Mr. Heidegger's thought.

    Before giving an interpretation or general opinion, I'd like to reserve this thread only for those who have at least read Being & Time. Of course this is only my request, not Forum guidelines.

    So there's no mystery about how I'm approaching this question, I want to be clear that I consider Heidegger to be a great thinker and teacher, and that I've learned a great deal from his writings and interviews (not so much his private letters, since I've been limited in my sampling).

    I will not take criticism of Heidegger personally, however. I do not consider his writings Holy Writ (or the clearest), I do not consider him infallible, nor his general thinking the "ultimate truth."
  • path
    284
    I haven't read every page of Being and Time. I have studied some of his other books completely, especially the lectures leading up to B&T, like the earlier versions of it, and I've read lots of secondary sources. In some ways it's an accident of history that that particular book became so central (his lectures leading up to it just weren't available, even if they are often clearer and one can follow the genesis of his thought.)

    Anyway I think I could add something to an informal conversation. But I don't read German, so I'm definitely an amateur in that sense, doing the best I can.
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    I'm almost finished reading Being and Time. I think "care" is properly translated. Caring, or giving a fuck, is the essence of the world
  • path
    284
    I'm almost finished reading Being and Time. I think "care" is properly translated. Caring, or giving a fuck, is the essence of the worldGregory

    I do love the word 'care.' That is some strong English. We feel that word.
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    Traditional philosophy says a substance is the core of the universe; modern philosophy says an action can be the essence of our reality. That's all I got for now. Will be reading Being and Time the rest of the day..
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    My opinion on Heidegger is that he was an average dude just like everyone else. The OP's question assumes Heidegger is a figure of special interest to us. Au contraire, I see him as just a person who had the twin good fortunes of time and resources to put his thoughts in the public space for all to see, accept/reject, extol/critique, etc. If it wasn't Heidegger then it would've been somebody else who would've written Being and Time. There is no neccessity to Heidegger's existence; being contingent, therefore, Heidegger is just one of many dispensable philosophical, literary, scientific, personalities that have participated in human affairs and made a graceful exit - something rare in my opinion - from the world stage.
  • fdrake
    4.1k
    Personal experience; division 1 B&T is one of the most eye opening things I've read in metaphysics. The formal structure of experiential time in Div 2 is profound. Have some frustrations with him:

    (1) Scientific/conceptual knowledge being relegated to a present at hand understanding and away from the "core tasks" of philosophy.
    (2) How he approached the history of ideas is very fecund (retrojecting; linking discourse analysis and metaphysics), how he equated that with the history of the understanding of being is not.
    (3) Little to no politics and social stuff.
    (4) There's a lot of "formal structure" that piggybacks off suggestive examples that maybe don't generalise as far as he wants ("ontological moods", the centrality of anxiety and being toward death).
    (5) Dasein is mature; there's little discussion of learning and socialisation.

    Seeing a human being as "a Dasein" misses out a lot which is relevant, what is "ontic" is not "merely ontic".
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    Caring, or giving a fuck, is the essence of the worldGregory
    No. It may the essence of how you account for your understanding of the world. But it's a misunderstanding of Heidegger's word. And Heidegger used a bunch of phrases and locutions to make his meaning reasonably clear.

    My own understanding of Sorge as Heidegger used it would be "having an interest in," as opposed to having zero interest in. And this at all kinds of levels, some of which Heidegger troubled to focus on and explicate.

    How do I know you're wrong? Heidegger, I'm sure, would have included not giving an f--- as a species of Sorge, if he gave that any thought at all.
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    (5) Dasein is mature; there's little discussion of learning and socialisation.

    Seeing a human being as "a Dasein" misses out a lot which is relevant...
    fdrake

    That sums up my thoughts rather nicely as well...
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    In some ways it's an accident of history that that particular book became so central (his lectures leading up to it just weren't available, even if they are often clearer and one can follow the genesis of his thought.)path

    That's true, but remember that this is because he didn't publish anything else until much later. In any case, I only mentioned Being & Time because it's the most likely thing anyone has read or has access to, and because I doubt very many will have read his other works and exclude that from the list.

    Anyway I think I could add something to an informal conversation.path

    Well then, welcome!

    I'm almost finished reading Being and Time. I think "care" is properly translated. Caring, or giving a fuck, is the essence of the worldGregory

    Sorge is the German word. I don't mind it either as far as translations go. One can talk about "concern" as well, but always within the context of a larger"for-the-sake-of-which" in which we're always acting. I always want to equate this concept with "willing," but so far in my reading that doesn't really cut it. Heidegger actually seems to think of "care" as more broad than "willing" or "wishing."

    Regardless, after flushing out the "structure" of being-there (existence, human being) as being-in-the-world, this gets reinterpreted as "care" in a three-fold way, which as you know itself later gets reinterpreted as temporality, which is ultimately the basis for any interpretation or meaning of "being" in general and human being. So it's an important concept indeed.

    The OP's question assumes Heidegger is a figure of special interest to us.TheMadFool

    Not really. I'm asking about Heidegger's thought, not Heidegger as an individual personality. In fact, I think his personal biography often works against him due to his being a Nazi for a while, as you know. That being said, yes I don't consider him a "god" any more than Kant or Newton or Einstein. This thread wasn't intended as a venue for hero worship.

    Personal experience; division 1 B&T is one of the most eye opening things I've read in metaphysics. The formal structure of experiential time in Div 2 is profound.fdrake

    I like your use of "experiential time" for "temporality."

    Have some frustrations with him:

    (1) Scientific/conceptual knowledge being relegated to a present at hand understanding and away from the "core tasks" of philosophy.
    fdrake

    I think he includes most of philosophy in this relegation as well, and so nearly all of Western thought since the inception of philosophy with the Greeks. His main thesis is that the question of the meaning of being has been forgotten, that it's been covered over as self-evident or useless or indefinable, and that even the desire for stating this question is lacking.

    So it's not only a matter of science, which Heidegger has great respect for -- it's all of Western metaphysics at least since Aristotle.

    (2) How he approached the history of ideas is very fecund (retrojecting; linking discourse analysis and metaphysics), how he equated that with the history of the understanding of being is not.fdrake

    I don't quite understand what you mean here. Can you elaborate?

    (3) Little to no politics and social stuff.fdrake

    I agree -- I would have liked to see more there, but that never seemed to be his focus and he only makes thin connections to politics. Even in his Nietzsche lectures, you would expect more -- but his focus remains with ontology even there.

    (4) There's a lot of "formal structure" that piggybacks off suggestive examples that maybe don't generalise as far as he wants ("ontological moods", the centrality of anxiety and being toward death).fdrake

    Again here I'm not quite sure what you mean.

    (5) Dasein is mature; there's little discussion of learning and socialisation.fdrake

    That's true, although he does talk much about the "They" or "Das Man," which takes for granted culture, socialization, norms, conformity, etc.
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    My own understanding of Sorge as Heidegger used it would be "having an interest in," as opposed to having zero interest in. And this at all kinds of levels, some of which Heidegger troubled to focus on and explicate.tim wood

    It's true that "care" and "concern" do have unintended connotations, although I wouldn't say he's misunderstanding the world. But I agree with you that it's much more related to "comportment" towards both present-at-hand entities and towards ready-to-hand equipment. All are tied in some basic way towards our purposes, projects, "needs," and engagements -- there's no way to understand it otherwise.
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    (5) Dasein is mature; there's little discussion of learning and socialisation.

    Seeing a human being as "a Dasein" misses out a lot which is relevant...
    — fdrake

    That sums up my thoughts rather nicely as well...
    creativesoul

    But he made clear this is an existential analytic with the question of the meaning of being as an aim. So plenty will be left out of this, necessarily.
  • path
    284
    because I doubt very many will have read his other works and exclude that from the list.Xtrix

    Very true! I found B&T quite difficult. It's huge, rich, and a bit overwhelming. So naturally I looked for help, found out about earlier lectures and shorter, earlier drafts. That really helped open my eyes. I could go back and read lots of Div One especially feel that I was getting it. I found Dreyfus's Being-in-the-world quite helpful, but there are some great papers in the Cambridge Companion too. I'm pretty fond of Kisiel's and Van Buren's work too.

    Well then, welcome!Xtrix

    Thanks!

    Also, just to put this out there, I like to think of Wittgenstein pointing to language as a ready-to-hand tool that we tend to try to gaze at as something occurent. (Our blind skill with language is more absent than present, perhaps...)
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    The closest thing to Heideggers thought in the history of philosophy before him was Aristotle's idea of final causality. Instead of saying the prime mover started everything, Aristotle turned causality on its head and said the prime mover acted as a posterior cause instead of a prior one. Modern philosophy is essentially about putting the cart before the horse. I like that because it's counter intuitive
  • 180 Proof
    1.8k
    In the light of Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Peirce, Wittgenstein-TPL & Dewey, I've found Heidegger spectacularly redundant and obscurant. Also, his 'interpretation' of Nietzsche is also egregiously anti-Nietzschean.

    The lack of playful humor or a role for music in his 'thinking', as George Steiner points out, is quite telling of his decadent, constipated, "spirit of gravity" (Nietzsche). Jaspers & Marcel, then later on Levinas, Merleau-Ponty & Gadamer, do 'hermeneutical daseinanalysis' so much better, less - or counter - solipstically by comparison (Adorno), and therefore morally, even politically, more cogent and relevant to any 'existential project'.

    Heidegger's crypto-augustinian fideism via metaphysical 'de(con)struction of metaphysics' (e.g. Seyn) amounts to little more IMO than a sophistical derivation of 'wu wei' (or 'satori-kenshō'). Read works by The Kyoto School thinkers (e.g. Nishida Kitarō) instead for the comparative philosophical clarity lacking in most of Heidegger's writings, especially after his so-called "die Kehre".

    I've been grateful to Heidegger, nonetheless, since my earliest philosophical studies in the late '70s for his monumental oeuvre as a/the paragon of how NOT to philosophize - or think-live philosophically (as Arendt points out) - as manifest by the generations of heideggerian obscurant sophists (i.e. p0m0s e.g. Derrida, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Rorty et al) who've come and gone in and out of academic & litcrit fashion since the 1950s - apple-simulacra don't fall far from the tree-simulacrum (or is it "Ye shall know them by their fruits" :chin:), do they?

    Aristotle turned causality on its head and said the prime mover acted as a posterior cause instead of a prior one.Gregory
    Interesting. Like Hegel's 'Absolute' - a metaphysical strange attractor transforming (dialectically, not quite or explicitly teleologically, à la 'retro-causation'?) fundamental chaos into the ultimate cosmos (à la 'platonic heaven' (caveat: Meinong's Zoo :yikes:) ... or 'realer reality'). Yeah, I can see that in Heidegger too. Pure speculative nonsense (Kant). :sweat:
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    Very true! I found B&T quite difficult. It's huge, rich, and a bit overwhelming.path

    Agreed.

    So naturally I looked for help, found out about earlier lectures and shorter, earlier drafts. That really helped open my eyes. I could go back and read lots of Div One especially feel that I was getting it. I found Dreyfus's Being-in-the-world quite helpful, but there are some great papers in the Cambridge Companion too. I'm pretty fond of Kisiel's and Van Buren's work too.path

    Dreyfus was an excellent teacher. I'd check out his Berkley lectures as well -- they're online (YouTube et al) for free. His Being-in-the-World is valuable.

    I'm not familiar with Kisiel's or Van Buren's work, but thank you for the references. I'll look them up.

    Also, just to put this out there, I like to think of Wittgenstein pointing to language as a ready-to-hand tool that we tend to try to gaze at as something occurent. (Our blind skill with language is more absent than present, perhaps...)path

    That's interesting. I hear Wittgenstein mentioned many times in this Forum; his influence here is obvious (and perhaps everywhere). However, I haven't read more than a few pages of his Tractatus.
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    The closest thing to Heideggers thought in the history of philosophy before him was Aristotle's idea of final causality. Instead of saying the prime mover started everything, Aristotle turned causality on its head and said the prime mover acted as a posterior cause instead of a prior one. Modern philosophy is essentially about putting the cart before the horse. I like that because it's counter intuitiveGregory

    I didn't quite understand this.
  • path
    284
    Dreyfus was an excellent teacher. I'd check out his Berkley lectures as well -- they're online (YouTube et al) for free. His Being-in-the-World is valuable.Xtrix

    His chapter on the 'who of everyday dasein' is perhaps my favorite. 'One' uses words this way or that way, automatically. Any attempt to make this know-how explicit is a fresh use of our blind skill that can never dominate that skill and always depends on it. That's very roughly my attempt to hint at the intersection of Heidegger/Wittgenstein for me.

    I also have studied Gadamer a little bit, and I love what he does with Heidegger. I love the idea of forehaving or preinterpretation or interpretedness. To me the thrown-ness idea is potent.

    'History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.' (Joyce) Or we are the history from which we are trying to awake. It's only our prejudices that allow us to think against such prejudices. The most potent prejudices are the ones we don't know we have. What is ontically closest is ontologically farthest. It's the glasses we don't know we are wearing, the water we swim in without noticing until a strong philosopher can make it visible and only then optional.

    I'm riffing, but hopefully some of this speaks to you.
  • Gregory
    1.7k


    I can't cite a passage at the moment (sorry) but as I get to the end of B&Y I keep feeling like his sense of potentiality and reality go backwards, almost as if we live life in reverse.
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    In the light of Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Peirce, Wittgenstein-TPL & Dewey, I've found Heidegger spectacularly redundant and obscurant.180 Proof

    Well you're in good company in that assessment. I'm not sure why you include Spinoza, however. Surely not the clearest writer either.

    Also, his 'interpretation' of Nietzsche is also egregiously anti-Nietzschean.180 Proof

    Where? I didn't get that at all. I see only the utmost respect for Nietzsche. If you mean the opposite of what Nietzsche thought, then all I can say is that Heidegger discusses "being" a lot where Nietzsche thought it was a "vapor" and "mistake" -- but that's Heidegger's entire philosophy, so that shouldn't be a surprise. As for Nietzsche's ideas about values, he doesn't have much to say about that.

    Jaspers & Marcel, then later on Levinas, Merleau-Ponty & Gadamer, do 'hermeneutical daseinanalysis' so much better, less - or counter - solipstically by comparison (Adorno), and therefore morally, even politically, more cogent and relevant to any 'existential project'.180 Proof

    I'm not sure what "existential project" you're referring to. Heidegger is clear about his question, so to criticize that he ignores social and political issues is like criticizing him for not writing more about biology and astronomy. That's just not his concern.

    Most of those you mention acknowledge a large debt of gratitude to Heidegger. Derrida and Foucault as well, and of course Sartre. (I don't necessarily care for any of them.) Regardless, whether they did "daseinanalysis" better or not is a debatable. I think many of them, with perhaps Merleau-Ponty as an exception, are rather bloated and overrated. But to each his own.

    Heidegger's crypto-augustinian fideism via metaphysical 'de(con)struction of metaphysics' (e.g. Seyn) amounts to little more IMO than a sophistical derivation of 'wu wei' (or 'satori-kenshō').180 Proof

    The idea of wu wei does have similarities to the ready-to-hand activities Heidegger describes.

    By "destruction of metaphysics" he means basically a historical analysis of the concept of "being" in philosophy; I'm not sure how that amounts to fideism. Maybe unpacking this a little would be helpful.

    Read works by The Kyoto School thinkers (e.g. Nishida Kitarō) instead for the comparative philosophical clarity lacking in most of Heidegger's writings, especially after his so-called "die Kehre".180 Proof

    I've heard there are similarities to Zhuangzi as well. I wouldn't be surprised. But I doubt very much what he or Kitaro are discussing is ontology, especially in the context of the history of Western thought.

    I've been grateful to Heidegger, nonetheless, since my earliest philosophical studies in the late '70s for his monumental oeuvre as a/the paragon of how NOT to philosophize - or think-live philosophically (as Arendt points out) - as manifest by the generations of heideggerian obscurant sophists (i.e. p0m0s e.g. Derrida, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Rorty et al) who've come and gone in and out of academic & litcrit fashion since the 1950s - apple-simulacra don't fall far from the tree-simulacrum (or is it "Ye shall know them by their fruits" :chin:), do they?180 Proof

    Yes, all that's fine. I think postmodernism, poststructuralism, Derrida in general, is almost completely without value. I don't include Heidegger in this camp, nor in the "existentialist" camp at all -- in fact I'm sure he'd disavow almost all of it.

    As for obscurantism -- yes, a common charge, and one he anticipates outright in Being & Time. I think the same charge has been made against Kant and Hegel as well, not completely unfairly.

    But you haven't really shown you've read his works -- have you? What exactly is troubling besides the neologisms and awkwardness of translating a complex analysis of "being" from idiomatic German work to English? Where are you disagreeing? Where does he go wrong? I'm much more interested in that; so far everything you've said you could easily have based on either secondary sources or from a casual glance.

    Which is fine too if that's all you want to say. I was hopeful for something more in-depth.
  • Banno
    9.2k
    I wasn't going to write anything in this thread, since the less oxygen given Heidegger, the better; but than you for your summation as to why.
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    I can't cite a passage at the moment (sorry) but as I get to the end of B&Y I keep feeling like his sense of potentiality and reality go backwards, almost as if we live life in reverse.Gregory

    Well I still don't quite understand fully, but perhaps you're referencing his conception of "temporality," which doesn't view the future as "after" or the past as "before," and so in that sense gives the connotation of going "backwards" somehow?
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    Not really. I'm asking about Heidegger's thought, not Heidegger as an individual personality. In fact, I think his personal biography often works against him due to his being a Nazi for a while, as you know. That being said, yes I don't consider him a "god" any more than Kant or Newton or Einstein. This thread wasn't intended as a venue for hero worship.Xtrix

    Noted. :ok:
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    'History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.' (Joyce) Or we are the history from which we are trying to awake. It's only our prejudices that allow us to think against such prejudices. The most potent prejudices are the ones we don't know we have. What is ontically closest is ontologically farthest. It's the glasses we don't know we are wearing, the water we swim in without noticing until a strong philosopher can make it visible and only then optional.

    I'm riffing, but hopefully some of this speaks to you.
    path

    It does. The "water we swim" is exactly right -- it's right there around us at all times, and for just that reason is the last thing we notice. The method of "unconcealing" these hidden features of life is how I see him defining phenomenology.
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    I wasn't going to write anything in this thread, since the less oxygen given Heidegger, the better; but than you for your summation as to why.Banno

    Interesting. So you agree with that rather nuanced criticism of being dressed-up wu wei? or with the very common accusation (especially of those who have read only secondary sources) of obscurantism?

    :roll: Nevermind. Thanks for the input.
  • path
    284
    It does. The "water we swim" is exactly right -- it's right there around us at all times, and for just that reason is the last thing we notice. The method of "unconcealing" these hidden features of life is how I see him defining phenomenology.Xtrix

    Excellent. I agree with all of that. I've been talking about consciousness in other threads, and I think it's close to the issue of being. People use familiar words in a loose way without noticing just how haze these words are. For practical purposes that's fine, but philosophers build metaphysical systems on foundations of fog. I like to think of it as dragging our ignorance into the light.
  • path
    284
    I do notice that the Heidegger haters have stopped by. I don't blame them. But I suggest that thinkers like Heidegger, Hegel, Derrida...the ones that people love to who hate...can be appreciated without being worshiped or endorsed as a whole, as flawless human beings or philosophers. I think we can safely enjoy them piecemeal, if necessary. We take what we can use.

    Indeed, we are probably already always doing that as we try to fit the past into our own futures. I hope this adds to the thread. One can tell that he was a student of Heidegger.

    Gadamer’s positive conception of prejudice as pre-judgment is connected with several ideas in his approach to hermeneutics. The way in which our prejudgments open us up to the matter at issue in such a way that those prejudgments are themselves capable of being revised exhibits the character of the Gadamerian conception of prejudgment, and its role in understanding, as itself constituting a version of the hermeneutic circle. The hermeneutical priority Gadamer assigns to prejudgment is also tied to Gadamer’s emphasis on the priority of the question in the structure of understanding—the latter emphasis being something Gadamer takes both from Platonic dialectic and also, in Truth and Method, from the work of R. G. Collingwood. Moreover, the indispensable role of prejudgment in understanding connects directly with Gadamer’s rethinking of the traditional concept of hermeneutics as necessarily involving, not merely explication, but also application. In this respect, all interpretation, even of the past, is necessarily ‘prejudgmental’ in the sense that it is always oriented to present concerns and interests, and it is those present concerns and interests that allow us to enter into the dialogue with the matter at issue. Here, of course, there is a further connection with the Aristotelian emphasis on the practical—not only is understanding a matter of the application of something like ‘practical wisdom’, but it is also always determined by the practical context out of which it arises.

    The prejudicial character of understanding means that, whenever we understand, we are involved in a dialogue that encompasses both our own self-understanding and our understanding of the matter at issue. In the dialogue of understanding our prejudices come to the fore, both inasmuch as they play a crucial role in opening up what is to be understood, and inasmuch as they themselves become evident in that process. As our prejudices thereby become apparent to us, so they can also become the focus of questioning in their own turn. While Gadamer has claimed that ‘temporal distance’ can play a useful role in enabling us better to identify those prejudices that exercise a problematic influence on understanding (Gadamer acknowledges that prejudices can sometimes distort—the point is that they do not always do so), it seems better to see the dialogical interplay that occurs in the process of understanding itself as the means by which such problematic elements are identified and worked through. One consequence of Gadamer’s rehabilitation of prejudice is a positive evaluation of the role of authority and tradition as legitimate sources of knowledge, and this has often been seen, most famously by Jürgen Habermas, as indicative of Gadamer’s ideological conservatism—Gadamer himself viewed it as merely providing a proper corrective to the over-reaction against these ideas that occurred with the Enlightenment.
    — link
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/gadamer/
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    Excellent. I agree with all of that. I've been talking about consciousness in other threads, and I think it's close to the issue of being. People use familiar words in a loose way without noticing just how haze these words are. For practical purposes that's fine, but philosophers build metaphysical systems on foundations of fog. I like to think of it as dragging our ignorance into the light.path

    Definitely. I think at the very least one of the most invaluable contributions of Heidegger is his etymological analysis of classic philosophical words, especially of course from Greek. Nietzsche was doing some of this as well, but as far as I can tell not many others -- which is kind of mind-boggling given both their obvious importance and the rise of "linguistic philosophy."
  • Xtrix
    1.1k
    I do notice that the Heidegger haters have stopped by. I don't blame them. But I suggest that thinkers like Heidegger, Hegel, Derrida...the ones that people love to who hate...can be appreciated without being worshiped or endorsed as a whole, as flawless human beings or philosophers.path

    Yes of course -- everyone can think whatever they want. Hating him personally for being involved in the Nazis is a good reason to hate him, and his dense and often cumbersome text is another reason to be frustrated. But that's pretty superficial -- I'm really only interested in opinions of those who have made a real effort to read him, hence my request in the OP that a requirement should be having read Being & Time. If you can't get through that, that's fine -- not you're cup of tea. But then why bother announcing your disapproval?

    Incidentally, I think Derrida is very much a posturing charlatan -- just as Zikek is now -- and I've tried hard to understand him.
  • path
    284
    I'm really only interested in opinions of those who have made a real effort to read him, hence my request in the OP that a requirement should be having read Being & Time. If you can't get through that, that's fine -- not you're cup of tea. But then why bother announcing your disapproval?Xtrix

    Yup. And rejecting Heidegger is to some degree rejecting all of the scholars who have taken Heidegger seriously. So Heidegger is a fraud ==> Dreyfus is a fraud ==> Braver is a fraud ==> etc. To me it's a bit like conspiracy theory. Lots of famous people being influenced and interested is of course no proof that Heidegger or whoever is great, but it might give one pause. At the same time the thrill is not being fooled. 'That fad didn't suck me in. I'm too shrewd.' I don't know if we are ever done deciding if we are lying to ourselves in either direction.

    I do know that life passes quickly, that I've spent 20+ years reading philosophy and not getting paid for it (working at something else for a living), and I still don't claim to have mastered any major thinker. Personally I think we short-lived mortals always die in our ignorance. I still can't claim to have always had the modesty for silence. In some ways it's good to spout prejudice and overhear oneself, perhaps. Maybe we always spout prejudice, which is not to say that all prejudice is equally desirable.
  • path
    284
    Incidentally, I think Derrida is very much a posturing charlatan -- just as Zikek is now -- and I've tried hard to understand him.Xtrix

    I don't want to derail your thread to defend Derrida...but my connection was through Limited Inc and Dreyfus's interpretation of the who of everyday dasein. Witt's beetle-in-the-box passage is also crucial.

    If I say of myself that it is only from my own case that I know what the word "pain" means - must I not say the same of other people too? And how can I generalize the one case so irresponsibly?

    Now someone tells me that he knows what pain is only from his own case! --Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a "beetle". No one can look into anyone else's box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle. --Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box. One might even imagine such a thing constantly changing. --But suppose the word "beetle" had a use in these people's language? --If so it would not be used as the name of a thing. The thing in the box has no place in the language-game at all; not even as a something: for the box might even be empty. --No, one can 'divide through' by the thing in the box; it cancels out, whatever it is.

    That is to say: if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of 'object and designation' the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant
    — Witt

    To me this passage just destroys our mentalistic assumptions. We don't have some isolated subject gazing on Platonic meanings. The inside is outside. For the most part we are no one, and it's only by being this no one of linguistic conventions that we can invent the mentalistic talk. Derrida uses 'iterability' to get at this. So in some the way it's a question of the being of language --which is also a being-in-the-world, since the 'inside' is 'outside.' You can imagine how this fits into 'the water we swim in' and our inherited pre-interpretation of existence, of being here. 'Consciousness' is a sign in the game. We can't say what consciousness 'means' by futility gesturing to an 'inside' that is also one more linguistic convention. The 'illusion' or assumption is that there is some spiritual-mentalistic occurent entity that overhears itself perfectly, perfectly in touch with purely subjective meaning.

    I'll shut up about Derrida if this doesn't whet your appetite. To me there's a whole sequence of thinkers who were on to this issue, the being of language and the social.
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Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.