Sunday, May 10, 2009

72 Martin Heidegger

In 1933 Heidegger became the first National Socialist rector of the University of Freiburg, and in a public lecture, "Role of the University in the New Reich", he celebrated the advent of a new and glorious Germany.

During this time he publicly renounced any allegiance to Husserl (Husserl had jewish roots). Despite his particular politics, however, a strand of extreme nationalism certainly runs through his work.

The way Heidegger treats language is either fascinating, hypnotic, poetic and then you see his influence on Sartre and Derrida or his language is bombastic and an intricate jargon and then we hear men like Adorno and Günther Grass talking.

Originally Heidegger was inspired by the scholastics. His thesis was on Duns Scotus. After a while he became interested in phenomenology and then he is assistant of Edmund Husserl. He is interested in philosophers like Plato, Augustine, Luther, Hegel, Schelling and Kierkegaard.

When Husserl's retirement was imminent he hurried to write his famous work “Sein und Zeit “ (Being and Time). How do we have to understand Heidegger?

He had the opinion that contemporary philosophy and science did not ask THE fundamental question and, so to speak, took the natural world, including existence, for granted. Heidegger wanted to answer the primary ontological question regarding Being.

In fact he goes back to the old Greek philosophers and he subscribed with zeal to the widespread opinion that philosophizing is possible, if not only in German, then only in German and Greek.

In Being and Time he investigates the fundamental role of temporariness of the human existence in the sense of Being. He comes with expressions like ïn-der-Welt-sein”(being-in-the-world), “Mitmensch-sein”(being-fellowman) as aspects of “das Dasein” (the being/existence).

Heidegger plays with words….hard to translate in English. As an example, the word Dasein does not simply mean being for Heidegger. He splits it up in DA and SEIN. DA in german means “there” and SEIN means to be. So the word Dasein means more than simply being for him. It means to be there, so he asks where we are…we are in the world, we are fellow men, we are in time.

But then comes the killing question, with which he ended his “Antrittsrede”(1929), his maiden speech as newly appointed professor: “Warum ist uberhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts?”

The translation is like this: Why is there being at all and not rather nothingness? In a way this question seems legitimate. In fact it is close to the Cogito of Descartes, although he didnt ask "Why?" because he believed in God.

You may see it as a fundamental existential question and if you like.....start reading Heidegger if you think you can digest his way of answering the question.

And finally you could wonder.....does such a question make sense? Syntactically the question "Why does it rain" and "Why is there being at all" are identical, but does that mean that they both have a real meaning?

The Discussion

[13:23] Herman Bergson: So much on Heidegger....
[13:24] Laila Schuman: is there a "short answer" on what he says about why there is being?
[13:24] herman Bergson smiles at laila..."You are joking.."
[13:24] Laila Schuman: you know... the famous 25 words or less thingie
[13:24] hope63 Shepherd: well herman.. on the syntax.. how can i know about rain and how can i know about beeing seem to be identical.. but he made that difference about scientific and philosophy..
[13:25] Gudrun Odriscoll: I understand that he wrote Sein und Zeit before he became a Nazi
[13:25] Herman Bergson: I guess you are right....wasnt it 1929
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: 1927
[13:26] Vladimir Apparatchik: The answer to " Why is there something rather than nothing" is "Why not?"
[13:26] Rodney Handrick: what was his rational for becoming a nazi?
[13:26] Herman Bergson: Good one
[13:26] Osrum Sands: Surly the question on being comes back to why is there anything as apposed to nothing ?
[13:26] Osrum Sands: and that seems a good question to me
[13:26] Laila Schuman: me too
[13:26] Vladimir Apparatchik: The question impied nothing is somehow more natural than something
[13:27] Ze Novikov: Did he at all seemed constrained by language, that he could not fully explain certain philosophical concepts?
[13:27] hope63 Shepherd: easy all of you.. i don't think you could call him a nazi-- unless you have a maccarthy mind and call anyone an enemy because he joined the communist party when he was young..
[13:27] Osrum Sands: sorry Vlad you jumped in befor I could ask
[13:27] Osrum Sands: why not seems a cop out
[13:27] Osrum Sands: like saying I dont know
[13:27] Osrum Sands: so just accept it
[13:27] Herman Bergson: Hold on....
[13:27] Rodney Handrick: hmm...
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Listen to Ze's it
[13:28] Gudrun Odriscoll: There is a lot of discussion about him having become a member of the Nazi Party. One thinks it was opportunism, he wanted to be powerful. There have been many reviews and different opinions about this
[13:28] Samuel Okelly: i wonder if his similarity in being could be equated to view by Thales of life and death?
[13:28] Herman Bergson: let's drop the nazi thing and stick to his philosophy..
[13:29] Osrum Sands: plz
[13:29] Herman Bergson: I think what makes Heidegger interesting for some people is, that he touches on a fundamental intuition we all have....
[13:29] Vladimir Apparatchik: Osrum - it's not a cop out I think - it's just that at first sight it seems a killer question
[13:30] Osrum Sands: ok
[13:30] Herman Bergson: In a way I can understand Heidegger's motivation..
[13:30] Vladimir Apparatchik: but it seeems like this because "nothing" seems more fundamental than "something"
[13:30] hope63 Shepherd: what fundeamental..
[13:31] Herman Bergson: We all have the awareness that we exist....and we all have that intuition ....of the Why
[13:31] Vladimir Apparatchik: in that you start with nothing and then fill it with something
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: I doubt that anybody can really imagine what nothing is, we certainly have never experiened it
[13:31] Osrum Sands: there is you in that answer Vald
[13:31] Vladimir Apparatchik: and maybe that's the wrong way of thinking about "something"
[13:31] Osrum Sands: so nothing is not there
[13:31] Osrum Sands: you are
[13:31] Herman Bergson: In a way you can appreciate Heidegger for his effort to get hold on that WHY...
[13:32] Herman Bergson: That is what made him so interestng for a man as Sartre
[13:32] Cailleach Shan: Language is never enough for this topic. I like the Zen statement that 'it can only be pointed to'
[13:33] Herman Bergson: And I think Ze had a point ...language can be felt as an inadequate tool to explain your deepst thoughts
[13:33] Osrum Sands: and experience - herman
[13:33] Herman Bergson: Yes..Cailleach....
[13:34] Herman Bergson: The problem is that language is only a symbolic representation of our thoughts...
[13:34] Ze Novikov: it seems to me many philosophers reach this end point
[13:34] Herman Bergson: but what is a we think in language..feeling in language?
[13:35] Ze Novikov: yes
[13:35] arabella Ella: Herman would Heidegger have accepted non conceptual content do you think?
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: just imagine we have the lectures in the language of the philosopher.. struggle with a dictionary..
[13:35] Herman Bergson: What is non conceptual content Arabella?
[13:35] Gudrun Odriscoll: what other symbolic representation of thought is possible for you (there are pictograms, pictures, sound)
[13:35] arabella Ella: it is content that cannot be expressed in language herman
[13:35] Laila Schuman: poetry... which "points to it"
[13:35] Ze Novikov: or different languages
[13:36] Vladimir Apparatchik: it seems to me that maybe "being" can only be felt , not thought. Has anyone had that strange rare experience when fleetingly you suddenly feel "wow" about existence and then it goes?
[13:36] Herman Bergson: music....why do we like...understand music for instance
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: "a picture is worth a thousand words' they say
[13:36] hope63 Shepherd: heidegger did point out that our "existence cannot be separated from the other.. so language is primordial..
[13:37] Rodney Handrick: music...well it is a vibration
[13:37] Osrum Sands: Go on Vlad
[13:37] Laila Schuman: kandinsky points out that music is the first language
[13:37] Cailleach Shan: Yes.. Vlad...that understanding of your 'being' transcends language.
[13:37] arabella Ella: yes but does all this link somehow to Wittgenstein's private language do you think?
[13:37] Ze Novikov: yes
[13:37] Ze Novikov: say more arabella
[13:37] hope63 Shepherd: the fact that you fweel doesn't mean you couldn't describe it.. find words for it..
[13:38] Herman Bergson: There is a very interesting point here....
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: ahh, then Hope...describe love.
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: but to communicate the individual experience is difficult because there are not the words for it..
[13:38] Herman Bergson: Plz hold on...
[13:38] arabella Ella: ok there are a number of philosophers who claim that non conceptual language is impossible and Wittgenstein claims that private language is impossible cos language involves more than one person
[13:38] Ze Novikov: ty
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: one could.. theoretically.. and individually.. but would you have the means to understand..
[13:39] Herman Bergson: I think we touch an essential aspect of the way Heidegger tried to philosophize...
[13:40] Herman Bergson: He tried to discribe in fact his personal individual experience of being...
[13:40] Herman Bergson: then he tried to translate it into languege...
[13:40] Herman Bergson: burt as someone of you already said.....language is a social symbolic system....the words arent just mine...
[13:41] Herman Bergson: so you could say that there is a gap between the most personal experience and language
[13:41] Alarice Beaumont: no and sometime the interpretation is different
[13:41] arabella Ella: what do you mean when you say a gap herman?
[13:41] Herman Bergson: We use the simple model of SENDER and ReCIVER...
[13:42] Laila Schuman: the interpretation... depends upon the listener/viewer having a grasp of the "language"
[13:42] Herman Bergson: What I mean by the gap...
[13:42] Gudrun Odriscoll: language is an approximation,
[13:42] Cailleach Shan: And we have all had the experience of being near a person with 'negative' energy... we want to take a step away.. no language necessary.
[13:42] Laila Schuman: "vocabulary"
[13:42] Herman Bergson: well....the language is learned....the words arent mine...
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: language ios also a convention.. we have to agree on the meqning of a word..
[13:43] Herman Bergson: Maybe that is the reason Heidegger invented so many special words....they were his...
[13:43] hope63 Shepherd: take freedom for example..
[13:43] Ze Novikov: umm
[13:43] Herman Bergson: but the problem then was that the receiver had to interpret them
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: for every one freedom is different
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: if you invent word, then you should write a dictionary to go along with it
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: depends on ones own view and preferences!
[13:44] Herman Bergson: That is why some call Heidegger's language poetic
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:44] Vladimir Apparatchik: is it a bit like qualia ? we can all talk about "red" but we dont experience each other's "red" and we cant explain our "red" ?
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: yes Ari... they extend the dictionnary regularily!
[13:44] Gudrun Odriscoll: agree vladimir
[13:45] Laila Schuman: visual art is a language... most people do not "speak" it... when they look at a visual work of art...they usually see a "picture" or subject.. and do not "read" the "language"
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Yes....where qualia also is a peculiar word
[13:45] Ze Novikov: must a language then have a vocabulary?
[13:45] hope63 Shepherd: right vlad.. leads us to the question what is the individual- qui pense- and who can only define hios existence through the "other"
[13:46] Alarice Beaumont: i think you have to know something about the person to read his picture Laila!
[13:46] Herman Bergson: I had never expected this, but I think we came to some understanding of Heidegger...
[13:46] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:46] Laila Schuman: we could discuss that Alarice... some other time
[13:46] Herman Bergson: The only thing is you like and feel his language..
[13:47] Osrum Sands: So what was Heidegger's answer to the question of being
[13:47] Laila Schuman: or... are you willing to put the effort into studying all the background etc.... practically write a thesis on him... so that you can better understant
[13:47] Osrum Sands: why is there something
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: the problem still exists, even when you create new language, you must then attempt to describe it to the rest of the community
[13:47] Cailleach Shan: Just read in Wiki how Heidigger is the only Western Philosopher who intellectually understood and intuitively grasped Taoist thought!!
[13:47] Herman Bergson: That..Osrum is a LONG story...:-)
[13:48] Osrum Sands: yes
[13:48] Herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle....
[13:48] Herman Bergson: in a way we all have the same experience...that was a reason why Heidegger could write about it..put it to language
[13:48] Osrum Sands: wikipedia never tried to explain what it means --- people just experience it
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: I thnk we should just accept 'being' it feels good to me
[13:49] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:49] Cailleach Shan: Yep.. 'being' with Wiki
[13:49] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:49] Herman Bergson: I think it might be interesting for you to try and read something of Heidegger...a page or two I mean..:-)
[13:50] Herman Bergson: see what he does with language
[13:50] arabella Ella: yes excellent idea herman
[13:50] hope63 Shepherd: may i read it in german herman?
[13:50] Vladimir Apparatchik: does an English translation work?
[13:50] Herman Bergson: Sure are the lucky one here...yet you may need Aristotle's dictionary..:-)
[13:51] Herman Bergson: There you are Vladimir...what happens in a translation?
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: I see that not only do we try to understand life, but then we must try to understand the ones that do
[13:51] Gudrun Odriscoll: yes, that is a good idea herman, will read a bit
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: i think it would be wiser to read an analysis in english vlad.. which tries to translate the words in their meannings..
[13:51] Herman Bergson: What to do with all neologisms of Heidegger
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: i could have taken greek instead of latin in school
[13:52] Vladimir Apparatchik: Thanks hope - good advice I think
[13:52] arabella Ella: there are many good comentaries on heidegger my fav is by dreyfus
[13:52] Herman Bergson: But such an analysis isnt is an interpretation
[13:52] arabella Ella: #dreyfus is in english Vald
[13:52] Vladimir Apparatchik: thanks
[13:52] arabella Ella: oh do you mean heidegger in the original herman?
[13:52] Osrum Sands: hahaha herman
[13:53] hope63 Shepherd: i think we should try to find some commetaries on the essentuial of his thoughts.. but not limit us to one ..
[13:53] Herman Bergson: No....I wouldnt do that to you arabella..:-)
[13:53] arabella Ella: herman ... i love a challenge
[13:54] Herman Bergson: Yes Hope and then you'll see that there will be a big discussion on the right interpretation
[13:54] Vladimir Apparatchik: Is Heidegger worth reading about for his own sake - or rather to get an understanding of later thinkers like Sartre and Derrida?
[13:54] hope63 Shepherd: isn't it with ALL the philosophers we talked so far..
[13:54] Ze Novikov: i say to stick to the man's work itself....
[13:54] Cailleach Shan: I'll stick to reading the I.E.P. I think.
[13:54] Gudrun Odriscoll: hey guys have to go, sorry, see you next time. bye for now
[13:54] Ze Novikov: no commentaries
[13:54] Alarice Beaumont: bye gudrun
[13:54] Cailleach Shan: cu
[13:54] Herman Bergson: That is a personal question Vladimir...:-)
[13:54] Vladimir Apparatchik: bye
[13:55] arabella Ella: bye gudrun
[13:55] Ze Novikov: bb
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: but a good question, Herman :-)
[13:55] Osrum Sands: what a shame this is a 'class' and not a discussion group'
[13:55] Osrum Sands: I got a little excited for a moment there
[13:55] Cailleach Shan: lol... good one Os..
[13:55] Herman Bergson: Well....ok..I'll answer it
[13:56] Herman Bergson: I think ..and I came further than ever before that the issue with Heidegger is that you have to understand how his funamental existential question relates to language.
[13:57] Herman Bergson: What he himself wrote on the subject is less important to me than this observation..
[13:58] Osrum Sands: surly coming to an understanding of the issue is different to explaining it
[13:58] Herman Bergson: I think that when they say he influenced Sartre it means that Sartre recognized the (linguistic) effort of Heiegger in answering the fundamental question
[13:59] Herman Bergson: I dont think he 'copied' Heidegger's ideas but used the same approach and method
[13:59] hope63 Shepherd: heidegger said ( and he was ion contact with sartre) that he didn't really understan ..
[13:59] hope63 Shepherd: what he meant..
[14:00] hope63 Shepherd: and sartre wrote l'etre et le neant..-- as an answer to sein und zeit..
[14:00] Osrum Sands: Vald when you asked about experiencing that 'wow'moment of being is close to understanding it but far away from explaining ti to another
[14:00] Herman Bergson: yes...
[14:00] Vladimir Apparatchik: you know - for a Nazi I'm starting to warm to the guy
[14:00] arabella Ella: Hope ... Being and Nothingness in response to Being and Time
[14:00] Osrum Sands: for a thinker Im warming to him
[14:00] arabella Ella: Vad there are lots of arguments and discussions on his positon
[14:01] hope63 Shepherd: thank you ara-- see how important it is to underwstand languag:9 did that on purpose..
[14:01] Vladimir Apparatchik: that's right Osrum
[14:01] Othella Gagliano is Online
[14:01] arabella Ella: we also have to consider the fact that he had a relationship with a Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt
[14:02] Herman Bergson: Yes and later he recognized Husserl by dedicating a work to him
[14:02] hope63 Shepherd: not "A" PHILOSOPHER....
[14:02] arabella Ella: ???
[14:02] Alarice Beaumont: but did he not quit friendschip with Husserl because of the jewish background of husserl?
[14:02] Osrum Sands: further surly doing and thinking philosophically is different to discussing it and trying to explain one's position or experience
[14:02] hope63 Shepherd: hannah arendt isn't just A PHILOSOPHER..
[14:02] arabella Ella: Hannah Arendt was one of the first and most well known female philosophers in the last centruy and she was also Heidegger's student
[14:03] hope63 Shepherd: we agree ara,,:)
[14:03] arabella Ella: thank you hope ;)
[14:03] Herman Bergson: Ok....that is a nice moment to end our debate Hope...
[14:03] Herman Bergson: in agreement..:-)
[14:03] arabella Ella: lol
[14:04] Khayyam Kurosawa: thats hermans have everyone agree in the end.
[14:04] Rodney Handrick: yes...yes...agreement
[14:04] Herman Bergson: We never have reached that before...(^_^)
[14:04] hope63 Shepherd: as to heidegger .. he died in 1976.. 31 years after the end of the war.. and he still wrote and worked..
[14:04] Khayyam Kurosawa: lets all agree!
[14:04] arabella Ella: brilliant
[14:04] Osrum Sands: did anyone notice the elephant appear in the room and we all ignored it
[14:04] Khayyam Kurosawa: i agree with osrum, herman, rodney, ara, and hope.....
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: I think that SL chat is a prime example of the potential for misunderstanding thoughts
[14:04] Cailleach Shan: lol... elephant.... which one...!!
[14:04] hope63 Shepherd: so lets keep the nazi stuff out of that.. or we sill discuss not sartre- but stalin and communism and so on..
[14:04] Khayyam Kurosawa: elephant?
[14:05] Khayyam Kurosawa: i dont agree with elephants..ever
[14:05] Herman Bergson: Our next philosopher will be Sartre...
[14:05] Khayyam Kurosawa: they never speak in black of white..always grey opinions...
[14:05] Alarice Beaumont: oh great!
[14:05] arabella Ella: so herman will you do more on heidegger or not?
[14:05] Herman Bergson: so ..class dismissed..:-)
[14:06] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Herman
[14:06] Herman Bergson: more Heidegger...:-)
[14:06] Osrum Sands: some will understand what I meant
[14:06] Khayyam Kurosawa: no no..............lets have another one
[14:06] arabella Ella: ok thank you for another interesting class herman

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-05-30 04:25:12

No comments:

Post a Comment