Steven H Propp
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was an influential and controversial German philosopher, primarily concerned with Being, and phenomenology---who was widely (perhaps incorrectly) also perceived as an Existentialist. His relationship with the Nazi party in Germany has been the subject of widespread controversy and debate [e.g., Heidegger and Nazism, Heidegger and the Nazis, Heidegger's Crisis: Philosophy and Politics in Nazi Germany, Heidegger and the Question of National Socialism, etc.] He wrote many other books, such as Being and Time, Introduction to Metaphysics, Basic Writings, The Question Concerning Technology, etc. The companion volume to this book is Nietzsche, Vol. 1: The Will to Power as Art, Vol. 2: The Eternal Recurrence of the Same. This four-volume series principally consists of lectures by Heidegger during the reign of Nazi Germany as well as the beginnings of World War II.
He states in the first chapter of Volume 3, "Nietzsche belongs among the essential thinkers. With the term `thinker' we name those exceptional human beings who are always destined to think one single thought, a thought that is always `about' BEINGS AS A WHOLE. Each thinker thinks only one SINGLE thought. It needs neither renown nor impact in order to gain dominance. In contrast, writers and researchers, as opposed to a thinker, `have' lots and lots of thoughts, that is, ideas that can be converted into much-prized `reality' and that are also evaluated solely in accord with this conversion-capability. But the single thought of a thinker is one around which, unexpectedly, unnoticed in the stillest stillness, all beings turn." (V3, pg. 4) He adds, "Nietzsche, the thinker of the thought of will to power, is the LAST METAPHYSICIAN of the West. The age whose consummation unfolds in his thought, the modern age, is a final age." (Pg. 8) But later he admits, "Yet Nietzsche himself in his published works scarcely spoke of will to power. This may be taken as a sign that he wanted to protect as long as possible what was most intrinsic to his recognition of the truth concerning beings, and to take it into the custody of a uniquely simple saying. Will to power is mentioned, but not yet singled out as a key expression, in the second part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra..." (V3, pg. 194)
He suggests, "Precisely here the age of consummate meaninglessness begins. In such a designation meaninglessness is to be taken as a concept of thought that thinks the history of Being. Such thinking leave metaphysics as a whole ... behind... Meaninglessness is lack of the truth (clearing) of Being. Every possibility of such a projection founders because metaphysics has shunted aside the essence of truth. When the very question concerning the essence of the truth of BEINGS and of our comportment toward beings is decide, meditation on the truth of Being, as the more original question concerning the essence of truth, can only remain in default." (V3, pg. 174)
He says, "Therefore, if with regard to subjectivity so understood we wish to speak of the subjectivism of modern thought, we must completely reject any notion that it is a question here of something `merely subjective,' of egoistic and solipsistic opinion and affectation. For the essence of subjectivism is objectivism, insofar as everything becomes an object for the subject. The nonobjective... too is determined by the objective, by a relation of opposition to it. Because representation puts into representedness what encounters us and shows itself, the being that is mustered in this way comes to be an `object.' All objectivity is `subjective.' This does not mean that being comes to be a mere point of view and opinion set down by some casual and arbitrary `I.' That all objectivity is `subjective' means that what encounters us comes to be established as an object standing in itself. `Beingness is subjectivity' and "Beingness in objectivity' say the self-same thing." (V3, pg. 221)
He argues, "Viewed negatively, the liberation to a new freedom is an escape from the Christian Church's assurance of redemption based on belief in revelation. Within the scope of this assurance, the truth of salvation does not restrict itself to a relation of faith, a relation to God; rather, the truth of salvation at the same time decides about beings. What is then called philosophy is the handmaid of theology. Beings in their sundry orders are the creation of a creator God, a creation rescued from the Fall and elevated to the supersensuous realm once again through the redeemed God. However, because it exposes man to the free space of insecurity, whereby he takes the risk of choosing his own essence, the liberation from truth as assurance of salvation must inevitably go in the direction of a freedom that now really for the first time achieves a surety for man and defines his security anew." (V3, pg. 239-240)
Later, he adds, "the frequently quoted expression [`The soul is naturally Christian']... is not a purely indubitable `natural' truth, but is a CHRISTIAN truth, so too natural theology has the ground of its truth only in the biblical teaching that man was fashioned by a creator God who also endowed him with knowledge of his Creator. Because natural theology as a philosophical discipline cannot validly permit the Old Testament to be the source of its truths, the contents of that theology must be diluted to the statement of that the world must have a first cause. That does not prove that the first cause is a `God,' assuming that a God would ever let Himself be debased into an object of proofs. It is important to have some insight into the essence of rational theology, because Western metaphysics is theological even where it opposes church theology." (V4, pg. 26)
He asserts, `a `Christian philosophy' is even more contradictory than a square circle. Square and circle are at least compatible in that they are both geometrical figures, while Christian faith and philosophy remain fundamentally different. Even if one wished to say that truth is taught in both, what is meant to truth is utterly divergent... What is new about the modern period as opposed to the Christian medieval age consists in the fact that man... contrives to become certain and sure of his human being in the midst of beings as a whole. The essential Christian thought of the certitude of salvation is adopted, but such `salvation' is not eternal, other-worldly bliss, and the way to it is not selflessness. The hale and the wholesome are sought exclusively in the free "self-development of all the creative powers of man. Thus the question arises as to HOW we can attain and ground the certitude sought by man himself for his earthly life, concerning his own human being in the world ... now the quest for new paths becomes decisive." (V4, pg. 88-89)
He admits, "In Being and Time, on the basis of the question of the truth of Being, no longer the question of the truth of beings, an attempt is made to determine the essence of man solely in terms of his relationship to Being. That essence was described in a firmly delineated sense as De-sein. In spite of a simultaneous development of a more original concept of truth ... the part thirteen years have not in the least succeeded in awakening even a preliminary understanding of the question that was posed... the reason for such noncomprehension lies in the attempt itself, which ... evolves from what has been heretofore." (V4, pg. 141)
He contends, "We have said... that Nietzsche's metaphysics if nihilism proper. This implies not only that Nietzsche's nihilism does not overcome nihilism but also that it can never overcome it. For it is precisely in the positing of new values from the will to power, by which and through which Nietzsche believes he will overcome nihilism, that nihilism proper first proclaims that there is nothing to Being itself, which has now become a value. As a result, Nietzsche experiences the historical movement of nihilism as a history of the devaluation of the highest values hitherto." (V4, pg. 203)
Heidegger claimed that these lectures constituted "a confrontation with National Socialism." (If they were, I must have missed that part.) But they are one of Heidegger's most interesting works, and will be of great interest to anyone studying his philosophy.