From: Allen Scult <allen.scult@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:01:36 -0500
Reply to: RE: Philosophers: Dead or Alive?
Daniel McGrady wrote:
>Message text written by INTERNET:heidegger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >Jim wrote:
>>I should say that i do not understand this position to
>dishonor the dead; <
>Philosophy is not discourse with the dead but the living. Through their
>work we are in active dialogue with philosophers, their active thinking,
>active upon us and receptive to our own working positions. The spirit of
>Socrates e.g. is alive, and kept alive through us living and having
>dialogue in the spirit in which Socrates practised it.
Heidegger has some powerful ways of putting this in his " Aristotle Introduction<" ( 1922 ms>) ( I only have time to cite the English here):
" The situation of the interpretation, of the understanding appropriation of the past, is always the situation of a living present. History itself, the past which is taken on in understanding, grows in its comprehensibility with the primordiality (Urspruenglichkeit) of the decisive choice and formation of the hermeneutical situation. The past opens itself only according to the resoluteness ( Entschlossenheit) and the force of the ability-to-lay-open ( Aufschliessenkoennen) which a present has available to it. The primordiality of a philsophical interpretation is determined by the specific sureness within which philsophical reserach maintains itself and its task."
I find this to be one of the richest ( and at the same time most succinct) statements of Heidegger's way of reading/practicing philosophy as hermeneutical phemenology. One of the most appealing things about this passage is its strong suggestion of what Heidegger would soon call " authentic historicity," that is a reading of one's own time through the seeing/saying of a previous text to which one's being in one's n time bears an appropriative connection.
Jim's insistence on a studying a philosopher's "views" remind me of a colleague who attended one of my classes recently and was somewhat distraught that I wasn't teaching the basic " concepts" of the philosopher we were studying. I told him that if he insisted on trying to "get" the basic concepts, he would "fail the course." ( I then gave him some Gadamer to read, which I think works off of precisely some of these moments in "early twenties Heidegger).
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