Re: Heidegger and the Political ? A Question from a newcomer

On Tue, 11 Apr 1995, Boris Blaha wrote:

> Chris,
> it was amusing for me to read, that you are prompt connecting my question=
> Heidegger and the political to such authors as Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy=
> simply because I dont had them in mind and the question on the references=
> from Lacoue-Labarthe to Arendt followed immediately. I was surprised, tha=

Glad I could lighten your day. Germany is really damn cloudy, you know.

Now that I've brought them up, maybe you should read Lacoue-Labarthe or=20
Nancy, although I'm pretty sure they have not been translated into german=
and I don't know how good your french is. If library holdings are any=20
indication of regard, there is much more work being done in the states on=
them than in Germany; the library at Duke has 23 works by Nancy and the=20
library here in Berlin has two.

> the following discussion focussed on this field, because I was thinking o=
> names as Rainer Schuermann, Robert Bernasconi, Fred Dallmayr and J.P.A.=
> Pocock; all of them are teaching and publishing in the USA.

I work with all of them in my work as well, although I find Pocock's=20
thesis on the republican tradition historically short-sighted. =20
Schuermann, incidentally, is in many ways similar to Nancy and=20
Lacoue-Labarthe, only easier to read.
> My question on Heidegger and the political is not arising from Heideggers=
> understanding of technology, but from the shifts, that occured in his=20
> understanding of the notion *Welt* and the changes in the place, from whi=
> he speaks. In the lecture from 1927 *Die Grundprobleme der Ph=E4nomenolog=
> Heidegger wrote: *Die Aufkl=E4rung des Welt-Begriffs ist eine der zentral=
> Aufgaben der Philosophie. Der Begriff der Welt bzw. das damit gemeinte=20
> Ph=E4nomen ist das, was bisher in der Philosophie =FCberhaupt noch nicht =
> ist.* (GA 24, S.234). Here the question of *Welt* is definitely a questio=
> of philosophy and Heidegger expected the possibility of an answer within =
> language of philosophy. Afterwards named Heidegger in the lecture from=20
> 1929/30 *Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik* the three ways of trying to=20
> clarify the phenomenon *Welt*: the way of *Sein und Zeit*, the historical=
> way in *Vom Wesen des Grundes* and the third way of comparison with the=
> animal and the thing. What was missing in these three ways? Heidegger=20
> noticed it in GA 24, S.155: *Vor allem ist hierbei noch der griechische=
> Weltbegriff g=E4nzlich au=DFer Acht gelassen, der nur aus einer Interpret=
> der griechischen Existenz dargelegt werden k=F6nnte*. In the first draft =
of =20
> *The Origin of the Work of Art* (published 1989 in *Heidegger-Studies*) t=
> tone has completely changed. Heidegger speaks from *Welt* as *Spielraum d=
> Offenheit* and another sentence, which is not in the *official* version o=
> *The Origin of the Work of Art* connects the greatness of the work of art=
> with the power to destroy the *Publikum*.

I'm not certain of your distinction between pure philosophy and pure=20
political thinking. Heidegger's ontology has determinate, although not=20
fully determinate, political implications.

As I was reading Poeggeler's account of Heidegger's Verstrickung=20
yesterday, it struck me that he repeated Arendt's thesis in an attempt to=
refute it. He wants to refute the notion that Heidegger came down from=20
his hut, mixed it up (in the several meanings of that phrase), and then=20
went back to aether where he belonged. Fine, but the way he shows this=20
is to lay out Heidegger's attempt to fill out his unpolitical philosophy=20
with politics via Nietzsche; since Poeggeler's other thesis is that=20
Heidegger abandoned Nietzsche by 1938 or so, we can read this account of=20
Heidegger to say, he came down from his hut in 1929, mixed it up, and=20
retreated until he discovered technology.

I disagree with this account on several levels, but sticking with what I=20
wanted to say to you, I don't find his ontology free from political=20
determinations or goals; it might not be a good politics, but it is a=20
type of political thought. Poeggeler's assumption seems to be that=20
unless it is Hegel, it's just not political philosophy.

I'm also interested in this un-official Kunstwerkaufsatz. Where is it=20
found and how can I get a hold of it? This distinction between Publikum=20
and Volk seems pertinent and quite interesting.

> Heideggers question in the first version of *The Origin of the Work of Ar=
> was the question of *who we are* and *who we are not* and this can be=20
> understood as the question, wether the Germans are a *Publikum* or a *Vol=
> and one can be sure, that Heideggers notion of *Volk* in this text has=20
> nothing to do with the totalitarian sense of *Volk*. So there are two ste=
> in the shift from 1927 to 1935. The first ist, that the question of *Welt=
> has changed from a question of philosophy to a question of *We, the peopl=
> and the second is a difference from Kant, including a raising difference=
> from Plato, which is more explored in the following lectures on Kant,=20
> finally in *Der Satz vom Grund*.=20
> When I was asking about the step from Heidegger to Arendt, I was thinking=
> the similarity of Arendts and Heideggers answer to the experience of=20
> totalitarism, that only an open and shared world can rescue us from doing=
> bad things.
> Enough for today.
> Boris Blaha


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