Re: "Letter on Humanism"--Reading 11


> I don't think an uprooting of Heidegger at this level would be very
> effective. His roots go too deep in the West. I mean, if you pull him up by
> the roots simply because he fudged a little bit about the early history of
> Being, you would unfortunately fail to extricate the way his thought
> resonates with modernity in the West, and your solution would be not be
> decisive. It doesn't matter so much how metaphysics arose, what matters is
> to note Heidegger's persuasive account of its utter triumph and sway over
> 'man'.

I find your comments very interesting, but I don't see why you think that
uprroting Heidegger at this level would be very effective. If I am
correct, the reaction against metaphysics that I am here seeking already
happened with the early Christological and Trinitarian controversies of
the 4th Century. Insofar as the West has been founded on Christianity,
one could argue that this religious basis already uproots Heidegger's
fetish for the Greeks long ago. I am not fundamentally interested in
redeeming Heidegger; instead I am trying to understand the significance
of transcendence in the interim period between Greece and the
Renaissance. I believe that in contemporary philsophical debate, a Jewish
perspective and a Greek perspective are well-represented. What is missing
is a recapitulation of the early Greek and Latin Patristics. This is not
to say that I am necessarily interested in revitalizing Christianity.
Instead, I am trying to look at how it solved the Jewish/Greek problem.
My hope is to make apparent in the context of contemporary debate the
fruitfulness of dealing with transcendence in the manner of the early
Church. The reason I am using Heidegger at all is because he seems to
capture the essence of the Greek way of thinking. Levinas is his natural
partner insofar as he begins to articulate the "essence" of the Judaic,
though I am sure that he wouldn't like this phrase.

Actually, then, Heidegger works very well for my project. But because my
analysis is unfolding on two levels (contemporary phenomenology and
"world" history), I need to understand the extent to which Heidegger's
historical claims are accurate. So, while it might appear that I am
trying to do away with him through critique, I am more so trying to
determine the extent to which he represents a Greek voice.

Also, because I believe an important voice is missing in contemporary
debate, I think it will be very fruitful (that is, effective) to continue
with this line of critique.

Be that as it may, your comments are quite helpful. Thanks.

Tony

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Anthony F. Beavers, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion
The University of Evansville / Evansville, Indiana 47722 / (812)479-2682
Metaethics, Metaphysics, Phenomenology and Existentialism
Philosophy and the Judeo-Christian Tradition
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