Re: on the other hand...

On Thu, 1 Jun 1995, Iain Thomson wrote:

> CR wrote:
> the relationship of
> disclosure and what is disclosed is similar to the relationship of
> Kant's
> transcendental I and the given...
> Hmmn. There is no transcendental I in Heidegger, no apperceptice
> unity, no self-positing subject, in short, none of the idealist's
> hyperperbolic versions of the Cartesian subject. Heidegger, even in
> B&T, is careful to put "subject" in quotes. To read a subjectivism,
> or worse, a solipsism into his thinking is, at best, to put him
> right back into the tradition he deconstructs.

I don't read a solipsism into Being and Time. I laid the grounds for why
it could be taken (incorrectly) as so. The subjectivism he admitted to,
and to eliminate this is the concern of the Kehre. Derrida et al. not
only say this as well, they gleefully point to it as the cause of his
Nazi involvement; only when he deconstructed the "residues" of
subjectivism and metaphysics from Being and Time was he able to give the
grounds for a critique of Nazism.

> So what alternative conception of the self does he create
> the space for, if not fully envision? The self as one aspect of the
> being of the there and the there of being? What in our experience
> really belongs to us? Death (and here the internal subversion of
> Das Man). I don't see how the analogies with idealsim help (except
> for the idea that there is something like a split between
> receptivity and creativity, the former doing far more work than the
> latter, at least for those of us who aren't Hoelderlin. But rather
> than import Fichte's terminology, why not explain this in terms of
> the work of the clearing, the clearing as noun and as verb--see
> _What is Called Thinking_, 220).

I didn't draw on this because I was sticking to Being and Time.

> Here it seems that the distinction you make between
> "disclosure and what is disclosed" is of the utmost importance. Can
> this be unpacked in a phenomenologically sensitive way that doesn't
> import ready-made distinctions from the tradition (and the
> metaphyscial baggage they inevitably presuppose)?

Let me make clear what subjectivism meant for Heidegger (as well as the
German Idealists): that being is dependent upon a subject. The opposite
would be that the subject is dependent upon being. In Being and Time, the
being of beings is disclosed by the authentic decision of Dasein. Because
Dasein is roughly the same thing as human being, this is to say that being
is dependent upon the projection (Entwurf) of human being which is
identified with the subject. Your own earlier clarification (if it was
you) makes this clear: outside of the disclosure or clearing is nothing,
i.e., there is no being outside of Dasein's disclosure. That's
subjectivism in a way very similar to German Idealism. That's also
nihilism, as Jacobi's criticism of Fichte makes clear. The operative
difference in this case is that unlike for Fichte or Kant, the disclosing
subject is finite, and not even bound by itself.

Now one way of reversing this would be to make being an independent
principle, which seems to be what Heidegger did after the Kehre. One
could make the two principles independent of one another (madness),
derive the subject from being (Spinoza according to Germans around the
end of the 18th century, which is identical with determinism), or make
being into a quasi-subject, which seems to be what Heidegger did. In
this way, being "gives" itself (can't we just say "posits"?) to humans,
who respond to it. This seems to me to be very similar to Fichte.

Let me explain. The first principle in Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre is the
self-positing subject, but this should be understood carefully in the
sense that Fichte gives it: this self-positing Ich, or absolute Ich, is
nothing other than pure action (Tathandlung), or in other words, freedom
as spontaneity. To put it simply, at no point did Fichte think that this
absolute Ich or spontaneity was, to use a pretty heideggerian word,
Verfugbar (at our disposition). Despite what Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy
implied in their book on subjectivity, there is no mimesis because the
Ich does not exist before its action, and thus it cannot copy anything.
The question is (and here Heidegger has his rights): how does activity
act? As Fichte's system makes clear, freedom acts in a determinate
manner (similar to Kant, who insists that the free subject nevertheless
acts according to necessary laws). To sum up, Fichte equates freedom
with necessity by making it necessary that pure activity or freedom acts
according to logic (it IS it's logical rules).

Heidegger, as is well-known, breaks up that identity. Freedom (or the
origin) is free to give itself however it likes and it gives itself in
different ways (the origin is plural, as Schurmann puts it).
Nevertheless, he, like Fichte, makes freedom the "ungrounded ground"
which is to say, the first principle, which does not stand at our
disposal. It is for this reason I see a parallel (not identity) between
Fichte and Heidegger.

There is, contrary to what you say, a transcendental unity of
apperception in Heidegger, because the TUA is intelligibility (or the
condition of intelligibility); being gives us this intelligibility as its
sending. Again, the operative distinction is that for Kant, there is
only one sending of being, whereas for Heidegger, there are many
possible. You can argue that a plurality means the TUA is therefore not
transcendental, but then we are arguing semantics and not the matter itself.

If you want to argue the matter, then we need to ask whether Heidegger is
correct to assume a plurality of intelligibilities. Schurmann interprets
plurality of intelligibility to mean a plurality of contexts (cultures,
situations, whatever). It is, however, quite consist to insist on a
plurality of cultures while still insisting that Kant and Fichte are right
in holding that thinking per se operates according to necessary rules.
What needs to be argued is that thinking is not bound by the principle of
non-contradiction, nor that there is only one set of possible
categories. The latter seems easier to demonstrate than the former.

A theological parallel would be how omnipotent God is. Even when
affirming God's ability to create alternative worlds, and even more
saying that the cause of the existence of our particular world lies in
the ineffable will of God (both of which Aquinas held), almost no one,
including such radical free will of God advocates such as Ockham, were
willing to concede that God could act contrary to the Principle of
non-contradiction, nor that God could act unjustly. Oddly enough, one
who asserted otherwise was Descartes.

In Heidegger's case, God (being as Ereignis) can certainly act without
regard to justice and the good; whether or not he would concede that
Ereignis could act contrary to the principle of non-contradiction is
unknown to me.


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