Re: Heidegger ala Bourdieu

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Chris Hargens wrote:

>I don't see Bourdieu assuming that philosophy can be FULLY explained
>sociologically. The issue is not whether philosophy can be ultimately
>collapsed into sociology, but whether it can claim discursive autonomy. One
>of Bourdieu's operating assumptions, I think, is that if philosophy is a
>discursive practice that both issues from and reflects particular
>cultural/historical contexts, then it should be possible to uncover traces
>of these historical/cultural contexts. In part, Bourdieu's treatment of
>Heidegger is an attempt to track down the discursive moves that Heidegger
>makes to give his discourse the illusion of autonomy.

The appraisal of Heidegger's thought based on sociological factors does not
differ in any way from any other empirical or positivistic interpretation of
the world that the phenomenological school has always opposed. Heidegger
himself would certainly not have subscribed to the subjection of his thought
to a sociological analysis. The "thoughtful way" for Heidegger always
remained the question of the meaning of Being. In Being and Time Heidegger
inscribes his investigation within the horizon of Dasein because Dasein is
privileged inasmuch Dasein's Being is always in question by the very
factuality of its own existence. Because Dasein represents human existence
and is partly analyzable by the experience of Mitsein it may be liable to
sociological interpretations. So the thoughtful questioning of Dasein on the
essence of Being is possibly liable to sociological interpretations. Perhaps
this possibility partly explains Heidegger's turn (kehre), visibly
enunciated in Letter on Humanism from the 'humanism' of his early philosophy
to the epochal characteristics of his later thought. Once one explains
Heidegger's thought as merely the expression of the man it is easy to
condemn it as merely a sociological phenomenon, at worst as an expression of
fascistic tendencies in 20th century German culture. Is this what Bourdieu
is up to?

OK, so it seems I've missed the whole point of what Chris Hargens is
saying: its a question of discursive autonomy with Bourdieu, not one
concerning a simplistic sociological interpretation. Bourdieu attempts to
"uncover traces of these historical/cultural contexts" to reveal the
deceptive character of autonomy of Heidegger's thought. But despite the use
of ideas Foucault brought to prominence (i.e. discursive practices), I don't
see how this approach differs in principle from a 'simplistic' sociological
interpretation. Indeed, Foucault himself appears indebted to Heidegger who
ultimately seemed to understand that the possibilities given to thought, as
the fold, 'pli', epoch of a certain historical granting provide the play
between things, words, and humans in which discursive practices are
formulated. Heidegger's thought thus interprets itself as a merely
provisional and preparatory thought. But it is not the discursive practices
but rather the granting of the fold, the field of play, in which discursive
formations are first formulated, that regulate thought and give it its
provisional, dependent measure.

Robert A. Wendel [email protected]

In what is its ownmost, phenomenology is not a trend. It is the potential of
thinking, at times changing and only thus persisting, to correspond to the
address and claim of what is to be thought.

"My Way to Phenomenology"

Martin Heidegger

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