The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, SolitudeMartin Heidegger
The beginning is like an introduction to beat all introductions. This book has no index, but there is very little in these lectures that an index could pick out as an adequate description of any of the topics covered in the book. Pages 375-376 have a glossary, with some complicated words and phrases like "time as it drags," but with no attempt to locate where to find such topics in the text of these lectures from 1929/30. The Glossary is a guide to the translation, and people who have a favorite German word can check for the English word that is a most likely translation. You are more likely to think there are some totally unlikely translations, if you only speak English, like "resolute disclosedness: Entschlossenheit."
Martin Heidegger is great, and you can't understand how he is great unless you comprehend the major problem in this book: boredom. Page 112 is devoted to smoking a cigar, and it is not just any cigar. Smoking is studied as a social activity in which he watches himself taking part in a ritual that eventually leaves him empty because his entire life depends on what he thinks, and certainly "not of viewing it in terms of isolated incidents, but of understanding it in the context of the whole situation of the evening, of sitting together, of making conversation." (p. 111). The social casualness is in sharp contrast with his desire for some enthusiasm for himself.
"It--one's own self that has been left standing, the self that everyone himself or herself is, and each with this particular history, of this particular standing and age, with this name and vocation and fate; the self, one's own beloved ego of which we say that I myself, you yourself, we ourselves are bored." (p. 134).
People who find Heidegger thrilling might find it interesting that there is very little information about other philosophers in THE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS OF METAPHYSICS: WORLD, FINITUDE, SOLITUDE, Translated by William McNeill and Nicholas Walker. At the beginning, "In Memory of Eugen Fink" by Martin Heidegger, 26 July 1975, pictures Fink at this course listening "with thoughtful reticence" and later "repeatedly expressed the wish that this lecture should be published before all others." (p. v). Philosophers mentioned in the text only get a few lines. Novalis has his name in the title of section 2 on page 4, but he only gets quoted for eleven words: "Philosophy is really homesickness, an urge to be at home everywhere." (p. 5) Then Aristotle gets quoted with three Greek words that seem to mean "Poets tell many a lie?" (p. 5).
When Heidegger gets to God on page 19, it just seems to be trouble. "Then philosophy too would have become utterly superfluous, and especially our discussion about it. For God does not philosophize, if indeed (as the name already says) philosophy, this love of . . . as homesickness for . . ., must maintain itself in nothingness, in finitude. Philosophy is the opposite of all comfort and assurance." Heidegger opposes Descartes and theology since "It, and with it all philosophizing of the modern era since Descartes, puts nothing at all at stake." (p. 20). Heraclitus is praised as a sign that "The philosophers of antiquity already knew this and had to know it in their first decisive commencements." (p. 22). Plato gets credit for the distinction "between being awake and sleeping. The non-philosophizing human being, including the scientific human being, does indeed exist, but he or she is asleep." (p. 23). "Hegel (to name a philosopher of the modern era)" is mentioned without a quotation or even a footnote, "but merely as an indication that I am not inventing a concept of philosophy here, nor arbitrarily presenting you with some private opinion." (p. 23).
Chapter Three of the Preliminary Appraisal, justifying the inclusion "of Comprehensive Questioning Concerning World, Finitude, Individuation as Metaphysics" (p. 24) is back to the basic views about philosophy of the Greeks. Heraclitus and Aristotle are considered "by way of an elementary interpretation of the concept of truth in antiquity." (p. 30). Books were not published by big printing firms, like they are now, especially after "Aristotle died around 322-21 B.C." (p. 35). The Aristotelian treatises were not collected for study until the first century B.C., long after Plato and Xenocrates established the main topics as disciplines: logic, physics, ethics. (p. 36). Many of Aristotle's treatises did not belong within those topics, and Heidegger calls them "Aristotle's philosophy proper." (p. 37). But there have been many approaches since then.
"Through Christian dogma, ancient philosophy was forced into a quite specific conception which maintained itself throughout the Renaissance, Humanism and German Idealism, and whose untruth we are slowly beginning to comprehend today. The first to do so was perhaps Nietzsche." (p. 42).
With so few philosophers being mentioned, I was surprised to find in section 14 "The concept of metaphysics in Franz Suarez and the fundamental character of modern metaphysics." (pp. 51-55). Considering Kant and Aquinas not as important as the questions raised by this Spanish Jesuit in the 16th century, "who must be placed even above Aquinas in terms of his acumen and independence of questioning." (p. 51). While "Suarez sides very positively with Thomas Aquinas" (p. 53), "it was precisely Kant who placed the possibility of metaphysics in doubt." (p. 54). Bouncing back to reality, "We see most clearly at the place where modern philosophy explicitly begins, in Descartes, but especially in Fichte." (p. 55). The Preliminary Appraisal ends with section 15, in which the possibility of "being gripped by a metaphysical question" (pp. 56-57) sustains the book. The shift to Part One is called "Awakening a Fundamental Attunement in Our Philosophizing." (p. 59). The contemporary situation with the opposition of life (soul) and spirit in four philosophers leads to "All four interpretations are only possible given a particular reception of Nietzsche's philosophy." (p. 71).
Please note: you need to verify every book you want to send to your Kindle. Check your mailbox (which is linked to your Amazon account) for the email from Amazon Kindle.