Walter Benjamin begins The Origin of German Tragic Drama with an “epistemo-critical prologue” in which, before he presents his idea of the baroque, he articulates his conception of philosophy, the activity by which he represents ideas and conceptualizes phenomena (such as the baroque). Benjamin does this by charting a dichotomy, in which he situates philosophy
[The Berkeley Free Speech movement; Image from The Berkeley Daily Planet] In the section of the essay of the book of the same title, Jean-Luc Nancy explicates his notion of being singular plural. Composed of three words that, as Nancy describes, “do not have any determined syntax (‘being’ is a verb or noun; ‘singular’ and
Bruce Fink presents a more nuanced explication of Jacques Lacan’s (overly?) complex ontology in The Lacanian Subject compared to the more simple (although by no means easy) schematic of parallelisms that Alexandre Leupin establishes between Freud and Lacan in Lacan Today. Leupin’s explication, I think, (and not just because his explication is my first sustained
[Vincent van Gogh's Peasant Shoes and A Pair of Shoes] [Follows "Technology"] [Based on Martin Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art,” as interpreted by Greg Schufreider] Dis-close a particular cultural-historical world for a people (das Volk), grounded on the earth. Dasein is no longer the opening up of being; the world is opened
[Image from Alternative Fuel Sources] [Follows "What is Dasein Like?"] [Based on Martin Heidegger’s “Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics” and “The Question Concerning Technology,” as interpreted by Greg Schufreider] We in fact started with Dasein, der Mensch, the human being (but even then not, like Husserl and the rest of the tradition, as a transcendental
[Rembrandt's Artist in His Studio] [Follows "Husserl's Phenomenological Reductions"] [Based on Martin Heidegger’s “On the Essence of Grounds,” as interpreted by Greg Schufreider] By virtue of the transcendental reduction, Husserl ended up elevating consciousness, the subject, into the transcendental ego, placing it over and above all other beings, constitutive (rather than a part) of the
They can be divided into three. First, there’s the (strictly called) phenomenological reduction, by which we do an epoché, a suspension, a bracketing off of various considerations (most prominent of which are objective correspondence, i.e. the accuracy of thought in terms of its reference to some external reality; and conceptual confirmation, by which we already have ideas about the thing that we then impose on it as we try to understand it, as we develop our thought of it) so that we focus on the thing itself, i.e. on the thing as it is presented to consciousness. Sure, correspondence and concepts may be accurate (they’re not necessarily false), but we don’t know for sure, i.e. claims we make about them, our knowledge of the thing along with these considerations (rather than simply the thing itself), is dubitable, which Husserl, quintessential of modernity’s obsession with certainty, wants to avoid.
At the dawn of modernity (which launches it), Descartes asks, “What can I know for certain?” Doubting everything, he concludes, “Cogito, sum”: “I think, I am.” I don’t care how much I’m deceived; I must exist before I am deceived. There is no therefore: intuition (of a clear and distinct idea) is instant and immediate; no inference is needed-and that is precisely what distinguishes my certainty of myself from my certainty of other things. From the very moment that I think: I exist. That I know (and not just believe) for certain. Of myself, I have indubitable knowledge.
Instead of this, Heidegger exclaims, “Why don’t we think in terms of world and earth?” For matter conforming to form, a preexisting form imposed on matter, a preexisting form on the basis of which matter is shaped, created—does that really work for all beings? For equipments/instruments, yes, maybe, since, after all, in using something, you have a purpose (based on a future-oriented time frame), a goal in mind, an idea in your head (a form) pertaining to how you will use that equipment and what it is (the matter) that you want to create. But what about the work of art? Does the same hold true? Is art really created with an end already in view? Does art really unfold according to some pre-established pattern? Instead of the static (totalitarian?) model of form-matter, why don’t we think of the dynamic struggle between world and earth?