My initial question is simple but threefold. Heidegger’s essay “On the Origin of the Work of Art” of 1936 signals an important moment in the development of his thinking. But why did he set out to examine the origin of the work of art in that essay when the topic makes no appearance in Being and Time? Let us be clear that I am asking three questions here at once. (1) Why did Heidegger come to concern himself with art at all? (2) Why did this concern with art focus on the origin of the work of art? (3) And why is there no such concern with art and its origin to be found in Being and Time?
I begin with a piece of autobiography. When I first heard of symbolic logic I was a schoolboy, about fifteen years old. By chance, I had discovered a little book on the topic in some local bookstore and had found its treatment of the propositional and the predicate calculus an endlessly intriguing subject matter. It was a time when I dreamt at night of sex and truth-tables. I don’t know any more in what order.
Michael Friedman has written an eye-opening and ambitious monograph on three exceptional figures in twentieth century philosophy. Eye-opening, because he offers us a significantly new perspective on the split between “analytic” and “continental” philosophy. Ambitious, because he combines wide-ranging historical scholarship with a bold attempt to spell out an entire philosophical agenda.
It is not easy to comment on such a splendid, richly documented, and ambitious work as Iain Thomson’s Heidegger on Ontotheology. Thomson’s remarkable knowledge of the Heideggerian texts, his broad familiarity with other, related writings, and the ease with which maneuvers the most complex philosophical issues call for nothing less than an equally thorough, book-length rejoinder.
I am concerned here with Heidegger’s examination of Nietzsche’s thought and my question is then what this undertaking reveals (1) about Heidegger, (2) about Nietzsche, (3) about their relation, and (4) about the problems and circumstances that brought them together. To answer these questions in full is difficult. It requires us to have a grasp, first of all, of what Heidegger stands for and of the precise nature of his intellectual development from Being and Time to his later thinking.
Matteo Ricci’s treatise on friendship, the Jiaoyou lun of 1595, signifies the moment at which Chinese thought and European philosophy first made contact. In the years immediately preceding that treatise, Ricci had translated the four books of Confucianism into Latin and ten years later he was to produce a Chinese adaptation of the Enchiridion of the Greco-Roman Stoic Epictetus, thus establishing an exchange of ideas in both directions. But it was the Jiaoyou lun with its attempt to mediate between Western and Chinese understandings of friendship that most notably tied the knot between the two traditions.
How fruitful is it to relate Foucault to Heidegger and Nietzsche? What can be learned about the genesis of Foucault’s thought from such a comparison? How does it illuminate the nature and content of his thought? How does it expand our understanding of the phenomena that Foucault explores? Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow have shown us how much one can gain from reading Foucault and Heidegger together. Their book inspired Foucault to say to an interviewer:
Oskar Becker und Martin Heidegger – beide 1889 geboren – standen sich lebenslang persönlich und philosophisch nahe. In frühen Jahren waren sie zu gleicher Zeit Schüler Edmund Husserls in Freiburg und dienten zusammen als seine Assistenten. Husserl betrachtete die zwei gelegentlich sogar als seine beiden designierten Nachfolger.