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The Essence Of Human Freedom: An Introduction To Philosophy (Continuum Impacts) Paperback – May 6, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Over the past decade, an abundant number of Heidegger's writings have been translated into English. Key among them are the lectures he delivered both prior to and following the writing of his magnum opus, Being and Time, which allow us as never before to chart Heidegger's philosophical development. Here are two new additions to the series. The Essence of Human Freedom, which derives from a set of lectures Heidegger delivered in 1930 at Freiburg, focuses on human freedom as the leading question of philosophy. Heidegger contends that this emphasis on freedom enables us to understand philosophy as a "going-after-the-whole" that is at the same time a "going-to-our-roots." In other words, we must search for the essence of human freedom in the constant presence of being-in-the-world that precedes and grounds philosophical thinking. Heidegger plunders Kant's understandings of freedom and Aristotle's theories of metaphysics to establish his own theory that the understanding of human freedom provides the starting point for philosophy (metaphysics). One year later, Heidegger turned his gaze on the essence of truth. In a lecture course delivered at Freiburg in 1931-32, he engaged in a close philosophical reading of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" and a section from Plato's Theaetetus. In Plato's allegory, men are shackled and can only see the shadows cast on the cave's wall by a fire. These shadows are their reality. But when one of them escapes into the sunlight, he sees that the shadows are not reality but illusion. For Heidegger, this man-who in Plato's story becomes the model for a philosopher-has had the truth revealed to him. Truth cannot be possessed merely as correct propositions, as Heidegger argues that the history of philosophy has taught. Rather, he contends, "the question of the essence of truth as unhiddenness is the question of the history of human essence." A shorter essay that derives from this lecture can be found in both Basic Writings and in Existence and Being. These new volumes reveal Heidegger's consummate exegetical and hermeneutical skills, but given their technical philosophical jargon, they are recommended only for academic or large public libraries.
Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"It is only a small exaggeration to say that each of Martin Heidegger's works seems to be the key to his thought…every book is bracing and magnetic…The effect is similar to what we see in the best political philosophy. Being stirred to think is as important as the question being thought about. Heidegger not only encourages thought, he also instructs us in how to begin thinking…Heidegger at his best calls forth what once was called courage of the intellect. Heidegger sees his characteristic path in The Essence of Human Freedom and The Essence of Truth as grounded in and circling back to history...The main things to be learned from these books concern what it means to confront essential questions at the level of Heidegger, Kant, Plato, and Aristotle. For the student, to be serious involves just such a confrontation." — Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2005 (Claremont Review Of Books)

"It is only a small exaggeration to say that each of Martin Heidegger's works seems to be the key to his thought…every book is bracing and magnetic…The effect is similar to what we see in the best political philosophy. Being stirred to think is as important as the question being thought about. Heidegger not only encourages thought, he also instructs us in how to begin thinking…Heidegger at his best calls forth what once was called courage of the intellect. Heidegger sees his characteristic path in The Essence of Human Freedom and The Essence of Truth as grounded in and circling back to history...The main things to be learned from these books concern what it means to confront essential questions at the level of Heidegger, Kant, Plato, and Aristotle. For the student, to be serious involves just such a confrontation." — Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2005 (Sanford Lakoff)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (May 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826479367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826479365
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,120,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in southern Germany, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) taught philosophy at the University of Freiburg and the University of Marburg. His published works include: Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929); An Introduction to Metaphysics (1935); Discourse on Thinking (1959); On the Way to Language (1959); Poetry, Language, Thought (1971). His best-known work is Being and Time (1927).

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Vinay Varma on February 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This set of lectures, published for the first time in English, reflect the rigor of Heideggerian method of philosophy. Heidegger discusses the question of human freedom with reference to Kant's pure and practical reason. For Heidegger the essence of human freedom is the fundamental problem of philosophy because it can illuminate the whole through the part.

Heidegger also typically links his question to the 'leading question of philosophy', which permeates Heideggers oeuvre - that of being. After a brief investigation into the positive and negative concepts of freedom in Kant and concepts like causality etc., he explains why it is necessary to understand being to understand human freedom and launches a hermenuetic/etymological inquiry into the concept of being in Aristotle's metaphysics.

At this stage you begin to wonder, why Heidegger is taking you deeper and deeper into the question of being when you are reading the book in order to understand human freedom. But Heidegger rarely follows a line of argument aimlessly. By discussing being and causality, he connects back to Kant to show that there can be a double causation of being and humans are the only beings who can ascertain this causation through their consciousness, bringing human will and freedom back into the picture.

He then discusses the other concept of freedom in Kant, based on 'the categorical imperative' but here he falls a little weak, especially when he dismisses the contributions of Scheler and Hartmann towards a non-formal ethics, (although his grounds of dismissal remain valid in principle, they miss the critique of Scheler).

Yet, this book teaches you more than the essence of human freedom - it teaches you philosophy and the method and duty of philosophy, something which many contemporary philosophers easily forget.
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