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Basic Writings: Ten Key Essays, plus the Introduction to Being and Time Paperback – January 22, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

About the Author

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He studied at the University of Freiburg and became a professor at the University of Marburg in 1932. After publishing his his magnum opus, Being and Time (1927), he returned to Freiburg to assume the chair of philosophy upon Husserl's retirement.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised and Expanded edition (January 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060637633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060637637
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In 1928, Heidegger wrote in a letter: "Perhaps philosophy shows most forcibly and persistently how much Man is a beginner. Philosophizing ultimately means nothing other than being a beginner." This book is the definitive beginning for any English speaking philosopher who wishes to understand Heidegger's project. David Krell provides a fairly diligent introduction to such project, the question of Being (Seinsfrage) under the critical light of fundamental ontology. These eleven selections make Heideggerian thought accessible, not only to the scholar but the educated literati as well.
The first three essays (Joan Stambaugh's translation of the Introduction to Being and Time; "What is Metaphysics?"; and "On the Essence of Truth") collectively elucidate the early Heideggerian project of the deconstruction of the metaphysical tradition. The fourth essay ("The Origin of the Work of Art") represents his reflections on aesthetics. The fifth ("Letter on Humanism") was considered by Hannah Arendt as Heidegger's most splendid work (Prachtstueck) where he insists that authentic human existence goes beyond Cartesian solipsism; hence, his idea of humanism as factical. The next two essays ("Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics" and "The Question Concerning Technology") delve into Heidegger's probing critique of the essence of technology. The next three essays ("Building Dwelling Thinking," "What Calls for Thinking?," "The Way to Language") represent the later Heidegger, the reflections of which center around poetic thinking and authentic philosophizing. His influences in hermeneutics arise from these reflections as well.
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Format: Paperback
This volume, published by HarperCollins in the sixties and edited by translator David Farrell Krell serves as the perfect compendium to the thought of Martin Heidegger, one of the most significant thinkers of philosophy in the 20th century. Heidegger's methodology is necessarily difficult, as he is trying to remove himself from the `average-everyday' language we employ; and he is trying to approach the meaning of being concretely and originally. Therefore, stop complaining about the obscurity of his style and work your way through this text, for it will remain one of the major works of European thought.

The first essay is the introductory chapter to Heidegger's opus Being and Time. It is actually rather senseless to read it without going on to read the complete text. However, for those readers who simply want a taste of Heidegger's basic philosophic project and methodology, it is summarized here. He says at the outset: "This question has today been forgotten-although our time considers itself progressive in again affirming `metaphysics.' All the same we believe that we are spared the exertion of rekindling a gigantomachia peri tes ousias [a Battle of Giants concerning Being,' [Plato, Sophist]. But the question touched upon here is hardly an arbitrary one." (41). For Heidegger, philosophy has lost touched with the question `what is the meaning of being, as such?' However, in order to resolve the question of the meaning of Being, you must examine the Being of the questioner, (Dasein), leading us to do fundamental ontology.

The second essay in the collection is titled What is Metaphysics? It is an inaugural address the delimited many of the major ideas he would later expand in Being in Time.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a collection of 10 + 1 essays (the + 1 being the Introduction to Heidegger's master-piece "Being and Time") by Martin Heidegger, who may very well be among the most controversial of 20th centurty philosophers. His controversy is, no doubt, due in part to his brief (10 month) affiliation with the Nazi party between 1933 and 1934; however, the majority of the controversy surrounding him probably has to do with the sheer density of his writing. Heidegger is not easy to comprehend (grasping the whole); reading him is the pursuit of apprehending (touching the surface).
Heidegger does exactly what it is that philosophers are supposed to do by clearing a place in which to ask the question asked long ago by Aristotle (but forgotten - that is, covered over - by "philosophers"): the question of what it means "to be". Part of the problem with reading Heidegger is that his language is almost mystical: constant talk of revealing and concealing within the place of clearing and the ekstasis - the being outside of one's self - of humans which allows for the asking of what it means "to be". While a background in philosophy might be helpful to understand Heidegger, it may be more helpful to have a background in religion and Christian mysticism. Without knowing something of the mystical, Heidegger is bound to appear far more difficult than he actually is.
It is worth noting that while Heidegger is dense, he is also a poet. His aesthetically written grace is much of what gives his contemplations about the question of being such weight and gentle force. The important thing about reading Heidegger is to do exactly what he counsels one do in observing a work of art: stand outside of yourself and into the clearing of the work of art.
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