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A Companion to Heidegger`s "Introduction to Metaphysics" Paperback – April 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Polt is Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University, Cincinnati. He is the author of Heidegger: An Introduction and The Emergency of Being, both from Cornell.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; "Introduction to Metaphysics" edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300085249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300085242
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is an excellent aid in understanding Heidegger's often frustrating and always challenging Introduction to Metaphysics. This book consists of a series of essays written by Heidegger scholars on the main topics that are found in Heidegger's text. As the previous reviewer has pointed out this book is not free of the Heideggerian "jargon" that is often so frustrating to the new-comer, and it would certainly help in approaching this work to be already fairly familiar at least with Being and Time. In fact, I would not suggest that anyone who has not read Heidegger's Being and Time attempt to tackle Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics at all. But that is my personal opinion.

It is also my opinion that a Heidegger secondary that was entirely free of Heideggerian jargon would be of somewhat limited value. No doubt there is a suspicion when reading Heidegger and his many commentators that they are being purposely or unnecessarily obscure. One often gets the feeling that matters could and should be stated much more plainly and in plainer language. I think there is some truth to that feeling. But the role of a Heidegger secondary source is not just to explain Heidegger's main thoughts, but also to try to make his jargon and terminology more understandable. That is precisely what this text accomplishes. But I don't think that can be done if you simply avoid Heidegger's frustrating terminology altogether.

After reading this text I had a much better understanding of Heidegger's interpretation of the Greek concept of physis which is probably the central notion of the whole book, as well as his interpretations of Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Sophocles's ode. I also felt like I was finally getting a glimpse into the notion of Ereignis and it's historical nature.
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Format: Paperback
If you think of a companion as someone who will make a journey more enjoyable then this book doesn't constitute much of a companion. It's not a bad idea to release these companions with Heidegger works as long as they offer something to make Heidegger more accessible for readers. This book however, is just another scholarly anthology, with a variety of articles on different topics, articles that may or may not even relate to Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics (IM).

Things start off with a bang though. Sheehan's article is on one of the lamest topics of Heideggerian scholarship--the Turn. But he clarifies that behind the superficial Turn is something much more significant. It has nothing to do with the Introduction to Metaphysics so much so that they decided to subtitle this article as a "prolegomenon." Nevertheless, it's a fantastic original article but also the least accessible for beginners. From there things go downhill and never manage to regain that level of originality and quality.

The editor's introduction, which consist mostly of one-paragraph summaries of all the articles, has been scanned in its entirety in Amazon's "Look inside" feature. For those who want to get an idea what each author discusses I recommend reading those few pages. I won't go into the details here.

What makes this book less helpful than it could be is the pointless order of the 13 articles. They have been grouped into three parts I-The Question of Being, II-Heidegger and the Greeks, III-Politics and Ethics. Neither the name of the parts nor the order of the articles follows any logic that I can discern. Can one find some internal logic to arrange 13 articles by different authors on different topics? I think one can if one has a goal in mind.
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Format: Paperback
So I bought this after having purchased and read half of Introduction to Metaphysics. Since I was reading it on my own (having finished with college), I thought that it would be beneficial to have some secondary sources to aid in my comprehension of that book. Amazon reccomended this work, and since it was edited by the same two professors who had translated/editied the version of Introduction to Metaphysics I was using, it seemed like a great idea - I could maybe get some more background info on Heidegger's works/thoughts, maybe some views on his handling of classical Greek philology. That's what I had hoped anyway.

What this book consists of are scholarly essays on Heidgger whose topics coincide with some of the topics of Introdoction to Metaphysics. These articles are written for other Heidegger scholars, and assume familiarity of Heidegger's complete life and works, often exceeding Heidegger's obscurity and (mis)use of non-English terminology. Perhaps Walter Kaufmann (in his twin trilogies, Discovering the Mind and Life at the Limits) that one of Heidegger's cheif virtues was in providing work for a certain species of "scholarly oxen" who are unwilling to admit the essential unsoundness of Heidegger's methodology. At any rate, I find his impressions of Heidegger (whom he knew first-hand) to be rather accurate, and can highly reccomend any of his works.

Also, for those interested in the thoughts of another great German philosopher on the Greeks, I highly reccomend Greg Whitlock's edition of Nietzsche's lectures on the Pre-Platonic Philosophers.
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