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The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude Paperback – February 22, 2001
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From Library Journal
In these lectures, which noted German philosopher Heidegger gave in 1929-30 at a turning point in his thought, the aim is to show how Western philosophy went wrong. Heidegger says "Being" was confused with "beings," and philosophers, especially medieval philosophers, made even God into something cozy. But passive acceptance of irrationality is precisely what needs to be understood if we are to grasp the horrors of our time: it is at the heart of the problem that made Heidegger, a sensitive, intelligent man who took up Nazism, an embarrassment to philosophy. And so these lectures are very important. Some of the text is straightforward, but much of it concerns what the translators (not unreasonably) render as "boredom," though it is really about how time intrudes in human affairs. The "boredom" discussion is hard to follow, but it may well be at the back of what Hannah Arendt called the "banality of evil." The translators, Chicago and Oxford academics, write clearly, though the Germanic heaviness of the prose will not endear it to English readers. Primarily for academic collections.?Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Whoever thought that Heidegger... has no surprises left in him had better read this new volume. If its rhetoric is "hard and heavy" its thought is even harder and essentially more daring than Heideggerians ever imagined Heidegger could be." ―David Farrell Krell, DePaul University
"This authoritative translation is essential to any Heidegger collection." ―Choice
"In this text, which is crucial to understanding the transition from Heidegger’s earlier to his later thinking, readers will find a helpful overview of Heidegger’s conception of metaphysics... a brilliant phenomenological analysis of boredom... an investigation of the essence of life and animality... and an analysis of the structure of the propositional statement..." ―Review of Metaphysics
Top customer reviews
His presentation of "attunement" as a predominant mood that one opens up to (initiates from with in) is interesting. It reminded me of the modern concept of an attitude that one has the ability to manifest in life's activities; or as Heidegger frames it - one's Da-sein. In this particular case of attunement he deals extensively with the feeling of boredom and it's different initiating concepts. He later takes a stab at biological science, but this material is rather basic in light of modern research in this area.
The first section was of some interest (the beginning 167 pages). The second section was an exercise in will-power on my part to get through, hoping to find something further that might be insightful - a false hope. I am just glad I didn't have to sit through his lecture series, as in my judgement the whole content could have been easily and more clearly present in half the 366 pages taken up.
The book begins with Heidegger doing his standard pulling-apart of the question itself - such as exploring the word "metaphysics" in its original, then subsequent meaning.
For the first half of the book, Heidegger explores the attunement to profound boredom ona personal level (It is boring for one) he characterizes as the state of modern mankind (following Kierkegaard), which as a fundamental attunement nonetheless serves to reveal Being. The move from various forms of boredom, such as that of waiting at a train station having misread the schedule or attending a party that didn't at first seem boring, to that of profound boredom is actually very interesting.
We then move to the thesis that Man is world-forming, while the animal is poor in world. The animal being does not experience beings as beings, or being qua being, but as reactions to the world.
From there Heidegger moves on to examine the propositional statement, the logos apophantikos, in considerable detail, mainly with reference to Aristotle and Kant. The inner structure of the logos as revealing and concealing truth and falsity (aletheia and pseudos) by a pointing out (apophantikos) that is either pointing to (kataphasis) or pointing away (apophasis), from within the inner structure of synthesis and diairesis, is the real meat of the work, and wonderful even when I disagree with it or need to explore further. And it is a bit alien and tricky when one is not immersed in this stuff.
And once this has been accomplished, the reintroduction of world-formation and profound boredom reappear to complete the circle around the question.
Finitude and solitude barely rate an explicit mention - but if one is paying attention they are always there implicitly, particularly in the sections on the logos apophantikos as something that is arrived at in agreement, not in isolation ala Protagoras, in a relation. Being is relational in its inmost essence as Being.
Heidegger also points out his limited concept of logos in Being and Time, where only one aspect was considered.
I found this lecture series much more engaging and readable than Being and Time - and much more accurate and profound to my way of thinking. It has certainly inspired me to read more Heidegger - and Aristotle. Attributing Relativism to Heidegger may be more problematic than I had been led to believe. I would recommend reading Heidegger without the Parisian School in mind.
Though some of it is difficult, obscure, and repetitive, it is overall a very good book to recommend for anyone interested in Heidegger, Phenomenology, Existentialism, Hermeneutics. Overall it is an accessible and enjoyable read, even for those who are relatively new to reading Philosophy.
He does spend three chapters discussing how stages of boredom are what fundamentally attune us for the task of philosophizing proper. While I found the chapters NOT boring, and very interesting and full of wisdom, many of my colleagues have said they found the book quite boring. All joking aside, I can empathize with this complaint, as he does repeat himself quite a bit.
However. I actually found the repetition an excellent method and device for engaging the reader. I did not find it to be unnecessary or superfluous to his message. Through the repetition of key points, they become a bit like a mantra, themselves helping to accomplish the "fundamental attunement" that he speaks of. It is even a bit entrancing, in a way that I enjoyed and found positive to the understanding of his ideas.
Though it is not true of every philosophical work, I believe that for this work, if the reader dedicates themselves to it through the self-discipline and concentration needed for success in philosophy, they will be deeply rewarded with the insights and wisdom found within Heidegger's words.