Saturday, May 08, 2010

Great Heideggerian Earthquake

quick response to Shaviro from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
As for the Kant point, I already agreed with Shaviro last summer that my position is in agreement with Kant’s on the things-in-themselves. It’s the other side of Kant (privilege of the human world relation) which is more dominant these days, and on that point I have nothing to do with Kant.

a reawakened thread from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
And my conclusion is that, even though Heidegger tries to give certain ontological privileges to Dasein, he fails to do so. If you rigorously follow the labor that is actually accomplished by terms such ready-to-hand and present-at-hand (as I have), you will find that Heidegger’s attempts to restrict these terms to the human realm cannot possibly be maintained– and that if ready-to-hand and present-at-hand represent rigorous and stunning philosophical breakthroughs, his assignment of these terms to the sphere of Dasein is not rigorous and stunning, but simply show the way in which Heidegger was still a product of his era. (And by the way, Heidegger makes similar claims about most of his predecessors, so I don’t think he’d be in any position to scream about my doing it to him.)

It is a commonplace of intellectual history that later interpretations can be more true to the original than the original itself… Kant’s successors are always doing this: the amputation of the Ding an sich is not strictly true to Kant’s own intentions (recall his dismissive public letter about Fichte), but it can easily make sense to say “the things in themselves play no genuine role in Kant’s philosophy, and merely show the way in which he remained wedded to a tradition that he could never fully overcome; hence, we should simply dispense with them.” (One can always debate whether this is true or not –see Rae Langton’s Kantian Humility for the one of the most powerful opposing readings– but it’s obviously not a ridiculous thing to say about Kant.) […]

I was most definitely a Heideggerian between early 1988 and late 1997, i.e. from ages 19-29. No one spends the vast majority of their free time in their twenties reading 60+ volumes by a difficult philosopher in a foreign language (after spending a couple thousand scarce dollars to acquire them) with a purely disinterested, neutral attitude. No, I thought Heidegger was pretty much right about everything but politics (with a few other peripheral objections: “he’s too pessimistic about technology,” “his treatment of animals isn’t very impressive,” etc.) 

comment on the Rorty quip from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
The unity of objects, for Husserl, is in those objects themselves, not in a human subject that bundles or counts them. 

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