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Heraclitus Seminar (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy)

by Martin Heidegger, Eugene Fink, Charles Seibert, etc.

Buy the book: Martin Heidegger. Heraclitus Seminar (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy)

Release Date: January, 1993

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Martin Heidegger. Heraclitus Seminar (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy)

needless to say, it was all "Greek" to me...

I must admit from the outset that my familiarity with Heidegger's philosophy, not to mention Fink's (a philosopher I'd never heard of), is not up to par with my fellow commentators (this is a generous assessment in my favor, to say the least--and obvious). That said, this review is not intended to sway Heideggar junkies one way or the other re: purchase, nor will it aid those who know Heraclitus' Fragments backwards and forwards; I am not in a position to do either. I aim to address only those nonspecialists who--like myself--are interested in Heraclitus, and who are considering making a purchase for that reason, and that reason alone.

I ordered "The Heraclitus Seminar", perhaps naively, in order to gain a better understanding of Heraclitus and his Metaphysics--I came away from the ordeal completely dumbfounded. This is partially my own fault--I knew going in that Heidegger makes for difficult reading, and that his precipitous works are, almost without exception, extremely abstruse. As such, his books require great dedication and patience. This, I was prepared for. However, I came to an impasse with the book almost immediately. This resulted from the multitude of passages that were written, within the body of the text, in Attic Greek--with *no* translations. (no kidding)

This one is better left for the later grad students and/or their profs--that is, unless you happen to be an extremely patient novice, who can read Greek without a lexicon, and who has a penchant for Heideggarian analysis of the pre-Socratics.

From Amazon.com

A Great Intro. to Difficult Thinking

Martin Heidegger's special intellectual relationship with the Presocratics is often discussed as if the German philosopher was some sort of romantic originalist or nostalgist. But Heidegger always insisted that the point about going back to Heraclitus, Parmenides and rest was not to recover the specific contents of their thought (or, worse, to wallow in their supposed primitive "purity"), but to recapture the spirit of their efforts to "think the question of Being." You won't find a better presentation of this - or a more candid glimpse of Heidegger as a working philosopher - than in this text. It presents the record of a seminar on Heraclitus conducted by Heidegger and the German scholar Eugen Fink in the late 1960s. Heidegger's discussion of specific Heraclitian texts makes for difficult reading but is, generally speaking, quite lucid. And the dialog with Fink and student participants is eye-opening. (Heidegger's pronouncements are by no means always taken as Gospel!) Most important, in spite of their rather recondite subject matter, these seminar records wonderfully illuminate Heidegger's own philosophical development in the last two decades of his life. Although this book does require familiarity with Heidegger's work and somewhat unique philosophical terminology, as well as familiarity with the history of philosophy generally, I wouldn't call it a text "for specialists only." Unless, of course, all readers of philosophy are specialists! And it does provide a welcome corrective to current "New Age" tendencies to view Heraclitus and the other Presocratics as authors of quasi-religious wisdom manuals. No dumbing-down here; just a tough confrontation with difficult material!

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