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Martin Heidegger: Key Concepts (book review) Bret W. Davis,

(Key Concepts)

300111: i have been reading this concurrently with [book:Wittgenstein: Key Concepts|7000786]. i understand that w is a big name in anglo-american analytic philosophy, to the extent that is a school of thought, so i wanted to cross-pollinate with h, who is a big name in continental philosophy. this book has taken some time, partly because i have read other books as well, partly because i have reread several essays. this is not h himself, but essays that deal with his ideas, his texts, his methods and language. this is not where to start reading h or about h. these key concepts benefit from already knowing some of h’s guiding questions and answers...

i read the essay on ‘the turn’ twice, and it is indicative of h’s style: h does not hesitate to create terminology, or twist, or emphasize, meanings of common words. it is probably easier to read in his native german, and here, like almost every essay in the book, the authors are careful to qualify old and offer new translations into english. this works. this is the opposite of ordinary language philosophy. this is not a problem for me, though certainty is slippery and the moment i think i understand him, i feel an openness to dispute, i feel there is room to search for yet other terms. this is literary style, as it is often said that a poet, and to a similar way prose authors, must invent a personal language as she expresses her work. she finds the right words in the act of struggling to say what she wants to say. i like this. i can also see how for many philosophers, then and now, german or english-reading, can be nothing but frustrated and fuming and wondering if h is maybe just a big confidence trick...

i approach philosophical ideas from a literary stance, and cannot evaluate work in close, logical inspection. i am not bothered by h’s tendency towards connotation of meaning over denotation, for this seems to define poetry. on the other mandible, i am not too impressed by nietzche- though i have not read much, nothing much inspires me to read more. nz seems to view the human in an adversarial relationship with the intransigent world, with others, with something like human nature. h does not, or at least the reciprocity found in ‘the turn’, suggests he has a mature recognition that the process of living is both active and passive, forceful and humble. i believe that living embraces the radically opposite in all existence, in all theory, all philosophy. so i liked this collection, though as it is a collection of essays, there are some good and some not so good. all inspiring, all to read again. though at the moment, i think i will reread [book:Merleau-Ponty: Key Concepts|3362021]. i still love m-p much more than i imagine i ever will either wittgenstein or heidegger...

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