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From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jun 28 2007 - 13:37:10 PDT

It's not just my reading---
"That the formulation of subjectivity in terms of the objective, or
already of the thematizable, or even of Being, is already this
dissimulation is what forces Levinas to speak of a sphere which is
not that of being while not being nonbeing -- which is otherwise than
being." (xviii, intro to "Otherwise than Being")

Ontology comes from the Greek verb on, to be (taken up in on-tology),
in Latin esse (taken up in essential, essentialist).

Heidegger begins his book positing Dasein ("Being-there") as the very
ontic-ontological condition for the possibility of all ontologies
("ontisch-ontologische Bedingung der Möglichkeit aller Ontologien" [p.
13]). Heidegger begins with an ontological statement, the existence
of Being-there (something and verb), whereas others (Levinas, Nancy,
Henry, ...) suggest, consistent the way I understand Holzkamp to
argue, that we need to begin prior to Being and Beyond essences.


On 28-Jun-07, at 1:16 PM, Martin Packer wrote:


My reading of Heidegger differs from yours. I see him as articulating
one of
the first non-essentialist ontologies, in which historical epochs
different ways of being. His focus on being-in-the-world, for example,
rejects any essentialist characterization of what it is to be human.
are constituted, and constitute themselves, in terms (actually, in
practices) provided by a specific contextual milieu. This specific
way of
being human he referred to as 'ontic.' The 'difference' between
beings and
being was 'ontological,' to be found in all times and cultures.
has been criticized (by Derrida and others), for this 'onto-theo-
analysis, and in his later work he abandoned the effort to specify such
existential structures, opting instead to describe the particular, and
distinct, relations between 'world' and 'thing' in different epochs.

It's a bit dated, but I have a simple intro to heidegger on my web pages

For much more detail, Bert Dreyfus' pages are the place to go:


On 6/28/07 11:35 AM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <> wrote:

> Martin, but it is "anti-" Heideggerian because it does not begin with
> an ontic "Being", but rather, Levinas grounds Being in something that
> is beyond essence and prior to Being. And one day, when the first
> human being opened his/her mouth to say something to another, he or
> she already presupposed intersubjectivity. How is this possible?
> Without this presupposition, however, we cannot even begin speaking
> let alone philosophizing, theorizing, constructing Selves, etc.
> Heidegger essentializes Being, and Levinas works against it, and so
> many others that follow in his footsteps or next to them. Read the
> fascinating discussion Derrida devotes to Levinas and, incidentally,
> Nancy Michael
> Derrida, J. (1997). Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas. Stanford, CA: Stanford
> University Press:
> Derrida, J. (2005). On touching—Jean-Luc Nancy. Stanford, CA:
> Stanford University Press.
> On 28-Jun-07, at 9:27 AM, Martin Packer wrote:
> Michael,
> I will confess that I struggle to grasp Levinas. This is a request for
> clarification: what you've said [below] sounds very similar to
> Heidegger's
> notion that the being of an entity is always constituted on the basis
> of a
> background of cultural practices, which he called (rather
> confusingly) 'the
> meaning of being,' or (better in my view) 'the upon-which of being.'
> The
> 'difference that makes a difference,' then, is the difference
> between a
> being (an entity: that it is) and the being of that entity (what it
> is:
> constituted culturally/historically).
> Martin
> On 6/28/07 10:59 AM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <> wrote:
>> think Being as being grounded, historically, in
>> something that is "Otherwise than Being."
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