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[xmca] Adult before their time?

Can anyone tell me of any research done on the idea of children who have "grown up before their time," as a result of war, family disaster or otherwise having been projected into the adult world on their own? And how is such a characterization "adult before their time" made? On the basis of the use of concepts?? Lack of interest in play??


Tony Whitson wrote:
I would add Nietzsche, along with Heidegger and Derrida, to what Michael says.

Heidegger is sometimes dismissed as incomprehensible, but Nietzsche and Derrida are more often treated as wild and reckless writers who can be fun to read, but without looking for any careful argument.

If you don't expect either of them to be writing seriously, you won't read them seriously and you won't see what they're writing. N said as much, but then if you're not taking him seriously, you won't take him seriously when he says that, either.

I saw an interview with D once where the interviewer, in the interview, in D's presence, ventured that deconstruction was basically the same as the US sitcom "Seinfeld"--It's just a matter of taking everything ironically. D replied that if you want to know anything about deconstruction, you need to do some reading. The interview was pretty much over at that point.

On Wed, 21 Oct 2009, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:

I don't know what people read that Heidegger has written. I personally have not met a person who has read Sein und Zeit to the end, people appear to read secondary literature rather than the primary. Moreover, nobody appears to be talking/writing about Unterwegs zur Sprache (David K., this should be of interest to you), or about Holzwege and other works. First, I can't see anything that would fit the political ideas of Nazism, for one, and I can't see anything that would be understandable in terms of the quote that Steve contributes below.

I do understand that Heidegger is difficult to read---I had to take repeated stabs since I first purchased Sein und Zeit in 1977.

Heidegger, by the way, does very close readings of some ancient Greek philosophers. And when you pay attention to his writing, and do the same with Derrida, for example, then you begin to realize that the latter has learned a lot from the former.

Now that my English is better than my German ever has been (although it was my main language for 25 years) I personally know about the problems of translations. Above all, any of the mechanical translations that have been proposed on this list won't do even the simplest of texts. And it is about more than literal content.

We can learn from both of them, Heidegger and Derrida, that things are more difficult than they look, and even more difficult than reading their texts.


On 21-Oct-09, at 7:37 PM, Steve Gabosch wrote:

I appreciate Martin's insights on Heidegger, as I do those of others. I for one don't really know that much about Heidegger's ideas. I am glad to learn from those that have studied him.

Here is an interesting glossary entry on Heidegger in a book of Marxist essays by George Novack (1905-1992), Polemics in Marxist Philosophy: Essays on Sartre, Plekhanov, Lukacs, Engels, Kolalkowski, Trotsky, Timpanaro, Colletti (1978). The glossary to the book was written by Leslie Evans and edited by Novack.

"Heidegger, Martin (1889-1976) - German existentialist philosopher. His ideas were best expounded in Sein un Zeit (Being and Time, 1927). A philosopher of irrationalism. Heidegger maintained that the chief impediment to human self-development was reason and science, which led to a view of the world based on subject-object relations. Humans were reduced to the status of entities in the thing-world which they were thrown (the condition of "thrownness"). This state of inauthentic being could be overcome neither through theory (science) nor social practice, but only by an inward-turning orientation toward one's self, particularly in the contemplation of death. Heidegger was influenced by Kierkegaard and Husserl (see entries), and in turn deeply affected the thought of Sartre, Camus, and Marcuse. He was himself a chair of philosophy at the University of Freiburg in 1928 after his mentor, Edmund Husserl, had been forced to relinquish it by the Nazis. Heidegger supported Hitler, which led to his disgrace at the end of World War II and his retirement in 1951 to a life of rural seclusion." (pg 307-308)

- Steve

On Oct 21, 2009, at 5:04 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

I think Martin is completely right in the proposition that (taking account of the continuing fascination the academy has with Heidegger) his works should be read to understand why and how Fascism and Heidegger's philosophy supported each other and what should be done about it.

As Goethe said "The greatest discoveries are made not by individuals but by their age," or more particularly every age is bequeated a certain problematic by their predecessors, but the different philosophers confront that problematic in different ways. To say that those on either side of the battle lines in the struggle of a particular times have something in common, seems to be in danger of missing the point.

Also, in my opinion, Husserl and Heidegger may have been responding to Hegel, but between them they erected the gretest barrier to understanding Hegel until Kojeve arrived on the scene. But that's just me. A grumpy old hegelian.


Martin Packer wrote:
A few days ago Steve made passing reference to an article that apparently Tony had drawn his attention to, titled "Heil Heidegger." I Googled and found that it is a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The focus of the article is Heidegger's links with and support of the Nazis, and its principal recommendations are that we should stop paying attention to Heidegger, stop translating and publishing his writing, and "mock him to the hilt." I feel I should comment on this, since I have occasionally drawn on Heidegger's work in these discussions. I certainly have no intention of apologizing for Heidegger, who seems to have been a very nasty person, who was responsible for some deplorable actions. I do want to question, however, the proposal that because of these facts we all would be better off ignoring his writing. I was introduced to Heidegger by a Jewish professor of philosophy who shared his last name (coincidentally as far as I know) with one of the best-known victims of antisemitism. At that time less was known about Heidegger's Narzism, but by no means nothing, and I recall discussion in the classroom of the issue. I came to feel that the last thing one should try to do is separate the man's work from his life. Perhaps if he had been working on some obscure area of symbolic logic, say, that would have been possible, but Heidegger had written a philosophy of human existence, and this would seem to *demand* that there be consistency between what he wrote and how he lived. Indeed, perhaps it would be important to study the man's writings to try to understand where he went wrong; at what point in his analysis of human being did Heidegger open the door to the possibility of fascism? I think in fact that it is in Division II of Being and Time, where Heidegger is describing what he called 'authentic Dasein,' which amounts to a way that a person relates to time, specifically to the certainty of their own death, that the mistake is made and the door is opened to evil. Carlin Romano, the author of the article, doesn't seem to know Heidegger's work very well. Dasein ("being there," i.e. being-in- the-world) is not a "cultural world," nor do "Daseins intersect," as he puts it. (But I suppose that he is mocking Heidegger.) And that brings me to my other reason for recommending that we continue to read Heidegger, his politics and (lack of) ethics notwithstanding. It is that his analysis throws light on issues that have been raised in this group, and were important to LSV and others. I am sure it seems odd to link a Nazi philosopher to a socialist psychologist, but I am hardly the first to see connections. Lucien Goldmann wrote "Lukacs and Heidegger," a book in which he acknowledged the incongruity but argued that there are "fundamental bonds" between the two men's work, that at the beginning of the 20th century "on the basis of a new problematic first represented by Lukacs, and then later on by Heidegger, the contemporary situation was slowly created. I would add that this perspective will also enable us to display a whole range of elements common to both philosophers, which are not very visible at first sight, but which nevertheless constitute the common basis on which undeniable antagonisms are elaborated" (p. 1). What is this common basis? It is that of overcoming the separation between subject and object in traditional thought, overcoming subject/object dualism, by recognizing the role of history in individual and collective human life, and rethinking the relation between theory and practice. As Michael wrote, Heidegger reexamined the traditional philosophical distinction between an object (a being) and what it *is* (its Being), and rejected both idealism and essentialism to argue that what an object is (and not just what it 'means') is defined by the human social practices in which it is involved, and in which people encounter it. These practices, of course, change over historical time, so the conditions for an object to 'be' are practical, social, and historical. And since people define themselves in terms of the objects they work with, the basis of human being is practical, social, and historical too. I continue to believe that this new kind of ontological analysis, visible according to Goldmann in the work of both Lukacs and Heidegger, influenced in both cases by Hegel, is centrally important. If we can learn from studying Heidegger how to acknowledge these cultural conditions without falling into a valorization of the folk, without dissolving individuals in the collective (a failing of the Left just as much as the Right), then we will have gained, not lost, by reading his texts.
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Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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