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FW: [xmca] Adult before their time?

Not quite the same sort of trauma, but there's plenty of pop analysis on the
life of Michael Jackson these days. p

Peter Smagorinsky
Professor of English Education 
Department of Language and Literacy Education
The University of Georgia
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 4:19 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [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.
>> Michael
>> 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.
>>> Andy
>>> 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.
>>>> <http://www.chroniclecareers.com/article/Heil-Heidegger-/48806/>
>>>> 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.
>>>> Martin
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Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, 
Ilyenkov $20 ea

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