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RE: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.

Let me take a shot at what perhaps Arendt and perhaps Emily were getting at.  (With the caveat the my knowledge of Heidegger is somewhat limited).  But anyways, it seems Heidegger sees individuals as Beings in the world who are dealing with Things at Hand - as you said
Heidegger's account, as I understand it, was that we are, from the 
outset, thrown into the public social practices of a specific form of 
life, and as we develop we can only understand who we are in terms of 
these practices. Professor, student, nurse, adolescent - all these are 
ways of being in a form of life.
But each of these roles is defined by the immediate and by society.  You make choices about who you are, unreflectively or reflectively.  What Arendt I think attempted to bring to this equation is that it is not enough simply to be what you are, you must understand who you are in terms of otheres in your universe - whether close or far - and redefine yourself based on this.  It is not enough to be a Professor, or rector of a university, and base your decisions on being a professor or rector, even in the context of how society or those things in the world that you come into contact with define it.  This should not give you safety from the moral storm, as a matter of fact it make you thoughtless  You have to redefine yourself in the world based on how your role is effecting others, even when it goes against the demands of society (and in this way perhaps Arendt was a forerunner of both Kohlberg and Habermas).
Let us say you are a plumber.  You are an excellent plumber and you do very good work with those things at hand the pipes and the wrenches and therefore you are successful in society.  You have a job where you go every week to redirect pipes.  By redirecting these pipes though you are actually denying small family farms water and redirecting it to large corporate farms, leading to starvation on the small family farms.   What does this mean in terms of being a plumber.  Would Heidegger say that your being is a plumber, you are working as you should, those other decisions are made by others which you really have no control over.  Or do you really think, not just reflect on being a plumber, but on what your being a plumbers means to those small family farmers.  Arendt I think to do so is to essentially act without thought.
And yet that is how society works, isn't it?  I'm sure Heidegger saw his role as being Rector of the university, maintaining as much integrity as he possibly could.  He couldn't really help what the Nazis did eslewhere.  Wearing a unifrom and agreeing with the Nazis meant he could have more power to create a better university.  This is a choice many of us face on an everyday basis.  Who are you and what type of thought should you put in to who you are.  When NCLB came out many in power in education knew that this might not be good for the more marginalized children in society - but researchers, administrators, professors might argue that their job was to protect the funding source, to protect their college, to protect the university and so they attempted to work within NCLB.  Tests just became a fact of life.  How different is this from the plumber or the rector really?  One of the reasons we don't read Hannah Arendt more I think is because she asks the questions we are all afraid to answer.


From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Martin Packer
Sent: Sat 10/24/2009 2:10 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.

If Heidegger's work has any value today, I would say, it is as an 
example of an approach that tries to describe human existence as 
throughly and inescapably social and material - along with both the 
advantages and perils of such an approach. Heidegger's starting point 
was that human being is always "in-the-world." Any time I give to 
discussing Heidegger's work is motivated to try to figure out how this 
kind of approach can work, and not to try to defend Heidegger's 

Having said that, I have never seen Heidegger distinguishing public 
and private morality, or inner or outer sources of morality. I don't 
even know what this would mean in a social, material ontology. 
Heidegger's account, as I understand it, was that we are, from the 
outset, thrown into the public social practices of a specific form of 
life, and as we develop we can only understand who we are in terms of 
these practices. Professor, student, nurse, adolescent - all these are 
ways of being in a form of life. We have to choose - one cannot be 
*both* nurse *and* plumber, for example - but the choices, although 
made by an individual and playing a part defining that person - are 
choices among social options. Usually such choices are made 
unreflectively, without much deliberation. But it is possible to 
engage in a kind of reflection that takes the form chiefly of anxiety 
(or angst) in which we come to appreciate the contingency of our 
social practices, and recognize the arbitrary character of such self 
definitions. At this point it is not a question of choosing between 
the personal and the public, because the public has *defined* the 
personal. The best one can do is be "resolute," continuing to 
participate in public practices *despite* the fact their arbitrariness 
is now evident.


On Oct 24, 2009, at 9:12 AM, Victor wrote:

> Heidigger's notion of dual morality, private and public, appears to 
> me as a misguided attempt to unify Kant's theory of logically innate 
> moral imperatives with Hegelian objective idealism (and ignoring 
> without refutation, Hegel's critique of just that concept of 
> Kant's).  Arendt's thinking on the development of private moral 
> intropection as a function of interaction with others is the 
> appropriate complement to Hegel's theory of the ideal explaining 
> both the origins and development of ethical conventions - an 
> important element of Ilyenkov's paper on the Ideal -as well as the 
> formulation of private morality.
> Victor
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Duvall, Emily" <emily@uidaho.edu>
> To: "Vera Steiner" <vygotsky@unm.edu>; "eXtended Mind, 
> Culture,Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 12:57 AM
> Subject: RE: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.
> I find it most useful to consider Hannah Arendt's view of moral 
> philosophy, her ethic of moral introspection, as developing as we 
> engage with others rather than what she saw as Heidegger's 
> perspective, which was that the moral comes from within. This 
> doesn't excuse Heidegger, but rather it explains his activity with 
> the Nazis as having its origins and justification from a sense of 
> private morality versus public morality. That Heidegger could live 
> with a duality of morality so to speak.
> I really find Arendt's 'dialogical concept of citizenship' to be 
> quite powerful and a wonderful critique of Heidegger's moral 
> philosophy...
> My 2 cents...
> ~em
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-
> bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Vera Steiner
> Sent: Friday, October 23, 2009 3:18 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.
> Hi,
> I think Adorno having been forced to emigrate and suffer the loss of 
> friends
> (and possibly family members) was more deeply touched by the role of 
> Nazi
> supporters than are people of a later generation. I live in a town 
> full of
> Jungians who have a hard time understanding why I am unable to teach 
> his
> theories.(He,too, was a Nazi sympathizer.)
> It is a great challenge to live in the shadows of the 20th century,
> Vera
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Wolff-Michael Roth" 
> <mroth@uvic.ca>
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 5:36 PM
> Subject: Re: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.
> Martin,
> thanks for the extended note. I personally grounded quite a bit of my
> work in Heidegger, and so have numerous philosophers, including of
> Jewish faith, such as Derrida and Levinas. I do not think that anyone
> is in support of anything that Heidegger might have written to
> support Nazism, or his everyday behavior that would have given
> support to Nazism while it was operating at its worst.
> For those interested in the issue, there is an interesting
> discussion of the question of forgiveness in Derrida's book of the
> name, and he deals precisely with the question of Heidegger and
> Nazism, on Jankélévitch and his writings on the Shoah and pardon, and
> Paul Celan, his poem "Todtnauberg", and the visit to Heidegger. There
> is also the question why Heidegger did not ask for forgiveness.
> I think it is one of the master pieces of Derrida (I only have the
> French version, "Pardonner: l'impardonnable et l'imprescriptible")
> because he says that we can only forgive the unforgivable, because if
> you forgive something that is forgivable, then you have done nothing.
> The relationship between giving and forgiving is brought to that of
> temporalization, the very question Heidegger began to investigate in
> the relation of Sein (Being) and Seiendes (being).
> Michael
> On 21-Oct-09, at 4:12 PM, 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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