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Re: [xmca] Classical German Philosophy

Sure. And I have many dear friends who urge Heidegger upon me with like advice. The reasons for my negative reactions to Heidegger are complex, but I do need to get round to evaluating his work by reading it. In the past, every time I have taken the trouble read a great writer who for some other reason I had maintained an hostility, I found myself forced to modify my view and appreciate the work.

My real issue, you know, is not whether Heidegger is good or bad, or whether his ideas can contribute to CHAT or not, but purely and simply that, if we are going to *appropriate* (i.e. make our own) ideas from other traditions of thinking and practice, then the work has to be done to investigate the intellectual context and to follow the "semantic network" of the relevant words, the ramifications of the concepts and their role in the given theory/practice, and make whatever changes are necessary, in the newly introduced idea and in its new context, so that it makes sense. ...

And when the classic works of our own tradition are out of print and becoming unavailable secondhand, even more so.


Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
Nobody here agrees with the atrocities committed by the Nazis, or the Turks (Armenians), or the Ihuitus on the Tootsie, or the Serbian genocides . . .

	But, being the dialectician you are, you should read Derrida's treatment of the issue, Heidegger I mean, discussing the position of the French-Jewish philosopher Jankélévitch, the Jew-sh-French-Germman poet Paul Celan's visit to Todtnauberg (where Heidegger had a cabin). Derrida (2005) writes, "to forgive the forgivable, the venial, the excusable, that which one can always forgive, this is not forgiving" (p. 32).The title of the little book, in which he articulates Hegel, too, is Forgiving: The Unforgivable and Imprescribable. The issue is more complex than to condemn a person who, silently by and large, perhaps also somewhere in talk or writing, has fraternized with the Nazi. Did he know? Did you know that he knew or not knew?

When you do not forgive the unforgivable, you are not doing anything special; when you forgive the forgivable, you are not doing anything special. There is nothing ethical because you can do both in a mechanical manner. The true decision, the one that demands commitment, is the one that Derrida proposes: Forgiving: the unforgivable
Derrida, J. (2005). Pardonner: l'impardonable et l'limprescriptible. Paris: L'Herne.


On 2010-03-08, at 4:10 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

Well "Identity and Difference" is on its way from Amazon, so I can catch up with Heidegger to some extent. And I agree with Emily. H-G Gadamer I found very useful.

Just a note: most people who have defended Heidegger to me ask me to *overlook* the connection of his views with practice, and take his ideas on their own merits separately from his practice. So this is a first.


Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
Heidegger does so in Being and Time, in the section on the tool, and in the section on the way signs function. In these pages, Heidegger also points out that for the person using tools and producing something, the ultimate product and its use are important mediating moments in the awareness/consciousness of the producer. This is precisely what we later find in Leont'ev, and in the right-hand part of Yrjö's triangle, where you go from obect --> outcome, and the latter is going to be taken up again in this or another activity system. So perhaps Heidegger goes even further in not limiting himself to the orientation toward the outcome but goes right to the way in which future users incorporate this material thing (which could also be a written text) in their activity.
What matters to Heidegger is not how a tool, object. . . whatever looks to the detached theoretician, including a Hegelian, but to someone caught up in praxis, coping (this is H. Dreyfus' word in his reading of Being and Time, at least, he read the first half). For many on this list who find Heidegger hard to read, H. Dreyfus' reading /Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time/ is probably a very good introduction. Phil Agre in his early work at least bases a lot on his reading of Heidegger (via Dreyfus, I believe) (Agre, /Computation and Human Experience/) And I think David Chapman, too, was doing "Heideggerian AI"
On 2010-03-07, at 5:48 PM, mike cole wrote:
Right, mutual constitution. But the problem of saying everything about everything remains. Its kind of like Kenneth Burke who has a pentad as a basic unit of analysis for human activity (approximately), but carries out his analyses in terms of various
Can you give us references to the parts of Heidegger and Holtzkamp in English so that us non-German readers can get connected with what have written? The Leontiev reference was very helpful. There is so much to read!!
On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca <mailto:mroth@uvic.ca>> wrote:
   Hi Mike,
   the issue I want to highlight is the mutual constitution. It makes
   no sense to talk about tools as if they could be isolated and talked
   about independent of the concrete practical object/motive oriented
   activity. You cannot talk about subjectivity/identity independent of
   activity, and yet people do it all of the time. Take, for example,
   all those scholars who use interviews to get at "identity," and do
   not make thematic the fact that the interview is the activity, and
   its object/motive is the production of the interview/text. Whether
   the text has anything to do with the activity of a teacher at
   school, or a student at school, never (hardly every) is asked.
   The same, we observe scholars who are looking for and writing about
   the tools, as if the nature of the tool could be identified
   independent of the activity---
   This is precisely the point Heidegger makes, and – sorry Andy, you
   are NOT right on this point in your commentary – Heidegger says
   precisely in many instances what Leont'ev also says, and Heidegger
   did it a few years before Leont'ev.
   ((And again, sorry Andy, Heidegger works out precisely the issue of
   consciousness in activity, and the relation of the subject to the
   tool, which is at the heart of Leont'ev))
   Mike, what we are getting to, then, is cognition separate from life,
   cognition that makes no sense because it is not connected to the
   senses in sensual practical activity.
   Precisely when we substantialize the things that are part of the
   activity --- for Leont'ev, only those things are relevant that are
   relevant to the subject, and this point is brought out by Klaus
   Holzkamp ---- not the kind of stuff outside researchers bring to the
   situation when they take the triangle as the grid through which they
   look at situations, at activities. For the subject it is totally
   irrelevant what the researcher sees and thinks, and this is another
   form of breaking things out of an integrated and dynamic whole.
   On 2010-03-07, at 8:28 AM, mike cole wrote:
   Thanks Andy, and Michael for the section ref to Leontiev.
   Could I repeat a second part of my question which appears to have gotten
   lost in the multiple threads?
   Michael wrote: "you have been breaking out individual (constitutive)
   of activity and treated them as elements, much like others take the YE
   triangle and then break out the object, the subject, the division of
   the tools..."
   I asked about how one talks about how one breaks out "moments of
   (that is how I phrase the matter when I am thoughtful enough to do
   so), and,
   having highlighted them, given the impression that they are
   elements in a static sense. What sort of language does one use to be
   for example, to talk about a particular division of labor, without
   at least
   deep backgrounding, say, the tools being used or the web of social rules
   that are recruited in this instance?
   Even to say that "everything is connected to everything else"
   implies some
   notion of "things/processes" that are connected. How to avoid
   misunderstanding and distinguish it from disagreement?
   On Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 2:50 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
   <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
    > If anyone is interested in exploring the German Idealists, and
   the roots of
    > Activity Theory and Cultural Psychology in their writings, I have put
    > together a page :
    > http://www.marxists.org/subject/philosophy/german.htm
    > where you can browse as you wish ...
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   xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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