December 22, 2004

Heidegger & Aristotle#2

What we can say about Heidegger and Aristotle in a sentence?

Why a sentence? It is late, very hot, and I'm tired, too tired to work with Stuart Eldren's academic text. What is more it is getting close to Xmas and that means the odd drink or two. In the heat a drink means knockout. That means falling asleep at the keyboard trying to concentrate reading a tough academic text online.

So here is a stab at a sentence before I fall asleep.

Though Heidegger recovered a practical reason in Aristotle's texts he foregrounds the ontological dimension, downplays the ethical, and forgets about the link between the ethical and the political.

Oh,I can add a bit more. An inference.

The ethical is buried. It-- the practical concern to live well-- is what needs to be recovered.

Is that one sentence a reasonable account of Heidegger's engagement with Aristotle?

The primacy of the practical is what links Aristotle, American pragmatism (Dewey), Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology and environmental philosophy. Practical philosophy was what Gadamer highlighted in his intepretation of Heidegger.

There is more on this connection between American pragmatism and Heidegger by Ali Rizvi over at Habermas Reflections. Ali explores the links from the perspective of Habermas, the recoil from the spectator model of knowledge based on the passivity of sense experience, and the shift to understanding of knowledge based on action or practice.

Instead of reading Aristotle through Heidegger so to recover Aristotle's practical philosophy, we can we re-read Heidegger through the lens of Aristotle to make with, and recover, an ethical knowledge and inquiry. What we make contact with is a practical ethical philosophy is one concerned with our health and sickness, and it aims to help us to live more flourishing lives.

This then allows us to talk in Nietzsche's terms about modes of valuation.

What is missing in Heidegger is a compassionate philosophy that intervenes actively in the world to help ease our suffering from living damaged lives. So we can read Heidegger in terms of this lack.When we do we come across 'care' and 'concern' as modes of being-in-the-world.


Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at December 22, 2004 11:35 PM | TrackBack
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