Winter 2017: Seminar in 20/21st Century Philosophy—World/Nature in Heidegger, Arendt, Derrida, and Nancy

PHIL 6851 Sem 20th/21st Cent Phil

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Class Time, Location: T, 19:00-21:30, A  2071

Office Hours: Tuesday 1:00-2:00 pm; 3:15-7:00pm and by appointment

READING SCHEDULE AND RESOURCES

[Below I reference the original language versions. Any students interested should contact for the professor for the necessary copies of these versions, if unavailable through the MUN library.]

Tuesday, January 9

  1. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, trans. W. McNeill and N. Walker (Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995). Reference will be made to the German text, Martin Heidegger, Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik—Welt—Endlichkiet—Einsamkeit (Wintersemester 1929/30) (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1983). Read §§ 1-7.
  2. Martin Heidegger, “Introduction to Being and Time, §§ I and II.

Key questions as we read the FCM:

  1. What is philosophy? Is it a what or is it activity? How does this change our view of what is discovered in this course?
  2. How does this way of philosophizing relate to the key question (Grundfrage): what is world (Was ist Welt?).
  3. How does Heidegger’s “comparative” approach differ from his earlier phenomenology in Sein und Zeit (Being and Time)? We will also reference (in discussion and my lectures) quotations about worldhood from the later, post-1930s Heidegger.
  4. How does this relate to the key question: what is nature? Or more properly: what is physis? (Was ist die physis?)
  5. Heidegger translates physis not just as Wachsen as normally suggested in the secondary literature, but more originally as Walten. We will go over the semantic resonances of the term in German as well as what this could mean.
  6. Different relations to world of humans/animals/rocks.
 Highly Recommended:
  1. Peter Gratton, Lecture and overview of The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics (.mp3).
  2. Françoise Dastur, Heidegger and the Question of Timepp. 1-16; 53-70.
  3. Dorothea Frede, “The Question of Being: Heidegger’s Project,” from Cambridge Companion to Heidegger.
  4. Iain Thompson, “What is Ontotheology?”

Tuesday, January 16

  1. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Read §§ 16, 19-38. Concentrate specifically on 29-38.

Recommended:

  1.  Miguel de Beistegui, Thinking with Heidegger: Displacements (Indiapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004), ch. 3. (Available through MUN library with online access.)
  2. Katherine Withy, “The Strategic Unity of Heidegger’s The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics,” Southern Journal for Philosophy, June 2013, Vol. 51 (2). (Available through MUN library with online access.)
  3. Kelly Oliver, Earth and World: Philosophy after the Apollo Missions (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), ch. 4.

Tuesday, January 23

  1. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Read §§ 42-54.
  2. Stuart Elden, “Heidegger’s Animals,” Continental Philosophy Review (2006) 39: 273–291.

N.B. We will be coming back to these sections when we read Derrida later in the semester. Review them carefully.

Tuesday, January 30

  1. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Read §§ 60-71.

Tuesday, February 6

  1. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Read §§ 72-end.[Cancelled for Philosophy Department Public Lecture Series]

Tuesday, February 13

  1. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Read §§ 8-10.
  2. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. G. Fried and R. Polt (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014). Reference will be made to the German text, Einfuhrung in die Metaphysik (Tübingen, Germany: Verlag, 1975). Read §§ 1-3, 20-1, 38-9, 48-50. (There is a Ralph Manheim translation that is cheaper, but please do not utilize it since it is often misleading at best.)

Highly Recommended:

  1. Gregory Fried, “Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics,” in Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger, eds. E. Nelson and F. Raffoul (London: Bloomsbury, 2012).
  2. Trish Glazebrook, “Heidegger and Environmental Philosophy,” in Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger.

Tuesday, February 20

Winter Break

Thursday, February March 1

  1. Heidegger, “Question Concerning Technology
  2. Peter Gratton, Lecture on “QCT.” (Please listen to prior to the class)
  3. Hans Ruin, “Heidegger and Technology,” in Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger, eds. F. Raffoul and E. Nelson (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).

Thursday, February March 1

[special make-up class for cancellation due to Public Lecture Series]

  1. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1958), chapters 1 and 2.
  2. Peg Birmingham, “Heidegger and Arendt: The Lawful Space of Worldly Appearance,” in Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger.

Key Questions asked as we read HC:

  1. What are the three aspects of The Human Condition?
  2. What are the threats Arendt finds to The Human Condition?
  3. What does Arendt mean by world alienation and therefore a world?
  4. What does Arendt mean by earth alienation?

Resources for Arendt:

  1. My podcast is here, going over the work as a whole and its major theses, including her underread claims later in the book about “earth alienation.” (based in many parts on an unedited version of my contribution to The Bloomsbury Companion to Arendt, due out next year and co-edited by me and Yasemin Sari.)
  2. BBC In these TimesHannah Arendt.
  3. George Kateb, “Political Action: Its Nature and Advantages,” The Cambridge Companion to Arendt, ed. Dana Villa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
  4. Karin Fry, “Natality,” in Hannah Arendt: Key Terms, ed. Patrick Hayden (London: Bloomsbury, 2012).
  5. Paul Voice, “Labor, Work, Action,” in Hannah Arendt: Key Concepts.
  6.  Siobhan Kattago, “Hannah Arendt on the World,” in Hannah Arendt: Key Concepts.

Tuesday, March 1

  1. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1958), chapters 5 (sections 24-28; 33-34) and chapter 6 (esp. 35-39, 44). Reference will be made to Heidegger, “Question Concerning Technology.”

Highly Recommended:

  1. Kelly Oliver, Earth and World: Philosophy after the Apollo Missions (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), ch. 3.

Tuesday, March 11

  1. Derrida, “Différance,” in Margins of Philosophy (1972).
  2. Derrida,  Beast and the Sovereign Volume 2 (Lectures 2002-3) (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 2011), sessions 1-3. Reference will be made to the original French, whose pagination is provided in the margins of the English version.

Key Questions as we read Derrida:

  1. What is his specific reading of Heidegger? Where does he challenge Heidegger as he reads closely his 1929/30 lecture course?
  2. Why does Derrida pick Defoe’s novel—a work of literature—when thinking fundamental questions about world, solitude, and finitude?
  3. If Derrida is simply “deconstructing” texts, as some would suggest, does he have anything “positive”—that is, actual claims about existence and the world—to make?
  4. Why does Derrida argue,  pace Heidegger but perhaps not Arendt, that there is no world, but only worlds?
  5. Are these worlds, despite all that Derrida attempts in his readings still anthropocentric?

Recommended:

  1. SEP, Jacques Derrida
  2. Mauro Senatore, “Jacques Derrida: A Biographical Note,” in Derrida: Key Concepts, ed. Claire Colebrook (Routledge, 2015).
  3. Elisabeth Weber, “Derrida’s Urgency, Today,” Los Angeles Review of Books.
  4. Jacques Derrida, “Letter to a Japanese Friend.
  5. Geoffrey Bennington, extract from “Derridabase in Jacques Derrida.

Tuesday, March 13

  1. Derrida, Beast and the Sovereign 2, sessions 4-6.

Recommended:

  1. Michael Naas, “‘World, Solitude, Finitude’: Derrida’s Final Seminar,” Research in Phenomenology, 2014, Vol.44 (1), pp. 1-27. (Available via MUN online.)
  2. Sean Gaston, “Derrida and the End of the World,” New Literary History, 2011, Vol.42 (3), pp. 499-517. (Available via MUN online.)
  3. Kelly Oliver, Earth and World: Philosophy After the Apollo Missions (Colombia UP, 2015), ch. 5.

Tuesday, March 20

  1. Derrida, Beast and the Sovereign 2, sessions 7-end.

Tuesday, March 27

  1. Jean-Luc Nancy, The End of the World or Globalization, trans. D. Pettigrew and F. Raffoul (New York: SUNY Press, 2007), §§ I-III. Reference will be made to the original French.

Recommended:

  1. Marie-Eve Morin, Jean-Luc Nancy (London: Polity, 2013), chapter 1.
  2. Marie-Eve Morin and Peter Gratton (eds.), The Jean-Luc Nancy Dictionary (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2014), introduction and entries on creation, Derrida, globalization, Heidegger, sense, and world.

Tuesday, April 3

Conclusions: Inventions of nature and the world.

Final Paper: Time/Date TBA

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