There is one critical way we honor great tragedies: by never forgetting. Collective remembrance is as old as human society itself, serving as an important source of social cohesion, yet as Jeffrey Andrew Barash shows in this book, it has served novel roles in a modern era otherwise characterized by discontinuity and dislocation. Drawing on recent theoretical explorations of collective memory, he elaborates an important new philosophical basis for it, one that unveils profound limitations to its scope in relation to (...) the historical past. Crucial to Barash’s analysis is a look at the radical transformations that symbolic configurations of collective memory have undergone with the rise of new technologies of mass communication. He provocatively demonstrates how such technologies’ capacity to simulate direct experience—especially via the image—actually makes more palpable collective memory’s limitations and the opacity of the historical past, which always lies beyond the reach of living memory. Thwarting skepticism, however, he eventually looks to literature—specifically writers such as Walter Scott, Marcel Proust, and W. G. Sebald—to uncover subtle nuances of temporality that might offer inconspicuous emblems of a past historical reality. (shrink)
Now in paperback, this important book explores the central role of historical thought in the full range of Heidegger’s thought, both the early writings leading up to Being and Time, and after the “reversal” or Kehre that inaugurated his later work. Barash examines Heidegger’s views on history in a richly developed context of debates that transpired in the early 20th-century German philosophy of history. He addresses a key unifying theme—the problem of historical meaning and the search for coherent criteria of (...) truth in an era of historical relativism—as he traces the engagement with historicity throughout all major epochs and works. Barash revises this edition to explore new material, including Heidegger’s lecture course texts from 1910 to 1923, and adds an expanded, updated bibliography. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth‐century European thought. Peter E. Gordon's recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the work, (...) Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer's philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger's philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth‐century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon's manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon's interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
Written during the period of his emigration to the United States, during and just after World War II, the originality of Karl Löwith's book Meaning in History lies in its resolute critique of all forms of philosophy of history. This critique is based on the now famous idea that modern philosophies of history have only extended and deepened an illusion fabricated by a long tradition of Christian historical reflection: the illusion that history itself has an intrinsic goal. This modern extension (...) and deepening of the chimera propagated by Christian historical reflection is what Löwith terms "secularization." Drawing on the arguments in Meaning in History as well as those proposed in other contemporaneous and earlier writings, including Löwith's heretofore unpublished correspondence with Leo Strauss, this article attempts to set in relief the frequently neglected, yet eminently political implications of Löwith's idea of secularization. Among the problems implicitly considered in relation to the theory of secularization in Meaning in History is a theme frequently addressed in earlier writings: the motives that led German intellectuals like Friedrich Gogarten, Martin Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt to adhere to the Nazi movement. (shrink)
While the recent publication of the Hannah Arendt-Martin Heidegger correspondence confirms that there existed a close personal tie between these two thinkers, the relation between their philosophies is far more problematic. This article argues that Arendt's originality presents itself in its full light in her two major theoretical works of the 1950s, Between Past and Future and The Human Condition , when these works are considered to present a thinly veiled, implicit critique of Heidegger's philosophy. Arendt's critique becomes especially visible (...) in the 'existential' role that she attributed to natality in its relation to political action and to remembrance, placing in question the central orientation of Heidegger's existential ontology in terms of being-toward-death. (shrink)
My analysis in the following paper will focus on a subtle development in Heidegger’s interpretation of the theme of memory, from the period of his early Freiburg lectures to Being and Time and then in the works of the late 1920s. There is in this period an apparent shift in Heidegger’s understanding of this theme, which comes to light above all in his way of examining memory in the 1921 Freiburg course lectures Augustine and Neo-Platonism, then in Being and Time (...) (1927) and finally in the 1928 lectures on the metaphysical foundations of logic (Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Logik im Ausgang von Leibniz) and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929). This shift is of interest, as I will argue, not only in indicating an internal development of Heidegger’s thinking, but above all in regard to the problem of the finitude of memory which Heidegger brings into focus and which I will interpret in my concluding remarks. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis essay explores the different interpretations proposed by Ernst Cassirer and Hans Blumenberg of the relation between Platonic philosophy and myth as a means of bringing to light a fundamental divergence in their respective conceptions of what precisely myth is. It attempts to show that their conceptions of myth are closely related to their respective assumptions concerning the historical significance of myth and regarding the sense of history more generally. Their divergent conceptions of myth and of history, I argue, are (...) at the same time not simply matters of abstract speculation, but spring from fundamental presuppositions concerning myth's political significance. The present elucidation aims not only to set in relief one or another of the ways in which Cassirer or Blumenberg understood myth, nor even to present Blumenberg's critical reception of Cassirer's theories, but above all to contribute to the interpretation of the political implications of myth and of its historical potency in our contemporary epoch. (shrink)
One of principal tasks of Paul Ricoeur’s Memory, History, Forgetting is to analyze the phenomenon of social cohesion, understood not as a uniform bond, but in terms of human plurality that arises from a diversity of perspectives of remembering groups rooted in complex stratifications and concatenations. This paper focuses on the role of remembrance and of its historical inscription as a source of social cohesion, which is subject to rupture and dissolution over time. It first identifies the way in which, (...) according to Ricœur, memory and history function as essential preconditions of social cohesion; following this, it examines the significance and scope of temporal rupture and discontinuity to which this cohesion is subject. In examining Ricœur’s reflection on social cohesion and on the discontinuity to which it is subject over time, I aim to place his thought in a critical light in order to set in relief what I take to be an important aporia it encounters. (shrink)
Collective memory is thought to be something “more” than a conglomeration of personal memories which compose it. Yet, each of us, each individual in every society, remembers from a personal point of view. And if there is memory beyond personal experience through which collective identities are configured, in what “place” might one legitimately situate it? In addressing this question, this article examines the political significance of the distinction between two levels of what are often lumped together under the term of (...) “collective memory”: memories that are retained through the direct experience of groups or associations of a limited size and those that are rarely the object of direct experience constituting the events marking the identities of mass societies. (shrink)
Ce numéro de Cités, tout entier dédié à la pensée de Paul Ricœur, vise à apporter un nouvel éclairage sur son contenu, les problèmes qu’elle aborde et sa réception. À la différence des nombreux colloques qui se sont tenus en son honneur depuis sa disparition en mai 2005, il s’agit moins de produire un nouveau volume d’hommages que de jeter...
JEFFREY ANDREW BARASH. — Ce qui m’a beaucoup intéressé dans vos écrits récents et notamment dans votre livre Le siècle de Sartre, c’est la manière dont vous abordez le phénomène du totalitarisme, phénomène central pour comprendre le XXe siècle. Or, s’agissant du phénomène totalitaire, nous avons assisté à l’émergence d’un nouveau..
In 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth-century European thought. Peter E. Gordon’s recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the work, (...) Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer’s philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger’s philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth-century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon’s manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon’s interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
Le travail théorique du juriste et philosophe Hermann Heller reste très peu connu en France. Alors que les ouvrages de son principal adversaire de cette époque, Carl Schmitt, sont traduits partout dans le monde, la grande majorité des écrits constituant les trois tomes de l’œuvre complète de Heller, rééditée en 1992 à Tübingen par la maison d’édition Mohr,..
L’année 2005 marque le centenaire de la naissance de Jean-Paul Sartre. Conçu à l’occasion de cet anniversaire, le présent numéro est consacré à l’étude de l’œuvre de Sartre dans les différents champs où elle s’est aventurée, de la philosophie à la littérature, de la psychologie à la politique. Loin d’avoir l’ambition de mesurer précisément la..
Dans le propos qui suit, j’examinerai le thème du relativisme dans la perspective de Leo Strauss. Je tenterai de situer l’originalité de la conception straussienne, sans pour autant négliger son caractère problématique, afin de souligner son importance pour la pensée contemporaine.Mettre en relief la signification des réflexions straussiennes sur le relativisme exige de se confronter..
Au cours des dernières décennies, l’intérêt pour le phénomène de la mémoire, concernant la sphère immédiate de la vie personnelle ou étendu à l’expérience collective, a pris une importance croissante. Dans ce second cas, l’effervescence autour de la question n’en a que peu éclairé les véritables enjeux. On se contente trop souvent d’affirmer que la mémoire collective de..
Este artigo enfoca a originalidade da tentativa de Wilhelm Windelband, o fundador da escola de neokantismo de Baden, de fornecer uma base teórica para a história como disciplina científica. Enquanto Kant, na Crítica da Razão Pura, tomou como modelo para toda a ciência a certeza das leis gerais da ciência da natureza, Windelband pretendia romper com os estreitos limites deste modelo kantiano para fornecer uma teoria de inteligibilidade científica que nenhuma busca por leis gerais poderia enfocar. No lugar dos conceitos (...) gerais, a teoria de Windelband empregou valores historicamente mutáveis que permitem ao historiador colocar em relevo a qualidade singular dos contextos passados e dos indivíduos que neles interagem. Neste estudo, defendo que a vontade de Windelband de reconhecer a historicidade radical dos valores que estão por trás de todas as preocupações culturais, incluindo a continuidade e coerência da própria teoria, trouxe o ideal neokantiano da ciência histórica perante um dilema que ela não poderia resolver. Esta dificuldade, entretanto, não desqualifica de forma alguma a busca original de Windelband, mas exige uma reformulação de seu escopo e propósito fundamental. (shrink)