Like shame, fear too motivates. Out of fear of the pain, I can attempt to repress the forces. Out of fear of contamination and therefore out of desire for purity , I try, or better, will the extermination of the forces. Yet, because I am powerless to stop the contamination completely — the forces will not come to an end — I increase the will to extermination.
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And, moreover, I increase the will to extermination to such a point that I start to approximate suicide. The contaminating forces are inside me.
I hear the murmur and the cries of the voices in my head. To stop the voices, I must silence myself; to end the war, I must end myself. As we saw earlier, the worst reaction — done out of fear — is a silencing and suicidal tendency, a hyperbolic tendency. Here, with complete apocalypse, fear seems to have been transformed into anxiety. No longer are we afraid of one thing; we are not afraid of anything in particular.
We have become afraid of everything in general, of all the others. The worst reaction constructs, as Freud would say, a massive substitute formation. And, yes, this unlimited, indeed hyperbolic anxiety then looks to be a kind of madness. What if this anxiety, however, evolves not from madness but from a kind of reasoning?
What if this fear is not fear of the unknown, but fear of the known? With this question we return to the genuine stakes in the reversal of Platonism. Platonism thinks it knows what the primary arche is and what the ultimate telos is. If one reasons that one is going to lose the origin and not reach the purpose, one fells fear.
We can imagine then that this fear is based in the supposed knowledge of an original principle and an ultimate end. It is fear based in the supposed knowledge of a prelapsarian origin and a post-lapsarian purpose. This fear arises when one thinks one knows absolute values, absolute values that allow one to decide. The decision then drives the will in the direction of the extermination of whatever is not adequate to these supposed absolute values.
In the experience of powerlessness, here in fear, one still thinks one knows what is best. This experience of powerlessness, however, has not reached the experience of undecidability.
It still has not reached the experience of the event. It still has not felt shame, since shame, as a motivation for becoming otherwise, converts itself into courage, the courage not to decide but to let be. It is the courage to speak out, to speak fearlessly, for others, for all the others, to let the murmuring voices of all those other sound and resound. With this hyperbolic Gelassenheit, I complete the first part of my response to the two reviewers of my book, Early Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy.
I turn now to a more direct response to my reviewers. The Possibility of the Greatest Error The comments today, from Miguel de Beistegui and Simon Glendinning, have resurrected a feeling I had while writing this book over This self-doubt manifested itself on three different occasions: I experienced a lot of self- doubt whenever I thought about me having to master so many figures; but also, I was never sure about the narrative I was writing for this period of continental philosophy; and then finally I experienced the most self-doubt when I systematized the four conceptual features that I mentioned earlier.
While the systematization of the four conceptual features was, for me, the most important outcome of the book, I am still not certain, not even today, that the system makes a lot of sense. There have been studies of continental philosophy, like mine, in the last ten years or so not written by Americans. There has been one written, in particular, by Simon Glendinning. There have been other studies like this of continental philosophy written by other Englishmen, indeed by other Simons, and there have been books written by Australians.
But clearly, the one aspect that truly defines the American situation is the job market, that in America there are jobs in philosophy a few, I guess, still. On the one hand, this labeling made me wonder constantly about what I am doing as a continental philosopher. On the other, it made me want to take possession of the label, especially when I saw how it was denigrated and abused, in particular, by analytic philosophers.
So, yes, consciously, due to the American situation of philosophy, I felt forced to write this book — in order to try to control the way the profession labels me, but also, finally, to understand what I am doing as a philosopher. I have to say that often, while writing the book, I was tempted to act as though I was just speaking of philosophy as such and not philosophy as continental. Miguel, as you saw, located in the book one of the places where this temptation surfaces.
In fact, I think that I did not stress this role enough in the book. I want to say now why I think the reduction is so important. That is, Husserl thought that the reduction should reduce every mundane region of knowledge and experience. This universality of the reduction, it seems to me, is quite radical -- but necessary in order to begin to think in new ways, necessary in order to create new concepts, even new concepts that are not phenomenological or beyond phenomenology.
The universality of the reduction brings me to another question raised by Miguel and Simon, that of science and metaphysics. I think these two questions are connected. Let me start with the question of science. These suspicions arise especially from my assertion of the necessity of the phenomenological reduction. Natural science is a regional investigation with its limited region being nature. Although I recognize that natural science gives us great control over things in the world — and that control in fact adds to my suspicion — I think that natural science, being merely regional, remains mired in mundane modes of thinking and conceptuality.
In short, it is not philosophy; it is a form of dogmatism disguised by naturalism. You understand, of course: the idea would be that if one is not concerned with physics, then one must be a metaphysician. While it seems clear that Heidegger intends this comment to be a criticism of modern natural science, I have wondered whether the scope of the criticism is not broader.
I have wondered whether this comment about science not thinking actually also targets modern philosophy, especially that of Kant and Hegel. In the second preface to The Critique of Pure Reason and in the preface to The Phenomenology of Spirit, both Kant and Hegel respectively argue that philosophy must be science. Then what Heidegger means with this comment is that the Copernican Revolution is still mired in the confusion that he see in Western metaphysics, the confusion between beings understood through substance and subject and being between, of course, Seiende and Sein.
So, the position I am trying to occupy is that of neither naturalism nor metaphysics. I am just about done.
I want to thank my two reviewers, Miguel and Simon. I found their comments insightful. As I said, I wanted to understand what it means to be a continental philosopher. I wanted to understand not just what I had been doing for the last two decades, but also what I should be doing in the future. For better or worse, the book I wrote in , through my self-doubts, does more than describe the works of Bergson, Freud, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Foucault. It does more than exposition and exegesis. It lays out a philosophical project. Instead, he says, philosophy concerns the possibility of the greatest error.
Frequently, as I have worked on this philosophical project whose vague outline appeared to me, almost as in a dream, in the spring of , I have thought I was probably making mistakes, or, as Heidegger would say, errors. I have thought frequently that I am going down the wrong road. But especially I do not know where the road will take me. Paris: Minuit, , p. New York: Columbia University Press, , p. While Aristotle here distinguishes between aidos modesty or bashfulness, which is more appropriate to the young and aiskhyne disgrace or shame , it is clear that he thinks that the two emotions are connected.
Morgan, editor, Spinoza: Complete Works, tr. Related Papers. Is it Happening? By Leonard Lawlor. Figure Ground Interview lrl. Introduction to From Violence to Speaking Out. The Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger, Eds.
Janae Sholtz. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Reiner Schurmann. Charles E. Jerome Veith. Sebastian Luft. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy. Description Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy elaborates the basic project of contemporary continental philosophy, which culminates in a movement toward the outside.
Leonard Lawlor interprets key texts by major figures in the continental tradition, including Bergson, Foucault, Freud, Heidegger, Husserl, and Merleau-Ponty, to develop the broad sweep of the aims of continental philosophy. Lawlor discusses major theoretical trends in the work of these philosophers-immanence, difference, multiplicity, and the overcoming of metaphysics. His conception of continental philosophy as a unified project enables Lawlor to think beyond its European origins and envision a global sphere of philosophical inquiry that will revitalize the field.
Other books in this series. Granta Yuka Igarashi. Add to basket. Remembering, Second Edition Edward S. Merleau-Ponty's Philosophy Lawrence Hass. The Origins of Responsibility Francois Raffoul.
Perspectives in Continental Philosophy
The World at a Glance Edward S. Japanese and Continental Philosophy Bret W. Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle Martin Heidegger. Imagining, Second Edition Edward S.
Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy by Leonard Lawlor
Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy Samir Haddad. Between Word and Image Dennis J. Truth and Genesis Miguel de Beistegui. Broken Hegemonies Reiner Schurmann. Living with Indifference Charles E. The Heidegger Reader Jerome Veith.