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Studia Phaenomenologica vol. VIII/2008, Phenomenology and Literature


Delia Popa

Is there a relationship between phenomenology and literature? The question is a legitimate and problematic one, if we take into account both that which properly pertains to the literary sphere and that which pertains to phenomenology, as well as the complexity of attempts to define the practices associated to either. Without engaging into the intricacies of literary theory and meta-phenomenological research, one needs merely to mention Husserlian phenomenology’s claims to scientific rigour and the importance of poetic inspiration within literature to grasp the distance that separates them. Because of this, their dialogue is condemned to remain a frail bridge, joining two mountains which conceal from each other the volcanic spark of their vitality.

An impossible, precarious dialogue? What we have tried to argue for in this new issue of Studia Phaenomenologica is, on the contrary, that the dialogue between phenomenology and literature is different than the one usually taking place between two disciplines as imposing as they are distant. This premise allowed us to hope that the one engaging in the field of either of the two is not necessarily condemned to ignore events taking place within the field of the other. The reflection upon their relationship was not initiated, therefore, starting from that which sets apart the phenomenological and the literary endeavours, but from observing what they had in common before being founded as separate disciplines. However, we didn’t allow ourselves to be guided either by the intention to draw up an unprecedented profile of a literary phenomenology or a type of phenomenological literature. This is why, deliberately, we didn’t choose to ignore that which distinguishes phenomenology from literature. An inquiry into what these two spaces of the mind offer each other encouraged us to think, rather, that their kinship could shed light on the specificity of their respective endeavours.

The attempts to grasp different types of phenomenological reduction and of neutralising experience, sensitive and intellectual intuition, imagination and the imaginary, as well as the major themes and motifs that emerge throughout phenomenological and literary creation, guided us in our quest for the place where the two disciplines meet, by means of the concrete practice they presuppose, before being defined in theory. Thus, we found out that, even if their “visible” bodies are discrete, their roots are intertwined in the same soil, that in which the accuracy and verticality of thought shoot forth sprouts into the misty horizon of reverie. There is a dream state peculiar to both literature and phenomenology, which inspires them to bravely cross into an universe which is parallel to actual reality, in which the latter’s core truth may shine forth. This dimension is, as Husserl clearly pointed out in the third Cartesian Meditation, that of latent possibility, which accompanies and supports any empiric process. However, it can be grasped only under certain conditions, which we strove to understand in light of the double initiation that phenomenology and literature jointly afford.

We thus came to realize that the crux of their relationship lies in the contribution of the imaginary to phenomenological description and the status that the former holds herein. It is hardly sufficient to separate the pure imaginary from the empiric imaginary, so as to associate the former to phenomenological analysis and the latter to literary creation. For it is just as obvious, on the one hand, that literature doesn’t engage into a mere empiric description, which sets forth only facts, oblivious to their meaning and essence, and, on the other, that there is an empiric realm of description – be it purely psychological or “natural” – which alters the purity of phenomenological description with an obstinacy that resembles necessity. Opposing superficial distinctions, which attribute a predetermined position to each discipline, we dared to argue that literature is just as concerned as phenomenology with grasping essences and meaning and that it displays the same desire to seize them in their very phenomenality. This thematic and stylistic kinship implies a methodological kinship, insofar as literature is, just as phenomenology, bound with more or less self-conscious means of neutralising experience. However, the latter’s hidden meaning is not revealed in literature under the terms of a rigorous endeavour, but flowing, more often than not, from the spontaneity of the story or the emotion stirred by the poem. Here lies the anticipated paradox, that of realizing that the process of neutralisation may prove most successful when the articulation of its finality is, itself, bracketed, when, rather than rushing to reach a realm of apodictic certainty, we lose our way in the meandering possibilities which unfurl around empiric reality. Aren’t we confronted, perhaps, within the field of literature, with a purer version of epoche, insofar as it is not defined as an abstract assay of essence from fact, but as a glimpse of its dimension as event, lived as such, unavoidably, in experience? If this hypothesis is verified, the phenomenological hermeneutics of literary works will be of interest not only to literature, but also to phenomenology. The risk attending such an endeavour is that of denying the peculiarity of literature as opposed to phenomenology and that of fusing their practices within the selfsame realm of descriptive “sciences”, which narrows the scope of both literature and phenomenology. And this risk would have been taken if there hadn’t existed the possibility to discover a specificity of literature in respect to phenomenology, which, therefore, brings them closer together rather than separating them: literature can describe appearance (Erscheinung), which can be grasped by the senses prior to any idealization. Thanks to this peculiarly phenomenological quality, literature cultivates the openness to remain in the life-world (Lebenswelt), a world which Husserl was seeking for beyond the superimposed layers of idealizations so as to find the unique sparkle of actual reality and to cling to it. If we take into account the critical distance that genetic phenomenology takes from the process of founding abstraction, insofar as this process “conceals” the formation of meaning (Sinnbildung), we may argue that literature could play a crucial part in this line of research. As one of the authors of this volume boldly argues, literature could be considered, in this respect, more phenomenological than phenomenology itself, as it accepts to descend to the deeper levels of the imaginary. Thus, it allows itself the possibility to encounter the real in its most illicit and compelling becoming, rather than settling in a supposedly intangible space of fiction.

The line along which the phenomenological and literature are fused, that which inspires us to often speak about a phenomenological vein of literature and a literary sensibility of phenomenology, was that which sparked the idea for this volume. We were happy to find it emerging at the heart of the reflections that came to flesh it out. Thus, articles in the first section approach the relationship between phenomenology and literature, analyzing the legitimacy of the endeavour aimed to grasp “the things themselves” by a hermeneutics of literary texts in terms of the importance granted to the imaginary (Claude Romano) and assessing the distance and proximity between phenomenologists and writers starting from a study of ways in which one bestows meaning to the lived experience (Akos Krassoy). The ontology that Edmund Husserl acknowledges as pertaining to cultural objects and which imposes an interpretation that takes into account both their historicity and their ideal dimension (Samuel Dubusson) and the system of relevances in light of which Alfred Schuetz analyzes the relationship between the literary text and reality, as well as the meaning that is created through the process of reading (Denisa Butnaru), these act as illustrations of the way in which phenomenology comes to acknowledge the specific concreteness of the literary work. However, this acknowledgment implies, on the one hand, the engagement of literature in issues developed within phenomenology – be it the relationship between freedom and death in the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, analyzed both in L’Etre et le neant, as well as in dramatic works written at the time the former was conceived (Marc Crepon), be it Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s theory of the reversibility of chiasm, inspired by his original reading of Proust (Rajiv Kaushik).

The second section of this issue is dedicated to phenomenological hermeneutics: the phenomenon of reading emerges thus as a central element in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s analysis of the universality of language, and literature is revealed as a paradigm of phenomenological hermeneutics (Ilya Inishev), while the theory of meaning developed by Edmund Husserl is set against the one proposed by Paul Ricoeur and enriched by a new theory of translatability, which acknowledges the dynamic dimension of meaning, made apparent both in concrete experience and in literature (Pol Vandevelde).

In the third section, the analysis of perceptive fantasy (perzeptive Phantasie) and of the relationship it creates between perception and virtuality allows for a re-evaluation of the poetic element (Marc Richir), and the attention to the emotional content of the poetic image – as revealed by a close reading of a poem by Nadia Tueni – proves that the latter’s capacity for synthesis is not empiric, but transcendental (Jad Hatem). The autonomy of poetic creation in respect to reality is made apparent by the analysis of contradictions underlying desire in the poems of Luis Cernuda (Roland Breeur), while the ethical dimension of the aesthetic gaze is problematized in the reading of a poem by Geoffrey Hill (Kevin Hart).

The last section of this issue is opened by a study which makes manifest the passion for description which inspires both literature and phenomenology, with an attention to the novels of Claude Simon (Jean-Baptiste Dussert). The tension between meaning and non-meaning, cultivated by Gertrude Stein in Tender Buttons, is analyzed as a form of epoche which frees the gaze from the conventional objectivism in which it is trapped to make apparent the “fine substances” that are usually concealed from it (Ariane Mildenberg), while the hunt for the invisible in the novels of Pascal Quignard illuminates the essence of the gaze, as a way of relating to absence, articulated progressively in idolatry, love, art and contemplation (Vincent Giraud). The complex mood of huzun described in the novels of Orhan Pamuk is interpreted as an expression of the basic states-of-mind (Grundbefindlichkeiten) of fear and anxiety, described by Martin Heidegger (Tobias Henschen), and the state of nihilistic mocking which the protagonists of Bret Easton Ellis’s novels surrender to inspires a meditation upon the forgetting of the world, grounded in Eugen Fink’s phenomenology (Olivier Lahbib). A reading of Theophile Gautier’s journey through Russia as a practical treatise of phenomenological education of sensibility (Martina Stemberger) and the analysis of the way of relating to space in the mountainous, sea- and desert scapes depicted in the novels of Thomas Mann, Julien Gracq and Dino Buzzati, as a condition of change in the temporal regime (Herve Vautrelle), close the reflections that make up this volume.

At the end of this journey, one realizes that grasping the essence of living does not pertain exclusively to phenomenology, but rather to the concrete world, that phenomenology and literature share, a world which may guide the experience of each and every one of us. The study of this practical community presupposes a reconsideration of the status of phenomenological reduction and phenomenal essences, but also of the question of the meaning of living, which is keenly different from the question of the grounding of meaning. This is why literature can act neither simply as an illustration of the philosophical precepts in phenomenology, nor merely as a field of experiment, but rather as a space of fertile criticism, which goes along with a call for openness and flexibility, which it addresses phenomenology.

This critical predisposition of literature towards phenomenology is legitimized, on the one hand, by the fact that the phenomenological life, which Husserl tried to make us aware of, feeds on the imagination that literature knows, better than any other human activity, to set loose. On the other hand, the freedom of thought, the conditions for which phenomenology has ceaselessly tried to prepare and ponder upon, is present more poignantly in literature’s way of being rather than in the ordinariness of the natural attitude.

The dismantling of the latter’s naivete could, thus, be replaced by an attentive observation of the spontaneous phenomenological practice which a different type of naivete, the literary one, affords, thus allowing for a carefree exercise into phenomenology. The meaning of experience, which phenomenology tried to make apparent along the path leading from intuition to significance, will emerge as that which is always put to the test and made anew in the novels which accompany our acknowledged and unacknowledged becoming, in the plays that display our deepest doubts and questions, in the poems which illuminate our hourly meditations. Can transcendental life possibly be separated from the life revealed to us, unsuspectingly, in the mysterious endeavours of reading, creation and interpretation? For our part, we tend to doubt that …

(Translated by Mihaela Doaga)





Claude Romano, La consistance de l’imaginaire

Abstract: This paper tries to explore the legitimacy of applying the phenomenological approach to poems, novels, to all that we classify, too conveniently, under the term “literature.” Such an approach is grounded in one claim: the literary text opens up to a world that is its “thing itself”. The thing of the text is not the text as a thing, in its linguistic and formal properties, no more than the thing of the painting is the canvas coated with pigments. However, what is the status of such a “world”? Is this “opening of a world” only a metaphor? Is the world of the literary work only an imaginary one? In order to answer these questions, it is necessary, first of all, to understand the limits of the structuralist claim that the object of literature is only literature as an object, that is as a linguistic construction and, secondly, to be aware of what is specific to the phenomenological account of the imaginary, in contrast with alternative accounts, such as the one grounded in the theory of speech acts and developed, among others, by Searle.


íkos Krassóy, Proximity and Distance: On Some Interconnections between Phenomenology and Literature

Abstract: Relations between literature and phenomenology vary greatly from proximity to distance depending on whether writers or philosophers give the definition. Writers in favour of the mission of phenomenology and phenomenologist relying on the visional power of literary examples can equally have a high regard for the other discipline thereby, nonetheless, preserving the demarcation. In the following, I will try to investigate these connections by debating the viewpoints of authors showing visible signs of appreciation on both sides. My examples are meant to be emblematic in as much as they are to represent a general trend in their field and serve as spokespersons of important stances in relation to the other genre.


Samuel Dubosson, L’ontologie des objets culturels selon Husserl l’exemplarité de l’objet littéraire

Abstract: In this essay, I examine some aspects of Husserl’s ontology, in particular their nature, the understanding intuition which mixex a correct interpretation of these objects and the relationship between their historicity and their ideality. Especially, I critically evaluate way the incidence of the exemplarityof the literary object upon its design of the cultural objects.


Denisa Butnaru, The Literary Textand the System of Relevances

Abstract: The purpose of the present text is to show the importance of the system of relevances in respect of the analysis of the literary texts. This concept, developed by Alfred Schutz, helps not only to understand the relation between text and empirical reality as such, but it simultaneously questions the relation between reader, writer, and text. The questions raised by the status of the system of relevances help the phenomenological analysis of the literary text to achieve a better understanding of the act of signification (particularly that defined in the realm of literature) and of the status of reference. It helps also to understand how the configuration of experience as such, can be modified according to the specific interaction accomplished within the act of reading.


Marc Crépon, Mourir pour ? La critique sartrienne del’íªtre pour la mort

Abstract: Relaying reflections from Les Mouches, Morts sans sépulture, Les mains sales and Huis-clos to some important arguments concerning death in L’Etre et le néant, the author discusses the relation between death and freedom. Criticizing Martin Heidegger’s views on Sein zum Tode, Jean-Paul Sartre argues that one’s relation to death deeply implies relations with the others, the living, but also the dead ones. The experience of death being absurd, the others are those who can make it meaningful, in the same way that I do for their own death. Sartre’s philosophy of freedom defends the original choice of the ones that I will remember and cherish, in a community that is more important than the living one: the community established beyond death.


Rajiv Kaushik, Architectonic and Myth TimeMerleau-Ponty’s Proust in The Visible and the Invisible

Abstract: In a Working Note to The Visible and the Invisible, Merleau-Ponty uses the fine phraseology of an “architectonic past” and a “mythical time” to describe Proust’s remembrances of things past. This paper first considers how this architectonic past sheds light on Merleau-Ponty’s ontology, and second how this results in a mythical time, which is an originary encounter with this past. Paying also attention to Merleau-Ponty’s final, completed reflections on “Swann’s Way,” Volume One of Remembrances of Things Past, I suggest that by exposing the inner-connection between the two senses of time, Proust is highly significant for Merleau-Ponty’s thesis of “reversibility”. Proustian remembrances are used by Merleau-Ponty not to expose an inwardness, but something that is withdrawn and behind the sensible. The way in which these remembrances operate in myth time bespeaks of a memorial dimension of the past of being itself.



Ilya Inishev, Von der phí¤nomenologischenVerstehenstheorie zur Phí¤nomenologie der Lesepraxis

Abstract: The phenomena of reading and hearing were among the fundamentalthemes of Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics during the final decades of his life and scientific work. This assertion seems to be strange. Especially if we pay attention to the fact that about the same time he worked on transforminghis initial project of philosophical hermeneutics into the more ambitious hermeneutical philosophy. However, the universality of the phenomena of reading and hearing, which Gadamer defends in his last works, not only confirms but also concretizes the universality of the language dimension of all human experience. This concretization becomes apparent by explicating structural correlation between hearing, understanding, and seeing. In view of these circumstances emerges the necessity of looking at history of the “phenomenological movement” through the prism of the phenomenon of reading, which from the very outset was the implicit aim of phenomenological explications.


Pol Vandevelde, Le modí¨le de la traductibilité chez Husserl et Ricoeur: l’exemple de la littérature

Abstract: The essay is an examination of two models that have been used to think what “meaning” or “sense” is. Husserl offers the first model in which there is an exchange between the sense that is made in experience and the meaning that is articulated at the linguistic or logical level. The second model is offered by Paul Ricoeur in his theory of narratives. A narrative has a link to what took place that Ricoeur calls “représentance” or “lieutenance”: the narrative configures but at the same time does justice to what took place. The fiction involved in the “as” of “such as it was” is necessary for the “such” that guarantees an adequacy between the narrative and the action or event. I expand on these two models and offer a model of meaning that I call “translatability”.



Marc Richir, Phénoménologie de l’élément poétique

Abstract: As a development of his former researches on speech – that he distinguishes from instituted language and that he identifies to thought – the author points out a special kind of fantasy, already observed by Husserl himself: the perceptive Phantasie. Analysed here as a form of transition from perception (Perzeption) to what is impossible to be represented (l’infigurable), this form of fantasy aims at what Winnicot understood as a transitional object. Preceding any intentional and even imaginary foundation (Stiftung), the perceptive Phantasie is the very core of speech, that poetry allows us to see as the living form of transcendental interfacticity. The perceptive Phantasie is thus the concrete condition of the “reflexivity” of meaning, which is accomplished in speech by a mutual affectivity, perception nourishing itself from the virtual.


Jad Hatem, Phénoménologie de l’image poétique

Abstract: The poetic image results from the effort undertaken by affectivity to express itself in a language that is not originally its very own, but that holds the advantage of being communicable not only at the level of representation, but at the level of feeling as well. The image is not considered, therefore, to be a synthesis of true and false. In the process of creation, the affect is the material principle of the image as an ideal unity of syntheses. It is implied here that poetic writing is not about a content of internal aiming, previously possessed by consciousness, that is made to correspond with an element of the world, eventually represented by means of sensible intuition. In order to illustrate this, the author interprets a poem by Nadia Tueni, showing that it is essentially about its own production.


Roland Breeur, Lazare au royaume de l’Hadí¨sRéflexions autour d’un poí¨me de Luis Cernuda

Abstract: In this article, the author analyses Cernuda’s long poem “Lazaro”, in order to elucidate the inner relation between desire and reality that is central in his entire work. That relation is important not only in order to understand how imagination influences poetical creation, but also how poetical creativity acquires its autonomy and independency.


Kevin Hart, “it / is true”

Abstract: Following a hint from Edmund Husserl, this paper explores theproximity of the phenomenological and aesthetic gazes. It does so with one particular poem in mind: “September Song” by Geoffrey Hill. The paper examinesthe ways in which the poem responds to a given situation, the death of a child in the Shoah, and responds to the ethical status of its own aestheticgaze. Phenomenological perspectives by Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Derrida, and Marion, are brought to bear on the questions considered, and comparisons aremade between Hill’s poem and similar poems by Dylan Thomas, Paul Celan, and W. S. Merwin.



Jean-Baptiste Dussert, Le primat de la description dans la phénoménologie et le Nouveau Roman

Abstract: The point shared by phenomenology and the French Nouveau Romanis that they both confer great importance to description. But is it philosophically interesting to compare the works of authors like Nathalie Sarraute,Alain Robbe-Grillet or Claude Simon (which relate to details in the material world) with the works of Husserl (whose object is the eidos)? In this article, wefirst study in what way the method suggested by Husserl was innovative and in what way it influenced his examples and style in the Ideen. We then examinehow the fact that this operation no longer relates to beings could be construed as progress in relation to Heidegger. Finally, we study the reasons why thismode of speech was favoured in the novels of the 1960s. Our assumption, as the later writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty show, is that this literary movementtried to achieve in the field of fiction the same breakthrough and to give description a scientific quality.


Ariane Mildenberg, Seeing Fine Substances Strangely: Phenomenology in Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons

Abstract: Gertrude Stein may be regarded as one of the most innovative andobscure modernist writers. At the core of Tender Buttons (1914), her most experimental work, lies a dialectical tension between meaning and non-meaning,order and disorder, the opacity of which some of the earliest critical studies of Stein described as both “an eloquent mistake” and “the ravings of a lunatic”,resisting interpretation. In this paper, I show that phenomenology offers an appropriate tool for opening up the much-discussed dialectic of this work. By”bracketing” the hard facts of our object-world, Stein enacts an epoché of sorts, allowing us to “see fine substances strangely” before the conventional structuresof objectivity and factuality take over.


Vincent Giraud, L’invisible et la proie: Une lecture de Pascal Quignard

Abstract: The books of Pascal Quignard present themselves as a hunt for the invisible.The ambition that lies at their heart seems particularly compatible with a phenomenological approach. Indeed, this literary intuition – this “suspicion” inthe words of Quignard – hinges on the nature and value of representation. This article tries to read the entire work of Quignard through the phenomenologicallens. The elucidation of phenomenality is accomplished here through the steps of a process that leads to the very condition of vision. Once the essence of representationis established as a “predation”, the literary writing of the author reveals it as related to an absent, invisible prey. Through the successive and ascendingfigures of idolatry, love, art and contemplation, can then start a route to invisibility, which is a true pedagogy of seeing. This quest, conceivable as a learningprocess through which literature finds its ultimate aim, finally leads to a renewed understanding of the concept of representation.


Tobias Henschen, Furcht, Angst und hüzün: Die Entformalisierung zweier ontologischer Begriffe Heideggers durch Pamuks Begriff kollektiver Wehmut

Abstract: This paper attempts a new interpretation of Heidegger’s existentialanalysis of the phenomena of fear and anxiety. Heidegger is shown to analyze both phenomena as basic states-of-mind (Grundbefindlichkeiten). Basic statesof-mind are taken to differ from other states-of mind in that they are formal phenomena, i.e. phenomena that are not apparent or experienced themselves,but only concretize in apparent and experienced phenomena. As an instance of phenomena, in which the formal phenomena of fear and anxiety concretize,the paper presents hüzün, a collective mood described by Orhan Pamuk in his latest novel.


Olivier Lahbib, L’oubli du monde: Une lecture finkienne de bret easton Ellis

Abstract: In his novels B. E. Ellis depicts a generation of bewildered rich youngpeople, who live the easiest of lives, in a wealthy background as one can see in everyday American shows. But they actually suffer from the excess of things,products, luxury; the result for them is that the overall meaning of life is lost. Fink’s phenomenology gives us the interpretation for this nihilistic experience.Humanity is depressed as far as the world is forgotten. Forgetting the world is even more scandalous and serious than the disregard of Being that Heideggercondemns. B. E. Ellis applies the method of reduction: he makes the epoché of the container-world. Consequently, we learn that the idea of the world is thecondition for unity, coherence and direction as shows Fink’s Welt und Endlichkeit: Humanity when devoid of the totality (as a synonym for world) is absolutelydevoid of meaning. The Cosmos-container comes before Being or the beings (as simple contents). World is the radical source for all data. With the arguments ofFink’s book Spiel als Weltsymbol, we may understand why Ellis’ characters strain to rebuild a world, with their new religion of trade marks and name dropping. Butholy objects of consumption and luxury can’t produce an authentic world.


Martina Stemberger, Théophile Gautiers Voyage en Russie als “phí¤nomenologisches” Experiment avant la lett re

Abstract: Théophile Gautier, French romanticist writer, visits Russia twice in1858/61. His Voyage en Russie (1866) is not just a travelogue, but rather an intrinsically philosophical text about travelling, about the perception of theown and the other, suggesting “(self )alienation”, “bracketing” of the world and one’s own experience as a means of aesthetic pleasure and intellectualpenetration; a reflection on the “gift of the visible”; on the mutual in- and superscriptions of reality, imagination and art – in one word: a “phenomenological”experiment avant la lettre. This paper proposes a reading of Voyage en Russie through the prism of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception,in particular of vision.


Hervé Vautrelle, La montagne de Mann, le désert de Buzzati, le rivage de Gracq: Phénoménologie de trois espaces-temps littéraires

Abstract: This article aims to establish that literature is an ideal laboratory forundertaking some phenomenological experimentations, even when not explicitly intended by the author. By considering three works (Der Zauberbergby Thomas Mann, Il deserto dei Tartari by Dino Buzzati and Le rivage des Syrtes by Julien Gracq) that all tell the story of one man gone far away from his countryand isolated in a mysterious, fascinating and closed place, we propose to study the complex relations that weave between space and time and betweenlandscape and consciousness, and to deduce from it their phenomenological impact. We attempt to show that space localization and organisation influenceand even modify the behaviour and the personality of humans, and induce a new relation to temporality: the mountain arouses boredom, the desert preparesthe expectation and the shore brings the facing of one’s fate.



Jeffrey Andrew Barash, Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Memory

AbstractMy analysis in the following paper will focus on a subtle developmentin 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 late1920s. 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 memoryin the 1921 Freiburg course lectures Augustine and Neo-Platonism, then in Being and Time (1927) and finally in the 1928 lectures on the metaphysicalfoundations of logic (Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Logik im Ausgang von Leibniz) and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929). This shift is ofinterest, 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 ofmemory which Heidegger brings into focus and which I will interpret in my concluding remarks.


Eric Sean Nelson, Heidegger and the Questionabilityof the Ethical

Abstract: Despite Heidegger’s critique of ethics, his use of ethically-inflectedlanguage intimates an interpretive ethics of encounter involving self-interpreting agents in their hermeneutical context and the formal indication of facticallife as a situated dwelling open to possibilities enacted through practices of care, interpretation, and individuation. Existence is constituted practically inDasein’s addressing, encountering, and responding to itself, others, and its world. Unlike rule-based or virtue ethics, this ethos of responsive encounterand individuating confrontation challenges any grounding in a determinate or exemplary model of reason, human nature, the virtues, or tradition..


Tracy Colony, Attunement and Transition: Hölderlin and Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning)

Abstract: In this essay, I argue that the scope of Heidegger’s dialog withHölderlin in Contributions to Philosophy is wider than has often been acknowledged. Traditionally, accounts of this relation have focused solely on tracingHeidegger’s appropriation of Hölderlin’s “flight and arrival of the gods.” In addition to this theme, the relation between Heidegger’s Hölderlin and the project of Contributions should also be framed in light of the specific understanding of attunement which Heidegger developed in his 1934-35 Hölderlin lecture courses. From the perspective opened by this reading, I bring intoquestion and offer an alternative to a widely accepted interpretation of Contributions’ structural composition.


Alon Segev, The Absolute and the Failure to Think of the Ontological Difference: Heidegger’s Critique of Hegel

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine Heidegger’s critique of Hegel andto determine whether it is justified. Heidegger claims that Hegel tries to reduce everything to a single absolute entity, to the absolute knowing subject. The resultis the identification of being and nothing, as Hegel formulates it at the beginning of his Logic. Hegel identifies being with nothing because being has no references,no predicates, no properties. Heidegger agrees with Hegel that being and nothing are the same, but in completely different respects. They are the same becauseonly entity actually exists, i.e. as an existent being. But Being itself does not exist, and should be conceived in an utterly different way from entity. And since Beingcannot “be” it is a non-entity and therefore nothing.