Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event)

Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event)

Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event)

Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event)

Synopsis

Martin Heidegger's Contributions to Philosophy reflects his famous philosophical "turning." In this work, Heidegger returns to the question of being from its inception in Being and Time to a new questioning of being as event. Heidegger opens up the essential dimensions of his thinking on the historicality of being that underlies all of his later writings. Contributions was composed as a series of private ponderings that were not originally intended for publication. They are nonlinear and radically at odds with the traditional understanding of thinking. This translation presents Heidegger in plain and straightforward terms, allowing surer access to this new turn in Heidegger's conception of being.

Excerpt

This is a translation of Martin Heidegger’s Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) dating from 1936–38. the German original appeared posthumously in 1989, with a second edition in 1994.

The book constitutes volume 65 of Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe (“Complete Edition”) and inaugurates the third division of that series: “Unpublished treatises: addresses—ponderings.” At issue in the Contributions are indeed private ponderings not composed for publication. As such, the book displays the kind of literary unevenness that could be expected when thinkers write for themselves with no didactic intent: along with polished passages also a good number of incomplete sentences, ellipses, cryptic sections, and at times even loosely organized lists of keywords. As regards its sense, however, the book is the exact opposite of a private pondering. Right from the start, Heidegger denies that these are to be understood as his own personal contributions to philosophy. Instead, we have here a speaking “of” (understood primarily in the sense of the subjective genitive) the event (Ereignis). These ponderings attempt to let themselves be appropriated by the event. Thus what is here struggling to come to words arises out of a view of thinking that is radically different from the traditional, metaphysical understanding of thought as the generation of concepts out of the thinker’s own spontaneity. That radical difference accounts for the struggle.

Our aim in translating was to capture in English the effect the original would have on a native speaker of German. Therefore, we did not attempt to resolve the grammatical peculiarities, nor have we imposed on Heidegger’s terminology the extraordinary sense which the ordinary words do eventually assume. in Heidegger’s understanding, Contributions to Philosophy sojourns in the transition to “another beginning” of thought with respect to metaphysics, “the first beginning.” This other beginning would require a transformation of language. Yet Heidegger recognizes (cf. section 259, p. 340) that transitional thinking must for some length of time still tread the paths of metaphysics—in . . .

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