Interpretation of Nietzsche's Second Untimely Meditation

Interpretation of Nietzsche's Second Untimely Meditation

Interpretation of Nietzsche's Second Untimely Meditation

Interpretation of Nietzsche's Second Untimely Meditation

Synopsis

Martin Heidegger's Nietzsche's Second Untimely Meditation presents crucial elements for understanding Heidegger's thinking from 1936 to 1940. Heidegger offers a radically different reading of a text that he had read decades earlier, showing how his relationship with Nietzche's has changed, as well as how his understandings of the differences between animals and humans, temporality and history, and the Western philosophical tradition developed. With his new reading, Heidegger delineates three Nietzschean modes of history, which should be understood as grounded in the structure of temporality or historicity and also offers a metaphysical determination of life and the essence of humankind. Ullrich Hasse and Mark Sinclair offer a clear and accessible translation despite the fragmentary and disjointed quality of the original lecture notes that comprise this text.

Excerpt

This volume is a translation of Martin Heidegger’s notes for a weekly seminar on Nietzsche’s second Untimely Meditation, On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life (1874), held in the winter semester 1938–1939 in Freiburg. These notes were first published in German in 2003 as volume 46 of the Gesamtausgabe (“GA”—“Complete Edition”) of Heidegger’s work. Although the notes were originally supposed to form the basis of seminar exercises, the number of students actually present meant they were delivered in the form of lectures, and this seems to be one reason why Heidegger chose to have the notes appear in the second division of the Gesamtausgabe, which contains his lecture courses, rather than in the fourth division containing notes and recordings.

In this lecture course, Heidegger returns to Nietzsche’s early essay On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life, an essay that was of great importance for the development of his thought in the 1920s. Being and Time (1927) indicates clearly enough the positive influence that Nietzsche’s essay had for Heidegger’s project of “fundamental ontology.” in contrast, in his more critical readings of Nietzsche in the first set of his lectures on Nietzsche’s philosophy beginning in 1936 (GA 6.1), Heidegger does not refer to this early essay, and claims that the essence of Nietzsche’s philosophy is to be found in his later works, especially in the posthumous Notebooks. Nevertheless, in the present lecture course of 1938–1939, Heidegger returns to Nietzsche’s essay of the 1870s in order to argue that his fully developed philosophy is already marked out in the essay’s reflections on history, life, truth, and justice. This will allow him to argue in later lectures on Nietzsche

1. Martin Heidegger, Gesamtausgabe, vol. 6 bk.1, Nietzsche I ed. Brigitte Schillbach (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1996).

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