Heidegger's advice to his students

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Twirlip
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 08:51 pm
I have a gullible tendency to take bad advice from great men. (When reading Godement's Algebra, I foolishly took his advice to forget all the mathematics I already knew, and take everything literally. Such a bad idea!)

In What is Called Thinking? (1954, English translation 1968), Part I, end of Lecture VI, Heidegger writes:

Quote:
It is advisable, therefore, that you postpone reading Nietzsche for the time being, and first study Aristotle for ten to fifteen years.
Is he joking? I may not have ten to fifteen years! How does anyone get started reading philosophy? What can be made of this advice?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 09:02 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;127244 wrote:
I have a gullible tendency to take bad advice from great men. (When reading Godement's Algebra, I foolishly took his advice to forget all the mathematics I already knew, and take everything literally. Such a bad idea!)

In What is Called Thinking? (1954, English translation 1968), Part I, end of Lecture VI, Heidegger writes:

Is he joking? I may not have ten to fifteen years! How does anyone get started reading philosophy? What can be made of this advice?


I agree. That advice is silly. As much as I appreciate some of his thoughts, this one seems like a clunker. Was Heidegger eager to be himself the end of metaphysics? Is this why he interpreted Nietzsche as the last meta-physician? Sure, at times N was metaphysician. (My opinion) But at other times he was well beyond that. Could vanity be involved here? It's a nice title: The Slayer of Metaphysics.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 09:06 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;127244 wrote:
I have a gullible tendency to take bad advice from great men. (When reading Godement's Algebra, I foolishly took his advice to forget all the mathematics I already knew, and take everything literally. Such a bad idea!)

In What is Called Thinking? (1954, English translation 1968), Part I, end of Lecture VI, Heidegger writes:

Is he joking? I may not have ten to fifteen years! How does anyone get started reading philosophy? What can be made of this advice?


Oh, for the first time, I agree with H.. But just skip the Nietzsche part. Or start reading Aristotle when you are 85.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 08:38 am
@Twirlip,
What is Called Thinking is, to my mind, a very important book; certainly it is one of Heidegger's most readable and gives us some inkling of the power of his lectures felt by his own students.

In several of the essays in the book, Heidegger spends a great deal of time discussing how to read Nietzsche; he is convinced that Nietzsche's thinking is vitally important if we are to be able to rethink the major themes of western philosophy, or be able to think at all.

In earlier paragraphs, Heidegger discusses the richness of the Platonic dialogue from which so much can be drawn if one actively and meditatively reads, and then he asks us to do the same with Zarathustra (and other works by Nietzsche). Part in jest, but also part in serious earnest, he suggests reading The Philosopher (to borrow Aquinas's epithet), perhaps because his style (the writings are, after all, lecture notes) necessarily demands close and careful reading, especially in his discussion of being in Metaphysics.

In the context of his view of the challenge to thinking in modern age which permeates his series of lectures---indeed gives rise to them--- and of the consequent added difficulties in reading Nietzsche (or doing philosophy for that matter), one might agree with his advice to his students to postpone reading Nietzsche until they are prepared to read him.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 09:26 am
@jgweed,
Thanks!
Quote:
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Whereof one cannot be silent, thereof must one learn to speak.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 09:47 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;127440 wrote:
What is Called Thinking is, to my mind, a very important book; certainly it is one of Heidegger's most readable and gives us some inkling of the power of his lectures felt by his own students.

In several of the essays in the book, Heidegger spends a great deal of time discussing how to read Nietzsche; he is convinced that Nietzsche's thinking is vitally important if we are to be able to rethink the major themes of western philosophy, or be able to think at all.

In earlier paragraphs, Heidegger discusses the richness of the Platonic dialogue from which so much can be drawn if one actively and meditatively reads, and then he asks us to do the same with Zarathustra (and other works by Nietzsche). Part in jest, but also part in serious earnest, he suggests reading The Philosopher (to borrow Aquinas's epithet), perhaps because his style (the writings are, after all, lecture notes) necessarily demands close and careful reading, especially in his discussion of being in Metaphysics.

In the context of his view of the challenge to thinking in modern age which permeates his series of lectures---indeed gives rise to them--- and of the consequent added difficulties in reading Nietzsche (or doing philosophy for that matter), one might agree with his advice to his students to postpone reading Nietzsche until they are prepared to read him.


I always thought it hilarious when Hannah Arendt, the lover of that despicable Nazi, said that Heidegger had taught her how to think. Well. it certainly showed. The question of whether a bad person can be a philosopher originates in a book on Heidegger.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:21 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;127440 wrote:

In the context of his view of the challenge to thinking in modern age which permeates his series of lectures---indeed gives rise to them--- and of the consequent added difficulties in reading Nietzsche (or doing philosophy for that matter), one might agree with his advice to his students to postpone reading Nietzsche until they are prepared to read him.


Thanks for the background. But can you imagine not reading Nietzsche after the teacher advised against it? I would simply have to read it at that point.
"Don't eat that apple, kids."

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 11:23 PM ----------

kennethamy;127460 wrote:
I always thought it hilarious when Hannah Arendt, the lover of that despicable Nazi, said that Heidegger had taught her how to think. Well. it certainly showed. The question of whether a bad person can be a philosopher originates in a book on Heidegger.


Athens was not averse to slavery. Jefferson had slaves. Nazis, sexists, racists, etc. I take a text for what it's worth to me. I hear that O.J. could play some quality football.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:10 am
@Twirlip,
My philosophy advisor (unofficial) once suggested that I read Bergson or Schopenhauer rather than Nietzsche. Despite my immense admiration for her, I went to the university bookstore and bought three more books by Nietzsche.

I understand her point, and Heidegger's as well. Reading Nietzsche can be a heady experience, and an unprotected and untutored mind can certainly completely miss his meaning especially by taking passages out of context. Heidegger was discussing thinking about Being, and began his lectures with a prolonged discussion of Nietzsche as a prelude, or exercise, to returning in a more productive way to the early thinkers who, he felt, had a closer connexion with Being than the modern world.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 03:29 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;129029 wrote:
My philosophy advisor (unofficial) once suggested that I read Bergson or Schopenhauer rather than Nietzsche. Despite my immense admiration for her, I went to the university bookstore and bought three more books by Nietzsche.

I understand her point, and Heidegger's as well. Reading Nietzsche can be a heady experience, and an unprotected and untutored mind can certainly completely miss his meaning especially by taking passages out of context. Heidegger was discussing thinking about Being, and began his lectures with a prolonged discussion of Nietzsche as a prelude, or exercise, to returning in a more productive way to the early thinkers who, he felt, had a closer connexion with Being than the modern world.


I can certainly believe that he had good reasons. What's interesting to me is that Rorty uses Nietzsche against the part of Heidegger he objects to. Rorty sees Heidegger as an ascetic priest type, and also as yet another man who wanted to position himself as the first post-metaphysical thinker. Have you read Essays on Heidegger and Others? I love Rorty but I can see arguing both sides.
I guess what I'm saying is that Nietzsche is a potent philosopher. Ever see I Heart Huckabees? Nietzsche is also competition for Heidegger. Nietzsche seems to have been more of a joker, at least sometimes. Is my impression of Heidegger as a serious (grave) guy correct?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:45 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;129029 . Reading Nietzsche can be a heady experience, [/QUOTE wrote:


Now, that is not the part of the anatomy that I associate with reading Nietzsche.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:59 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;129170 wrote:
jgweed;129029 wrote:
Reading Nietzsche can be a heady experience,
Now, that is not the part of the anatomy that I associate with reading Nietzsche.


However that may be, jgweed did use the correct word:

Quote:
heady  
-adjective, head⋅i⋅er, head⋅i⋅est.

1. intoxicating: a heady wine.


Many people are intoxicated from reading Nietzsche. That, of course, does not help them think clearly about things, which, I believe, is what you were alluding to.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 06:16 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;129172 wrote:
However that may be, jgweed did use the correct word:



Many people are intoxicated from reading Nietzsche. That, of course, does not help them think clearly about things, which, I believe, is what you were alluding to.


Not exactly. And why add "clearly"?
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 06:42 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;127244 wrote:
I have a gullible tendency to take bad advice from great men. (When reading Godement's Algebra, I foolishly took his advice to forget all the mathematics I already knew, and take everything literally. Such a bad idea!)

In What is Called Thinking? (1954, English translation 1968), Part I, end of Lecture VI, Heidegger writes:

Is he joking? I may not have ten to fifteen years! How does anyone get started reading philosophy? What can be made of this advice?

What he says makes sense if you can see Nietzsche in the light of philosophy and a his times...He was a nut, but not so far from his own time which had a current of anti rationalism.. Worst of all, he spoke with the voice of authority, and was not, at least in one respect...He shared one quality with many philosophers...He did not grasp the essential human as is shown in our manifold relationships...He saw people as stick figures poorly drawn...Where is little baby super man, or little Mrs. Superman...His vision sprung right out of his absurd family situation, which was anything but normal or natural, and it is out of our natural ralationships that we have morality... So; while the young can treasure Nietzsche out of their terrible immorality and his support of it, their behavior and his support of it are both bizarre...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:30 pm
@Fido,
Fido;129180 wrote:
What he says makes sense if you can see Nietzsche in the light of philosophy and a his times...He was a nut, but not so far from his own time which had a current of anti rationalism.. Worst of all, he spoke with the voice of authority, and was not, at least in one respect...He shared one quality with many philosophers...He did not grasp the essential human as is shown in our manifold relationships...He saw people as stick figures poorly drawn...Where is little baby super man, or little Mrs. Superman...His vision sprung right out of his absurd family situation, which was anything but normal or natural, and it is out of our natural ralationships that we have morality... So; while the young can treasure Nietzsche out of their terrible immorality and his support of it, their behavior and his support of it are both bizarre...


I love seeing the bag names criticized sincerely, as you do here, but this is too reductive. Nietzsche is a bag of tools, not just this or that idea.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:33 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
His vision sprung right out of his absurd family situation, which was anything but normal or natural, and it is out of our natural ralationships that we have morality
I'm doomed, then!:eek:

As for Nietzsche: I have always been completely repelled by him, and when I do read him, it will probably be mainly out of a sense of duty, because of his profound influence (particularly on Heidegger, and via Heidegger). I certainly have no difficulty in believing that he would be a disastrous model to follow, if taken in isolation. It's just the ten to fifteen years of studying Aristotle that I worry about! Is there no less heroic prophlyactic against Nietzsche than that?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:39 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;129239 wrote:
I'm doomed, then!:eek:

As for Nietzsche: I have always been completely repelled by him, and when I do read him, it will probably be mainly out of a sense of duty, because of his profound influence (particularly on Heidegger, and via Heidegger).


Did you dislike the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil? I think "On the Prejudices of the Philosophers" is great stuff.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 08:40 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;129238 wrote:
I love seeing the bag names criticized sincerely, as you do here, but this is too reductive. Nietzsche is a bag of tools, not just this or that idea.

Some times people think they have a bag of tools all all they have is a bag of junk or knuckle busters...It is good to challenge thought, even the beliefs of ones times...His times needed some challenging...What made Nietzsche dangerous was what made him acceptible as a philosopher to so many, and that was his certainty, which was simply in error so much of the time...He was like Jesus, a man who talked as one who knows...Did he really know??? The more I know, the less Nietzsche seems to know... Why should my knowledge be in contradiction to his???
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 09:21 am
@Twirlip,
Many people, if they bother to read Nietzsche at all, pick up a copy of Zarathustra and think that THAT is Nietzsche. It is certainly one of the unique philosophical books in history, it may be in a sense, a compendium of his thinking up to that time, but it is by no stretch of the imagination an adequate view of his thinking or even of his style.

Unlike many traditional philosophers, his writing is not systematic in the sense, say, that each book covers one branch of philosophy and he is done with it; rather, it reflects a gradual unfolding of ideas and themes that reflects Nietzsche's own journey in thinking, and it is not always the most direct path that he follows. Far from being the bearer of certainty, Nietzsche, at least from my reading, is the opposite; not only does he challenge many of the philosophical assumptions from Plato to Hegel, but he also challenges his readers to think through the issues for themselves:think dangerously, he seems to say.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 10:16 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;129323 wrote:
Many people, if they bother to read Nietzsche at all, pick up a copy of Zarathustra and think that THAT is Nietzsche. It is certainly one of the unique philosophical books in history, it may be in a sense, a compendium of his thinking up to that time, but it is by no stretch of the imagination an adequate view of his thinking or even of his style.

Unlike many traditional philosophers, his writing is not systematic in the sense, say, that each book covers one branch of philosophy and he is done with it; rather, it reflects a gradual unfolding of ideas and themes that reflects Nietzsche's own journey in thinking, and it is not always the most direct path that he follows. Far from being the bearer of certainty, Nietzsche, at least from my reading, is the opposite; not only does he challenge many of the philosophical assumptions from Plato to Hegel, but he also challenges his readers to think through the issues for themselves:think dangerously, he seems to say.


I've found more recent translations of Nietzsche to be helpful as well. He's hard enough to read as it is! However, I haven't read enough of his work to dare comment here.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 01:29 pm
@Fido,
Fido;129317 wrote:
He was like Jesus, a man who talked as one who knows...


Sometimes he did. I agree. But sometimes he provided the reader with weapons to use against all philosophers, including himself. I like to read Nietzsche against Nietzsche. The best part of Nietzsche survives this.

---------- Post added 02-17-2010 at 02:31 PM ----------

Scottydamion;129335 wrote:
I've found more recent translations of Nietzsche to be helpful as well. He's hard enough to read as it is! However, I haven't read enough of his work to dare comment here.


I once had two different copies of The Birth of Tragedy. I read the good translation first. Picked up the second copy for a dollar. The second copy sucked. It matters.

---------- Post added 02-17-2010 at 02:35 PM ----------

jgweed;129323 wrote:
Many people, if they bother to read Nietzsche at all, pick up a copy of Zarathustra and think that THAT is Nietzsche.


Zarathustra is indeed off-putting. No matter that it's a work of genius. It's flawed as a literary work. That's just an opinion of course. Nietzsche is often, in my view, both loved and hated for the wrong reasons.
 
 

 
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