Saturday, May 9, 2009

Essay Exam

The exam will be evaluated as two essays of about two pages each(formatted the same as the first paper). The guidelines for evaluation will be rigorously applied. Because the essays bear a direct relationship to the texts we read and our discussion of them, I expect the essays to reflect an understanding of the basic concepts in hermeneutics as espoused in the texts and as developed in our discussion. This being a philosophy exam, the questions are also geared to require that you go beyond what we have said in class and display your ability to philosophize in ”the continental style,” using the text to ground your discourse. You may, of course, converse with your colleagues about the questions (How could it be otherwise, given our discussions of hermeneutical conversation?), but the essays must be comprised of your own thoughts in your own words.

Papers are due “in the box” by Friday, May 15, at 3 p.m.

Choose two of the following, and put the question you are responding to at the top of the first page.

1.Gadamer, as we know, was Heidegger’s most influential student and arguably his philosophical heir. With that in mind, discuss the relationship between a central concept in Gadamer’s hermeneutics, namely hermeneutical experience, and the aspect of Heidegger’s project that he called “undergoing an experience with language.”

2.Explain the following two quotes from Truth and Method and discuss the light they shed on one another and on the relationship between question and experience they imply.

“Every sudden idea has the structure of a question” (329).

“It is clear that the structure of the question is implicit in all experience” (325).

3. On p. one, Davies claims that “philosophical hermeneutics is philosophical in that it strives to discern objectivities within the subjective voice.” That claim is rather theoretical. But Gadamer, I believe, turns theory into practice with his very practical and basic guideline for hermeneutical conversation: “ To conduct a conversation means to be conducted by the object to which the partners in the conversation are directed” (330). You may choose either quote as the theme of your essay, explaining it and discussing its significance, using ( if you wish) the other as a backdrop.

4 .As I suggested in class, I believe that though Gadamer’s hermeneutics might be romantic it is also very practical, by which I mean doable. Assuming the “doability” of Gadamer’s recommendation in the following quote, identify and explain the difficulties involved in putting the recommendation into practice and discuss some possible ways of overcoming these difficulties:

“It is not the art of arguing that is able to make a strong case out of weak one, but the art of thinking that is able to strengthen what is said by referring to the object” (331).

5. In our discussion of Gadamer’s essay, “To What Extent Does Language Preform Thought?” I mentioned Kenneth Burke’ observation that “language does your thinking for you.” Grounding your response in Gadamer’s text, discuss the degree to which you think Gadamer’s argument successfully counters Burke’s observation?

Note: Please feel free to post questions of clarification on the blog, and I will do my best to respond to them in a timely fashion (beginning Sunday evening when I return), without, of course, giving away too much.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why do we have language?

Going through this reading a second time, I feel that Gadamer is saying that language does preform thought, but that this in no way inhibits the possibility of all that can be thought (and maybe is even the source of our infinite possibility within language). It is almost impossible for us to think of a world were we don't think in language, but even then, we don't think solely in language. We all have had a pre-linguistic experience where we used gestures, facial expressions, and movement (?) before we ever began to speak in a language, and we continue to do so even with the presence of language. Furthermore, we are capable of having experiences which are not linguistic in nature (thought is not entirely linguistic, at least it doesn't need to be fundamentally speaking). We are capable of having linguistic experiences only because we are capable of experiencing the world in the first place.

Regardless, now that we have language it almost seems to make thought a bit too "easy" (because we tend to look for a word and fill it in when we need it). By using language (trying to manipulate it into something it isn't) in such a way we really begin to worry that language may already be the source of all our thoughts, in that we cannot think of anything beyond the use of language. Does language preform thought/Are we doomed to think what we were predetermined (by language) to already think? Gadamer however says that this concern is simply not an issue because language really doesn't limit us but in reality makes it a possibility in the first place for us to have any meaningful thought. I found this to pull from Heidegger in that the words can point, or hint, at something that isn't necessarily in the words being used. Sure language seems limited but it really isn't, language is possibility. "Listen to the logos and not to me". By listening to the logos we see that language cannot be forced into something it is not. This would limit it because then it wouldn't be language, but rather what we hope language becomes. Language does preform thought because it has to, it knows what is going to be said and all that can ever be said, and through this it allows us to speak infinitely about a subject because it opens up the avenues for conversation, and thought, to occur. We need language or else we are incapable of forming any thought beyond experience.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I think that this might possibly be my favorite reading of anything that we have read on language. Everything was well laid out and explained, yet being very insightful and informative. My favorite quote from the text is, Plato, “the essence of thought the interior dialogue of the soul with itself.” Part of the reason that I like this so much is the fact that for the most part it is true. A person feeds himself or herself with knowledge every day, or at least this may be a little haughty to say, we philosophy majors do, just to converse with ourselves about what it was we just experienced or learned. Talking about language and the souls reminds me of a quote that I read last week, that I think adds something my liking of Plato’s quote. “To speak two languages, means a person possesses two souls.” Second part of the article that I really enjoyed was the fact that Gadamer pointed out that anyone can spit back out facts on a specific question being asked to him or her. However, that does not make them smart. It only proves that they can spit back out facts, they are not using questioning correctly or language correctly.


“One would want to admit rather that every linguistic experience of the world is experience of the world, not experience of language.”(495)Language is the means to how we understand the world – understand others – understand ourselves; it is not experience of the words but rather experience of the what the words hold or imply implicitly within. Through experience, we come to ask questions. Questions are implicit in experience. And to the extent that language preforms thought, the same language that one asks questions in, then ones way to form a thought of a question by means of language is preformed by the end result it wants to accomplish. When we undergo an experience with language, we do not undergo an experience with the conventions of the language, but rather what the word could open up in terms of possibilities in the world. Language influences our thoughts, but take away the world and language is nothing more than empty utterances.

We think in terms of language, without language we would have no way to communicate our thoughts to others, and maybe even our thoughts to ourselves. We are able to experience this infinite dialogue within ourselves, because of the possibilities of what language and the words hold implicitly within, that of questions and we experience the world but without language we would be nothing more than animals. Language allows us to form thoughts, indefinite as they are lead one on an experience into the unknown. Why? Because the word holds more than just the letters one uses to spell or pronounce it with, the word holds what ones thoughts are and what one’s way of experiencing the world are like. We experience the world, by doing this we ask questions because we can think and language allows us to speak to one another but means of more than just conventions.

Thinking in Language

I'm going to disagree with Cameron here. Language does not create a finite world - the world is finite with or without language. The fact that language, however, constructs the world is what is important. Language transcends the world and also creates the world. Whatever is, is in language, and whatever is not, is also in language, but not in the world. Thus, language constructs and at the same time deconstructs (negates) things as they appear to us in the world (phenomenology). This is why language is infinite - it doesn't "create" the world, it creates the way we understand the world, and we understand the world through language, and in this way, language transcends itself and, hence, is infinite. This is how language "preforms thought". Thinking only occurs in language - we think in language. At the same time, language doesn't necessarily "think for us" (it can, and at time might, but it doesn't always). Language defines the limitations of what can and cannot be said, or thought, rationally, about a specific transcendent truth. 

Does Language preform Thought?

Gadamer seems to suggest that yes, language preforms thought. He talks about how people are incapable of having thoughts without words. He says "We think with words. To think is to think something with oneself; and to think something with oneself is to say something to oneself" (491). This passage shows that people use language even on the nearly subconscious level and that language seems to be unavoidable. People are born with it and it's a tool that comes naturally to them to use.

infinitely cool

John, I think I can conceptualize the problem you are having with infinite language. When I read the reading I thought about it in terms of math. For example, words are mere letters. Let the letters each represent a differnt number. Now that being said, there is an infinite number of possible words for us to use. I don't know if this answers your question (perhaps my impression of your question was entirely differnt than yours...than again, it is isn't it). What I found interesting or at least difficult was trying to imagine experienceing the world without language. I know that at some point early on in our life we are without language, but I find it interesting to try and imagine experiencing the world absent of language.

possibilities of dialogue are infinite

To take a stab at John's problem I am going to look real quick at what I think Gadamer means by language being infinite. For Gadamer language creates a finite world for us in that we can only understand or even think about that which can be expressed in language. In this way language becomes an ideology because the world is now trapped within the confines of the way our language allows us to examine, understand, and speak about the world around us. It forms the basis of our thoughts and creates the way in which we develop value judgments about ideas and things in the world by the way in which they are understood through language. Yet at the same time the possibilities are infinite in that given the lexicon of language there are an infinite compilation of words to create and infinite amount of phrases and ideas to understand the world even in it's finiteness.

Faithful Gadamer

The question posed by Gadamer is whether thought preforms language. The danger in such a conception is that if such is the case we have no choice in where language leads us globally and are doomed to destruction caused by industrialization and planetary abuses. Gadamer says that "... because this dialogue is infinite, because this orientation to things, given in the pre-formed schemas of discourse, enters into our spontaneous process of coming to an understanding both with one andother and with ourselves, there is opened to us the infinity of what we understand in general and what we can intellectually appropriate"(493).

What I'm having a hard time understanding is how are we capable of infinite dialogue? Obviously, Gadamer can't be speaking individually. Is this a kind of Hegelian interpretation of dialogues in the form of Geist? That's the interpretation that I'm taking to the right one, but I want to insure I'm not mistaken. The other interpretation that I can conceive of is that the possibilities of dialogue are infinite. My problem with either of these is that I don't see or I missed the foundation for the claim.

For me the only reasonable way to assert and justify this presumption would be to develop a certain concept that was unexpressable (how you would express it would be difficult, though) and show that language could not get there naturally. Now, in Gadamer's case, if Gadamer is referring to the capacity for us to reconceptualize, again, this would be Hegelian, I think, and find new possibilities for all possible concepts in that, I think he has a better argument. This kind of argument seems to be illustrated in "... the mediation of an experience pre-formed by language that we grow up in our world, does not remove the possibilities of critique"(495). This is the famous Hegelian thesis, antithesis, synthesis notion. However, even this seems to have a predetermined destination. While the argument can be said to have more leniency in formulation of new conceptions, I don't see that all possibilities are possible through it.


I am excited to hear from Gadamer how free we really are. He describes the problem at hand of the chance of a primordial falsity to our experience of the world. This is possible because of the extent to which we are bound by language. Our thought is shaped by the words we know. Simultaneously, our existence is an ongoing self-dialogue which is a "constant going beyond oneself and [returning] to oneself" (492). Some theories propose that we are truly imprisoned within the particular schematization formed by the conversation we learn from birth. Yet Gadamer says boldly that "there are no limits to the interior dialogue of the soul with itself" (493). He says we have the ability and the potential to say everything in words and there can be a universality to what we say.
At first thought, I am amazed to think of the freedom we have to express what we may not even understand in our language. This links to Heidegger's idea that we are able to be authentic at any time. It would seem we posses the power to go further than we would expect given our language capabilities into who we really are. How is this possible? What is happening when the dialogue between our soul and itself reaches beyond the limits of what language affords? Is this possible because it is afforded by experience, and we simply don't have words to describe our experience? To what extent does our experience preceed our words and our understanding of ourselves?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Undergoing Understanding

So much could be said about what is happening in conversation and in the interpretation of language. What first strikes me is that understanding is a process of coming to an agreement about an object, not "getting inside the other person and reliving their experience" (345). Coming to this agreement then happens through conversation, which has a life of its own. Understanding is a process that "happens to us", says Gadamer. What one undergoes in engaging in conversation toward understanding is like being catechized into a new something, a new world of understanding. The hermeneutical paradox is that clarity and understanding is greatest when understanding is interrupted from in normal, everyday understanding of itself. Similar to Hiedegger's notion that within language, the process of understanding comes from the breaking down of assumptions, the death of one aspect that gives birth to a new, more truthful perspective. A person must make them selves vulnerable, and in Kierkegaardian form, resign themselves existentially to thier perpetual lack of understanding. The true conversationalist must let go of himself and allow language to take hold of him. He can do this because he realizes how weak he is compared to language, interpretation and converstation. Every view he has has been constructed by him based on the world he has been brought up in, and so his view is limited to the terms he is used to. Each person has the power to manipulate and control language for their purposes, in every act of translation or "understanding". But if someone truly desires to understand authentically, they have to have the how of their understanding always before them. Gadamer calls this a "constant renunciation". The difficulty seems to enter when one must make decisions about the meaning of something while still being resigned to how they are understanding.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Gadamer talks about how a “fundamental conversation is never one that we want to conduct.”(345) But why does he use the word “want” and not “can”? So is he saying that a conversation that “is” being conducted could be bring about the type of conversation where it could lead one to something unfamiliar? I just found it interesting he didn’t say “can”. When a conversation is underway, the type of conversation Gadamer is concerned with, one does not need to understand the person from the inside, trying to undergo the same experience they underwent. Rather, they come to agree upon the object of discussion.

When translation is used, there will always be the gap between the original word and the new context it has taken up. It seems that the gap between the translation of the word, from language to language and the understanding of a word, from person to person, would be somewhat of the same. Because the original language holds something it can only contain and the person with the experience of something, trying to describe it in words to another (in the same language) would seem to lose a part of the whole that was present in its original use. The talk about the common language, seems to go with what we were talking about last week, a common language is established in the conversation and cannot be pre-established. And by finding this common language, it is used as a tool for attaining an understanding between two people in a ‘real’ conversation.

Language as the Medium

“Language is the middle ground in which understanding and agreement concerning the objects take place between people.” People especially as pointed out in the whole translator part of the essay. Two people cannot talk about the same thing in the same thing. Something is lost form what they are trying to convey to one another, and is almost impossible when there is a translator. An objecting is passing from one person’s conception of it, thought a person that misses something possibly because of translation, and the translator has to pass it to another person on the other side getting his own interpretation of what is being said. Conversations are two people understanding each other. They fall into conversation they do not conduct it. Conducting a conversation means people are in control of the of it, which is obviously false. Because if people are open and in a good conversation it can take them anywhere.

Conducting vs being conducted

I thought it was really interesting that Gadamer talks about the conversation that conducts its subjects as being the conversation most worthy of spending time on. It goes along with what we've talked about earlier in the class about how the conversation guides by the subject of the question and the way of questioning. On top of the conversation that the subject conducts being most time-worthy, Gadamer says it's also the one that is most preferred by the interlocutors. Could this be because there is a playfulness to having the subject of the conversation guide itself through the language of the conversation?

all i need is some good conversation

Conversation is discussed in great detail in today's reading. Accordingly, conversation and translation are not entirely different things as one may suspect. "As in conversation one tries to get inside the other person in order to understand his point of view, so the translator also tries to get right inside the author." (pg 348). I admit that initially I saw little difference between the two things, conversation and translation. However after reading the text I was able to make the connection. I did have one question after reading the material. in conversation, when we are trying to understand what another person has said, when we think we have understood what has been said, can we truly claim to know what the other person means? I don't think we can Know beyond doubt what others mean (epically during exchanging of intangible ideas), but I think that the role of conversation is key to what being human is all about, an essential part of being human.

Golly Gadamer!

In this section, Gadamer talks about conversation, about what it means to be able to have a conservation. He writes that a conversation can't be structured, can't be intentional. It's something that comes about at a time when it is unexpected. Conversation leads those who converse. His description reminded me of Heidegger's "Dialogue with a Japanese," in that both parties have to be open and receptive to hearing what the other has to say, in order to move forward and understand each other and the object of discourse together.

Gadamer also writes that translation is not conversation - something of the original message, the original meaning, is lost via the translator. This got me thinking - isn't all conversation merely translation? Of course, the goal of hermeneutics, as I understand it, is to eliminate this translation - to explain how two parties can come to understand each other, to really know what the other person is saying, to enable themselves to think beyond themselves and put them in the person's position mentally. But is this ever possible? Isn't there always some sort of translation that needs to take place? Of course there is. But the way in which this translation is eliminated is through the transcendence of language. We come to understand the other through language by transcending the words of the language, and realize the concepts, the ideas, the meaning expressed by the Other. 


Hermeneutics is at work in translation from one language to the other in a way that is different from understanding from one to the other. The difference comes from several different points the first of which is that the translator is making the attempt to become the author in order to produce the most faithful translation. This attempt to be in the mood of the author is different than other hermeneutic encounters because it is not about creating an understanding or a strengthening of an argument. Instead it is about reproduction of a view point. The second most crucial difference comes from the differences in language. The move from one language to another is a changing of worlds from one perspective of perception to another. Due to this change in perspectives the translator can not merely translate the words but must rework the them to convey the spirit of the words to convey the same ideas in the new world it is trying to be understood in. With these in mind it really makes me wonder about philosophy translation. What am I missing and what important thoughts could have been lost by my inability to understand other languages.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For Tuesday

Intensive Re-reading of Gadamer 337-341.
Careful Reading of 345-351.
Suggested Post: Conversation and Translation

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"we do not remain what we were."

Questioning allows one to gain a greater understanding and possibly even find the answer they are desperately looking for. Hidden within the question, the question which is directed toward establishing an answer is the answer. While one questions and reconstructs their questions to conform to the meaning of the text, the understanding of the answer passes through one’s question to find the answer. And this “is what gives the hermeneutic experience its true dimension.”(337) a question cannot be asked, if from the beginning (before the question even emerges) there is no preconceived, implicit, ‘understanding’ to the answer, behind the question itself. For one may not know what one already knows. And the possibilities of the understanding of the thing are brought forth through questioning. To test what is not yet seen as the possibility of the understanding to the answer. And once we come to an understanding of a concept, the standpoint at which we are thrown upon, to conceive of its true identity turns into pure illusion.

The relationship between question and understanding is similar to the relationship between language and thinking. Gadamer says “Language is so uncannily near to our thinking and when it functions it is so little an object that it seems to conceal its own being from us.”(340) one’s understanding of the question, seems to conceal within the question itself, the very understanding it is striving to attain. And the conversation that is being brought about by the questioning, requires a common language but this cannot be pre-established, it can only be sought out and formed through the conversation itself. Once this common language is sought out, the possibility of understanding, something which may be already implicitly understood (within the question itself from the particular individual), arises and is achieved only when: both persons realize the ‘call of conscience’ and ‘authenticity’ is being portrayed. For then and only then does the transformation of a particular individual emerge as a possibility to be different from what we were.

If questions are implicit in experience, can experience be implicit in a question?

Fusion of Horizons

Gadamer continues his discussion of questioning in Truth and Method. He talks about the fusion of horizons. Gadamer talks about the way in which understanding comes from questioning, so he tries to show how one must bring the historical into the present. He calls this action the fusion of horizons. This is the first place that the fusion of horizons has been mentioned in class. It's a really interesting concept, especially considering that questioning must take place in order to come to a place in the conversation where the horizons of both interlocutors may fuse.

Questioning Questions

In this passage, Gadamer tackles the issue of Questioning - especially in regards to questioning a text. What struck me was his claim that we cannot "reconstruct the question to which the transmitted text is the answer. But we shall not be able to do this without going beyond the historical horizon it presents us with. (337)" I take this as meaning that anytime we read a text, we gain insight into a question that has been historically asked - and the book is at once the answer to and extension of that question. It then becomes our job to tease out the question; but we can never really do this and at the same time remain true to the question, because questioning is an open activity and the question-as-it-was when the text was written is different from the question-as-it-is now. So we must broaden our horizons and hermenutically interpret and ask the right questions of the text, to make sure that the text speaks to us correctly. We must enter into a dialectical conversation with the text. We must go beyond mere reconstruction. Whenever we interpret works of past, make assumptions about the questions being asked, we must at the same time be aware of our own inescapable prejudices and beliefs. Gadamer writes, "Questions always bring out the undetermined possibilities of a thing." By this, I take him to mean that it is through questioning, in a Socratic, Platonic style, that we come to understand thinks in the world. Perhaps one can call this an Ontological statement - but I don't think that Gadamer intends it as such. He means not that we question phenomena and then learn of it's true being, but rather, that we question ourselves, we question concepts and ideas, we question the validity and meaning of texts as if they were individuals with thoughts and ideas and an historical orientation. This, for Gadamer, is when humans are most authentic, most real - when they are questioning. Not in a general sense, but in a very deliberate, intentional, and human sense. Thus, in is in questioning that problems become realized and "solved". 

Ok, so I think I have the wrong reading

To What Extent Does Language Preform Thought?

This reading tried to ask the question whether language gives us a prejudice. Did language shape the way we exist in the world now? "None will deny that language influences our thought. (491)" Gadamer says that language does influence our thoughts, and that when we think to ourselves we are in effect saying something to oneself. In dialogue we are able to constantly go beyond oneself and then return to our opinions and points of view. It is through this language, with ourselves and others, that we begin to open up different domains of experience. However, Gadamer states that it is all too rare that we actually speak what we really wanted to say. In a conversation this is primarily what we are trying to accomplish so that we can "understand both with another and with ourselves (493)". By doing this correctly it is possible to truly express everything in words, trying to understand what the other is saying and how much you would agree with it. I think the limitation in language is that it is always speaking within language. Gadamer points out that Nietzsche stated God is the creator of grammar, in such a way that we can never get behind grammar. There is some talk about language without the use of words, especially in terms of experience and speaking through gestures, between different languages, and poetically. My question could be on the role of language when people experience the same thing. Could shared experiences transcend the need for language? If we both experience the same thing do we even need to talk about it, or is this just adding another dimension of interpretation that isn't present in the experience itself?

So...what's a question?

"To understand a question means to ask it. To understand an opinion is to understand it as the answer to a question." (pg 338). I think this passage sums up well what Gadamer is getting at. In regards to questions, we have an understanding of the question itself in order to even ask it. If we did not understand the question, I guess we could not express it. I think I've done this before. there have been times when I was stumped on a problem and I could not even ask a question with being too broad. I think too, that the sentiment also applies to very broad questions and how they often lead to other questions. In a sense we didn't fully understand the question and thus asked a lame version of the question in hopes of understanding the question. On the other hand there are opinions, which are answers to questions. This makes sense to me too I think, but I do wonder about answering someone else's question with another question. Is that still an opinion? The example I had in mind was Socrates answering his questioners with another question in the Platonic dialogues. Thoughts anyone?

Truth and Method

The thought of truly questioning questioning has never actually occurred to me. Questioning understanding and knowing is a given when a person is starting out doing philosophy, challenging what it is you think you know. To question how it is I understand people questioning things properly and how I go about questioning, is informing me that to do certain kinds if not all kinds of philosophy, philosophy needs to be looked at in this way. “There can be no testing or potential attitude to questioning, for questioning is not the positing, but the testing of possibilities.” “in the successful conversation they both come under the influence of the truth of the object and are thus bound to one another..” The way that I am not understanding questioning after reading this is the fact that questioning needs to be done with another; through conversation. Whether a reading or a person we are questioning it and having a conversation with it, that will in turn answer or not answer our given question if asked properly.

“Language is so uncannily near to our thinking and when it functions it is so little an object that is seems to conceal its own being from us.” – Is passage implying that our own thinking is a being, and that language is a different being other than us? I know we have talk in class that language has logos and that is what we should be listening to but is logos a being?

For Thursday

Questioning the question. . . more deeply. . . as an ontological opporunity for understanding. Add Gadamer 337-341 as part of the mix.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Experience, question, and opinion

Gadamer begins by explaining that what we experience is really what brings about what we know about truth. "We cannot have experience without asking questions (325)." Experience is essentially the answer to a question, even if we didn't know we had a question to begin with. By being open to an experience we are in fact allowing ourselves to undergo change from what we have already known. By being open to experience we open ourselves out to something that is completely new, without being open to experience we live in a life that is boring, predictable, mundane - we don't ask any questions about the possibility of experiences that we have yet to experience. However, this isn't to say that once we experience something we immediately know all the answers (how could it be? we would know everything after only experiencing it the a single time (I am thinking of love and how it can be experienced but each subsequent experience is bound to be completely different)).

This experiencing of experience (redundant, I know) can happen in our everyday lives as well. This is why we also need to be open to the possibilities of existence that are constantly present around us, even if we essentially do the same things day after day. When something stands out for us in a particular way (maybe a sunrise) we gain meaning from it, and through this meaning we see that the experience itself was really a kind of revelation. "In order to be able to ask, one must want to know, which involves knowing that one does not know (326)." Thus, so that we are able to remain open to experience we need to be able to know we do not know. By knowing that we don't know, we remain open to experience (and by being open to experience we see it as an answer to some unknown question).

This leads to the problem (?) of opinion, which undermines the fact that we really don't know. "It is opinion that suppresses questions (329)." I think this means to say that when we gain knowledge, we begin to make up our decisions about what actually constitutes that "knowledge", and in this we already have a bias about what knowledge might be for us. By already thinking we know, we are not understanding that we really do not know, and therefore closing ourselves to the possibility of being open to experience. This is where a question comes up. If we have opinions how do we reconcile them with the ability to have meaningful experiences? If we already have opinions (I am thinking of these as a sort of bias possibly) then how can we be unbiased in our experience? A possible answer could be that by having an opinion, yet still being open to experience, you can see that there is a difference in such an opposition. This difference can still be an answer to a question, but then you define how much of it will influence your opinion thereafter.

Discussion I saw as essentially this inter-relationship between experience, the question, and opinion. "To conduct a conversation means to allow oneself to be conducted by the object to which the partners in the conversation are directed (330)." It can occur internally or with others, but the key still seems to be an openness to the possibility of its occurrence and a working together, or by yourself, to reach...
Questioning sometimes brings with it the “notion” of ignorance and possibly even lack of intelligence. It seems that a lot of people in class or in everyday life are afraid to ask questions, it seems that sometimes that if a question were to be asked one would seem almost stupid for asking it. “it is more difficult to ask questions than to answer them.”(326) questioning, at least the platonic way, broadens the ideology of what a question is. If something is going to be revealed to us in a conversation, questions are an essential part of the discourse, they are fundamental. To ask questions opens the door for obtaining knowledge, not previously held. Questioning brings with it the possibility for opening a new door, insofar as exploring an unfamiliar territory where nothing but a question could lead one into. It is a particular lack of knowledge that leads to particular questions, which lead one into the openness of conversation. The desire or passion is the driving force to know, and this passion, of this particular lack of knowledge to ask questions, brings within oneself questions not yet asked.

Philosophy – the love of wisdom. Questioning is essential to the philosopher, because the philosopher is engaged in dialectic of sorts and the philosopher strives to obtain, to explore, to fulfill one’s conscience passion of knowing what isn’t yet answered. The philosopher is a tester, such as the Socratic dialogues show; the Socratic questions were testing the validity of the supposition. And by testing i.e. asking questions, one is strengthening, working toward, the truth of the matter. The very nature of the relationship between the questions and answers show what dialectic really is.

(1)When does the questioner’s question turn into a hindrance for one on their dialectic experience?
(2)Also, what might constitute to a more rewarding experience, that dialectic which involves solely one’s self or that dialectic which involves another person(s)?
(3)The Socratic dialogues, at least that I know of, always have more than one person; but, Hegel’s dialectic is that of thinking, does one sort of dialectic precede the other?

Gadamer and Open-ness

Gadamer's description of openness reminded me of our earlier discussions on the call of conscience and even authenticity. Two quotes that I found useful, "The emergence of the question opens up, as it were, the being of the object" (326) and "Discourse that is intended to reveal something requires that thing be opened up by the question" (326), just as conscience acts to bring one closer to an authentic Self it seems that openness is a way for knowledge to bring itself closer to an authentic knowledge-Self. Open-ness is required for every step in the process of questioning; one must remain open in order to perceive of what one does not understand and then be able to ask a question about precisely what one does not understand and question whether or not that question is worth the question. The question must have direction. All predispositions must be discarded when questioning, "But if what is undecided is not distinguished, or not correctly distinguished from those predispositions that are effectively held, then it is not brought into the open and nothing can be decided" (327).

I am not sure how experience relates to the other three elements–and I'm sure it does–at least not with this reading of Gadamer.

The experience of asking questions

It seems like the experience can only be had by being something that must cause a person to ask a question. The question can be neither too open nor too closed. The experience frequently comes as a sudden idea. The experience can show us that we are in fact finite beings and that we know that we do not know (325). The true experience makes a person open to the ideas and opinions of the other. This happens frequently through a questioning that, as I have said before is open, yet has direction.

Something that I would like to know more about would be conversation. I thought we had talked in class about conversation not being an everyday occurrence, yet Gadamer seems to find significance in any conversation that leaves someone open to the possibility of seeing something in something.

Existential Questioning

I find a lot of what Gadamer trying to tell me about the four core concepts to be very factual and relevant to my life. This weekend I had an interesting run in with questioning; which if I am correct in my understanding brought about authenticness. It wasn’t regular questioning it was existential questioning in my opinion. My friend was having a breakdown about how it was that he got into Drake when his back up school was community college. How it was that everyone around him didn’t seem like they struggled at all doing any of the homework. This was all brought about by the fact that a teacher wasn’t giving him a grade he thinks he deserves in a class. Because he feels like he challenges the professor too much. (326)-made me think of him and my weekend. “Contrary to general opinion, it is more difficult to ask questions than to answer them.” –To ask a question causes the questioner to come to grief. My friend is probably what I would consider to be a typical guy, not much is going on everything is fine; I was surprised to find him asking such hard questions of himself and how much anxiety it caused him once he finally asked them. I walked in one the conversation underway. But I’m sure it was something like this quote on pg. 331 “It is always the speaker who is challenged until the truth of what is under discussion finally emerges.” The person talking to him before finally got it out of him, I’m sure the conversation was really casual up until he finally started asking the questions of himself and I walked into the room.
Questioning causes an openness that in turn causes anxiety. Why is this, this way? Why can’t I change it? It causes us to realize our potential or at least ask someone else at 3 am who may think can help us with our questioning problems.
The question I had that I think would further help my development on the reading would be. Once we realize how anxiety and questioning and knowing where it is coming from, is it a good or bad thing to hold on to it. Should we get rid of it try to solve the problem as soon as we find out where it is coming from? Or is it possible to have anxiety that is not fixable?

Faithful Gadamer

The art of the question in the substratum of the dialectic is to point out the thisness or thatness of something and ask what it is that we've named in the process of giving a title to it. The question then opens up the object of what is named so that we may peer into it and get direction from it. As illustrated by the text, the Platonic dialogues do just this, but they also indicate the difficulty that such a process can invite. For while it may appear to be an easy task to open up some named thing in order to get direction from it, only the right types of questions will yield beneficial results from an investigation between two people with the named thing in the middle of them.

From the thing in the middle to be opened up we each have perspectives of that thing and can speak to our perspectives of it. However, when we want to learn from the thing what it is, we must rely upon the other (and their perspective) and listen closely to what they say because they are the ones that have something new to add as their perspective is different from ours. This doesn't mean that we can't learn something new from our own perspective, in my opinion, if we haven't done a lot of work on the named thing and trying to understand what it is. However, if we've done the work, then only the other can help to shed new light on what it is that we might have missed because of our particularness.

Finally, the difficulty of the question resides in that what we must ask is something that we must recognize that we do not know. Because we don't know it, asking questions about it, the right kinds of questions, becomes the most important part.

My question... I'm not sure I understood the truth of questions and how they become true. I hope we spend some time here and mull over this a bit.

In my Opinion

Know thyself, what does it really mean to know thyself? Socrates and for that matter Plato might say that the only true knowing is knowing you know nothing. Out of our ignorance perhaps, we question. However, Gadamer notes that not all types of questioning are pure. A question has to have an openness to it if it is to be pure. However, there is something that stands in the way of having an openness to questioning. "It is the power of opinion against which it is so hard to obtain an admission of ignorance. It is opinion that suppresses questions" (pg 329). I found this interesting because of the relationship between opinion and questions. On one hand I can see how opinion can be the downfall of questioning. I personally know people who dismiss the entire field of philosophy because (in their opinion) they have life "figured out" and there is no need for asking "silly" questions.

Gadamer's Truth and Method

In this passage, I feel like Gadamer is trying to work within the parameters of Heidegger's Phenomenology to produce a method, a way of inquiring and talking about how we act in, construct, and exist in the world. I understood this best when he spoke of openness. There is something about openness which reminded me of the call of conscience, insofar as it is a genuine, authentic experience. Gadamer writes, "To ask a question means to bring into the open. The openness of what is in question consists in the fact that the answer is not settled." This is why the Platonic dialogues are such excellent examples of openness - the goal of the questioner, Socrates, is to bring into the open questions which have no set, determined answers. It is only through a dialectic, which requires more than one person, that an answer can be found (and perhaps that answer is, or cannot be, the same for every two people involved in a similar kind of dialectic). So we see a Hegelian dialectic on a smaller scale - negative and positive judgments back and forth, with some parts of each being preserved as the dialectic continues, in order to reach a fuller understanding of the topic of the question. Hence it is an authentic experience. I missed, in all this, where experience comes into play, however. While the questioning, the openness, and the conversion form an experience, I fail to see how experience, in general informs the other three aspects. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

For Tuesday

The reading is from Gadamer's most important and influential work, Truth and Method, pp.325-33. It may be found on our e-reserves site, under "Gadamer Truth and Method 5." As I said in class, although it is relatively short, this section is rich and full, and requires a careful reading and probably re-reading. What it offers is a clear and precise discussion of important aspects of four core concepts in Gadamer's hermeneutics: experience, questioning, open-ness, and conversation. In addition to coming to class ready to interpret and ask questions on all four concepts, I would like you to post on what you understand to be the substance and significance of at least one of them, and a question that would help you understand that concept further.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heidegger and Hermeneutics

What is distinctive about hermeneutics as a philosophy is that it is interested in the experience that can happen in the encounter with text. It is not a method or an abstract theory that is concrete; a formula set in stone for interpreting difficult material. Rather it is constantly changing, because it looks at the relationship between the text and the reader (or the music and the listener). Because it is concerned with discerning objectivities manifested within particulars of each experience, it is different in every case. It is interested in the place in which that person is viewing the text, what is his mood, why is it that way? This connects to Heidegger's notion of the possibility of a meaningful experience with language, and specifically that our mood brings us the experience we will have. It seems to me though that Hiedegger may be missing the extent to which language itself shapes our experience and even our mood, and therefore rather than percieving yourself to be a certain way because of your relationship to a text you encounter, the hermenuetic itself, the experience, is shaped by the language you use. Heidegger sees the everyday experience to be something to get past, to overcome by grasping authenticity. Does hermeneutic fit into the category of the everyday or is it a part of becoming more one's 'Self'?

Faithful Davey

I've always appreciated what I considered to be the task of hermeneutics. What this reading did for me is open up a whole new dimension of what philosophical hermeneutics does. Of the theses offered, I really appreciated the first and the third theses in the text we read today.

The first: to recognize interpretation and difference as being crucial to expanding one's own experience or being is fascinating, troubling, and exciting at the same time. I really like that hermeneutics sees this as an opportunity rather than a failure of a text. Within this shifting or sliding interpretation there's room for deviance that can alter the meaning of a text and open up whole avenues of unexplored territory. Very nice, indeed.

The third: I never really thought about utilizing frustration with texts to determine something about what Being is in its finitude. This is like the ultimate philosophical project. I see the potential in this kind of attitude to really go at the heart of what it means to be, or at least show us a side of Being that we couldn't get elsewhere.

I wish I could have read this whole document... No time... No time... No time... Does that every stop?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I love hermeneutics *swoon*

Davey talks about his idea of philosophical hermeneutics in the very first paragraph that we read. He talks about it being an “interpretation of interpretation” and how its philosophical way comes out of its trying to obtain objectives through being subjective.

My favorite part of Gadamer’s philosophy is the fusion of horizons which Davey talks about in Thesis 4. The neutralization of one’s experience in order to meet the other in a dialogue is the best part! It seems like a really hard concept to be able to put away one’s own experiences in such a way that the person can be fully open to an understanding of what the other is trying to convey. The philosophy of hermeneutics really opens up the world to people who are willing to engage in it.

Unquiet Understanding

Davey describes hermeneutics as the "interpretation of interpretation", it is about the first hand experience in experience with the Other-people who have acquired through different lives a different understanding. Hermeneutics is about understanding differences and understanding the experience of encountering differences. One of my favorite sentences in Thesis Three,"These experiences are not sought out but a reader risks them in the encounter with a text". It is not about simply what is written on the page by an author but attempts to go beyond the process of conceptualizing ideas and theories. Hermeneutics as a philosophy is interesting, it offers a way to a deeper understanding.


From this reading and in general from our discussion on language I can't help but be reminded of good old heraclitus. Hermeneutics from my limited understanding deals with interpretation. Granted, interpretations that are always changing and subjective. Moreover, I think that Hermeneutics revels something about communication and how we communicate despite each of our individual aspects that make it harder if not impossible to communicate authentically.

Unquiet Understanding

“Gadamer’s phrase, more than it thinks it knows.” Godamer’s phrase is very reminiscent of Heidegger of some of phrases like “words waiting to be spoken.” And Scults words on it as well “you are not going to discover anything that you do not think is there.” “Though the practice of philosophical hermeneutics cannot be conceptually captured, its nature can be discerned among the spectrum of philosophical refractions that vary of interpretative perspectives being to light.” P3. All are in the same ballpark of waiting/discovering/finding what you know that you may already know, or in some way that you already know. I liked yesterday’s discussion on the true call to consciousness comes from persons anxiety. I think that both of these “more than it thinks it know and anxiety, both pull together though language.
What is locus exactly? Is it like logos?

Understanding Hermeneutics

In order to understand hermeneutics we look first at the many ways we can bring about interpretations. Hermeneutics is characterized by interpretation, but it is essentially the interpretation of interpretation. Whenever we interpret something, the key element that is required is difference. By realizing that your interpretations of something can change over time you begin to see that there is something there that is not the same as you. Because of this hermeneutics also deals with bringing about an experience through which you can begin to understand yourself better. It is this interpretation with experience that enables a text to be interpreted in such a way. When we read we are in fact undergoing an experience with the text in such a way that that experience brings about an interpretation. Hermeneutics seems to be a way in order to understand how this understanding is made possible. We may begin to realize that our previous readings of the text were inaccurate since they didn't contain the current undergone experience. "When we understand ourselves differentely we 'move on'(8)." What we then learn is not the text itself but what is behind the text that makes such a relationship with it possible.

Philosophical Hermeneutics & Authenticity

The purpose of hermeneutics seems to be to help one discover who they are within the writing of another. Writings of another could very well be who that person was, but interpreting the text for one’s self, grants one the opportunity of finding out, at least getting closer, to who they might be. I think this article ties largely into the concept of authenticity. Philosophical hermeneutics is “an interpretation of interpretation, a prolonged meditation upon what “happens” to us within “hermeneutic experience” when we are challenged by texts and artwork,” (1) it allows one to interpret the text in a unique way, possibly pertaining solely to that individual, but at the same time, grasping what the overarching idea is, which would relate that individual to the author and his experience. We could become who we are, with the help of others, through their writings, while simultaneously philosophizing on our own.

One of the most interesting things about philosophizing like this is the fact that it requires difference. And by acknowledging the possibility of difference, allows for the possibility of becoming who we are, it allows one to become authentic. But this only comes through experience; one must experience this for who they are, but in a way that is respectable to the author’s text. I think this connects so much with Heidegger’s philosophy about Dasein. We become we are by participating in it; not by being caught in the ‘they’ but rather by realizing who we are, for we are. We need the help of others but we cannot be dependent upon others for becoming who we are. Other peoples writings can only take us so far and we cannot merely interpret the text the same as they did, for the way they interpreted it, may have been their particular experience, which does not constitute to our particular experience. It can only help us on our way.

possibility of understanding in the being in between

What Gadamer is interested in with hermeneutics is the way of being as possibility through the being in between selves caused by the attempt to understand the other. What I mean by this is that in reading a text, which is the other, we create a gap within ourselves between the self that understands the world in a way and the possibility of understanding the world that could come from the other. This gap between the two is where Gadamer believes hermenuetical existence takes place. In the gap between our past understanding and our possible future understanding(which is not just the understanding of the author) we are able to truly be in the world as possibility and also influence the other as having a possibility of understanding that was different than it's own to begin with. This all happens because of an approach to the text that is not completely centered around just merely understanding what the author was trying to put on the page but what the conversation with the text as the other can produce as a new possibility of understanding.

On Hermenutics

I remember Professor Scult once saying that Hermenutics was an ethical practice. I get that very stong sense from Davey as well. I my understanding of Hermenutics from reading Davey is that it is a philosophical, interpretive approach to living life itself. It cannot exist without the Other. Hermenutics is about reconciling the subjective, first-person experience of experience itself with not only the objective, final truth (which it concedes can never be known and may not even exist) and the experience of the Other - the people who have not shared "my" experience and thus experience things in the world from a different perspective. In a sense, it is about understanding differences, and how they arise (cultural, historical, religious, etc.), but it also goes above and beyonf that. It seeks to make the individual broaden his horizons and thus be able to live a more full, human, and complete life. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For Thursday

Chapter One from Nicholas Davey, Unquiet Understanding: Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics (on e-reserves)
I encourage you to read the whole chapter, but if for whatever reason, you need to shorten the reading, read from the beginning through "Thesis Five," "Thesis Eight," and the "Conclusion."
Suggested Post: How do you understand philosophical hermeneutics and its purpose(for openers)? What is it "after"?
What do you find most distinctive and interesting about it as a philosophy, as a way of philosophizing?

Abbreviated Version of "Paper talk" from Class

Possibility One:
(working title) "Undergoing an Experience with Language With Heidegger"
Some Ideas:
*See my post from April 6, I believe it is.
*What is your understanding of what Heidegger means by "undergoing and experience with language"?
*Examples from Heidegger and you
*What is the significance of the experience, why is it important, especially for philosophy?
*Given Heidegger's ideas on language and thinking, why must the language of Heidegger's texts be as it is? Or does it?

Possibility Two:
(working title) "Authenticity in the Context of Heidegger's Philosophy, Especially the Philosophy of Dasein"
I think this paper is most doable as an extended reading of Heidegger's chapter on authenticity. It is one of the best examples in the book of Heidegger's method and what it is capable of, namely, showing how a significant aspect of the Being of Dasein can be accomplished. There are also some excellent secondary sources on reserve that can help, but I would begin with a careful re-reading of the chapter, perhaps with someone else. Also, on Friday beginning at 10:30, I will be in my office to converse about questions you bring from your reading of the chapter.

Books on Reserve about Heidegger and Language:

Author/Editor: Robert Mugerauer
Title: Heidegger's Language and Thinking

Author/Editor: Martin Heidegger
Title: Poetry, Language, Thought
(Last essay on language is one his more accessible essays on the subject and goes over a number of the ideas we read about and discussed.)

Author/Editor: Simon Critchley
Title: A Companion to Continental Philosophy
(Chapter on Heidegger is written by a clear-writing, accomplished Heidegger scholar, John Caputo.)

Being and Time and Authenticity

Author/Editor: Jacob Golomb
Title: In Search of Authenticity

Author/Editor: Michael Zimmerman
Title: Eclipse of the Self
(first two chapters on authenticity)

Author/Editor: Hubert Dreyfuss
Title: Being in the World
(Course on Being and Time)

Richardson you already have

Monday, April 20, 2009

Conscience as a call is intriguing, a call that can bring us back from where we have gotten lost in the 'they'. A quote that I found useful in my understanding, "...Dasein, as a Being-with which understands, can listen to Others. Losing itself in the publicness and the idle talk of the "they", it fails to hear its own Self in listening to the they-self" (315). It is when Dasein has lost itself in others and idle talk that it must find itself and call itself back to itself.

"The tendency of the call is not such as to put up for 'trial' the Self to which the appeal is made; but it calls Dasein forth (and 'forward') into its ownmost possibilities, as a summons to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-its-Self" (318). The conscience then, might be understood to bring the Dasein forward and out of the "they" it was previously lost in and become 'itself' or its own thing instead of what "they" made it out of distraction.

I began to get confused starting on page 320 around the number along the side, 276-hopefully what followed is something I can better understand tomorrow.

Question marks

All honestness, I got lost reading this. I am sure that a post isn't needed to let everyone know that. I guess the best I can do is posting a quote that I found interesting and enlightening. "While the content of the call is seemingly indefinite, the direction it takes is a sure one and is not to be overlooked."

Dasein's authenticity

It seems like a lot of potential for Being comes out of a being-authentic-with Dasein. In order for one to fully recognize themselves as a being/Being with Dasein they have to be able to attain an authentic sense of self. Dasein's authenticity stems from the way in which Dasein interacts with its way of existing in the world. Without having an authentic existence, Dasein would be meaningless. The call of conscience makes Dasein pay attention to itself because of the way it has to be in the world. Dasein has to know and be understood as something with others because that is the only way it can know itself as something that takes part in Being.

Not Three Short Paragraphs

I begin to understand authenticity when I think of myself as a possibility. Heidegger says we have a potential for being ourselves at all times. We are at all times, within the reach of "there-being". I can grasp the idea that our potentiality for authentic there-being is attested by the voice of conscience. I also can grasp that conscience is a primordial phenomenon, which cannot be what it is by being made a "proven fact". I understand the call of conscience to be a summoning away from the everyday inauthenticity of the "they". The only aspect of this that I question is how the doubtfulness of the phenomenon of the voice of our conscience is the very thing that proves its primordiality. Other than that, I follow the connection between authenticity and the conscience: that the call of conscience is the form (discourse) that discloses potentiality-for-being-oneself, calling us to face our ownmost guiltyness. Yet I cannot become clear on what authenticity itself is. I have the feeling though, that the very fact that I cannot grasp an exact definition of authenticity is a clue to what it is, and what my relationship to it is. Like many themes in Being and Time, Heidegger doesn't seem to give a clear description of authenticity...maybe he did and I missed it, which would be really embarrassing. But assuming I didn't, what does my inability to define authenticy reveal about authenticy itself, and my relationship to it?


Heidegger speaks of authenticity as though it were the key, to the vault, in the inner chamber. Dasein makes no choices and by making no choices, dasein has made the choice of making no choices, by choosing to make this choice the possibility arises for Dasein’s authentic potentiality-for-being. Authenticity arises as the very possibility for Dasein to be shown itself. Dasein is lost in they, it made the choice not to choose and by making this choice it has become lost in they-self, the very “who” of Dasein, the very essence of itself. But, Dasein must find itself; it must bring itself back from the inner chamber, from whence it seems there is no escape, but there is. There is the possibility of Beings-one-self existentielly, but this existentiel possibility can only come through the existential possibility of they. Hence, I must be authentic (existentielly), but I can only become authentic with the help of others (existentially), and once these coincide, the struggling Dasein has the possibility to bring itself back from lostness – the importance of authenticity.

Heidegger speaks of Consciousness as eyes to see, to allow one to realize the key needed for the vault, in the inner chamber. Dasein fails to hear itself; it fails to hear itself, because it is listening to they-self. But this listening is of no words, rather, it is “giving-to-understand” of “potentiality-for-being-its-self”. The very character trait of call of conscience is the plea to Dasein for authenticity; it achieves this by calling on the guilty conscience. This appeal is an appeal to self not the they, the they then falls, and the Self is able to be brought to itself by the call. Once Self is called forth, the possibility of Dasein arises – the importance of conscience.

Dasein is lost in they, the call of conscience allows Dasein to hear itself, by being able to hear itself, and it can realize the potentiality-for-being-its’s-self, finally allowing it to hear itself in they-self, ultimately by passing the they. Consciousness is needed for authenticity in such an intimate manner that it would be difficult to sum it up in such a short post. By Self being brought forth, essentially Dasein’s authenticity (existentielly) is realized only through Self being called upon (existentially).

authenticity and the call of consciousness

Because It makes more sense to me I think I am going to switch up the order a little bit for these next few paragraphs and start with the call to consciousness then move to authenticity then my closing paragraphy on these two working together. My guess is you dont really care about the order but I figured a heads up was in order.

The call to consciousness is embedded in communication but not merely in utterences. It is not important that speech is involved in this call at all but what is important is that there is a connection between the the self and the other. The call awakens the self that is being-in-the-world from the self that is the they-self and all other forms of the self concerned with other things. It pushes through these other selves to find the being-in-the-world self and pulls it to the front of consciousness working over the they-self which one usually sees the self as. This call comes from the other in some way and brings forth a state consciousness which is most true to dasein.
Authenticity is a mode of interaction either with the self or with the other. This mode of interaction is very much in the world and is a way of existence that is most genuine. What I mean by an existence that is most genuine is that when being in the world in this manner we are closer to encountering our dasein which is the potential for being in the world. To further clarify; one's potential for being in world is the ability and very nature of existence which is available as a true representation of the self. These possibilities change as the self chooses through interaction with dasein as the self changes definitionaly.
The call of consciousness is the driving force of being authentically. The self in the everyday is trapped within the they-self and the self which is burdened with the analytic analysis of the whys of the world. Yet, when the self receives the call it washes over all the other selves and awakens the self that is concerned only with being in the world. This awakening is the start of authenticity. In the awakening of this type of self one is able to interact with the world in an authentic way and authentically interact with the self as dasein.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Authentic Heidegger

I see Heidegger working in this way to do a number of things. Chief among these is the problem of separating "us" from "they". Perhaps this is not so much Heidegger's intent as what I am reading into him. The question is: where does our conscious come from, and how does it relate to being-authentic. In this sense, there is a difference between what is going on inside, our inner voice, this "caller", the conscious, and the mere echoing of the Other, the "they". Conscious is both a caller and the called, in short, I feel that it is a way of understanding - a way of understanding which leads us to authentic existence. Heidegger spoke in another piece about the Tao; I think that there is a certain Tao to understanding the way in which the conscious speaks to us in order that we might be authentic, or exist in an authentic manner. Authenticity implies choice; but Dasein cannot make choices - but Dasein can listen, and when we listen to the call, we are, in fact, making a choice. Conscious is disclosedness, as Heidegger puts it. Dasein seeks this disclosedness, or rather, it runs from it, in the misguided notion that to run from disclosedness is freedom, but should seek it in order to be authentic, and hence truly free. To be authentic is to live in disclosedness. By living in accord with the conscious, we become disclosed, and thus, authentic beings-in-the-world.

Faithful Heidegger

I finally felt like I could title a Heidegger reading as being faithful. I'm starting to put his stuff together a lot better and am better at piercing the thick veil of his specialized language. In essence, Heidegger goes to great lengths to explain experiences that we have too such a degree that we get to peek into what it's like to be something we already are.

As Heidegger says, conscience is a call. A call implies that there is a call and a caller. Further, a call is an attempt at communication to compel an action. More terms are necessary here to explain what I think Heidegger is trying to explain. We have the Dasein (there-being) which seeks to speak to the self, the they-self which is the Other outside the self, and the Self which seems to me to be the thing that struggles to be comfortable in the world.

When we hear the call of conscience, we are typically engaged with the they-self. We here the call and it beckons us to consider its voiceless and wordless message of showing us where we have or will falter. Through the call of the conscience we recognize our potential for being authentic. If we are able to suppress the they-self influence over us and act according to Dasein, we can act authentically. Unfortunately, to me at least, it seems that Heidegger says we have found the habit of taking refuge in the they-self altogether too much and departing from the they-self to act authentically is a scary process.