Friday, April 24, 2015

Being in the World: the movie

You can watch this film about Heidegger now on YouTube:


It features an all-star cast of philosophers introducing you to some of Heidegger's main ideas, and it's broken into fourteen parts, which suggests you could base a course on it. (A typical semester lasts fourteen weeks.) I haven't found out yet whether there's an accompanying book.   

I'm sympathetic with a lot of it, but I'm not sure I can really see students going for it. The general theme seems to be that we should be more patient, more spiritual, more engaged with the world through the development of crafts such as cooking and carpentry. Which I suspect would sound like: stop running and get off that phone! Which is basically another way of saying get off my lawn. Or that's how I imagine it seeming to students.

Not that that's a reason not to teach them about ideas like these. But I think the way to do it would be by teaching them a craft and letting them discover the benefits of it, and not teaching them one course in which the virtues of learning a craft are repeatedly sung. Perhaps a course like the one I'm vaguely imagining would be good after students had developed some mastery of the relevant kind of skill. Otherwise it might amount to little more than a lament or a sigh.

11 comments:

  1. I could see taking Don Ihde's less Romantic approach to techne and applying it to more contemporary/relevant skills like coding, open-source&3D printing/production, and such going over with the kids, code or be coded!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sure if nothing else brings forward the enabling backgrounds/infrastructures and some parallels than to not just going along with what 'they' say (or program), for instance all the algorithms shaping our uses of platforms like facebook and such.
      http://www.rushkoff.com/program-or-be-programmed/

      Delete
    2. That looks like something I should read.

      Delete
  2. http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=3038
    The World Beyond Your Head: how to flourish in an age of distraction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! That's another book I should read.

      Delete
  3. What I don't get, after watching this, is how Heidegger could be the father of a philosophy of the personal, the local, the artisan like this and still have lined up with the Nazis prior to World War II since they were, if anything, the ultimate commodifiers of human existence. Was he so disconnected from his own instincts, his own thinking, that he didn't notice what the Nazis were about with their mass rallies, their suppression of the individual, their party line (never mind the rampant racialism and anti-Semitism)? Or are we to suppose that the later, redeemed Heidegger, the man who had withdrawn from university life even while the Nazis were still establishing themselves, was somehow free of the taint which his association with Nazism had conferred on him? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8YTD51lGFg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. because he was a Romantic about the powers of art/cult to allow righteous/rightly-attuned communities to form. The work isn't about the personal in the sense of personal-expression but of some union with the Creator/Creative, see the reviews of Bert's related book All Things Shining where folks point out to him that the sports crowd rising in awe/appreciation of some great work/effort aren't categorically different from the crowds who Hitler's artist/PR-team rallied to the cause. Part of why I reject attempts in Wittgenstein (who had some similarly worrisome ideas about the good of peasants and arts/crafts) studies to raise some values up as "spiritual" and such as opposed to just another alltoohuman attempt to make/get our ways in the world.

      Delete
    2. Okay, thanks. That's helpful. I've always found Heidegger opaque, myself, but would never simply reject a thinker just because his point(s) elude(s) me. I've long wondered what people see in the guy, especially given his seeming moral failings in embracing an ideology that's not only abhorrent to many of us but which, in its commodification of human life seems to be the very antithesis of what he's on record as espousing. I get the romanticism point, though I don't really find it satisfying myself and maybe that's why Heidegger continues to seem incomprehensible to me. I guess I'm just not comfortable with philosophy as espousal of a way of living in the world, in any sort of way. Certainly philosophy is about understanding the world and our place in it. But supposing it to be about enhancing our part in it just seems to expect too much of philosophy to me. Perhaps, too, that's why existentialism in general has never been appealing to me either. (I don't see that in Wittgenstein, by the way, at least not in his philosophical work where the point, it seems to me, is just to explain, by clarifying, how our thinking is embedded in what we do and say.)

      Delete
    3. well the occasional overt Christians aspects aside I find existentialism to be helpful in so much as it fleshes out phenomenology and reminds us that existence per say doesn't have a meaning/telos.
      But this is a very pragmatist (in the John Dewey sense) reading and many folks (including Bert and myself) have in some sense read Heidegger against himself as supplying in Being&Time a pretty good foundation for what he himself later rejected as "mere" anthropology. The embedded part is the strong common-ground (or perhaps grund) between these thinkers, tho perhaps going beyond what we say and do to include what we do it with.

      Delete
    4. Brandom, too, finds a kind of pragmatism in Heidegger and I suppose that's right. Insofar as Heidegger is talking about knowing as doing, that's very much in the pragmatic tradition. Of course, Brandom also sees Kant and Hegel as proto-pragmatists, too, so who knows! At some point pragmatism can kind of swallow everything when you think about it, except perhaps the rationalism of Spinoza, Leibniz and the scholastic tradition, I guess.

      Delete