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Martin Heidegger

My recent reading (although in this case it is more like a skimming) includes a work on Heidegger's philosophy, by Herman Philipse.

Philipse is concerned, among much else, with the differences between Heidegger and an important precursor, Friedrich Nietzsche. Heidegger criticized Nietzsche, and Philipse believes the criticisms were ill-founded, and that Nietzsche was the greater philosopher of the two.

Here's a link: Google Books. I merely "skim" works on, or within, the continental traditional of philosophy these days, because life is too short, and it is the Anglo-American tradition that deserves such time as I can give to more careful reading.

Still, for those of you who may judge differently, here is a sample of Philipse: "Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche aims at answering two questions: (1) What is Nietzsche's fundamental stance ... within the history of Western metaphysics? and (2) did Nietzsche ask the proper question of philosophy and, if not, why could he not do so? Question (1) clearly belongs to the Neo-Hegelian leitmotif in Heidegger's later works....Fundamental stances are expressed by systems of metaphysics, because metaphysics attempts to characterize the totality of what there is."

The gist of Philpse's understanding of Heidegger's understanding of Nietzsche, then, is this: (1) Nietzsche's fundamental stance is that all entities are expressions of the will to power: (2) in setting out this view Nietzsche believed that he had overcome the previous centuries of metaphysics, but in fact he had been caught in the web of Being, which cunningly conceals itself from generation to generation.

So Nietzsche failed to ask the proper questions. The world had to wait for Heidegger for someone to do that.

For me, at any rate, that is enough. I'd much rather be reading Nietzsche (though this is probably marginally better than reading Heidegger.)   And I'd still much rather be reading, say, David Hume.


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