On the History of Being after the Black Notebooks
Special Issue of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology
Many philosophers experience difficulties when trying to follow Heidegger into the thought of The History of Beyng. Some of the main texts in which this thought is developed, written during the 1930s and 1940s, are rather difficult to follow. Adding insult to injury are Heidegger’s repeated statements that these thoughts are hardly communicable, and that only few will be able to understand the direction of this thought in its essence. Insofar as this thinking of the History of Beyng stands also for what Heidegger calls Another Thinking, our own, contemporary thinking seems inapt to follow these texts in the way that they develop their untimely nature. As Heidegger says, in opposition to Being and Time, for example, these texts are properly untimely.
While it is easy enough to establish some cornerstones of the argument, and while, e.g., the Contributions to Philosophy themselves are quite clear in their critique of our contemporary age, to get a good understanding of these works as a whole seems a significant challenge, already reflected in the near impossibility to translate them faithfully. In the end, therefore, reading these works often requires a lot of trust in the path of thinking opened up by Heidegger, so that it remains possible for the reader to attempt the first steps from the early Question for the Meaning of Being to that of the Confrontation with the History of Philosophy. And yet, insofar as Heidegger’s later philosophy attempts to make our contemporary world questionworthy in an essential sense, it belongs to the most promising thought philosophy currently has to offer.
The main idea of this special issue is to explore the importance of the Schwarze Hefte (GA 94, 95, 96 & 97) as going far beyond their contribution to Heidegger’s political biography. While attention has up to now focused almost exclusively on the controversy concerning his alleged anti-Semitism, the ‘Black Notebooks’ also offer a lot of material opening up multifaceted views into the works of Heidegger from the 1930s, 1940s and beyond. And they do so from various different angles, amongst others by reflections on metaphysics, on politics as much as on the political situation of the time, on the main authors that he worked on during these years, on aesthetics, on his personal position in Germany, as well as on the works he had already published, etc. etc.
In other words, for anyone trying to understand, evaluate and transform Heidegger’s later thinking, these volumes offer immeasurable wealth. The question, then, is whether Heidegger, who has given us reasons to look for Nietzsche’s ‘real’ philosophy in his Nachlaß, left his own ‘real’ philosophy in this, his own Nachlaß?
This special issue of the JBSP will collect ca. six essays that make use of the ‘Black Notebooks’ in order to open up Heidegger’s later work in view of deepening the readers’ understanding of the question for the History of Beyng.
The volume is scheduled for publication in early 2017. Final deadline for submissions is the 1st of July 2016. Notifications of interest – in form of an abstract of ca. 500 words – are invited to arrive by the 31st of January 2016, in order to allow for a good balance of the discussion.
All essays submitted will be blind-double peer-reviewed. Essays that are positively reviewed, but do not fit into the special issue, will be considered, if the author so wishes, for later issues of the JBSP.
Submissions of interest and final copies should be submitted in .rtf, .doc or docx. file to [email protected]. For any further questions, please write to the same address or direct yourself to the webpages of the British Society for Phenomenology (http://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/) or the Publisher’s JBSP page (http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rbsp20/current).