Heidegger and Classical Thought – Online Reading Group

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The group are now looking at Heidegger’s On the Essence of Truth, over 8 weeks, from Thursday 5 May 2022.

Heidegger and Classical Thought
On the Essence of Truth
Martin Heidegger and die Kehre (The Turn)
Weekly Online Reading Group – Thursdays from May 5th

Following the recent conclusion of the Heidegger and Classical Thought reading group (Oct 2021-Apr 2022), which looked at Martin Heidegger’s 1932 lectures on Anaximander and Parmenides, the organisers are now planning a brief reading of Heidegger’s 1930 lecture, On the Essence of Truth, over the course of 8 weeks.

Heidegger’s 1930 lecture Vom Wesen der Wahrheit (On the Essence of Truth) has long been recognised as a decisive event, both in the development of Heidegger’s own work and the development of how to interpret him. In 1947, Heidegger noted that “The lecture On the Essence of Truth, thought out and delivered in 1930 but only published in 1943, offers a certain insight into the thinking of the turning from ‘Being and Time’ to ‘Time and Being’.” Heidegger is careful to stress that this turning is not an alteration of standpoint, either of his own thought or in his previous work. Perhaps too little care has been taken with the words “a certain insight”: in explanatory material both here and around the lecture itself, Heidegger remains tentative, suggesting that what is at issue is not “answers”, but a preparatory passage of thinking, one which, drawing the thinker on to the path of thinking itself, is a drawing away from a philosophising that culminates in metaphysics.

This lecture was only published by Heidegger in a revised version in 1943, with a second edition appearing in 1949 with substantial revision and addition to the final section (nine) of the earlier text, leaving the rest unchanged. The revision contains the first clear explanation in print of what Heidegger means when he speaks of das Seyn, as well as the introduction of the phrase “the saying of a turning within the history of beyng”. One of the limitations of discussion of the lecture On the Essence of Truth has been the lack of attention paid to the extent to which Heidegger had, even by the publication of Being and Time, already abandoned the “language of metaphysics”, especially the language of subjectivity and the subject-object distinction. In short, if the lecture denotes a path to be traversed, perhaps there has been too little attention paid to what the lecture was on a path away from.

The reading group will run every Thursday at 4pm (London time) from May 5th via Zoom for 8 weeks. Sessions will last roughly 90 minutes. In order to register for the reading group or for more information, please email [email protected].