Martin Heidegger and the Problem of Historical Meaning: Vol 102: Martin Heidegger and the Problem of Historical Meaning

Series: Phaenomenologica (v. 102)

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In a few pages I would like to express and to justify my admiration for the exceptional book of Jeffrey Barash. His training as an his- torian, complemented by that of the philosopher, has served him richly, not only in the discovery of rare texts and of unpublished correspondence but in the reconstruction of the philosophical landscape at the beginning of the century, and then in the period between the two wars. Standing out in the foreground of this land- scape are the two mountains constituted by Sein und Zeit and Hei- degger's work following the Kehre. This reconstruction by no means intends to establish 'influences' in the mediocre, mechanis- tic sense, but rather subterranean continuities between Heidegger's work and his intellectual environment in order to enhance, by the effect of their contrast, the specific intelligibility of this work. In order to appreciate the consequences of continuity as well as of discontinuity, it was necessary to identify and to emphasize a touchstone-question, endowed with the quality of great per- durability, and to summon before it all of the protagonists, in- cluding Heidegger himself, in an intellectual combat dating back nearly a hundred years. Announced in the title of the work, this question concerns historical meaning. By this term the author wanted to designate the stubborn ques- tion, most exactly approximated by the term coherence in its ap- plication to history.