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The Presocratics in the Thought of Martin Heidegger

W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz

The book focuses on Heidegger’s thoughtful repetition of early Greek thinking, and his receptive attention to the fragments of the Presocratics from our contemporary age. Their thought has a special value for him as the heritage which must be repeated anew in order to bring us back to the question of being and to open before us new avenues for existence. The author raises questions which help us to understand Heidegger as a thinker. He presents a deep analysis of Heidegger’s interpretations of the Presocratics and contributes to a new, insightful understanding of Heideggerian philosophy.

«The book deserves a wide reception among scholars who are interested in the Presocratics, Heidegger and contemporary philosophy.»

Dr. Katherine Morris (University of Oxford)

«Prof. Korab-Karpowicz (…) develops a consistent reading of Heidegger’s historical studies, thereby significantly contributing to a new approach for the study of Heideggerian philosophy.»

Dr. Michal Bizoń (Jagiellonian University, Kraków)

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During his long engagement with philosophy, spanning nearly seventy years, Heidegger devoted considerable attention to the study of the Presocratics. His growing interest in Presocratic thinkers can be noted especially in the later period of his thought. At that period, he delivered lecture courses on Anaximander, Heraclitus and Parmenides. In addition, in a number of his later writings, he presented interpretations of individual Presocratic fragments. Since Martin Heidegger is acknowledged to be one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, whose thinking has contributed to such diverse fields as phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty), existentialism (Sartre, Ortega y Gasset), hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur), political theory (Arendt, Marcuse), psychotherapy (Boss, Binswanger, Rollo May), theology (Bultmann, Tillich), and postmodernism (Derrida), it may be of substantial interest to both Heideggerian and Presocratic scholars to learn more about the place of the Presocratics in his philosophy. In this respect, several questions can be asked. Why does Heidegger undertake an inquiry into Presocratic thought? How does his study of the Presocratics relate to his concepts of history and philosophy? In what way do his interpretations of the fragments differ from traditional, standard scholarly interpretations? What are the conclusions of his study? How do they help us to get a better view of the overall thought of Martin Heidegger? These questions provide a guide for my book.

There are only a few publications devoted to the subject of Heidegger and the Presocratics, some of them already outdated, most of them embedded in Heidegger’s obscure philosophical...

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