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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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Introduction

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The beginning is the strangest and mightiest. What comes afterwards is not a development, but the flattening as a mere spreading out; it is inability to retain the beginning… .1

It is fairly well known that throughout his life Heidegger was preoccupied with the question of being. He first formulated this question as a high school student in 1907, when he read Franz Brentano’s book On the Manifold Meaning of Being in Aristotle. Young Heidegger asked: ‘If what-is is predicated in manifold meanings, then what is its leading fundamental meaning? What does being mean?’.2 The question of being, unanswered at that time, becomes then the leading question of Being and Time (1927), his fundamental and most influential, but also unfinished, work. Looking at the long history of the meaning attributed to ‘being’, Heidegger notes that in the philosophical tradition it has generally been presupposed that being is at once the most universal concept, the concept indefinable in terms of other concepts, and the self-evident concept; in short, the concept that is taken mostly for granted.3 And yet although we seem to understand being, he claims, its meaning is still veiled in darkness. Therefore, we need to restate the question of the meaning of being.

In accordance with the method of philosophy which he employs, before attempting to provide an answer to the question of being in general, Heidegger ventures to answer the question of being of the particular kind being which is the...

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