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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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Chapter Three Heraclitus: Physis and the Logos


Chapter ThreeHeraclitus: Physis and the Logos

Heraclitus does not teach us this or that doctrine. As a thinker, he only makes us think.299

Among his contemporaries Heraclitus had already earned the nickname ὁ Σκοτεινός, the Obscure. In fact, what he calls λόγος and what he thinks of in using this word is, according to Heidegger, the most obscure of all.300 Usually we call something obscure because it is not sufficiently clarified. Obscurity refers to some failure of thought to put things clearly. However, in Heidegger’s view, the obscurity of Heraclitus is different, for it refers to the subject matter of primordial thinking. Obscurity belongs essentially to the withdrawal and self-concealment of what is to be thought.301 The obscure is the light that keeps to itself.302 Heraclitus is called ‘the Obscure’, Heidegger says, but in fact he is lucid. He thinks in a questioning way about the clearing of being.303

Of the 126 Heraclitean fragments compiled by Hermann Diels, Heidegger discusses 46. On some fragments, Heidegger offers only a few lines of comment, whereas others, especially the fragments which contain the words λόγος and φύσις, receive extensive treatment. Although Heidegger’s interests are not equally spread over all fragments, we can observe that he has done considerable work on Heraclitus. What is the Heraclitean picture which emerges from Heideggerian interpretation? We know that Anaxim←109 | 110→ander, Heraclitus and Parmenides are considered by Heidegger to be the primordial thinkers. For Anaximander, a primordial experience, an original insight, is Ἀρχή, the ordering which...

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