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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 Five The Presocratics and the History of Being


Chapter FiveThe Presocratics and the History of Being

To search for influences and dependencies among thinkers is to misunderstand thinking. Every thinker is dependent upon the claim of being.728

The study of the Presocratics is inseparably bound with the later Heidegger. His growing interest in the Presocratic thinkers is a result of the conception of philosophy as history, which he initially works out in Being and Time. In his later works this conception is further developed and finds its expression in the history of being.

The conception of the history of being is of central importance in Heidegger’s thought. In Being and Time, the story is already foreshadowed as ‘the destruction of the history of ontology’.729 In Heidegger’s later writings, it is considerably recast and called the ‘history of being’ (Seinsgeschichte). The beginning of this story, as told by Heidegger, is the original Presocratic experience of being; the end, as presented especially in his Nietzsche lectures, is the completion of philosophy by its dissolution into particular sciences and nihilism – the questionlessness of being – a dead end into which the West has run. Heidegger argues that the question of being would still provide a stimulus to researchers of Plato and Aristotle, but it was precisely with them that the original experience of being of the Presocratics got covered over.

The task which Heidegger puts before himself is to return to the original Presocratic experience of being and to repeat it. However, this repetition...

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