Translated into English by Patrick Trompiz and Agata Bielik-Robson
Introduction: The Debate
It is the power to challenge which decides about the greatness of a philosophical work; the power – and sometimes it takes the form of unconditional imperative – to make us think with it. If we answer this challenge, the work becomes part of our thinking.
A philosophical work opens a new way for thinking – and it is precisely in this opening that the power of the challenge constitutes itself. There is no opposition between work and way. Quite to the contrary, a work exhorts us to go down the road it has opened. Thinking together with a philosophical work means to go with it. Its power of challenge depends on how far this new way diverts us from the usual paths of our thinking. The bigger the diversion, the greater the power.
But this refers only to the very moment of initiation and our decision to participate in the work. The act of going together down the same path depends on two further factors: on how deep, significant and communicative are the traces the work left on its way, and on how responsive we are to their meanings and importance. In the case of a philosophical work, the traces it imprints on its way are philosophical questions. The power of the challenge increases with the importance of the questions the work left on its way as road-signs. The right answer to the challenge of a philosophical work is to think together with it. The responsibility...
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