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Basic Writings Paperback – Oct 27 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (Oct. 27 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061627011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061627019
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Needs an index! Nov. 17 2013
By ishouldbepainting - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For a compendium of such rich writings that define interrlated, named word-ideas, this book is only half complete without an index. How else does one re-visit the place where "facticity" or "attunement" or "strife" or "enframing" is first defined? What a sorry, sorry shame.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Very Interesting, More Substantial Than Structural, and Fairly Accessible July 8 2013
By David Milliern - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those looking to get some insight into Heidegger's thought may find this collection of essays much more palatable than "Being and Time." Keep in mind it's still Heidegger, so, relative to the writings of other authors, it isn't going to be light reading to the minds of many. However, I do think these essays are well written and particularly approachable. I even felt as though the excerpt from "Being and Time" wasn't that bad; but that may be my experience of recently having read "Being and Time" that makes me think so. At any rate, these writings, "basic" in the sense that they are foundational, present nicely partitioned bits/cornerstones of Heidegger's broader philosophy. In fact, I think it may have been a bit better for me to have read this before advancing to "Being and Time," just because one gets so clearly from this work a sense of how Heidegger thinks, and an understanding of the manner/mode thereof. Another reason why this book might be worth a read prior to "Being and Time" is that it provides a sense of the subject matter that Heidegger is concerned with, and I think "Being and Time" can be seen as examination of the underlying ontological structure of Being and its relations apropos items of concern contained herein. Just as a note for those who have read quite a bit of Heidegger, I am not familiar with many anthologies of Heidegger's work, but all of the articles I have read on Heidegger and technolog refer to an essay here contained ("The Question Concerning Technology") and I have only been able to find that essay in this anthology. It may not have been published elsewhere, and my understanding is that some of Heidegger's essays, lectures, and notes have only been recently published, some of which are available in only one published form by one publisher, which could be the case here.

I definitely recommend this volume for either those folks who read "Being and Time" and are looking for more substance beyond that volume's present structure, fans of "Being and Time," and those who may shy away from "Being and Time," but still want to get a taste of Heidegger in a somewhat approachable text and from the source. Also, if anyone would like strategies for approaching "Being and Time," I wrote a blog with suggestions on my website, which can be reached through my Amazon community page: just click on the website on my community page, which you can get to by clicking my name above this review.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Essential Heidegger reading Dec 28 2009
By Ng Odonnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Phenomenology is, to my mind, a crucial branch of philosophy that impinges on many of the so-called sciences, including psychology and sociology. Unfortunately, Martin Heidegger, one of phenomenology's principle promoters, is one of those people whose writing demands a mentor for the reader. Failing that, which has been my experience, the demand translates into reading the man as widely as possible, including the output of his students and colleagues. 'Basic Writings' is a vital work in the journey into Heidegger's mind in that it provides a historical record of how he developed after 'Being and Time'; more so how he was able to take phenomenology to even higher heights of relevance in our contemporary world. This book deserves a place next to 'Being and Time' on the shelf of the serious Heidegger student.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An accessible edition Jan. 15 2014
By Books Furnish the Mind - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very helpful edition of the major works that a beginner with Heidegger should read, but I am still wondering whether his philosophy is a giant (but impressive-sounding) bust, or whether there really is a great deal of insight and substance there.
Let it Be May 23 2014
By Cosmo Crawley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book along with Being and Time (B&T) and in both cases found Richard Polt's Heidegger: an introduction invaluable in helping me negotiate Heidegger's difficult prose. Heidegger's project is basically the same in both books: to analyse the concept of being in order to arrive at an understanding deeper than the common one which sees being as merely "presence". Heidegger argues that a richer understanding of being would undermine the foundations of all existing science leading, presumably, to new ways of doing science, new scientific 'truths' and new ways of relating to our world.

Unfortunately, I have to report that after 950 pages (including B&T) Heidegger makes no progress in reaching a new understanding of being except for the tentative suggestion that being might have something to do with time. When we reach the final page of the last essay of this collection (written in 1964), the ontological foundations of science seem just as secure (or, depending on your view, unstable) as they were when Heidegger first strode to the lectern at Marburg University in 1923.

Heidegger does have a lot to say about being though. We learn, for example, that Being is the Nothing, that Being is the transcendens, that Being is a gift and, most importantly, that Being is mysterious. Heidegger returns time and again to the same point: being is mysterious and we should be more open to the mystery of being. This is no doubt true: if we all stopped to reflect on the wonder of existence now and then it would probably help us get things into perspective and to spend our time more wisely. The trouble is that this is hardly a new and profound idea and it's been said much more poetically and succinctly many times by others (for example, Shakespeare).

Heidegger also has a lot to say on other topics, particularly science, logic, "calculative thinking" and our technology-dominated society. He sees all of these things as threats to our freedom because they have led to a culture in which we dominate and manipulate beings rather than "let beings be what they are". Heidegger doesn't see the threat as primarily one to the environment but rather to our very humanity as beings "open to the truth of Being".

Heidegger is short on practical solutions to the malaise he identifies, and his oracular style, metaphysical interests and penchant for unprovable assertions often seem little more than a mysticism of being. Indeed, if you replace the word "Being" with "God" throughout the book it makes just as much sense (although Heidegger denies that he equates being with God). So, if you are of a mystical bent and share Heidegger's distrust of logic, reason, science and technology this might be the book for you. It will often make painful reading but at least you will able to buttress your opinions with some choice quotations from a Great Philosopher.


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