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Time and History In the Black Notebooks

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

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Abstract

This paper lays out an interpretation of the Black Notebooks in their ground as a record of thinking, as marking the transition in Heidegger’s thought from the preoccupations of Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) as the Seinsfrage or “question of being” to the “question concerning the truth of beyng” (Wahrheit des Seyns). The interpretative purpose is to suggest that the Black Notebooks are not, therefore, a mere record of what the thinker “thinks”, as a set of observations or productive insights on the events and issues that concern the Notebooks – a set of “historical observations”, but rather to allow them to be understood as what the thinker – Heidegger – was given to think by the situation in which he found himself. The paper therefore proposes that the Black Notebooks are best understood as in themselves “being-historical”, as reflections not even on the history of being, but on the being of history. The enquiry into the question of being and the truth of beyng, to which the Black Notebooks draw attention, is therefore (for Heidegger) only preparatory for the commentary on the events and occurrences of the period in which they were written. These occurrences are not mere “facts”, but the actual unfolding of the understanding of being itself. The paper concludes with a consideration of the politics of the epoch in which they were written, drawing on the Notebooks’ and Heidegger’s own confrontation with that history and politics as it was considered by Ernst and Freidrich-Georg Jünger, and as it has been discussed in recent historical research.