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Heidegger: Thinking of Being

Heidegger: Thinking of Being

Lee Braver

ISBN: 978-0-745-66492-7 March 2014 Polity 240 Pages


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Martin Heidegger is among the most important philosophers of the Twentieth Century. Within the continental tradition, almost every great figure has been deeply influenced by his work. For this reason, a full understanding of the course of modern philosophy is impossible without at least a basic grasp of Heidegger. Unfortunately, his work is notoriously difficult, both because of his innovative ideas and his difficult writing style.

In this compelling book, Lee Braver cuts through the jargon to present Heidegger’s ideas in clear English, using illuminating examples and explications of thorny passages. In so doing, he offers readers an accessible overview of Heidegger’s entire career. The first half of the book presents a guide through Being and Time, Heidegger’s early masterpiece, while the second half covers the key themes of his later writing, including technology, subjectivity, history, nihilism, agency, and the nature of thought itself. As Heidegger’s later work is deeply engaged with other philosophers, Braver explains the relevance of Plato, Descartes, Kant, and Nietzsche for Heidegger’s thought.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars trying to find their way through Heidegger’s difficult ideas. Anyone interested in Twentieth Century continental philosophy must come to terms with Heidegger, and this book is the ideal place to begin.

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations x

Introduction: An Initial Orientation 1

Part I Being and Time 7

1 Introduction to Being and Time 9

2 Being and Time 1.
I–IV: Being-in and the World 22

3 Being and Time 1.
V–VI: The There and Care 49

4 Being and Time 2.
I–III. 64: Authenticity 76

5 Being and Time 2.
III. 65–VI: Temporality as the Meaning of Existence 98

6 Being and Time: Conclusion 126

Part II Later Heidegger 133

7 Introduction to the Later Heidegger 135

8 History, Nazism, the History of Being and of its Forgetting 140

9 Descartes, Thinking, and Free Will 157

10 Gratitude, Language, and Art 177

11 Technology, Nietzsche, and Nihilism 194

Conclusion: Influences, Developments, and Criticisms 207

Notes 214

References 223

Index 231

"Spinoza makes a very interesting distinction between the easy and the simple. Contrarily to easiness, simplicity is not the opposite of difficulty, but appears as its very expression. The most beautiful expression of the difficult is the simple. Braver's book is precisely simple in that sense. It presents Heideggerian thought in all its complexity in the most accessible and engaging way, so that it can speak to all. A phenomenal achievement."
Catherine Malabou, Kingston University

"Leave it to Lee Braver to give us an overview of Heidegger's thought that is both entertaining and consistently insightful. The conversational tone of his commentary is engaging, while each page reveals a lifetime of careful thought about Heidegger. This is the best general introduction to Heidegger for students and non-specialists I have seen in decades."
Charles Guignon, University of South Florida