Derrida’s Heidegger: la question de l’Etre et l’Histoire. Second Session. First Set of Notes. By Alberto Moreiras.

Notes on Derrida´s Heidegger: la question de l´Etre et l´histoire

Second session–First set of notes.

So, Hegel “refuted and totally accomplished metaphysics,” and Heidegger moved toward destroying it “to make appear the thought of being that hides in the ontic depositories.”

 The difference is barely perceptible, from Heidegger´s account of Destruktion, but it is nevertheless decisive.   It avoids the “inversions” (cf. Nietzsche and Marx) that, as inversions, remain prisoners of what they would like to transgress.

 This means, again, that Heidegger´s project is not the offering of a new ontology. “Ontology” for the Heidegger of Letter on Humanism, cannot go beyond thinking the being-being of being.   Whereas Heidegger wants to move towards the thought of the “truth” of being.   This is a thought that would have to be other and more rigorous than “conceptual thought.” [Through conceptual thought being can only be determined as “the poorest concept,” the emptiest, as it can only attempt to think the being-being of being. Conceptuality and ontology go together.]

 The displacement is pointed out in an exemplary form in the 1955 letter to Junger, Zur Seinsfrage, by means of the “kreuzweise Durchstreitung,” the crossed erasure superimposed to the word Sein.   In that erasure or crossing-out we understand a thinking of being that is no longer the thought of the concept of the being-being of being, of the totality of beings, or any thought that thinks being under the subject/object relation.

Which brings up the question of history.   [As a history of being, which incorporates the history of the thought of being but cannot be reduced to it.]

Heidegger produces for the first time the “radical affirmation of an essential link between being and history.”   Hegel did not do it. Why not? Because in Hegel and for Hegel history was still the manifestation of an absolute and eternal concept, of a divine subjectivity/substantiality whose total presence history can only copy. [In other words, for Hegel there is no historicity of being, there is only a history trying to catch up with the eternal concept.]

After Hegel, who came closer to thinking the historicity of being? Marx, with his concept of alienation.

Which is the reason why the dialogue [or confrontation, Auseindersetzung] with Marxism is the essential dialogue of our time, says Heidegger in 1947.

But Marxian alienation is still a prisoner of the Hegelian determination. For Hegel work was still a self-organizing process within unconditioned production. That is, work and the force of production are not to be derived from other conditions, but are the ultimate condition, the very objectivation of the real in the historical process, which it itself defines. But this obviously means: it is an objectivation of the real for human subjectivity, even as it marks and forms human subjectivity.   Man is the subject of work, the subject of production, in both senses of the genitive.   Which links Marxism to subjectivism, humanism, and metaphysics in a terminal way.

Marxism, as an inheritor of the Hegelian determination of work as production as the motor of history, remains caught up in humanist anthropologism.

Marx was unable to raise himself up from and through humanist anthropologism to a thought of the technical as a historico-ontological destination of the truth of being.

By “naturalizing” work [“In the beginning was production,” says Marx at the beginning of the Grundrisse] Marx remained caught up in ontic determinations. [His notion of history is still an ontic history, on the basis of an ontological conceptuality that thinks the being-being of beings and wants to account for the totality of beings as they affect the subject.]

So, what does it mean to posit the radical affirmation of the link between being and history? What does it mean to say being AND history?

[At this point Derrida introduces the issue of the language needed for such a radical enterprise. Can we really think what has never been thought using our existing language? But we have no other.   And yet: destruction is also self-destruction.   So that the Destruktion of metaphysics is necessarily also the destruction of philosophy!] “New words will be forged, new concepts, pushing the resources of the language, certain resources of the language that are, should be younger than philosophy, latecomers to philosophy” [55].