A treatise of Archimedes: Geometrical solutions derived from by Heiberg J.L. (ed.)

By Heiberg J.L. (ed.)

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2 In finding ourselves “in” the world, we find ourselves already “in” a place, already given over to and involved with things, with persons, with our lives. On this basis the central questions of philosophy, questions of being and existence, as well as of ethics and virtue, must themselves take their determination and their starting point from this same place. Such ideas seem to underpin much of Heidegger’s thinking, both early and late, and although the notion of place is not explicitly taken up in the early thinking, the idea that philosophy has its origin in our being already “there,” in the world, alongside other persons and things, is a central theme in Heidegger’s thinking in the late 1910s and early 1920s.

Of course, this means that it is location or position that is thereby thematized rather than place as such, and since both location 32 Chapter 1 and position are, in a certain sense, “secondary” notions (they depend upon the idea of the region or domain and, in a deeper sense, as will become evident below, on the opening up of such a domain that occurs through place), so they cannot take on an especially central role. Moreover, since the ideas of position or location always refer us to the position or location of some entity, they will always be notions tied more to beings (or perhaps to the being of beings) rather than to being as such (to use the language of the ontological difference).

Philosophy is in no wise made relevant in such a fashion— real philosophical engagement comes from working through concrete problems and situations in the terms, at least initially, in which those problems and situations themselves arise and formulating responses that come out of those problems and situations. The idea that there is a simple relation of “application” that obtains between prior theory and practical situation, or that one can simply “derive” practical outcomes from prior theoretical commitments, is one of the assumptions that bedevils much of the discussion of Heidegger’s own political involvement in the 1930s.

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