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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

7 - The Danger and the Promise of Heidegger, an American Perspective


Enframing is, as it were, the photographic negative of enowning.

Heidegger (FS 60/GA15 366)


Thanks to Heidegger, we have learned to hear the ambiguity of subjective and objective genitives in phrases with the form, “The X of Y.” We needed to be taught to hear this ambiguity, because it is concealed by the impossible simultaneity of its dual meanings. Critique of Pure Reason, for example, signifies both criticism directed at pure reason and criticism belonging to pure reason. Ordinarily, however, we hear the title of Kant's great work only as an objective genitive, as a critique directed at the earlier pretensions of pure reason (which, with Anselm and Descartes, went so far as to try to prove God's existence solely by analyzing the concept “God,” as we saw in Chapter 1), and so not also as a subjective genitive, as a critique used by pure reason in order to circumscribe and secure its own legitimate domain. What is more, even after we learn to recognize that Critique of Pure Reason also means the critique that belongs to pure reason, we still cannot hear both meanings at the same time. This is because we hear one meaning instead of the other; what we hear occupies the place of what we do not.

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Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity
  • Online ISBN: 9780511976605
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