Thinking Fundamentals

Thinking Fundamentals

Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. IX
IWM, Vienna 2000 [Published on the Web]

Edited by: David Shikiar

Contributions by: David Shikiar, Craig Nichols, Alexander Di Pippo, Vladislav Suvák, Paul Bruno, Eimear Wynne, Jason Kosnoski, Kamila Stullerová, James Boettcher, Pavlo Kutuev and Andrej Skolkay

Introduction: Thinking Fundamentals

We are happy to have been given the opportunity to publish the essays which were presented at the Fall 1999 Junior Fellows Conference at the IWM. The majority of the participants decided to title the volume ‘Thinking Fundamentals.’ The title is appropriate as a unifying concept because it succinctly expresses the significance of the various essays here collected. Each of the contributing scholars is just beginning his or her respective academic career and accordingly the essays may be read as so many fundamenta: foundations for continuing research and thinking.
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How Does Thinking Begin?

Let us address ourselves to the problem of thinking. The theme, being too large for compact treatment, needs to be narrowed somewhat. I propose that we think about thinking in its inception, in its first manifestation as thinking. Let us ask then, how does thinking begin?
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Primordial Freedom: The Authentic Truth of Dasein in Heidegger’s Being and Time

The point of this essay will be to show that Being and Time itself is fundamentally concerned with the problem of freedom, more so perhaps than with the problems of being or time! One might even say that primordial freedom is the meaning of the unifying “and” of Being and Time, and hence more fundamental than either of the two concepts considered alone. Furthermore, an analysis of Heidegger’s conception of freedom in Being and Time will make it easier to understand the meaning behind the later Heidegger’s ubiquitous insistence that the essence of truth is freedom.


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The Concept of Poiesis in Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics

In a lecture delivered in 1935 entitled 'Introduction to Metaphysics', Heidegger forges what appears to be an un-Platonic link between poetry and philosophical thinking. This lecture offers the first extensive treatment of these two topics, to which Heidegger will dedicate a great deal of attention in the years to follow. This apparently un-Platonic link is, in fact, only apparent, since the very concepts of thinking (noein) and poetry (poiesis) to which Heidegger refers in this lecture are themselves un-Platonic...
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The Essence of Truth (aletheia) and the Western Tradition in the Thought of Heidegger and Patocka

In this essay, I first try to sketch out Heidegger’s path concerning the question of truth and consider some possible criticism of it. Second, I focus our attention on Heidegger’s rethinking of the metaphysical tradition which, according to Heidegger, has reached its end. In this context we will examine the thinking of Jan Patocka. I think Patocka is one of the most interesting, even if little-known and misunderstood, readers of Heidegger’s texts. My hope here is to show, first, how we can understand Heidegger’s ideas better through the writings of Patocka and, second, that by considering Patocka’s appropriation of Heidegger, which emphasizes the need to think with and even beyond Heidegger, we can avoid becoming mere ‘Heideggerians.’
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The Artist and the Self

The question that will be addressed in this essay concerns just how we arrived at the point where the artist and the self forge an identity. Or put another way, how is it that modern depictions of the self, like the one just mentioned by Rorty, rely so much on an aesthetic sensibility? For a reply to this question, I shall try to establish an historical framework by examining the pivotal work of Immanuel Kant. Specifically, I will show how his work set the conditions for a series of machinations that make contemporary theories of the aesthetic self possible. I will close with some questions about the implications of Rorty’s definition of the self.
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Reflections on Recognition. A Matter of Self-Realization or a Matter of Justice?

Recognition involves both our relationship with ourselves and our relationship to others. It evokes both the notion of respect and a basic quest for understanding which should be at the forefront of our relations with others. In recognizing “the other” we are acknowledging the other and yet not claiming absolute knowledge of the other. As Richard Rorty argues, in recognizing others, we see human beings as generators of new descriptions, not as beings one hopes to be able to describe accurately.
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Is John Dewey a Communitarian?

One of the most consistent criticisms of liberalism advanced by the communitarians contends that the liberal prioritization of the right over the good represents a morally incoherent claim. By incoherent, they mean that the claim cannot be sustained due to internal contradictions. The contradiction highlighted by the communitarians is that, in fact, every political position, even those aspiring to ultimate neutrality, in fact embodies a vision of society, and therefore embodies a vision of the good...
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National Sentiments, Globalization and Justice. Slovaks Narrating their Democratization Process.

Towards the end of the 20th century it is broadly, even if not unanimously, accepted as a fact that nations are products of modern development. Already nations are notoriously referred to as imagined communities. In this context, certain traditions which played vital roles in the nation formation processes are taken to be invented. Ossian and Královédvorský and Zelenohorský
manuscripts have been found to be forged, and sacred state symbols such as flags and anthems have often been invoked in the politically motivated attempt to unite a population under a common idea of nationhood...
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Rawls and Gaus on the Idea of Public Reason

Whereas the original position had played the starring role in John Rawls’s systematic and widely influential A Theory of Justice, that role is now clearly occupied, in his theory of political liberalism, by the idea of public reason. This is nowhere more evident than in Rawls’s most recent elaboration of political liberalism in “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited,” where even the notion of the overlapping consensus – one of the main signposts of Rawls’s political turn – is discussed only in passing.The original position is hardly mentioned at all...
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Development of Underdevelopment. State and Modernization Project in the post-Leninist Ukraine

This paper seeks to analyze the interrelation and interpenetration between major societal spheres critical for successful handling of the post-Leninist modernization/developmental project Ukrainian state formation and political regime developments. The state is understood in this article as „a set of organizations through which collectivities of officials may be able to formulate and implement distinctive strategies and policies“ (Skocpol 1985, p.20-21). In my conceptualization of political regimes I draw upon Highly and Burton who define them as „basic pattern of organization, exercise, and transfer of government decision-making power“ (Highly and Burton 1989, p.18). It should also be taken into account that the transformation of Ukrainian society...
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Populism in Central Eastern Europe

Populism is one of the most controversial and fuzziest terms used in the social, and more specifically, political sciences. The term populism was used for the first time in the USA at the end of 19th century to describe a form of political language and a form of political participation (populist movement) - according to Urbinati (1998, 110) - specific but consistent with democracy. The majority of contemporary analysts of populism agree that the term populism is highly ambivalent, both in theory and in practice. Some have even suggested that the term not be used in the social sciences (see De la Torre, 1992, 387). Nevertheless, the term populism is used in the social sciences with increasing frequency...
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