Oct 7, 2009

According to Diogenes Laertius (IX, 5), Heraclitus of Ephesus was the author of a "book" (biblion) whose title was, as many works misleadingly assigned to the fusikoi or "natural philosophers," Peri fusewV, "On Nature." Following Hermann Diels's critical compilation of Presocratic fragments and testimonies, scholars have maintained that Heraclitus' original collection of sayings very likely underwent several editorial arrangements, including Laertius's division of the work into three sections (peri tou pantoV kai politikon kai qeologikon)(1). Nevertheless, to speak of the whole (to pan, to olon) in mere terms of a "cosmology" (i.e. as "study of the universe") risks doing a great deal of injustice to the original sense of kosmos in Heraclitus' fragments. In point of fact, the Heraclitean conception of the kosmoV turns out to be very complex and nuanced, to say the least.(2) Moreover, it is precisely to accentuate the distinction between what later became latinized as "universe" (universum) and the pre-Pythagorean understanding of the Greek kosmos articulated by Heraclitus that I set out to examine the latter, with a view to elucidating the Heideggerian conception of Weltlichkeit. The phenomenological problematic of articulating fusiV and kosmoV in Heidegger's reading of Heraclitus, along with his appropriation of Parmenides' alhqeia,(3) constitutes in effect one of the greatest features of the Heideggerian logoV. In order to better understand the Heideggerian conception of Weltlichkeit in its full phenomenological determination, i.e., as the horizonal fainesqai which lets beings come to appear as they are in the world, I intend to examine how Heraclitus' notion of the kosmoV may contribute to a phenomenological "return to the things themselves." Before proceeding to explore Heidegger's conception of the world in Sein und Zeit (in particular, § 14) I shall recall Heraclitus' articulation of kosmoVand fusiV in the very fragments invoked by Heidegger in his 1928 treatise Vom Wesen des Grundes, in the 1935 course Einführung in der Metaphysik, and in the Heraclitus seminar (Winter 1966/67).

/nythamar/


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