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BOOK REVIEWS 567 explicitly denounced. Finally, the temptation to be universal, which Ledeen describes excellently, added farce to tragedy. HERBERT W. SCHNEIDER Claremont, California Heidegger's Metahistory of Philosophy: Amor Fail, Being and Truth. By Bernd Magnus. (The Hague: Marilnus Nijhoff, 1970, pp. xiv -t- 145) The title as well as the subtitle are misleading. One can hardly guess that Magnus is concerned with Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence (Ewige Wiederkun#). Magnus is Professor at the University of California, Riverside. The first part of the book contains a short survey of Nietzsche's literary remains; it is followed by a discussion of the cosmological proof for the eternal recurrence and the Existential Imperative implied by the latter. The second part is devoted to Heidegger and comprises chapters on Heidegger and the tradition; Nietzsche as Metaphysician and Heidegger's Nietzsche in Critical Perspective. The question of the meaning of the eternal recurrence of the Same has caused and still causes considerable difficulty to Nietzsche scholars. Magnus makes some valid contributions to a thorny problem. He begins his investigations with the cosmological proof for the eternal recurrence. Magnus' argument is based on statements Nietzsche made in his posthumously published notes which Magnus quotes in German and his own English translation. Magnus' summary of Nietzsche's position is to the point: Energy, according to Nietzsche, is finite but time is infinite. From this it follows that a finite number of configurations of energy must recur eternally. The change involved in this process leads back to the past and forward to the future in a circular movement (p. 13). Unfortunately, two mistakes in the English translation of the German text may lead to some misunderstanding of the cosmological proof. Magnus translates "Das Mass der All-Kra/t" with "the amount of total energy" (p. 11). However, All in German is not alle (total) but means die Welt (the world) or das Universum (the universe). Correctly translated the phrase should read: The measure of the world's energy. Thus the world being defined by finite energy is finite too. The author's translation of die vorhandene Welt with "'the external world" should also be corrected: Vorhanden is "extant." These errors may lead to the wrong assumption that Nietzsche's cosmological proof refers only to the outside world as distinct from the human world. Magnus' major interest lies in an analysis of the term Gesamtlage (configuration) in relation to states. We have already heard that Nietzsche claims that the configuration of all forces returns eternally. He further holds the view that it is impossible to prove whether identical states have occurred, and continues: "It seems that the configuration forms the qualities anew down to the smallest details so that two different configurations cannot contain anything identical. Whether anything identical can exist within a configuration, for example, two leaves--I doubt it." (My translation differs somewhat from Magnus'.) I would like to address myself to the second of the author's two explanations of these sentences. Magnus argues that Gesamtlage (configuration) does not refer to a state rather to "the total ensemble of states" (p. 16). However, considering how Nietzsche uses the terms "state" and Gesamtlage this conclusion is impossible. "Gesaratlage" may be translated in different ways. It could be rendered as configuration , combination or complete state of energy. State, in German "Lage" or "Zustand," can be exchanged for "Gesamtlage" in the context these terms occur in the text. At some point Magnus puts before configuration the word "total" which amounts to a tautology since configuration means already the grouping of all energy. Magnus also 568 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY refers to states as "parts" and configuration as the "whole" (p. 17). Since he puts parts and the whole in quotation marks I am not quite sure what exactly he had in mind with them. In any event, the distinction between parts and the whole does not fit the way Nietzsche envisioned the change in the configuration of all energy. He says: "This world, a monster of energy without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself.., a sea of forces flowing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 567-570
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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