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Heidegger's Language and Thinking (review)
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416Philosophy and Literature that the latter in fact play no role in shaping what they write. Nor is it clear that this is the crucial question in the epistemology of the essay. A more fruitful approach to this problem might well be through recent studies (such as those of the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg) exploring an alternative model of knowledge of and through the individual—and whose suppression by the Galilean model is coeval with the rise of essay as a form. This would have the advantage of foregrounding the importance of the particular and the detail without making the foundationalist assumptions mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Despite these reservations, I find Good's discussion of the general features of essay-writing stimulating. The chapters on individual essayists are sensitive and often original, especially when he turns his attention to authors like Samuel Johnson, whose works in this genre are less well known. All in all, this is an excellent study ofthe essay which should be read with care by anyone interested in the subject. University of OregonSteven Rendall Heidegger's Language and Thinking, by Robert Mugerauer; xiv & 278 pp. Adantic Highlands, NewJersey: Humanities Press, 1988, $49.95. Language is ofcentral importance to Heidegger's thought. Robert Mugerauer does not, however, aim to present something like a Heideggerian "philosophy of language." More modesdy, and perhaps more wisely, he seeks instead to show how the content of Heidegger's philosophy is inextricably linked with Heidegger's use of language. In the background stands his conviction that out ofthis investigation will emerge insights into the nature oflanguage and thinking itself. Mugerauer's method is to analyze the structure and vocabulary of three Heideggerian texts, Discourse on Thinking, "A Dialogue on Language," and What Is Called Thinking! (Mugerauer relies almost exclusively on the English translations ). In these texts, Heidegger is seeking a way out of "metaphysics," which he identifies as die attempt to define reality on the basis of a willing "subject" who "represents" beings through mental images. Heidegger's task, says Mugerauer , is thus to find a language and a way of thinking which are nonrepresentational and nonobjectifying. Mugerauer is convinced diat Heidegger's writing in fact realizes these objectives, that "Heidegger does what he says." In the first place, says Mugerauer, the structure of Heidegger's texts exemplifies Heidegger's conception of the relation of thought to being; to bring Reviews417 this point home, Mugerauer even provides diagrams illustrating these structures . The diagrams are useful, for example, in showing that in "A Dialogue" Heidegger moves from the famous "House of Being" metaphor for language to that of language as a blossoming grave. We are further told that the breaks in conversation depicted in Discourse "show" us that genuine thinking is responsiveness to a mystery that leads us ever onward, and that when the characters portrayed in "A Dialogue" arrive at a new conception oflanguage by meditating on what was left implicit and presupposed in prior conversations, this "shows" us that language is a "Saga" that gathers up the past and unites those who listen to it speak. Here Mugerauer simply confuses demonstration with depiction: the structure of Heidegger's texts may symbolize Heidegger's doctrine, but it does not prove it. Mugerauer's analysis of Heidegger's vocabulary suffers from similar confusions . This vocabulary, argues Mugerauer, "strives to be the opposite to the arbitrary and willful use ofstrange terms" (p. 114). The reason is that Heidegger employs the pastor's homely, quiet, and even dull language (pp. 180, 218); die frequent use ofterms such as "gathering," "belonging," "reverence," and "thanking " convey a mood of contemplative restraint in What Is Called Thinking?, the images in "A Dialogue" are of Oriental grace and serenity, those in Discourse of the unhurried country life. Yet from Heidegger's depicting or referring to such "non-willful" attitudes it does not follow that his texts are not willful; in particular, the use of religious language in a supposedly nonreligious context seems arbitrary and questionable. In his conclusion, Mugerauer tries to come to grips with the problem of Heidegger's appropriation of religious language. Heidegger speaks of Being "calling," "commanding," "giving"—all verbs which, ifthey avoid making Being into...