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Heidegger, Martin. Logic: The Question of Truth.

HEIDEGGER, Martin. Logic: The Question of Truth. Studies in Continental Thought. Btoomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. xi + 356pp. Cloth, $44.95--All philosophy majors are required to take a logic course which is supposed to teach them how to think clearly. But what is thinking? And what is logic? If they had taken Professor Heidegger's "Logic" at Marburg University during the winter term of 1925-26, in the closing moments of the second class they would have heard the following: "It is a fool's errand [eine verfehlte Erwartung] to expect that traditional logic will teach us how to thhlk." Justa bit earlier in the hour, students were prepared for that challenging assertion: "The kind of logic that is and was commonly taught in the universities of today ... is a logic that has given up on any kind of philosophy ... This so-called 'scholastic logic' is not philosophy ... It is a form of sloth, kept alive by custom and by off-the-record academic arrangements and desires. It is also a fraud. Scholastic logic is a form of sloth tailor-made for instructors. All they have to do, year after year, is parrot the same old stock of unchanging, shopworn propositions, formulas, rules and definitions ... In this kind of 'logic,' the logician never runs the risk, never has to put up or shut up-which is the price you have to pay to do real philosophy. It is a fraud perpetrated on the students. They are trapped for a whole semester studying stuff of utterly dubious value." I first read these lines in Logik: Die Frage nach der Wahrheit, which was published in 1976, eleven years after I had taken my undergraduate logic course. We had used Benson Mates's Elementary Logic. According to Mates, logic is about the truth of statements, yet nowhere in his textbook or the course was there any discussion of the meaning of truth or the possibility of falseness, topics that are central to Heidegger's discussion of logic.

Heidegger notes that genuinely philosophical logic has had only two masters: Aristotle, "the Father of Logic," and Hegel, his "only-begotten and co-equal son." He adds: "In order to advance philosophically, [logic] needs a new lineage. When that will come about, no one knows. We of today are certainly not up to it." Not hoping to further the brief history of logic, Heidegger's more modest goal was to revive the question: "What is truth?", first by examining Husserl's critique of psychologism in the Logical Investigations and then by showing "the need to take the question of the essence of truth back to Aristotle." Preparation for thinking further about logic leads Heidegger to a phenomenological analysis of human be-ing as existence (Dasein). The fundamental mode of the being (Sein) of existence is shown to be care (Sorge) and the "basic determination of being itself' is revealed as time or ur-temporality (Temporalitat). These words and Existenz are, of course, the basic vocabulary of Sein und Zeit, which Heidegger went on to complete soon after giving the last lecture of the course.

Heidegger's lectures focus on the Greek notion of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in its various senses, but especially as speech, where "we understand speech as the revealing of something by speaking about it, and as a thinking that determines and orders it. Language, speaking, thinking: they coincide as the human way of being." His achievement is to show that the hidden theme of propositional (scholastic) logic is time, but not as Aristotle had understood it. We require a new concept of time, which Heidegger had offered a year earlier, in the summer of 1924, to the Theological Society at Marbug. A retrieval of Kant's understanding of time is the theme of much of Part II of Heidegger's course. While Kant seems to have been on the way to a breakthrough and a new lineage for logic, he too is shown to have merely taken over via medieval philosophy (as mediated by Leibniz) Aristotle's concept of time. Hegel and Bergson are also shown to be beholden to Aristotle.

Thomas Sheehan has here set the standard of excellence against which all future translations of Heidegger into English must be measured. At long last, the English-speaking reader is spared the unnecessary mystification of the word Dasein. Only Existenz is left untranslated. In his lectures on Holderlin's poem "Der Ister," read in the summer of 1942, Heidegger said to his students: "Tell me what you think about translating and I will tell you who you are." Professor Sheehan shows us who he is by making accessible the way of thinking of the Heidegger of Sein und Zeit.--Miles Groth, Wagner College.
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Author:Groth, Miles
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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