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Monday, April 02, 2007

Heidegger and the question

Taken from "Lectures to Heidegger's Sein und Zeit by Benjamin Waters:
http://www.benjaminwaters.org/wat002.0.9.htm#13

“Every inquiry is a seeking. Every seeking gets guided beforehand by what is sought.”(Hei·BT,5) In fact, every genuine question has, according to Heidegger, already a prior understanding of three things: 1. that which is asked about, 2. that which is interrogated in the questioning, and 3. that which is to be found out by the asking (in German 1. das Gefragte, 2. das Befragte, 3. das Erfragte). Essentially the idea is that we don’t ask questions just out of the blue about things that we have no idea whatsoever about. Our enquiry begins with the things that we already have some knowledge of and which we are already dealing with on some level. If I ask even a simple question like ‘how high is this door?’, I already know quite clearly what this thing is that I am asking about—I know what a measurement of height is, and I know what a door is. I already know what it is that I am going to be doing in order to answer my question—that I will be interrogating the door itself with my tape measure. I already know what kind of thing my answer is going to be—a measurement in meters. So questioning or enquiry already starts out from a ground of knowledge, such that the answer comes as something more like the missing piece in a jigsaw than the surprise gift that confronts you when you unwrap a present. Often answering a question is in fact more like merely making connections between bits of knowledge that you already have. (emphasis added)

7 comments:

ktismatics said...

That's certainly how empirical science works. It's trivializing to dismiss science as a puzzle-solving exercise, because that's just looking at the process of finding the answers. The real scientific creativity is in asking an interesting question that can actually be answered. Finding out the answer is just technicianship.

samlcarr said...

It's funny but here Heidegger sounds as though he is back in the mimesis-poeisis debate of the 16C.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Yeah, I agree with you Sam. And I think there is definitely something here to explore in this regards......Wait, what was that debate about, again???

samlcarr said...

quit joshing, after Ockham, that's the closest the Brits came to talking philosophy for nigh 500 years!

ktismatics said...

Sam -

I need enlightenment on the mimesis-poiesis debate. Is this idea of answering questions a mimesis thing, because all the answerable questions exist implicitly in the world? Versus poetry which is unprecedented creation? And what did the Brits have to say?

John

samlcarr said...

Yes, that's indeed the gist of it!
The debate was kicked of by Sir Philip Sidney's "Defence of Poesie" and it was a rich debate about what poetry itself (and art in general) consisted of, was there any element of creativity or was it just a mix-n-match of the already extant forms? - the ideas run all the way back to Plato...

Anonymous said...

Hello, would you by any chance know who Benjamin Waters is, how to get in touch with him and why is his website down?