They Make Comments…

I ask a question of Paul Ennis and he writes in with an answer:

At least one problem with the paper is that it is disjointed – but it is a chopped up paper edited down to fit the timeslot and one part I did cut out was my broader explanation for why the ancestral could be considered an ‘absent’ danger – i.e. not a danger in the sense that technics is a danger for Heidegger but a danger in that it encourages thinking about a time with no relation to the task of thinking (the ontological difference i.e. interest in the ancestral is for Heidegger just another ontic enterprise). Discussing the ancestral would also be a way to sneak the natural attitude back in – Husserl discusses evolution along these lines (Heidegger would probably have cried if he’d been given a chance to read Dennett).

But yes why the link between technics and the ancestral? Well I do want mean anything more than how the technical is precisely what allows us to build up a picture of the ancestral so yes I do mean the rather mundane fact that it is technics that works to open up this ‘time before being’ (the tools are what now expand the horizon including a horizon that discloses a time that is not ‘temporal’ – in the being and time sense).

Of course I’m also intimating to the various traces of absence that are all over Heidegger – and this I owe to Derrida and so in footnotes (what is absent in my paper!) in the diss I tend to point that out as well.

To put it differently I accept with Heidegger that ‘this is no longer the earth’ that we dwell on but also that when I see the stars (and I never see them as such but a kind of deferred or delayed image of them) I do not see them as Heidegger did and I can’t since the degree of knowledge I have (my realist inheritance) and he had access to as so radically different. But I think Heidegger had a feeling for what was to come on this point and so he only ever makes casual references to it so in that sense it is a kind of absent danger to come (and that for us has arrived).

As you can see this kind of discussion would have been a little bit out of place in a paper delivered to people who were not all into Heidegger and so I avoided dwelling on it too much – I did not want to alienate my audience with too much cryptic Heidegger chat!