Aug 6, 2017

Ten Videos on Heidegger's "What Is Metaphysics?"

In June, just after I created my Patreon page to crowdfund my work in public philosophy, I ran a poll, asking my viewers, subscribers, and supporters which philosophical figures they were most interested in seeing me tackle next.

Surprisingly, Martin Heidegger came out on top, with Friedrich and Immanuel Kant in the number 2 and 3 spots!  So, later on on June, after wrapping up the last of the core concept videos on Aristotle's Categories, I started preparing to shoot videos on Heidegger.  I decided to go with his short and relatively accessible essay, "What Is Metaphysics?" (which you can find here, if you'd like to have the translation I prefer).

Before I actually do the work of producing videos, I never know exactly how many of them will be required to adequately cover a given text.  Sometimes - as was the case this time - my initial guess is a bit off, and I realize that I need to create some additional ones in order to get through all of the core concepts.  The total count ended up being ten this time around.  And here they are:

Why did I pick this particular essay - actually an inaugural lecture Heidegger gave in 1929 at the University of Freiburg - as the first work of Heidegger's I would tackle? (It's actually not technically the first, since I'd previously created a number of hour-long lectures in the Existentialism sequence years back - but it is the first that I've done through core concept videos)  It's a good piece, in my view, for introducing some of the key ideas of Heidegger's thought, without getting too deep in the details.

This work contains a discussion of what Metaphysics is and extends to, the contrast between intellectual and affective ways of grasping being, the revelatory importance of moods, anxiety as a mood that discloses beings and the nothing, the priority of the nothing and nihilation over negation,  the scope of logic, human freedom and action, and even some discussion of previous metaphysical interpretations.  So not every major theme of Heidegger's works, by any measure, but quite a few of them. . .