Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

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Orginal Article
Many Healths: Nietzsche and Phenomenologies of Illness
Welsh Talia
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 338-357.

Abstract   PDF (273KB)

This paper considers phenomenological descriptions of health in Gadamer, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Svenaeus. In these phenomenologies of health, health is understood as a tacit, background state that permits not only normal functioning but also philosophical reflection. Nietzsche’s model of health as a state of intensity that is intimately connected to illness and suffering is then offered as a rejoinder. Nietzsche’s model includes a more complex view of suffering and pain as integrally tied to health, and its language opens up the possibility of many “healths,” providing important theoretical support to phenomenological accounts of the diversity and complexity of health and illness.

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Max Scheler’s Phenomenology of Pain
Saulius Geniusas
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 358-376.

Abstract   PDF (260KB)

This paper offers a systematic account of Scheler’s phenomenology of pain, addresses its place in the history of the phenomenology of pain and traces its significance for pain research. Against the popular view, which maintains that for Scheler pain is a feeling-state, this paper argues that Scheler conceives of pain as an irreducibly ambiguous phenomenon: as both a non-intentional feeling-state and an intentional feeling. This paper further shows how this ambiguity leads Scheler to qualify pain as a stratified phenomenon, composed of causal, sensory, emotive and cognitive dimensions. This paper demonstrates how such a stratified conception enables one to draw meaningful distinctions between pain and other emotive phenomena, such as suffering, illness, and despair. This paper concludes with some remarks concerning the significance of Scheler’s phenomenology of pain for pain research.

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A Diltheyan Loop? The Methodological Side of Heidegger’s Kant-Interpretation
Frank Schalow
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 377-394.

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While scholars have paid considerable attention to Heidegger’s creative reinterpretation of Kant’s transcendental philosophy, little interest has been given to tracing the methodological steps by which the former’s work can house the key epistemic themes of the latter (e.g., those raised in the Critique of Pure Reason) within a broader, ontological problematic. To rectify this shortcoming, I propose outlining a “Diltheyan loop,” in order to make explicit a tapestry of presuppositions by which Heidegger anchors the epistemic themes of theoretical knowing (e.g., the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments) in the pre-theoretical, pre-predicative, and pre-discursive level of self-understanding (in which the possibility of understanding being [Sein] is also rooted). By showing how this “Diltheyan loop” is operative in the fore-structure of Heidegger’s Kant-interpretation, I will illuminate the overall strategy by which he recasts, retrieves, and reinterprets the key motifs of the Critique of Pure Reason, which at the same time will shed light on the controversies and criticisms that have arisen in the subsequent decades.

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The Invisible and the Secret: Of a Phenomenology of the Inapparent
François Raffoul
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 395-414.

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I consider in this article Heidegger’s late characterization of phenomenology as a “phenomenology of the inapparent.” Phenomenology is traditionally considered to be a thought of presence, assigned to a phenomenon that is identified with the present being, or with an object for consciousness. The phenomenon would be synonymous with presence itself, with what manifests itself in a presence. However, I will suggest in the following pages that phenomenology is haunted by the presence of a certain unappearing dimension, a claim that was made by Heidegger in his last seminar in 1973, when he characterized the most proper sense of phenomenology as a “phenomenology of the inapparent.” I attempt to show in what sense for Heidegger the “inapparent” plays in phenomenality and in phenomenology, and to then consider (drawing from Levinas and Derrida) its ethical import.

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Heidegger’s Conception of Being-with (Mitsein ) and His Simple Designation of Social and Political Reality in the Black Notebooks
JIN Xiping
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 415-429.

Abstract   PDF (333KB)

Despite Heidegger insists that Being and Time cannot be read as a kind of existential philosophy, such interpretation still holds in some aspect, for in it, the main content is a special kind of phenomenology of life, even be called repeatedly as the foundation of the ontology of Being in general. The project of establishing an ontology of Being in general was ultimately never carried out. What Heidegger provides in Being and time is nothing but a phenomenology of life. It is peculiar that love and friendship as an important element of life is deliberately ignored. Such a deficiency of Heidegger, namely lacking love and friendship in fundamental ontology of Dasein, is probably the reason for his political fallacy during the II-World-War, notorious political mistake in his recent published Black Notebooks.

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Reason and Besinnung: Heidegger’s Reflections on Science in Contributions to Philosophy
KE Xiaogang
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 430-443.

Abstract   PDF (280KB)

Heidegger’s reflection on modern sciences in his Contributions to Philosophy is a “questioning of philosophy” instead of an analysis of a “problem of logic.” Therefore, this Being-historical reflection is an ontological grounding effort of reason, instead of a rational critique of the sciences. Heidegger calls this ontological grounding a “Besinnung” or “mindful deliberation,” which is one of the most important words in the Contributions. This “Besinnung” is not only a kind of “philosophy of science,” but also a political critique of modern sciences.

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Heidegger on the Struggle for Belongingness and Being at Home
Megan Altman
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 444-462.

Abstract   PDF (285KB)

In 1840, Alexis de Tocqueville coined the term “individualism” to refer to the tendency for Americans to withdraw into their own desires and interests, thus weakening and diminishing the “habits of the heart” that bind a generation to the customs of their forebears and contemporaries. A problem, though, is that modern individualism undermines the very ideals—i.e. autonomy, equality, and freedom—that motivated it in the first place. Understood as a way of life, liberal individualism is permeated by alienation, estrangement, and thoughtless patterns of conformism. In what follows, I hope to show that hermeneutic phenomenology as developed by Martin Heidegger marks an important break from the modern liberal individualistic outlook. The point is to undercut the contrived interpretations of our current historical tradition in order to demonstrate that belonging to and sharing in the struggles of a generation are conditions for being human at all. This critique does not provide a panoptic or definitive account of the basis of a genuine community, but does give us a richer sense of place and purpose, beyond even what the current polis/political community designates (though it certainly includes it).

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The Ethics of Treating Animals as Resources: A Post-Heideggerian Approach
Tara Kennedy
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 463-482.

Abstract   PDF (248KB)

This paper describes the phenomenological ethics implicit in Heidegger’s later work. It is argued that these phenomenological ethics take the form of a perfectionist ethics in which one consciously resists the temptation to nihilistically enframe other entities as Bestand. Despite Heidegger’s reputation as an inferior animal philosopher, it is then argued that we can employ this ethics to improve our relationship with non-human animals. Specifically, our use of them in the agricultural setting is examined to determine whether or not our current practices are ethical according to Heidegger’s normative model. Ultimately it is concluded that, more often than not, animals are harmed both ontically and ontologically by our modern farming practices. We are called on instead to try to dwell meditatively with other entities, to be-with them in such a way that respects them as inexhaustibly meaningful instantiations of being as such. This requires changes to the way in which we satisfy our needs as consumers.

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On Pillowing One’s Skull: Zhuangzi and Heidegger on Death
David Chai
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 483-500.

Abstract   PDF (288KB)

Martin Heidegger famously declares that Dasein does not perish but experiences its demise, and that death stands before us as something to be anticipated. This idea of being-towards-death is an anticipation of possibility, of becoming authentically free for one’s death. If we take Heidegger’s view of death and compare it to that of the Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi, we notice that the latter also holds death in an unusual light. For Zhuangzi, death is possibility not because it symbolizes the perfection of being but insofar as it reveals its entanglements. This paper will thus argue in support of the Daoist notion that death is neither to be feared nor does it serve as the end of one’s contribution to the world. It will also take the stance that death qua nothingness is both a corporeal and metaphorical embodiment of Dao in that death and nothingness reflect the natural praxis of Dao to be still, empty, and quiet. In order to facilitate our analysis, we will focus on the story of Zhuangzi and the roadside skull, a story that has Zhuangzi pillowing said skull from which he realizes that life is but a pillowing of death.

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Tianming and the Other: Rethinking the Source of Responsibility in the Zhong Yong and Emmanuel Levinas
Sai Hang Kwok
Front. Philos. China. 2016, 11 (3): 501-520.

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“Everyone will readily agree that it is of the highest importance to know whether we are not duped by morality,” says Emmanuel Levinas in the preface to Totality and Infinity. Why is ethical inquiry a meaningful and necessary task? This is a universal question with which all contemplation of ethics should grapple. This paper aims to show that both the Other in Levinas and the “Heavenly-command (tianming 天命)” in the Zhong Yong 中庸 indicate that human beings are called to be passively ethical. The passivity of ethical responsibility is, however, not caused by a divine moral power, but can be seen in three characteristics that mark ethics: 1) the exposure to the other, 2) the time of diachrony and 3) the aporetic moment of ethical response. Ethical responsibility is commanded before one’s initiative to be ethical and is therefore prior to moral subjectivity. Moreover, a moral life is accomplished only in sincerely responding to this command of ethical responsibility. This opens up a kind of activity called “sincerity (cheng 誠).” The source of responsibility therefore lies in a passive ethical situation that calls upon an active ethical response. This ethical responsibility is the foundation of all ethical inquiry.

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13 articles