On “philosophical anthropology” and infrapolitics.

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(Apologies, because I am posting these comments both here and in the new blog in infrapolitics.org.  The latter site is still very much under construction, so that new blog is accessible to very few people yet.)

In the Zollikon Seminars, in the protocol for November 23, 1965, Heidegger is at pains to distinguish his “analytic of Dasein” from any kind of “Daseinanalysis,” because the first is only to be said in reference to ontological structures, whereas the second refers to ontic phenomena.  Daseinanalysis has to do with the therapeutic situation, for instance.  It is ontic behavior.  This could have been expected.  What is rather interesting, for a Heidegger who would usually apparently refuse to make any concessions to the ontic, is his concluding comment: “The decisive point is that the particular phenomena, arising in the relationship between the analysand and the analyst, and belonging to the respective, concrete patient, be broached in their own phenomenological content and not simply be classified globally under existentialia” (124).  The decisive point then would be that in the therapeutic situation it is not the analytic of Dasein that counts–one must make obvious recourse to existentiell modes of relation, and thinking, and action.  The analytic of Dasein can only orient, more or less resolutely, such existentiell modes, but there is a specific style of behavior which is radically concrete, attentive to the phenomena at hand, and irreducibly so.   Such a style of behavior needs to be exercised in the therapeutic situation, or the teaching situation, or the hermeneutic situation, etc.  Infrapolitics should be nothing but a (ceaseless) meditation on the implications of such concrete encounters in the always-already (as opposed to either constant ontological [theoretical] talk or the triviality of opinion-making from ideological positions, whether political, ethical, or aesthetic, which is all the humanities seem to dare propose today.)  Needless to say, that ceaseless meditation, if done appropriately, would change everything also for the trivial opinion-makers.

In the November 26,1965, session Heidegger points, perhaps surprisingly,  in the direction of the elaboration of a “philosophical anthropology” for which “the analytic of Da-sein as an existential-ontological analytic” would not be sufficient.  He then says: “there would have to be an entire future discipline with the task of delineating the demonstrable existentiell phenomena of the sociohistorical and individual Da-sein in the sense of ontic anthropology bearing the stamp of the analytics of Da-sein” (125).   I am not enough of a Heideggerian to know whether this invitation has even been taken up in some quarters or other: the call for a philosophical anthropology enabled by the analytic of Dasein to take up existentiell concreteness, “oriented toward the concrete historical existence of the contemporary human being, that is, toward the existing human being in today’s industrial society” (125-26).  Infrapolitics is at the same time less and more than this: it is less, because it does not have the ambition, nor the desire, to constitute a new discipline, or a new disciplinary modality within anthropology; it is more because it has the arrogance of claiming for itself a new field of reflection, based, certainly, on the existential analytics, but in no way limited to what Heidegger calls “existentialia.”

 

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