Volume 2, 2010
Selected Essays from Latin America
Soraya Guimãres Hoepfner
A dimensão do hoje: Heidegger e a temporalidade do discurso filosófico
The Dimension of the Today: Heidegger and the Temporality of Philosophical Discourse
This paper proposes a reflection upon philosophy’s role in discussing contemporaneity. By questioning if it is the philosopher’s vocation to think our actuality, the author discusses the character and temporality of philosophical discourse itself. She argues, in a provocative manner, that it is only possible to philosophise about today. Recognizing philosophical discourse’s distinctive character as its possibility of understanding the today beyond today’s facts, she refers to an essential temporal dimension of the contemporary, the same that the temporality of philosophical discourse refers to. Concerning philosophical discourse, the author shows that its reference to the essential dimension of today not only is a signature of distinction from a mere historical-anthropological approach, but precisely that it is what determines its very mode of being. This interpretation is founded on the analysis of two distinct philosophical approaches to contemporaneity. First, it establishes a close dialogue with Martin Heidegger’s thinking of his own contemporaneity, making explicit how he thinks his actuality and how he had an insight into what it is [Einblick in das was ist] as a way of revealing the today in its phenomenological sense. !e second illustration, or the counterpoint, is made by an analysis of the lecture of Giorgio Agamben’s “What is the contemporary?” [Che cos’è il contemporaneo?], which portrays the predominant character of contemporary philosophical discourse about contemporaneity. Such a character is based on a conception of temporality that cannot grasp the essential dimension of the today and, as a result, thinking remains enclosed in the perspective of human agency. Heidegger’s approach to contemporaneity remains in the realm of philosophical discourse by grasping the essential temporality of the today. In general, philosophical discourses in our contemporaneity about contemporary issues remain attached to an interpretation of events in time that reinforces the agency of the human. In short, the author considers relevant the contrast between both discourses in order to claim that philosophical discourse should be always an insight into and beyond the today. The awareness of this essential temporality is what defines its philosophical status and most importantly gives philosophy the task of questioning contemporaneity—of truly thinking the world of today.