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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 11, 2007

Contemporary Philosophy

Wanda Torres Gregory
Pages 57-61
DOI: 10.5840/wcp2120071189

"Unintelligibility in Heidegger"

In his Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (GA 65), Heidegger claims: "Making itself intelligible is the suicide of philosophy" (435). He defines intelligibility in terms of the modern metaphysical forms of thinking and speaking about beings as objects of representation. Moreover, intelligibility involves a uniform accessibility for the inauthentic. anybody of an age marked by thoughtlessness. Thus, Heidegger upholds and tries to adhere to a principle of unintelligibility for the thinkers in the crossing from the first beginning to the other beginning of philosophy. Thinkers in the crossing are essentially ambiguous and indefinite in their attempt to move through and away metaphysical thinking toward a be-ing-historical thinking. Their only option is to say the metaphysical language of beings as language of be-ing, and this involves a transformation of language and thinking through a "turning around" of the meaning of metaphysical words. Unintelligibility is an essential feature of this transformed and transformative effort to carry out the ultimate task of "the bringing back of beings from the truth of be-ing" (11). If philosophy makes itself intelligible, then it fails to accomplish its mission in the age of the abandonment of be-ing by beings. Unintelligibility in Heidegger, as he defines it and as it occurs in his own writing, suggests the concomitant demand on us, the philosophers of today, to make the effort to interpret the language of beings as language of be-ing.

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