Protocol #1

Seminar – February 1, 2005

PHI 610: Philosophy and the Arts after Derrida

Prof. Silverman

Kristofor Larsen




            1. Overview of Semester

            2. Overview of Texts

            3. Background on Heidegger

            4. Background on “The Origin of the Work of Art”

            5. First 5 Paragraphs of Origin


1. Overview of Semester

* Phil. and the Arts after Derrida (where “after” means chasing after or considering)

* Requirement of two 8 to 10 page papers.

            -Paper one: Derrida and theory that preceded him

            -Paper two: figures that follow Derrida and how they are related to him

* Requirement of two protocols for each enrolled student

            -they should be typed (3 pages) and copied for everyone in the class

            -a revised version should be sent to Silverman to be posted on the web

            -past protocols can be found on Silverman’s Website

* February 8th we will meet from 7 to 10 and after that we will meet from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.


2. Overview of Texts

* The Continental Aesthetics Reader will be the key text for this semester (CAR)

            -we will start the course with Heidegger

            - move to Dufrenne [both Silverman and Casey studied with Dufrenne in Paris]

                        a. major figure in aesthetics in France for some time

                        b. 2 parts to aesthetic experience (aesthetic perception/aesthetic object)           

-Merleau-Ponty’s Eye and Mind and Intertwining [Silverman translated MP’s

“Philosophy and Non-philosophy since Hegel” for a book called Philosophy and Non-philosophy since Merleau-Ponty (1988, reprint 1997)]

* Spurs by Derrida (died October 9th of last year)

            -deals with questions of truth, woman, and style

            -works from Nietzsche’s quote: “truth is a woman”

            -makes a feminist work from the quote of a misogynist

            -also works from Nietzsche’s quote: “I have forgotten my umbrella”

* Three weeks on The Truth in Painting

* Vattimo will be in Helsinki at IAPL conference

* Brault (NYU Ph.D) and Naas (SUNY SB Ph.D) are married

* Nancy is not easy, often more opaque than Derrida

* Perniola (like Vattimo, and Umberto Eco) was a student of Luigi Pareyson [the most influential Italian philosopher of aesthetics in the 1970s]

* Postmodernism – Philosophy and the Arts is out of print (but good)

* Textualities deals with the relationship between hermeneutics and semiotics

* The Work of Morning is about people who have died in Derrida’s life


3. Background on Heidegger

* Heidegger published Being and Time (his “big fat book” in the tradition of big fat books) in 1927—it was groundbreaking.

* BT was mostly about being, Later he wrote Time and Being which was more about time.

* Being and Time (Sein und Zeit) is concerned with the meaning (Bedeutung) of the Being (das Sein) of beings (Seinde).

* Being is always on the horizon for any Being.

* Each being has distinction from other beings (Unterscheidung: “distinguishing” or “Differenz”).

* being (ontic)

* Being (ontological)

* Because there is a difference between Being and beings, we can ask about its meaning.

* His answer to this question (“what is the meaning of the Being of beings”) is truth, and what is truth (aletheia [Greek] or Unverborgenheit [German, meaning unconcealed or disclosure]).

* For Heidegger, truth has to do with disclosure (etymology of Greek).

* In 1927 Heidegger was Husserl’s assistant. Husserl then retired around 1930, and Heidegger took Husserl’s position at Freiberg. 

* Heidegger soon became the Rector of the school (in what was then Nazi Germany) and gave his rectoral address in 1934. Then in 1935 he gave up the rectorship and went back to teaching philosophy.


4. Background on “The Origin of the Work of Art”

* The first version of Origin (1935) did not include the discussion about Van Gogh’s Shoes (1886-1888). Why does he add this later? What is it about this period of time?

* The two other examples found in Origin are the poem about the fountain and the Greek temple (the Paestum, near Naples, where Parmenides used to hang out).

* “Origin” (Ursprung) – spring out of some originary place

            -1930s – Germans were obsessed with origins (esp. racial origins)

                        a. Origin of Species – Darwin

                        b. Origin of German Tragic Drama – Benjamin

                        c. Origin of Geometry – Husserl (trans. To Fr. by Derrida, 1962)

                        d. Freud (contemporary with Husserl) was also obsessed with origins.

                        e. Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942) – Ernst Mayr

* Heidegger wrote Origin in 1935-1936 (goes back to Aristotle and Aquinas and God as the first mover or prime mover).

* The Hofstadter translation is good (he was at UCSC then New School).

* Origin is a very carefully constructed essay.

* There are 3 parts to Origin:                Thing and Work

                                                            Work and Truth

                                                            Truth and Art (where art returns back to thing)

            - “This is basically a Chiasm or intertwining” HS

            - But none of these 4 ideas are the origin

* The addendum added the notion of gestell or frame (1960, same yr. as Eye and Mind).


5. First 5 Paragraphs of Origin

* “Origin here means” – he begins his essay on art with “origin” and what does it mean (here “meaning” has the same notion as in BT).

* A being is what it is and how it is (“from” and “by” are crucial—bi-directionality).

* What/as = essence (Wesen: nature or core, as opposed to what it is accidentally).

* He connects origin with essence.

* 3rd sentence defines “origin.”

* The usual view – the artist is the source, he creates.

* But how do you get to be an artist?—You make art works.

* The source of the work of art is the artist and the source of the artist is the work of art.


* The artist must create works of art (neither is without the other).

* There must be something more than the artist and the work of art (as Derrida would say: “the supplement”).

* The third thing prior to both is art. And art is the origin of the artist and the work of art.

* What would it mean to say that art is an origin? Heidegger would say that origins are not possible. He is not concerned about what art is rather he is concerned about artists and works of art. [Joyce, Portrait of an Artist – does art work exist in nature].

* Art gets its essence from artists and works of art.

* For Heidegger, what art is should be inferable from the work.

* But here we are “moving in a circle.” And something about logic has been offended.

- Aristotle tells us that you do not want to beg the question.

- But if you do what art historians do or what philosophers do you will not find out what art is. Thus, we follow the circle.

- All attempts of thinking (Denken) about art, circle in the circle.

- Heidegger is interested in paths (Weg) that do not go anywhere (Holzwege – wood paths, these are logging paths that just stop and you have to come back. The book titled Holzwege, trans. from Fr. means: Roads that do not go anywhere).

- This circling is a hermeneutic circle for Heidegger.

- The circle enframes the open space where truth is disclosed: the place where truth happens. Truth is not anywhere, but it happens.

- Truth is not universal or specific, but it is disclosed when we do this thinking.

*Heidegger describes works of art as very ordinary. They have a “thingly” character. But what is thing like about these works?

* We do not treat these works like things.

* If we look at the shoes, what is the meaning?

* Art is not so specific and not so universal.

* The origin of the work of art is: what is the meaning?