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InTwilight of Subjectivity (1981) Fred Dallmayr plots a course which takes him through an unbelievably productive period from 1981 to the present. I propose to honor Professor Dallmayr, whose uncanny ability has manifested itself in an attempt to rethink the post-enlightenment tradition, by following his work of this period through a series of re\ufb02ections that begin with Hegel and end with Heidegger.
InTwilight of Subjectivity, Dallmayr makes the argument that we are \u201cbe- yond possessive individualism\u201d (Dallmayr, 1981, p. 8). Although Nozick\u2019s entitlement theory and Sartre\u2019s early writings are said to be representative of possessive individualism, critiques by Voegelin, Althusser, Foucault and Derrida set the stage for a kind of post- or anti-humanism which transforms the very idea of what it is to be human. Dallmayr, rather than being a strict antihumanist, wants to have a de\ufb02ated concept of human beings; not a \u201cmaster of reality\u201d but rather, following Heidegger, a \u201cshepherd of being.\u201d Merleau- Ponty, Adorno and, above all, Heidegger substantiate this view. Dallmayr wants to establish an idea of intersubjectivity \u201conce the subject is removed from the cornerstone of social analysis.\u201d He argues that a reinterpreted un- derstanding ofMitsein will provide the basis for this view. Here, the crux of the argument is to show that L\u00f6with and Theunissen are essentially wrong in their egological interpretations of the early Heidegger. The later Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Luk\u00e1cs and Adorno are brought to the fore to support this argument. The discussion ends with a typology of modes of sociality including communalism, association, movement and community.
This reconstructed view of intersubjectivity will lead to a different view of the relationship between human beings and nature, re\ufb02ecting Marx\u2019s view of the humanization of nature and the naturalization of man. Here Dallmayr relies on Derrida and Ricoeur to provide him with a non-teleological un- derstanding of the relationship between human beings and nature. From this analysis it is concluded that we can get another understanding of politics and the good life.
The good life can neither be engineered nor imposed although it is anti- thetical to human effort. When it arrives, it is liable to overtake us during the night, not like a thief but like a wealthy benefactor; at its approach, we are likely to discover that we have been heirs all along \u2013 but of riches we did not suspect or did not fathom in this form (Dallmayr, 1981, p. 173).
I submit that if one were to think through this post-enlightenment thesis about politics and the good life, about ego-identity and intersubjectivity, the argument originally presented inTwilight of Subjectivity would not suf\ufb01ce. Rather, it would be necessary to rethink the place of Hegel in the political order. It would be necessary to reconstruct Nietzsche\u2019s possible contribution to politics. It would be necessary to rethink the contributions of the Frankfurt school, both early and late. Finally, it would be necessary to come to terms in a much more comprehensive way with the claim that in spite of Heidegger\u2019s political excesses, his thought makes a fundamental contribution to politics. It is this odyssey, which at its heart rests on the claims of a reconciling reason, which I wish to follow.
fromTwilight of Subjectivity (1981) toThe Other Heidegger (1993b) includ- ingMargins of Political Discourse (1989) andCritical Encounters (1987) on the roadBetween Freiburg and Frankfurt (1991). The very choice of terms \u2013 \u201ctwilight,\u201d \u201cmargins,\u201d \u201cbetween,\u201d \u201cother\u201d \u2013 suggest ways in which Pro- fessor Dallmayr wants to read the post-enlightenment tradition. The terms are modest in their own right, but in their modesty they make a major claim about the way the post-enlightenment tradition should be read. Following this reading, one encounters the rehabilitation of a much maligned Hegel and the political reappropriation of a scorned Heidegger. Dallmayr would rehabilitate Hegel against the claims of his followers; he would undermine the claims of later critical theory by reasserting the claims of critical theory in its original form; he would even, against the critical interrogation of Heidegger\u2019s politics, sustain a Heideggerian politics.
rejecting facile or utopian remedies (like the abolition of private prop- erty).... [T]he maturation of consciousness is portrayed as the \u201chighway of despair,\u201d leading \ufb01nally to a \u201cspeculative Good Friday\u201d (Dallmayr, 1993a, p. 249).
For Dallmayr, Hegel\u2019s work does not end there, not with the atomization of modern society. \u201cYet, as has also been shown, despair is not Hegel\u2019s last word; in the midst of divisiveness, his work holds out the promise of reconciliation\u201d (Dallmayr, 1993a, pp. 249\u2013250). It is this promise of reconciliation, a pol- itics of reconciliation, the need for a \u201cpublicSittlichkeit,\u201d that characterizes Dallmayr\u2019s entire corpus.
How to articulate that politics of reconciliation in a post-Hegelian context, this becomes the task that marks Dallmayr\u2019s approach. Now the task of artic- ulating a reconciling reason that \ufb01nds its embodiment in a Hegel-like form ofSittlichkeit requires an intense and nuanced approach to modern and/or post-modern thought. It is this position which \ufb01nds its most mature expres- sion in the last two works,Between Freiburg and Frankfurt andThe Other
says on, for example, Adorno. In a word, it is a thesis about the relationship between critique and ontology. Dallmayr takes the position that the debate be- tween critical theory and hermeneutics, the Gadamer/Habermas debate which was inaugurated with the publication ofWahrheit und Methode (Gadamer, 1960/1989) in the early sixties, represents a certain, if distorted, relationship between critique and ontology.
While vigorously asserting ontological claims (and even the primacy of \u201cbeing over consciousness\u201d), Gadamer\u2019s arguments were not free of ide- alist overtones reminiscent of a subjectivist hermeneutics (as well as the legacy ofGeisteswissenschaften). Idealist streaks were clearly present in the continued centerstaging of human consciousness \u2013 evident in such terms as hermeneutical consciousness or \u201ceffective historical conscious- ness\u201d; at the same time, the portrayal of historical tradition sometimes intimated a solid framework or else the unfolding of a steady teleology \u2013 a process privileging continuity of meaning over discontinuity and rupture (Dallmayr, 1991, pp. 24\u201325).
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