Thursday, September 13, 2007

Which is More Foreign?

The fall semester has begun, and I'm back to my teaching and grad studies. The title of my interdisciplinary program is "Mathematics, Language, and Cognitive Studies." I'm finding that the emphasis is on the second word more than I had imagined it would be!

Last year I shared in a couple of posts the foreign langauge that Real Analysis was. Here is an example.
This semester I'm taking a course entitled The Philosphy of Language. We have begun by doing readings from Heidegger's Being and Time. Here is an example:

The statement that Da-sein, existing, is its there means: World is "there"; its Da-sein is being-in. Being-in is "there" as that for the sake of which Da-sein is. Existing being-in-the-world as such is disclosed in the for-the-sake of which, and we called this disclosedness understanding. In understanding the for-the-sake-of-which, the significance grounded therin is also disclosed. The disclosure of understanding, as that of the for-the-sake-of-which and of significance, is equiprimordially concernd with complete being-in-the-world. Significance is that for which world as such is disclosed.
Hmm . . . this is going to be interesting.

Although it is written in English, I find it far more foreign than the mathematical symbols above! What do you think?

The professor stated this work is far more understandable in the original German - um, somehow that was not a comfort to me!


Anonymous said...

Heidi, Heidegger is my favorite philosopher. I had to read several commentaries before I could read the original "Being and Time," but now I can. It is like reading a new language. It was definitely worth the effort though. Heidegger shapes all my theories on creativity and puzzle solving. I can recommend some commentaries or I can explain some things to you, if you want.

Heidi said...

Wow! Yes please!

I can tell there is something there, and it is drawing me.

I didn't quite know what I was getting into. Given the course title, "Philosophy of Language" I was imagining something more like linguistics - something I now know is VERY different from what this course is about.

I've always enjoyed reading popular works on philosophy, but the only philosophy course I had was 24 year ago - a survey course - so, perhaps I was arrogant to leap frog over all the lower and upper division philosophy and jump into a graduate level class!!

One certainly could not do that with mathematics, and I'm hoping this is not analogous!

A.J. McCaffrey said...

Heidi, the best explanation I've found is in Hubert Dreyfus' book.

Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I. by Hubert L. Dreyfus

If you have particular questions such as 'what is being-in-the-world' or 'how does Heidegger differ so from philosophers that preceded him' just let me know. I can dig up a paragraph here and there from papers that I've written on him.