The Beginning of Western Philosophy

The Beginning of Western Philosophy

Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides
Martin Heidegger, edited by Martin Heidegger, translated by Richard Rojcewicz
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/05/2015
ISBN: 978-0-253-01561-7
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Volume 35 of Heidegger’s Complete Works comprises a lecture course given at the University of Freiburg in 1932, five years after the publication of Being and Time. During this period, Heidegger was at the height of his creative powers, which are on full display in this clear and imaginative text. In it, Heidegger leads his students in a close reading of two of the earliest philosophical source documents, fragments by Greek thinkers Anaximander and Parmenides. Heidegger develops their common theme of Being and non-being and shows that the question of Being is indeed the origin of Western philosophy. His engagement with these Greek texts is as much of a return to beginnings as it is a potential reawakening of philosophical wonder and inquiry in the present.

Author Bio

Richard Rojcewicz is Scholar-in-Residence in the Philosophy Department at Duquesne University. He has translated (with Daniela Vallega-Neu) Heidegger's Contributions to Philosophy: Of the Event (IUP, 2012) and The Event (IUP, 2012).


“Publication of this volume will motivate further scholarship on Heidegger's relation to the Pre-Socratics and on the intertwined topics of ontological difference, truth, metaphysics, and attunement. It will serve novice and seasoned Heidegger scholars alike.”
 — Jerome Veith, Seattle University

“A review cannot do justice to the entire richness of this lecture course . . . . The present course is thus in every sense a transition: harking back to the temporal analyses of Being from the period of 'Being and Time' and anticipating the increasing preoccupation with the Presocratics and with Greek tragedy that would mark Heidegger's work from the mid-1930s onward.10/4/16”
 — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Table of Contents

Translator’s Introduction

The beginning of Western philosophy
Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides
Part One
The dictum of Anaximander of Miletus, 6th-5th Century
§1. The mission and the dictum
Chapter I
The first phase of the interpretation
A. The first section of the statement
§2. The theme of the dictum: beings as a whole

B. The second section of the statement
§3. Beings in the relation of compliance and noncompliance

C. The third section of the statement
§4. Being and time

Chapter II
The second phase of the interpretation
§5. The unitary content of the pronouncement on the basis of its central core

Chapter III
The other dictum
§6. The sovereign source of beings as the empowering power of appearance

Part Two
Interposed considerations
§7. Four objections to the interpretation
§8. The negative relation to the beginning
§9. Meditation on the "current situation"
§10. The grounding utterance of Being
§11. The actual asking of the question of Being
§12. Review of the linguistic usage
§13. The basic question of existence
§14. Commentary on our concept of existence
§15. The full rendering of the understanding of Being
§16. The liberation toward freedom
§17. Transition to Parmenides: the first explicit and coherent unfolding of the question of Being

Part Three
The "didactic poem" of Parmenides of Elea
6th-5th Century
§18. Introduction
§19. Interpretation of fragment 1. Preparation for the question of Being
§20. Interpretation of fragments 4 and 5
§21. Interpretation of fragments 6 and 7
§22. Interpretation of fragment 8
§23. The fragments 9, 12, 13, 10, 11, 14, 16, 19 (in the order of their interpretation)

§24. The inceptual question of Being; the law of philosophy


Drafts and plans for the lecture course
Editor's afte