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Heidegger’s Identity and Difference

Lecturer: Andrew Benjamin

Originally Taught: Winter School 2020

Martin Heidegger’s Identity and Difference is the English translation of two of his most important lectures. Both were given in 1957. Their concerns are straightforward:  an engagement with the concepts of identity and difference set within the context of Heidegger’s own radical reconfiguration of the question of Being. While the second lecture is ostensibly on Hegel, the two lectures as a whole engage philosophers as diverse as Plato, Parmenides, Leibniz and Nietzsche.

The overall aim of the course will be to introduce fundamental elements of Heidegger's thought through a careful and rigorous study of these two texts.

Procedurally we will work line by line through the two texts tracing the developments of Heidegger’s own arguments. What will be developed is an understanding of Heidegger’s own terminology. Each of Heidegger’s philosophical engagements will be examined both with reference, firstly to Heidegger’s own source texts; for example, Parmenides Fragment 1,  and then secondly by reference to other writings by Heidegger.

Course Plan:

The pages number below refer to page numbers in Martin Heidegger, Identity and Difference. (Translated and Edited by Joan Stambaugh) University of Chicago Press. 1969.

Week 1. Pages 21-30

Topics: Introduction to the concept of ‘Identity’, ‘Sameness’ and ‘belonging-together’; Parmenides Fragment 1.

Week 2. Pages 31-41

Topics: Introduction to the concept of ‘Being’ and ‘event of appropriation’.

Week 3. Pages 42-52

Topics: Hegel, Hegel’s Logic, ‘aufhebung’

Week 4. Pages 53-62

Topics: Hegel, metaphysics, logos.

Week 5. Pages 63-72

Topics: Introduction to the concepts of God,  Metaphysics; Leibniz.

It is essential that the volume Martin Heidegger, Identity and Difference, be brought to each class.