By Jean Beaufret

Jean Beaufret is likely to be top identified for posing the inquiries to which Martin Heidegger replied in his well-known "Letter on Humanism." those questions, swiftly written in a Paris caf?©, represent an early and improvised second that was once to shape a profound philosophical engagement and friendship among the 2 thinkers. Mark Sinclair provides, for the 1st time in English translation, the 1st of 4 volumes of Beaufret's essays. This quantity covers Beaufret's improvement of Heidegger's method of Greek pondering in six essays "The delivery of Philosophy," "Heraclitus and Parmenides," "Reading Parmenides," "Zeno," "A observe on Plato and Aristotle," and "Energeia and Actus." discussion with Heidegger is an important complement to Heidegger's personal paintings and a necessary research of philosophy in its personal correct.

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There is, he says, a certain knowledge, we might say a certain perspective, which, as a whole, brings beings into view insofar as they are. To be capable of such a perspective is to be a philosopher. But how are we to understand this quite sober de¤nition of philosophy: “as a whole, to bring beings into view insofar as they are”? ‘As a whole’—the Greek kaq’lou, from which derives our word catholic. L’étant: this use of the present participle is as unusual in French as it is frequent in German—das Seiende—or in English: a being.

3 How are we to understand this here also? Does it merely concern the simplicity of a humble abode? Should we not rather understand that the humble stove remains, in spite of everything, the place of the ¤re that is always life, of Dialogue with Heidegger 24 the ¤re that is older than gods and men, and whose light is only a re¶ection of the still un-deciphered enigma that Greek thought presents to us? Yes, at least if the secret of such a thinking is maintained in the strangeness of a noun that we translate as truth only in being inattentive to the more original clearing that is the Greek world itself, which the language of this world had named ¶løqeia.

This, in the ¤rst instance, is nothing original. Most French words derive from Greek and Latin, or from Greek through Latin, since the latter borrowed much from Greek. But 1 Dialogue with Heidegger 2 what is interesting here is that it is not only in our language, but in all languages, that philosophy is called philosophy. Not only in English or in German, in Italian or in Spanish, but also in Russian, Arabic, and, doubtless, Chinese. Besides, even in Greek the word filosofàa did not always exist.

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