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By Steven Burik

A piece of and approximately comparative philosophy that stresses the significance of language in intercultural endeavors.

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Extra info for The End of Comparative Philosophy and the Task of Comparative Thinking: Heidegger, Derrida, and Daoism

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Experience and thinking can only gain meaning through language, understood in the sense of signification structures. Thus the second important aspect in Heidegger’s engagement with poetry and his efforts at establishing or at least preparing the “other thinking” through poetic thinking is found in his reinterpretation of language, as it is used in poetry. Heidegger fi nds that the normal functions of language, such as information exchange, everyday social language functions, and even the more “spiritual” sides of language, which are often used by Heidegger and the Other Commencement | 27 poets, cannot explain what happens in poetry, or rather in certain poetry and certain poets.

Translation in itself is always corruption, as we saw was the case with the translation of ancient Greek into Latin, which started the impoverishment of Western thinking. There are no easy ways to escape these dangers that constantly threaten us, but Heidegger tries to do so nonetheless by urging us into another idea and usage of language. In the dialogue with the Japanese he perceives language as “Saying” (Sage). Although Saying is in close proximity to speech, for Heidegger the essence of language lies as much in being silent and listening as it does in speaking.

All this leads Heidegger to a search for a possible other “commencement” (Anfang) of thinking and to prepare for the arrival of this other commencement. ” With the other commencement of thinking Heidegger is not searching for some ancient starting point in history, perhaps in Asia or Africa, from which thinking evolved through Greece and Rome, to fi nally achieve its end or destination in Germany, as Hegel 38 | The End of Comparative Philosophy seemed to think. Heidegger’s other commencement is not a point of time in the past in our own or some other culture, but a task that lies ahead of us.

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