Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 407–438 | Cite as

Ethics and gods: How is local ethics possible?

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Abstract

One prominent interpretation of Heidegger’s thought on issues that are traditionally called “ethical” is that it gives us a formal description of how to reach authenticity (the early Heidegger) or how to gain a free relationship to technology (the late Heidegger) without stating any positive prescriptions. However, as Hubert L. Dreyfus (1995, 2000) has argued, there is more than pure formalism to Heidegger’s thought: he points again and again to how important rootedness, Boden and Heimat, are in trying to overcome the technological understanding of being. Notoriously, Heidegger sees a special role to the Greek–German linguistic axis in internally challenging the tradition of Western metaphysics. This putative special status is in an unsettling way connected to Heidegger’s antidemocratic ideas and to the “closedness” of the tradition that according to him is able to challenge the technological world. We will claim here that there is a way of opening up and thus, in a sense, democratizing the role of tradition and rootedness. However, this democatization has to be done without losing sight of the importance of positive content (as opposed to formal description) in overcoming technology. This opening up is connected to the idea of local gods in later Heidegger as interpreted by Dreyfus; however, the democratization comes at the price of making ethics local as opposed to universal.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics Statistics, and Philosophy, Kanslerinrinne 1, 33014University of TampereFinland

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