Sunday, April 05, 2009

Nelson, Eric Sean. Review of Lin Ma's HEIDEGGER ON EAST-WEST DIALOGUE. NDPR (April 2009).

Ma, Lin. Heidegger on East-West Dialogue: Anticipating the Event. London: Routledge, 2008. Lin Ma's Heidegger on East-West Dialogue is a rigorous, detailed, and attentive study of Martin Heidegger's complex, ambiguous, and overly interpreted relations with Eastern thought. In this work, Ma meticulously interrogates Heidegger's constructions of the "Asiatic" and the "Eastern," his references to Asian words, texts, and traditions, and his interactions with individuals from China, Japan, and -- to a lesser extent -- South and Southeast Asia. In this carefully crafted inquiry, Ma examines the texts and contexts of Heidegger's occasional references to Eastern thought and Asia. This includes remarks that have been discussed multiple times in previous literature without sufficient attention to their context and trajectory. She also considers a number of previously unexamined remarks from recently published works and collections of correspondence. This book is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the actuality and possibilities of Heidegger's thinking with respect to Eastern and intercultural philosophy. Ma offers a critical and balanced -- and accordingly less speculative and optimistic -- assessment of Heidegger's interest in Eastern thought and his import for East-West and intercultural dialogue. Through a meticulous reading of the texts, she convincingly and forcefully -- indeed, devastatingly for overly indulgent interpretations -- reveals the stakes and limits of Heidegger's actual interest in and import for Eastern thought. Heidegger never carefully distinguishes the various cultures nor the varieties of what he considers Eastern thought, which is neither philosophy (metaphysics) nor genuinely inceptive thinking insofar as these both concern Being. Likewise, Heidegger's significance for intercultural thought has been uncritically appropriated and imaginatively exaggerated in East and West. This book is not another creative yet ahistorical work in "comparative philosophy," which is one of the dangers of cross-cultural philosophy. Ma traces how Heidegger influenced East Asian intellectuals and how they drew connections between Heidegger's thinking and Eastern traditions that in turn shaped the context of the question of Heidegger and the East and the formation of "resonances" between them. It should be noted, however, that previous interpreters have been more aware of these difficulties than admitted in this work, which is precisely why they stressed and over-emphasized the few resonances, influences, and connections that they recognized. . . . Read the rest here:

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