July 23, 2009
INTERVIEW WITH SANTIAGO ZABALA, AUTHOR OF THE REMAINS OF BEING: HERMENEUTIC ONTOLOGY AFTER METAPHYSICS
From the Columbia University Press website:
Question: Your last book, The Hermeneutic Nature of Analytic Philosophy: A Study of Ernst Tugendhat, centered on the German philosopher in order to dismiss the division of philosophy into the analytic and continental schools, while in this new book you seem to engage in a strictly ontological issue: “What remains of Being after the deconstruction of metaphysics?” What is the difference between both books? What is the goal now?
Santiago Zabala: I don’t think there is a big difference since they both engage in what has become the most important problem for philosophy since Heidegger: how can metaphysics be overcome? While in the first book I gave an answer through the postmetaphysical thought of Tugendhat, in this new book I confront the problem at its root, that is, through the concept of Being. Although in this new book I include a whole section on Tugendhat (as well as sections on Jacques Derrida, Reiner Schürmann, Jean-Luc Nancy, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Gianni Vattimo), its purpose to expose the remnants of Being in Tugendhat’s philosophy, which shows the continuity between both investigations. In sum, the goal of this book is to expose the remains of Being after Heidegger’s destruction of metaphysics in contemporary philosophy. The greatest achievements of this destruction are, first, the revelation that Being has always been described as a present object in its presentness and, second, the realization that it is not possible to definitively overcome this objective interpretation without falling back into another descriptive interpretation. In this condition, where metaphysics cannot be “überwinden,” (overcome, meaning a complete abandonment of the problem) but can only be “verwinden” (surpassed, alluding to the way one surpasses a major disappointment not by forgetting it but by coming to terms with it) it is necessary to start interpreting Being through its remains, which is a concept that maintains metaphysics in such a way to also overcome it.
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