Response to my critics


Journal Article

Martin Heidegger observed in his inaugural lecture at the University of Freiburg in 1929 that the profundity of all fundamental questions lies in the fact that they call into question not merely the subject of the inquiry but also both the questioner and the act of questioning itself. To put this another way, any comprehensive explanation must be able in principle to account for the one who is giving the explanation and for the explanation itself, and any account that cannot do this disproves itself in the very act of its narration. Thus, if any such account does not make clear the nature of the narrator and the narration, it is suspect on these grounds and readers may reasonably ask for an explanation. Since I did not discuss or try to justify the methodology or the nature of the narrative that I employ in my book, it is not surprising that all three of my critics either explicitly or implicitly raise this as a question. Kirstie McClure perhaps poses it in the most straightforward fashion by asking about the character of my narrative, suggesting quite plausibly that it might be read as an account of the adventures of the divine predicate. Less directly, Tim Fuller seems to make a similar claim with his characterization of my position as middle Hegelian. Since I argue that in modernity the divine, as Tim Fuller eloquently puts it, is "absorbed" by the individual, it is certainly reasonable to ask what kind of account I imagine I am giving. Or to put it a bit more maliciously than my three interlocutors do, one might reasonably ask who I think I am. It seems to me that this is not only a fair question, but also a very penetrating one, and one that I must try to answer. I imagined my own goals to accord more with Tom Merrill's characterization of my thought as an attempt to bring about an encounter with the fundamental questions that underlie the basic assumptions we make about ourselves and our world. But to give no more explanation than this would hardly be satisfying. Moreover, since I complain at the beginning and the end of the book that we moderns need to pay a great deal more attention to the example of Oedipus and not forget who we are and where we come from, it is incumbent on me to explain myself and what I think I am doing more fully. I will try to do this after first attempting to clarify my argument and responding to several other questions my critics raise. © 2010 University of Notre Dame.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gillespie, MA

Published Date

  • September 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 72 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 705 - 710

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1748-6858

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0034-6705

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0034670510000616

Citation Source

  • Scopus