A DIALOGUE ON THE ETERNAL RETURN
JOAN STAMBAUGH & LAWRENCE J. HATAB
In celebration of Mr. Hatab?s newly published NIETZSCHE?S LIFE SENTENCE: COMING TO TERMS WITH ETERNAL RECURRENCE, NIETZSCHE CIRCLE is elated to present this dialogue with Mr. Hatab and world renowned Nietzsche and Heidegger scholar, Joan Stambaugh.
In his presentation, Mr. Hatab aims to elucidate and defend the philosophical import of eternal recurrence and its central place in Nietzsche?s thought. This concept, what one might refer to, to paraphrase Pascal, as ?Nietzsche?s wager?, has often perplexed readers, if not particularly, Nietzsche?s fervent avowal of it. For Mr. Hatab, ?Nietzsche?s wager? is an essential aspect of his thought and has philosophical validity in the light of Nietzsche?s critique of the West - it was for Nietzsche the only authentic alternative to all other conceivable models of time with respect to affirming natural life and its temporal finitude.
While Mr. Hatab concedes that Nietzsche probably did not intend eternal recurrence to be taken as an objective, scientific, cosmological fact, he stresses an existential version of the thought but believes that it should be taken ?literally,? otherwise its existential effect would be lost; one would always be susceptible to the psychological loophole that repetition ?isn?t really true.? To avoid the possibility of ?armchair affirmation,? Mr. Hatab will focus on the literal meaning of eternal recurrence, without necessarily endorsing its factual meaning. This distinction between the literal and the factual has the advantage of fitting the world-disclosive and ?revelatory? spirit of Nietzsche?s accounts of eternal recurrence (rather than simply a hypothetical thought experiment pertaining only to human psychology). Mr. Hatab?s argument is that eternal recurrence should be read as the only authentic expression of life affirmation by force of its literal meaning.
In this regard he suggests a kind of literality that can be distinguished from factuality by bringing in the literary phenomenon of ?suspension of disbelief.? He draws on the Greek sense of mimsis, not in the manner of representational copying, but in the psychological sense of audience identification with poetic and dramatic performance. Mr. Hatab aims to show a way in which eternal recurrence can be read literally without committing to a cosmological thesis.
Lawrence J. Hatab, Full Professor and Chair, Old Dominion University. Areas of specialization include 19th- and 20th-Century Continental Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, and Social and Political Philosophy. Aside from Nietzsche?s Life Sentence, he is the author of Nietzsche and Eternal Recurrence; Myth and Philosophy; A Nietzschean Defense of Democracy: An Experiment in Postmodern Politics; and Ethics and Finitude.
Joan Stambaugh is one of the most eminent Nietzsche and Heidegger scholars. Ms. Stambaugh has translated numerous works of Heidegger?s such as The Finitude of Being; Being and Time; End of Philosophy and On Time and Being. Her other works include The Formless Self; Impermanence Is Buddha-Nature: Dogen's Understanding of Temporality; The Real is not the Rational and her works on Nietzsche include The Other Nietzsche, The Problem of Time in Nietzsche and Nietzsche?s Thought of the Eternal Return.
FRIDAY, MARCH 24TH AT 7 PM
Mercy College, Manhattan
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Added by jcrocamo on March 7, 2006