Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Transition to Postmodernity

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Among the most influential and enigmatic thinkers of the modern age, Nietzsche and Heidegger have become pivotal in the struggle to define postmodernism. In this work, Gregory Smith offers the most comprehensive examination to date of the turn to postmodernity in the writings of these philosophers.

Smith argues that, while much of postmodern thought is rooted in Nietzsche and Heidegger, it has ironically attempted, whether unwittingly or by design, to deflect their philosophy back onto a modern path. Other alternative paths emanating from both Nietzschean and Heideggerian thought that might more powerfully speak to postmodern culture have been ignored. Nietzsche and Heidegger, Smith suggests, have made possible a far more revolutionary critique of modernity then even their most ardent postmodern admirers have realized.

Smith contends that the influences on the postmodern in the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger are founded in a new vision of praxis liberated from theory. Ultimately, these philosophers do transcend the nihilism often found in the guise of postmodernism. Their thought is, moreover, consistent with the possibility of limited constitutional government and the rule of law. Smith's book takes the first step toward recovering these possibilities and posing the fundamental questions of politics and ethics in ways that have heretofore been closed off by late-modern thought.

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Editorial Reviews

Argues that the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger represents the beginnings of a shift to postmodernity, that their respective teachings are inextricably linked, and that the constellation of ideas reaching an early culmination in the thought of Rousseau and Kant and codified by Hegel is now reaching its most intense manifestation and disintegrating. Contains sections on the essence of modernity; Nietzsche's critique of modernity; Heidegger's critique of modernity and the postmodern future; and reflections toward a postmodern future. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226763408
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations Ch. 1: Modernity, Postmodernism, and Beyond Ch. 2: The Modern Longing: Protomodernity Ch. 3: Modernity Deflected: Metaphysical Freedom and History Ch. 4: Modernity's Codification and Closure: The End of History?
Ch. 5: Responses to Modern Closure: Reconciliation or Transcendence?
Ch. 6: The Protean Nietzsche Ch. 7: The Critique: The Early Nietzsche Ch. 8: The Transition: Zarathustra's Five Modes of Speech Ch. 9: Zarathustra and the Dynamic of Transition: Epigones and Interpretations Ch. 10: The Future Possibility: After the Metamorphosis Ch. 11: Nietzsche's Vision of the Postmodern Future Ch. 12: Recovering Heidegger Ch. 13: The "Early" Heidegger: Recovery and Deconstruction Ch. 14: Being and Time Ch. 15: The "Middle" Heidegger: Heidegger's Confrontation with Nietzsche and the Turn to Seinsgeschichte Ch. 16: Technology as the Culmination of Metaphysics Ch. 17: The "Late" Heidegger: Mid-Course Corrections Ch. 18: The Transition to Postmetaphysical Thinking Ch. 19: From Eigentlichkeit to Gelassenheit: Poetry and Phenomenological Openness to the World Ch. 20: Variations on a Theme: Postmodern Elements in Heidegger's Teaching Ch. 21: Unending Modernity or Postmodernity? Severing Theory and Praxis Ch. 22: The Problem of "Nature": Beyond the Sublimation of the Political Ch. 23: Dialectical Thinking: From the Phenomenology of Immediate Experience to Poetry Ch. 24: Letting the Future Present Itself: Constitutional Government and Postmodernity Selected Bibliography Index

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