The Problem of Distraction
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The Problem of Distraction presents the first genealogy of the concept from Aristotle to the largely forgotten, early twentieth-century efforts by Kafka, Heidegger, and Benjamin to revolutionize the humanities by means of distraction. Further, the book makes the case that our present troubles cannot be solved by recovering or enhancing attention. Not-always-thinking beings are beset by radical breaks in their experience, but in this way they are also receptive to what has not and cannot yet be called experience.
is a formal indication of a manner of being, in which what is at stake is the respective manner of being itself, an individual’s own being-in-the-world” and not “a collection of various human cares and troubles or even an exemplary form of them,” according to Daniel Dahlstrom in Heidegger’s Concept of Truth (288). 9. One can follow the path from the Kategorien-Lehre of Duns Scotus through the value-laden terms of the 1920s such as “Existenz” and “Philosophie” to “Denken” in Otto Pöggeler, Der
capacity to know, self-evident. “Man is obviously made for thinking. Therein lies all his dignity and his merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought” (Pensées E #620, F #513). The Pascalian picture of l’homme and this demand for his thinking is—just as obviously—in conflict with humanity’s base nature. Indeed, misère also afflicts thinking, and contributes to reason’s deterioration. Without pretending that this one pensée is the key to all the others, one can nevertheless see in it a
apperception cannot be a concept in aesthetics at all. This cannot be proven, he claims, only illustrated. “Maybe it can be presented like this” he writes (NS I 10). There follows a parable. Say Kafka arrives in Prague as a foreigner. If he wants to write to Brod, he can ask for his address, receive it, and then he will never need to ask for it again. “Your address is something ‘old’ for me; this is how we apperceive science” (NS I 11). If he wants to actually visit Brod, however, he must ask the
as to seem cryptic. The special meaning (besondere Bedeutung) that the fable carries as a pre-ontological testimonial (vorontologische[s] Zeugnis) to the essence of Dasein as care lies in its double revelation (SuZ 198). Not only does a human being belong to Sorge during its lifetime, Sorge is moreover the condition for the unhappy and temporary union between spirit and material. That is, it accounts for the way substance-ontology has understood human being for millennia. Finally, Heidegger
583, 586, 590, 606, 610, 615–16, 620, 631; “Überlegung” 598–99, 602, 630; “rechnen” 577, 582–83, 594, 601, 627; “Plan” “planen” 581–84, 586, 591, 600, 616, 620, 623–24, 629, 630. 2. As if it were the story’s—or even Kafka’s—greatest mystery or secret, the problem of the fragment’s ending has bothered interpreters—and not only interpreters. Endings bothered Kafka, for obvious and less obvious reasons. The editor of the Apparatband to the critical edition, Jost Schillemeit, indicates that, of the