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Nor is there between Daoist emptiness wu and Buddhist emptiness kong , much less Heidegger's nothing Nichts ; although I would add that these can be used to illuminate each other in their differences without presupposing a direct connection or indirect resonance. Ma stresses the concreteness and contextuality of Laozi's emptiness, as a functional part of the working of things, in contrast with the abstractness of Heidegger's nothing but then seemingly undermines this point by appealing to Pei Wei's CE critique of the abstractness and mystification of emptiness in Daoism.
It is unclear, but perhaps the author wants to distinguish the concreteness of emptiness in the Daodejing from its abstraction in the later third-century Daoist thinkers of the xuanxue "dark learning" and in Heidegger. Here she would be following Confucian critics such as Pei Wei, who wrote On the Exaltation of Being Chong you lun that decries the emphasis on nothingness. Ma shows how Heidegger takes liberties with German translations of the Daodejing , which are themselves problematic, and considers contemporary scholarship and recently discovered earlier versions of the Daodejing that make Heidegger's interpretation even less plausible.
On the Paradigm Shift of Comparative Studies of Heidegger and Chinese Philosophy
Heidegger's remarks concerning the East occur in Greco-German and European contexts. Heidegger's reading the question of Being or its absence, as well as his forced interpretations of Chinese and Japanese words, is construed as dialogue, and his seemingly positive remarks are overemphasized while the negative are ignored. In such portrayals, Heidegger is interpreted as a universalistic, egalitarian, or pluralistic thinker of common humanity, of perspectives from divergent yet somehow equal primordial sources, or of radical multiplicity.
These overlook Heidegger's crucial claim that there is only one event Ereignis and only one beginning, and it is Greek. Heidegger's language has been interpreted as implying an alterity or radical difference that potentially includes multiplicity i. Whether it is philosophy and thinking, the first and other beginning, the overcoming of metaphysics and thoughtful remembrance, or technological and poetic dwelling, these do not concern or address non-Western sources insofar as they are first and foremost about Greek origins.
For Heidegger, Being is persistently a question of the German in the 's and early 's and later European and Western confrontation with the history of Being from its Greek origins to modern technology. In relation to this unique Western history of Being, and its needed transformation through confronting that history, the Eastern is constructed as an ahistorical realm.
Eastern ways of thinking and living are secondary and derivative to a historical transformation that can only be a Western self-transformation. Even though East Asian words and persons are mentioned more frequently than the Judaic, Islamic, or African in Heidegger's comments, the Eastern is separated and postponed to an indefinite future dialogue for which we are unprepared. Heidegger is concerned with how Eastern traditions supposedly deemphasize the privilege of the human -- as the guardian of the clearing and openness of Being -- and links the East with the irrational, mystic, and nihilistic.
The author raises but does not draw out the context and implications of a number of issues raised by Heidegger's stressing the priority of humans as the guardians of the clearing in response to what he interprets as the equality of beings in Eastern traditions. Such a discussion could shed important light on the contested issue of humanism and anthropocentrism in his thought.
Whereas the West is world-historic, the East -- despite its long practice of writing history and its significance in Confucian thought -- is unlike the West in being fundamentally ahistorical. The rhetoric of the "Asiatic" indicates a radical alienness, fatalism, and threat. Ancient Greece, Germany in the 's, and the contemporary West must overcome the Asiatic by staying within themselves and returning to what is properly their own calling.
Whereas Hegel argued that the Asiatic was sublimated into the Greek, Heidegger demands radical opposition and overcoming of its slavish fatalism and barbaric mythos. Heidegger connects Asia with "dark fire" in Ma speculates that this might be the heavenly fire and might indicate that Heidegger assumes a less negative tone in the 's. This claim is ambiguous given Heidegger's previous connecting of the Asiatic with the darkness of the irrational, which might nevertheless be driven by its own flame, and his emphasis elsewhere on guarding the dark from false brightness and illumination.
However, Heidegger notes that this is a fire to be reordered rather than guarded: