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Causality and Determinism by G.H. von Wright

By G.H. von Wright

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To be historical means to be knowingly (wissend sein) in order to feed on the obliging powers of the past and to protect its greatness through all the changes. ” (cited in Farias 1987, 205) What does this unconditional identity consist in? What is the role played by the state in the historical becoming of the nation? According to Heidegger, the state warrants the internal cohesion of the nation as a whole. It is only thanks to the state that the nation becomes transparent to itself, able to capture clearly and distinctly what it is doing and how.

Cited in Farias 1987, 206) Let us only remind the reader that at precisely the same moment Heidegger claimed that not “ideas” but simply the Führer himself was the only present and future German reality (die heutige and künftige deutsche Wirklichkeit). 34 The new reality dispels all possible doubts about the function of “science” (university) – or, to be more precise, “the new science” and “the new university”. They are unconditionally subordinated to the state which warrants the cohesion and historical becoming of the nation.

In reflecting on the hypothesis of the “degradation of thinking”, we encounter a bulk of evidence which has to be carefully considered: the fact that during his rectorate Heidegger, by using philosophical categories formerly belonging to the project of “essential thinking”, actively supports the idea of “political science” and lets his philosophy become fully involved in the construction of the “new reality”. We have to deal with this problem both retrospectively and prospectively: in the light of what was “before”, and what happened “later”.

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