Retrieving phronêsis

Heidegger on the essence of politics

Gregory Fried

pp. 293-313

To be human is to be in the world with others, and so what it means to be goes to the root of ethical and political life. One would have to be exceptionally obtuse not to recognize that this age, which we now share as a planetary humanity, is indeed in crisis, despite all our apparent progress if not because of it: the economic and political upheavals that threaten to throw whole regions into uproar, the shifts in climate that threaten the entire globe with unparalleled disruption, the "advances" in technology that threaten to lay waste to entire cities and reduce human beings to "human resources." Despite these ongoing or potential disasters, what Heidegger's work challenges us to think is that the most fundamental disaster is a failure to think what it means to be human, that these other dangers can only be addressed if we confront this question first. My argument here is that Heidegger misreads a form of thinking vital to ethical–political life, phronêsis, so-called practical wisdom, because his radical historicism prevents him from seeing the intersection of principled norms with life as we find it.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11007-014-9305-1

Full citation:

Fried, G. (2014). Retrieving phronêsis: Heidegger on the essence of politics. Continental Philosophy Review 47 (3-4), pp. 293-313.

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