Alexander García Düttmann. The Memory of Thought: An Essay on Heidegger and Adorno. Trans. Nicholas Walker. London: Continuum, 2002. [Book review]

2017-05-17T11:19:22Z (GMT) by Chris Churchill
What does it mean to call an event by and to conceptualise an event in terms of its name? In the footsteps of Odysseus, we cunning moderns are at less risk than Polyphemus of confusing or conflating the name and the thing. In fact, so clever have we become in dissociating ourselves from our names and disguising ourselves by means of multiple names that it is hardly surprising that the name is now often considered to be a merely arbitrary linguistic mark. Even were this consideration the case, convention governs the use of names in language, which can never be private, and rules of argumentation demonstrably illegitimate or regulate the acceptance of invalid or willful inferences. When an event is named in philosophical discourse, and claims are made about the name evoked, it would appear that reflexive or conceptual criteria of argumentative communication must in some way have been either implicitly or explicitly adopted. Claims are made about the name, and the name comes to serve as an example: in each case, the name is conceptualised in accordance with the anticipated ideal conditions of rational discourse, the conceptual criteria governing valid argumentative reasoning and conceptual thought. If names are mere tokens in conceptual discourse, what is specific to and named in the event is lost. Without conceptual discourse, however, nothing can be said of or about the name.