Corbin beyond Heidegger: Between Death and the Infinite

This article deals with the relationship between the thought of Henry Corbin and Heidegger. It seeks to uncover the reasons behind Corbin’s move from the sheer facticity of hermeneutic phenomenology in the writings of the German philoso-pher, towards Sufi and Islamic philosophical thought. This study demonstrates that Corbin did not reject Heidegger outright, nor did he consider any of his say-ings totally wrong. Corbin actually preserved what he learned from Heidegger on facticity and relied almost constantly on his kind of phenomenological method. However, he did find a limit to Heidegger’s thought, which he sought to over-come, while keeping the phenomenological method of unveiling. This study de-termines that this limit is connected to defining death and its meaning. Separating the two thinkers, on nearly every level of thought, is the infinite as Corbin stud-ied, understood and developed it in reading philosophical-Islamic texts. Indeed, when the infinite introduced as an interpreting concept that which unites and sep-arates Heidegger and Corbin becomes clear; on the basic levels of language, man, death, the divine, the world and history. A surprising shift occurs from phenome-nology being the key to mystical texts to the hermeneutic infinite becoming itself the key to phenomenology.

Purchace Article Purchase Issue Subscribe for a year

Abstract

Zoom

This article deals with the relationship between the thought of Henry Corbin and Heidegger. It seeks to uncover the reasons behind Corbin’s move from the sheer facticity of hermeneutic phenomenology in the writings of the German philoso-pher, towards Sufi and Islamic philosophical thought. This study demonstrates that Corbin did not reject Heidegger outright, nor did he consider any of his say-ings totally wrong. Corbin actually preserved what he learned from Heidegger on facticity and relied almost constantly on his kind of phenomenological method. However, he did find a limit to Heidegger’s thought, which he sought to over-come, while keeping the phenomenological method of unveiling. This study de-termines that this limit is connected to defining death and its meaning. Separating the two thinkers, on nearly every level of thought, is the infinite as Corbin stud-ied, understood and developed it in reading philosophical-Islamic texts. Indeed, when the infinite introduced as an interpreting concept that which unites and sep-arates Heidegger and Corbin becomes clear; on the basic levels of language, man, death, the divine, the world and history. A surprising shift occurs from phenome-nology being the key to mystical texts to the hermeneutic infinite becoming itself the key to phenomenology.

References