The Glance of the Eye

Heidegger, Aristotle, and the Ends of Theory

By William McNeill

Subjects: Aristotle
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791442289, 392 pages, February 1999
Hardcover : 9780791442272, 392 pages, March 1999

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Table of contents


Abbreviations of Works Cited

1. Introduction: Of an Ancient Desire

I. Theoria and Philosophy: Heidegger and Aristotle

2. Vision in Theory and Praxis: Heidegger's Reading of Aristotle (1924)


The End of Desire
The Complication of Praxis
The Glance of the Eye


3. The Genesis of Theory: Being and Time (1927)


The Natural Genesis of Theory
Dispersions of Vision: Theory, Praxis, Techne
The Existential Genesis of Theory
The Thematizing Projection of Things


4. Originary Praxis: The Trace of Phronesis in Being and Time


Originary Praxis and Authenticity
Seeing Oneself
The Time of the Augenblick
Retrospect on the 1922 Treatise on Aristotle
Augenblick and World


5. Theory and Praxis at the University: The Rectoral Address (1933)

II. The Transformation of Theoria

6. Technovision: Modern Science and Technology


The Age of the World Picture
The Contemplation of the Real
Grasping Things
Making Progress: The Future of Science
The Transformation of Presence: From Science to Technology
The Collapse of Causality
The End of Technology
The Turning of Presence at the End of Technology


III. The Threshold of Representation: The Augenblick in Heidegger's Reading of Nietzsche

7. Vision and the Enigma

IV. Originary Theoria

8. In the Presence of the Sensible: Vision and Ecstasis


Theoria in Retrospect: Philosophy, Science, and Curiosity
Theoria and Divinity: The Philosophical Turn
The Theoria of the Ancients
"To Things Their Look. . . ": The Origin of the Work of Art
The Look of the Other
Absence of the Body
Vision of Stillness


Selected Bibliography

Index of Names

Index of Subjects

Argues that Heidegger's early reading of Aristotle provides him with a critical resource for addressing the problematic domination of theoretical knowledge in Western civilization.


William McNeill explores the phenomenon of the Augenblick, or "glance of the eye," in Heidegger's thought, and in particular its relation to the primacy of seeing and of theoretical apprehending (theoria) both in Aristotle and in the philosophical and scientific tradition of Western thought. McNeill argues that Heidegger's early reading of Aristotle, which identifies the experience of the Augenblick at the heart of ethical and practical knowledge (phronesis), proves to be a decisive encounter for Heidegger's subsequent understanding and critique of the history of philosophy, science, and technology. It provides him with a critical resource for addressing the problematic domination of theoretical knowledge in Western civilization. Such knowledge, the author shows, always remains in a peculiar tension (itself historically determined and changing) with ethical or "protoethical" knowledge, which is bound to the finite, "ecstatic" temporality of the lived and living moment, and inevitably exposed to the presence of the sensuous.

William McNeill is Associate Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University.


"What is truly remarkable in McNeill's work is the blend of impeccable scholarship and of a certain speculative audacity. The meditation on the figure of vision by reference both to the Western theoretico-philosophical heritage and to the question of temporality is a most compelling course of inquiry. With consummate skill, McNeill illuminates Heidegger's oeuvre, from his early encounter with the Greeks (Aristotle in particular), to his reading of Nietzsche, to his concern with the reduction of theorein to the horizon of technology, to 'The Origin of the Work of Art' and later writings. This is an important, long awaited work; one which situates itself in the context of the broader debates in contemporary continental philosophy concerning the issues of vision, visibility, illumination—concerning the primacy traditionally accorded to the order of the visual, the denial of the limits pertaining to it, and the disaster accompanying such privilege and such denial." — Claudia Baracchi, University of Oregon