Thursday 1 January 2015

Heidegger's Zollikon Seminars. A 50th-anniversary revaluation. 5. Seminar of 6 and 8 July 1965. Inner Circle Seminar 217 (19 July 2015)

Martin Heidegger
at home in Freiburg

Martin Heidegger and Medard Boss
on the Feldweg south of Messkirch

Heidegger's Zollikon Seminars

A 50th-anniversary revaluation

5. Seminar of 6 and 8 July 1965

‘Is the body and its bodying ... something somatic or something psychic or neither of the two?

Anthony Stadlen
Inner Circle Seminar No. 217
Sunday 19 July 2015 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Between 1959 and 1969 the German philosopher Martin Heidegger conducted seminars for psychiatrists in the Swiss psychiatrist Medard Bosss house in Zollikon near Z├╝rich. Fifty years later almost to the day, we focus on his seminar of 6 and 8 July 1965, the fourth of his five that year.

He begins with a whole sack full of questions arising from the previous seminar  sixteen of them  which Boss has given him on his arrival. He continues to bewilder his psychiatrist listeners by invoking a way of bodily thinking that precedes any split into soma and psyche.

He asks how such a clever’ and reasonable’ person as Descartes could come up with such a strange’ theory, in which the human being exists at first only for him- or herself alone without a relation to things. (This is yet another of Heideggers pregnant observations made nonsense of by the authorised American translation, which mistranslates the last phrase as alone by himself in relationship to things. One of the purposes of these Inner Circle Seminars on the Zollikon Seminars is to correct some of these bizarre and confusing mistranslations for existential therapists and others who do not know German.)

He invokes a more primordial meaning of count and measure. He points out that, although the theory of relativity refers to the position of the observer, natural science cannot understand or even ask what this means. He invites the astonished participants to experience bodily the simple act of measuring the diameter of a table.

This is an extraordinarily rich seminar, in which Heidegger covers a great deal of ground, fundamental to what we try to do as psychotherapists. We shall seek to recapture some of the spirit of this great seminar by trying to re-think some of the questions he asks. We shall, for example, ourselves meditatively reenact the measuring of a table while trying to maintain awareness of the body and its bodying.

Heidegger says there is a need for doctors who think. Professor Wilhelm von Herrmann praises Boss as just such a thinking doctor. But we shall ask whether, in his focus on doctors, Heidegger is himself colluding unreflectingly with Bosss vision of Daseinsanalysis as a medical enterprise.

Most of us – even if we call ourselves existential therapists and phenomenologists – have been corrupted and confused by the ideology of scientism. In this seminar we shall strive, through dialogue, to do justice to Heideggers clarifying vision. If we cannot, then our therapy’ remains technological tinkering and our righteousness is as filthy rags.

Venue:    ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE

Cost:    Psychotherapy trainees £120, others £150, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled

Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra AvenueLondon N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail:

For further information on seminars, visit:

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and colleges.

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