Heidegger's Shadow
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Heidegger's Shadow

Kant, Husserl, and the Transcendental Turn

Chad Engelland

  1. 276 pagine
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Heidegger's Shadow

Kant, Husserl, and the Transcendental Turn

Chad Engelland

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Heidegger's Shadow is an important contribution to the understanding of Heidegger's ambivalent relation to transcendental philosophy. Its contention is that Heidegger recognizes the importance of transcendental philosophy as the necessary point of entry to his thought, but he nonetheless comes to regard it as something that he must strive to overcome even though he knows such an attempt can never succeed. Engelland thoroughly engages with major texts such as Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Being and Time, and Contributions and traces the progression of Heidegger's readings of Kant and Husserl to show that Heidegger cannot abandon his own earlier breakthrough work in transcendental philosophy. This book will be of interest to those working on phenomenology, continental philosophy, and transcendental philosophy.

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Part I
The Shadow Is Cast

1 Being and Time (1927)

In the confusion and lack of discipline in today’s “thinking,” one needs an almost scholastic formulation of its ways in the shape of characterized “questions.”
—Martin Heidegger, 19361
Heidegger captured the attention of many through the power of his questioning. But just what, at bottom, was he questioning? In the Contributions, he says he has only one question, which he calls “the question of all questions.”2 As readers of Being and Time know, this is “the question of the meaning of being” or what in the Contributions is called “the question of the truth of be-ing.” Yet, the careful reader of Being and Time should find herself puzzled, for the sprawling work that proposes to work out the meaning of being does nothing of the sort. Instead there are analyses concentrated on the questioner of the meaning of being, the one who transcends entities. There is no posing of the question concerning the meaning of being in general let alone an answer to the question. There are indeed clues as to how he would handle the question but there is no systematic treatment as promised. What is the source of the confusion? The introductory matter of Being and Time (SZ) introduces a two-part work with three divisions each, and yet the work that follows includes but two divisions of the first part (SZ I.1–2, not I.3 or II.1–3). From the first, systematic part, only two out of the three divisions appear, and these divisions first pose (SZ I.1) and then answer (SZ I.2) the preparatory question about the questioner of being, whom he calls “Dasein.” The third, unpublished division (SZ I.3) was to have posed and answered the fundamental question about the meaning of being. The introduction accentuates but one question, the fundamental question about being’s meaning; emphasis is placed on Dasein as the means to formulate the fundamental question, but the specific question about Dasein itself is left without formulation. Hence, the published Being and Time has a question about the meaning of being with no answer and an answer about Dasein with no question; the work appears to have only one question, which it never gets around to asking. Commentators mishandle the problematic in various ways; they fail to distinguish and relate the preliminary question about Dasein and the fundamental question about the meaning of being.3 The analytic becomes misunderstood as but a philosophical anthropology, and his question about the meaning of being in general becomes either subjective or purely aporetic.
The Heidegger of both the Contributions and Being and Time targets one fundamental question, but he thinks he can do so only by means of a preparatory question. From the moment his pen touched the paper to write the first line of Being and Time, he knew the preparatory question was inadequate. After all, that is why he called it preparatory. But he also knew it was essential, which is why he began with it. The published Being and Time (SZ I.1–2) was intended to be transitional to the question and answer of the unpublished section (SZ I.3) and Contributions.
What then is the difference between the Heidegger of Being and Time and the Heidegger of Contributions? When he wrote Being and Time he thought both questions, the preparatory and the fundamental question, were broadly transcendental in nature. The main difference between Heidegger early and late is the realization that the fundamental question, while targeted by the preliminary transcendental question, is not itself adequately stated in transcendental terms. So, here is the correct way to view the situation: Heidegger had but one fundamental question that could be arrived at only via a transitional question that he always knew was transitional. The published portion of Being and Time worked out the transitional question in dialogue with the transcendental tradition in order to target the domain of the fundamental question. Heidegger came to realize that the transcendental approach distorted the domain of the fundamental question even as it led into it. Hence, Heidegger comes to criticize the form of the transitional-transcendental question while simultaneously recommending it as the only path into the domain of his later thinking. Disentangling Heidegger’s two transcendental questions is the key to making sense of Heidegger.
While writing Being and Time, Heidegger has two transcendental questions, a preparatory one about the timely openness of Dasein, and a fundamental one about the temporal reciprocity of that openness and being. Once he was within the transcendental domain, thanks to the success of the preparatory question, he can see the inadequacy of its terms for formulating the fundamental question. He thereafter must sustain this ambiguity: to recommend the preparatory question and its transcendental character in order to grant entry to its domain and yet to deny the adequacy of the transcendental for formulating the fundamental question. This joint affirmation and denial of transcendental philosophy makes sense only in light of a distinction between his two questions. The importance of the transcendental questions in Heidegger’s clarified path of thinking will then come to the fore.
To this end, I must introduce an array of distinctions. In the ambit of Being and Time, Heidegger employs three senses of transcendence.4 The first is the “transcendence of Dasein’s being,” the subjectivity of the subject as that entity open to entities within the world. This sense recalls and surpasses Kant but also Aristotle and Augustine.5 The second is the transcendence of being, which Heidegger calls the “transcendens pure and simple.” This sense recalls and surpasses the Aristotelian tradition. Finally, the “transcendental horizonof time is that in terms of which the particular transcendence of Dasein and the universal transcendence of being are related. It is the horizon for the questioner who is Dasein and the questioned that is being; it specifies the site, field, domain, or openness of philosophy. This sense was only obscurely, if at all, glimpsed by Kant. The first is the target of his preliminary or preparatory question; the second is the target of the traditional question of being; the third is the target of his fundamental question, the toward-which or horizon of being. The first sense corresponds to divisions one and two of the published Being and Time (SZ I.1–2); the second sense is subordinated to the third, and both correspond to the unpublished third division (SZ I.3). The three senses of transcendence are deeply entwined with the division of questions and the very structure of Being and Time.
Along with the three senses of transcendence and the two principal transcendental questions, another distinction is necessary. The insufficiency of the preparatory question, an insufficiency indicated in its very “preparatory” character, differs in kind from the insufficiency of the transcendental formulation of the fundamental question. While writing Being and Time, Heidegger already knew the preparatory question was only a way, but he did not yet realize that the fundamental question was finally more than could be said in transcendental terms. The failure to keep these two insufficiencies distinct leads to misunderstandings about the genuine difference between Heidegger, early and late, a difference in terminology but not of domain to be thought. The way to the domain of thought, early and late, is transcendental (SZ I.1–2), but late and not early, the transcendental is incapable of naming all that shows up within that domain (SZ I.3).
By relating Heidegger’s two principal questions, this chapter shows that his fascination with the transcendental turn was substantive and permanent. By remedying the shortcomings of Husserl and Kant, he developed a transformed transcendental program that, despite some later adjustment, would continue to determine the trajectory of his path of thinking until the end. In the third and fourth chapters, I will turn to the attempt to leap over that shadow. In this chapter, I distinguish and relate Heidegger’s two principal questions in order to demonstrate his enduring transcendental commitments. First, I identify his two questions as they emerge in dialogue with Husserl and as they are formulated more clearly in the book on Kant. Then I examine Being and Time and his efforts to formulate the preparatory question in division one (SZ I.1), his efforts to give a preliminary answer in division two (SZ I.2), and finally his efforts, which belong to the unpublished third division (SZ I.3), to reverse the preparatory question into the fundamental question. I reconsider the transcendental question in view of his later criticisms of it. A key part of my strategy is to respect the divisions of Being and Time even while reading his other works; this amounts to a kind of topography of Heidegger’s questions. In the second part of the chapter, I turn to the question of history (SZ II) and show that the reading of history at work in Being and Time in fact is a function of an early engagement with Husserlian method. Heidegger’s critique of historical prejudice was the fruit of his reading of Husserl and his appropriation of the transcendental turn.

1 Husserl’s Shadow and Heidegger’s Two Tasks

Against the backdrop of Husserl’s philosophy, Heidegger clearly distinguishes the preparatory and the fundamental questions in the summer semester 1925 lecture course. He thinks that transcendental phenomenology recovers the possibility of ancient ontology, but it does so by neglecting the being of the transcendental ego. In contrast to the Neo-Kantian epistemologists, Husserl and Scheler are noteworthy in their concern for ontology, but neither gives a satisfactory account of the being of the human being as the dative of manifestation. Heidegger would very much like to pose again the ancient question about being, but he must first appropriate phenomenology in such a way that he clarifies the being of the dative of manifestation, the transcen...

Indice dei contenuti

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. List of Tables
  7. Conventions
  8. Previous Publications
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Introduction: The Problem of Motivation
  11. Part I The Shadow Is Cast
  12. Part II The Attempt to Leap Over the Shadow
  13. Conclusion: Heidegger’s Finitude
  14. Bibliography
  15. Index