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International Phenomenological Society

On Making Sense (And Nonsense) of Heidegger Author(s): Taylor Carman Reviewed work(s): Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Nov., 2001), pp. 561-572 Published by: International Phenomenological Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3071155 . Accessed: 10/05/2012 19:46
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analyze. But Philipse's reading of the texts is uncharitable." In short. 1927. he contends. 1. Unmarkedpage references are to this book. 1979). Being and Time. 15th ed. 1998). Philipse advances the astonishing "interpretive hypothesis"that the seemingly morbidexistential themes in Being and Timewere part of a deliberate "Pascalian strategy" to win converts to Heidegger's own idiosyncratic "postmonotheist worship of Being. and the ideas he presents and criticizes often bear little resemblance to Heidegger's views.'2 After over 500 pages (including notes) of patient and admittedly well-researched effort.Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. except where I quote Philipse's renderings. that Philipse is wrong on so many points. the charge of reflective incoherence is fallacious and question-begging. Herman Philipse sets out to analyze and evaluate. however. and ultimately discredit the whole of Heidegger's thought. LXIII. Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. while Heidegger's later writings amount to little more than thinly disguised religious propaganda.Finally.citing his text. Sein und Zeit (TUbingen:Max Niemeyer Verlag. Translationsof Husserl and Heidegger are my own. is a methodologically muddled blend of hackneyed cultural criticism and feeble conceptual analysis. Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. 3. notwithstandingits nearly comprehensive coverage of Heidegger's works. for its part. the book does not represent a sufficiently serious effort to understandthe complexities and obscurities of Heidegger's thinking. I believe. like the liar's paradox.(Princeton: Princeton University Press. then students of philosophy should certainly waste no time reading either Heidegger or Heidegger's Philosophy of Being. formally self-defeating. If Philipse is right. the sense and significance of the question that inspired Heidegger's philosophical thinking throughout his career. November 2001 Making Heidegger TAYLORCARMAN On Sense (and Nonsense) of Barnard College HermanPhilipse's Heidegger's Philosophy of Being is an attempt to interpret. as exhaustively as he can. HereafterSZ. In his recent book. But even grantingthe distinction.No. Philipse concludes that "Heidegger's question of being should be rejected completely as it stands" (386). Heidegger. both in his analysis and HermanPhilipse. namely "the question concerning the meaning of being. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 561 2 . Philipse relies on a crude distinction between "theoretical" and "applicative" interpretationsin arguing that Heidegger's conception of interpretationas a kind of projection (Entwurf)is.

Husserl. But in fact Philipse can claim to find a contradiction between the phenomenological and the hermeneuticalaspects of Heidegger's approach only by misconstruing his phenomenology in Husserlian terms. Husserl stipulates that the term be "used primarilyfor the appearingitself. in retaining "Husserl'srhetoricof objectivity" and "the rhetoric of essential strucboth tures"(ibid. seems to imply a contradiction"(120).that amateursand expertsalike in fact have a lot to learn from his hefty tome. the Neo-Hegeliantheme. 562 TAYLOR CARMAN . Philipse's frequentlyuncharitable interpretations of Heidegger. from Husserl and Dilthey. Die Idee der Phdnomenologie:Fiinf Vorlesungen. renders much of Philipse's own argumentdogmaticand unconvincing. So. the anti-religious prejudice that. 14. 2nd ed. for the contentsof or in consciousness. ironically. the subjective phenomenon"3-that is." for instance. and finally theme. run throughout Heidegger's works like so many recurringmusical themes. not for the transcendentobjects appearing to consciousness. I shall confine my remarkshere to what strikeme as some of its most provocativeand problematic claims. Philipse distinguishes five "leitmotifs"that. because Heidegger's question of being turnsout not to have much substantiveconnection with Aristotelian first philosophy. The "meta-Aristotelian"theme is "meta-. Even a cursoryreadingof ?7 of Being and Timereveals just how profoundlyHeidegger's notions of phenomenaandphenomenologydiffer from Husserl's. notwithstanding Aristotle's leitmotif' for undeniableimportance Heidegger. Biemel. he suggests. These are the socalled "meta-Aristotelian"theme. The book has much to recommendit by way of summaryand explication. (The Hague: MartinusNijhoff. Pointing out that the word 'phenomenon'is ambiguous "between appearing and that which appears. in spite of itself. the phenomenologicotranhermeneutical theme. via Brentano. 'phenomenologico-hermeneutical' acknowledgesthatHeideggerrejectsthe notion of presuppositionless Philipse but descriptionin favor of circularinterpretation. 1958). and its comprehensivecoverageof Heidegger's principaltexts is unmatchedin the secondaryliterature. is a bit of an interpretive Philipse goes on to arguethatHeidegger fails to combine phenomenology indeed that"the very coinage in and hermeneutics a single coherententerprise. W. however. the Kantian-Husserlian the "postmonotheist" scendentaltheme.in his critique. Heideggerin effect assumes some extra-hermeneutical authority for his own claims.). he insists that. ed.Philipse's "meta-Aristotelian dead-end." apparently. My objections center aroundwhat I regardas the book's most serious shortcomings:first. second.Since there is far more material in the volume worthy of serious attention than a brief discussion of this kind can hope to do justice to.

a phenomenon is just anything that manifests itself.itself. but is at the same time something that essentially belongs to that which first and foremost shows itself.' ON MAKING SENSE(AND NONSENSE) HEIDEGGER 563 OF . Taken formally.'or indeed 'mere appearance"' 29). as opposed to merely appearingin or through some representational referentialintermediary. of thereforeagrees with Husserl that phenomenology is an essenHeidegger tially descriptive."that which is to become phenomenon can be hidden. Heidegger's appropriationof phenomenology is therefore already a repudiationof the representationalism. or Substantively. is not to give a merely descriptivereport of something objectively and self-evidently given. not every aspect of what manifests itself is "given"in the sense of being selfevident or fully open to directinspection. for all its exactness.let alone an exact science.the internalism.by contrast. accordingto Husserl. "'serrated. And since Heideggermoreoverinterpretslogos as a "letting the somethingbe seen" (SZ 33).And it is precisely because phenomenaare first and foremost not given that there is a need for phenomenology"(SZ 36).ratherthan hypotheticalor explanatory. of course. it does not yet specify the what. though. something that. Geometry. then. Heidegger also advances a substantive. and they are emphaticallynot the immanentlyor self-evidentlyappearing contents of consciousness that. and uncovering that which is coveredup and buried over in what ordinarilyshows itself in our everydayunderstanding things. A phenomenonin the substantivephenomenologicalsense. Husserl points out."conception. in contrast to what first and foremost shows itself. Heideggerthus refuses to define phenomenology from the outset in terms of its domain of application:"Theword only informs us of the how of the way of showing and treatingwhat is to be dealt with in this science" (SZ 34-35). say.phenomena are nothing essentially subjective. evoking. In addition to the merely formal notion of phenomenon.' 'notched. and belongs to it in such a way as to constituteits meaning and ground(SZ 35). he understands work of the phenomenologist as drawingout. lacks the resourcesfor morphological descriptions of natural phenomena as. then. But Husserlunderstoodthe task of phenomenology on analogy with descriptivenaturalsciences like botany. The task of phenomenology.enterprise. the manifest" (SZ 28). a notion that. stand in representational referential or relations to transcendent that make their appearance in or through objects them. is something that first and foremost precisely does not show itself. or what he calls the specifically "phenomenological. "has in the first instance nothing whatever to do with what one calls 'appearance.Heidegger. begins by treating the term 'phenomenon' as a purely formal indicatorreferringto "that which shows itself. he insists. or subject matter. but ratherto let the ordinarily hiddenaspects of what shows itself show themselves or make themselves manifest. and the mentalism that characterize Husserl's enterprise. is hidden. (SZ For Heidegger.' 'lens-shaped. Indeed.

"Instead. For Heidegger.. If there is any contradictionbetween phenomenology and hermeneutics."4For Husserl. Philipse seems to suggest that Heidegger equivocatesby retainingsome lingering commitment to an non-interpretive form of purely objective description. "the meaning of phenomenologicaldescriptionas a method is interpretation. Perhaps with Husserl's own distinctionbetween exact and descriptiveconcepts in mind." so that 'The phenomenology of Dasein is a hermeneutic"(SZ 37). or "theoretical (objective. 1913. TAYLOR CARMAN 564 . or to our present life" (50). "a critical interpretation. however. Philipse argues moreoverthat Heidegger'shermeneuticsis incoherenton as its own. an extension of the "projective" Philipse "shows an applicative argues. historical. it is between Husserlian phenomenology and hermeneutics. regardsphenomenology systematicand eidetic morphology. then. ?74: 138. and explication. Rather." they "applytexts to practical situations explains. Ideen. evocation.'and the like. he then goes on to say."if they "aimat discovering what a text meant in the historical circumstancesin as which it was written"(59). though it "belongs to" what is given as "its meaning and ground. then. Philipse philosophicalaccountof the natureof interpretation." a challenge not to standardscholarly approaches to Heidegger.phenomenologymustbe hermeneutical. 5th ed. Ideen zu einer reinen Phdnomenologie und phanomenologischen Philosophie: Allgemeine Einfiihrungin die reine Phanomenologie (Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.'umbellate. Since Heidegger conceives of all interpretation structureof practicalunderstanding."5 he as a descriptive undertaking. botanical morphology" (ibid. But where exactly is Heidegger's lingering objectivism to be found?Philipse owes us something more by way of evidence or argumentto make his objection plausible. even refers to "the at bottom tautological expression 'descriptivephenomenology"' (SZ 35). 1993).even while he insists that his approach is hermeneuticalthrough and through. critical). his philosophical account of interpretation a bias because he generalizes to all interpretations theory of interpretation that is correctfor applicativeinterpretations only." and "this cannot be done withoutinconsistency"(59): 4 5 Husserl. but also to Heidegger's own Interpretations. if are either "applicative.). Just gesturing towardthe surfacecontinuity in the descriptivistrhetoricof phenomenology at large cuts no philosophicalice. phenomenology amounts to "a Heidegger.since the phenomenonhe is concernedto uncover is not something already given and self-evident. phenomenain Heidegger'ssense stand in constant need of interpretiverediscovery. ?145: 302.too. He intends his subtitle. say. which are indeed only frequentlyuncritical or ahistorical (or both). "'Description'here does not mean a procedurein the manner of.

Tucker. 170). that is.ed.144.or an outcomeof class interests? so. but the nearestpassage I can find approximating it is the second thesis on Feuerbach.But there is nothing self-defeatingin the assertion that all assertions are de facto expressions of a will to power."6The point is that purely theoreticalquestions in epistemology are irrelevant to practiceand ought to be set aside as obfuscations. Nietzsche was of course a more radicalcritic of theoreticalobjectivity than Marx.. Marx was famously convinced of the objective truth and scientific rigor of his own theories of history and economics. not that they are strictly speaking theoretically senseless or incoherent. Man must prove the truth. (58. Nietzsche makes a number of notorious pronouncementsabout truth. 'The question whetherobjective truth can be attributedto human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question.. Indeed. or of If his whyshouldwe acceptit? . immediately inviteus to ask:Is the theory they itselfalso a projection. it is much more plausible to understandMarx as simply suggesting that the practicalefficacy of thinking is an indication of its truth. Becausethese theoriespurport be generaltheories to ests. the this-sidednessof his thinking in practice..view of interpretation. it is not the result of some purely cognitive mistake.W. Philipse offers no textual evidence in supportof his claim. For Marx. resembles as his Nietzsche'sclaim Heidegger's of thattruth a product a will to power. Company..2nd ed. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 565 .Marxcontinues.where Marx writes. Suppose that that assertion (thatall assertionsare expressions of a will to power) is itself an expression of the will to power. a product a will to power. (New York: W. To begin with. though even he implicitly presupposes possibility a moreobjective deniesthispossibility cf. R. but Philipse's indictmentof his doctrineof the will to power is just as sloppy and unconvincing. Norton & Inc. the reality and power. Marx nowhere says that truthitself is a product of class interests. In formulating projective theoryof interpretation.C. indeed view of truth. explicitly I think Philipse is wrong on all counts."Thedisputeover the reality or non-realityof thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.orMarx's is claimthattruth a product class interis of incoherent.in thatit is reflectively aboutthe natureof theoryor interpretation. so he can hardly have been the pathetic relativist we find in Philipse's caricature." Although some have been temptedto readthis remarkas endorsing a pragmatic theory of truth. many of them hyperbolic. Heidegger the of kindof interpretation. as for Engels. Why concludethat it cannot also be true? Nietzsche's claim would be vulnerableto the charge of inconsistency only if he conceded that taking any claim as the expression of a will to power is by itself a good 6 The Marx-Engels Reader.1978).. some perhaps even incoherent. Besides. not that truth must be defined in terms of its practical effects. 1972.. dwelling on academicepistemological problems is symptomatic of a kind of intellectual alienation and false consciousness.

The argumentsPhilipse enlists against this naive "principle of referentiality" (100-09. and I think we ought to readNietzsche and Heideggeras denying the very possibility of an explanatorytheory of truth. when a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard. and why shouldhe? Philipse's argumentfares no better against Heidegger.is not much interestedin epistemology for its own sake. it seems to me. One of the most uncharitable steps in Philipse's readingof Heideggeris their differences. cal texts can avoid applicationof some sort to the contemporary conceptual Such ongoing interests and incliinterestsand inclinationsof the interpreter."non-applicative" plainly drivenby his own philosophical and theological preoccupationsthat the pretensecan hardlybe takenseriously. even if he were to drop the charge of incoherenceand maintain necessarily lack only-implausibly enough-that projective interpretations persuasiveforce. Philipse's arrowsfall ratherwide of theirtargets.it's not always coming from the book. Philipse changes the subject when he asks why we should accept such claims. So. the burdenwould still be on him to explain why that is so. for his part. The fact is that. it aims at understanding text to mean something. 58). As the aphoristLichtenbergonce said. then. lies in the crude distinction he draws between applicative and theoretical of Surely no philosophically interesting interpretation historiinterpretation. Less convincing is his insistence that the principle is what motivates Heidegger's 566 TAYLOR CARMAN . More does not. cf. strictly speaking. as Philipse contends.Marx. Just taking it for grantedplainly begs the question. persuasive. The underlyingconfusion plaguing Philipse's account. nations are what breathelife into philosophical texts. according to which linguistic terms-even 'is' and 'not'-are meaningful only in virtue of referring to something. as far as our own interpretiveefforts are concerned. hence necessarily false.reason to reject it. it seems to me. Philipse himself pretendsto be advancing a yet interpretation. neither Marx nor Nietzsche nor Heidegger advances an explicit theory of truth. is for it to mean somethingto us.HeideggerembracedHusserl's his claim that. interpretation what a text meant in the historical circumstancesin which it was written" what the text means. for a lack of evidenceor argumentin supportof a theory is not the same as an internalinconsistency renderingit reflectively incoherent. In each case. and without them our into stale antiquarianreadingof the history of philosophy would degenerate ism. 332-35) are familiar and. his argumentsare so purely theoretical. "aim at discovering precisely. my emphasis).Why does he think as that Heidegger must implicitly privilege his own account of interpretation insists that Heideggeris itself anythingmore than an interpretation? Philipse caught in an inconsistency because "the projectivetheory is confrontedwith the paradoxof the liar"(64. And for a (59. But there is no paradoxin sight. But Nietzsche never makes that concession. in spite of semantic theory.

nothing-offers food for philosophical thought. especially the claim that 'The nothing itself noths" (Das Nichts selbst nichtet).of course." In Logical Positivism. Indeed. indeed. Greenier. "Heidegger'squestion of being and nothingness is nonsensical because it is ruledout by the principleof noncontradiction" (13). ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 567 .1967). as elsewhere.occasional slide from talking aboutthe question of being to talking about the meaning of the verb 'to be' (see SZ 1. 11). 1. (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann. trans.joy. Ernst Tugendhatcomplains that Heidegger equivocatesbetween a question concerningthe meaning of being on the one hand. that is. logical impermissibility of his own sentences was no news to Heidegger. (Cambridge: P. A. Ster. 7 8 9 ErnstTugendhat. "is meaningless because it violates the rules of logical syntax" (10). 147-48. is Carnap'sgrammaticalcritiqueof Heidegger's language throughoutthe 1929 lecture. from the uncomprehending objections of the positivists by admitting the obvious. ed. Philipse opts for interpretingHeidegger's talk of "the nothing" as an oblique referenceto something merely subjective and psychological. Rudolf Carnap.J. Philipse distanceshimself. University of Heidelberg. Is Heidegger's philosophicallanguage ungrammatical in conflict with and the laws of logic? Heideggerhimself acknowledgesthat his prose frequently violates the grammatical conventions of logical discourse. all the while urging that we "not let ourselves be misled by the formal impossibility of the question concerningthe nothing. Ayer. namely the experienceof anxiety. dissertation. He neverthelessgoes on to reiteratethe central of that critique. Philipse concludes. (New York: The Free Press. 2nd ed. 1959). as well as his notorious discussion of "the nothing" (das Nichts) in his 1929 lecture. namely. Wegmarken.108. 1975. Heidegger. entities. our understanding the totality of of of and so of nothing. But this is obviously of wrong as an interpretation the text. the serious question is how to understandthe philosophical import of such unconventionaluses of language. but only very slightly.7More familiar.Self-Consciousnessand Self-Determination.L. "The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language. 1986).Heidegger'sinsistence that our idea of a totality of points entities-and its counterpart. that "Carnap'scritique of the lecture is uncharitable" (14).D.1. Philipse's criticisms of Heideggerare not new. and boredom)cannot be understood merely psychological terms in abstractionfrom an account in of our understanding being."9 the syntactic novelty and even the So. "What Is Metaphysics?" It is perhapsworth pointing out that here. The MIT Press.pointing out formal linguistic misconstructions is child's play. Tugendhat further refers on this point to D. and a question concerning the meaning of the word 'being' on the other. 113." Ph. "Meaning and Being in Heidegger's Sein und Zeit. "Was ist Metaphysik?" Wegmarken. since Heideggerfrequentlyinsists that his phenomenology of moods (particularly anxiety.

Reference is referenceto entities.116.' This point alone should have convinced Philipse that when it comes to semanticsHeideggerindeed has far more in common with Wittgenstein than with Husserl. ratherinsisting that traditionallogic is of no positive guidancein asking the question of being. Indeed. neither an entity nor the totality of entities when we understand that and what things are. TAYLOR CARMAN 568 . What Heideggercalls the "hegemony" (Herrschaft) of logic" is not its legitimate authorityover formaljudgment and inference.use of language to evoke and stimulate philosophical reflection. and being is not an entity.as for Wittgenstein. in spite of its formal impropriety.10 A more charitablereadingof these remarkswould suggest that Heidegger but is not trying (incoherently)to contradictthe law of non-contradiction. For in doing so Philipse ignores the essential threadrunningthroughHeidegger's entire philosophy. To propose that cognates "ontologicaldifference" of the verb 'to be' refer to something is precisely to forget that being.philosophical questions. which one might rationally violate. is that the principle of non-contradiction that in the pursuitof the question "thepower of the intellect in the question". This approachpromises to make sense of Heidegger'soften idiosyncratic. Wegmarken. answersto what we understand 10 n Wegmarken. I believe Heidegger was not so confused as to suppose that the word 'nothing' refersto something.but its false promise to provide substantive metaphysicalinsight into fundamental. Only by mistrans(13) is Philipse able to reproachHeidegger lating Herrschaft as "authority" for confusing logical laws with mere external regulations like the tax code and rules of etiquette. Philipse gestures when he entertainsthe in the directionof a far more plausible interpretation for Heidegger. is not something.here the disastrous effect of saddling Heidegger with the unwelcome baggage of Husserl's referential semantic theorybecomes especially clear. What Heideggerdoes say. Heidegger and nothingness is incompatible with the most fundamental logical (12). so it cannot possibly be the referentof the word 'is. concerningbeing and nothing lie beyond the bounds of conceptuallanguage and propositional thought altogether (15. For Heidegger. what he called the betweenbeing and entities. field of inquiryinto nothingnessand being is shattered" (11). and Philipse offers no convincing textual support for such an irrationalist readingof the text.What of Philipse's more serious chargethat Heidegger'sentire discussion is senseless because it violates the law of non-contradiction? According to himself insists that "raisingthe very question of being Philipse. philosophical questions possibility that. But Heideggerdoes not say principle.at times exasperating. 116.107. and what Philipse "crushes the quotes him saying.the principleof noncontradiction" this. if still only semi-articulate. 203). in Heidegger'ssense.

Heideggerclaimed that . since we can ask about the content of that understanding. if thatmeans rejectingscientific theory wholesale in favor of something like common sense. competing with.. Philipse goes on to criticize Heidegger's claim to be doing a kind of transcendentalphilosophy. it seems to me he ties Heidegger's transcendentalism too closely to the specific commitments of Kantian idealism. as Sellars conceives of it. Heidegger"endorsed incomand patibility thesis" (133. as Philipse maintains.. 135) concerningordinaryunderstanding scientific knowledge. Heidegger for as can thereforehardly have regardedeveryday understanding incompatible with the theoreticalresults of the sciences.Similarly. prioreven to propositionallyarticulated it cannot strictly speaking even be a candidate truth or falsity. Heideggeris an if means regardingour mundaneunderstanding a as antinaturalist. by contrast.if by 'scientific image' one means not the content of scientific theories. Philipse charges that Heideggeris deeply confused. and his repudiation of the transcendental all underminehis claim to be offering an ego But accountof the conditions of the possibility of our understanding. Accordingto Philipse. much of it actually is false. Everydayintelligibility in Heidegger's sense. consists in mundane explanatory theories. and in principle replaceableby. Perhaps Heidegger was an incompatibilist. He is not an antinaturalist. "My hypothesis is thatHeideggertook the transcendental he wanted to solve the problem of the manifest image and the scientific image. He suggests thatHeidegger'srefusalto distinguish phenomena from noumena. Here. is pretheobelief contents. impoverished. scientific knowledge. and that he solved it in an antithe naturalistway" (132). What then of the "Neo-Hegelianmotif' in Heidegger'sthought? Vaguely Hegelian themes emerge in Heidegger's later historicist conception of epochs informed by specific. The maniinterpretation fest image. "InSein und Zeit. and he ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 569 . not only is it capable of being true or false. again. a la Sellars. changing global frameworks.Still. the scientific image is derived. But here. But Philipse's becomes implausibleas soon as we press for details. which means retical. his apparent indifferenceto the problemof synthetica priori knowledge. So. 'naturalism' kind of subjectively impoverished proto-theory. or understandingsof being. however. conditions in general it is not obvious that an account of transcendental presupposesanythinglike the idealism and subjectivismof Kantand Husserl. and even false in a sense" (135). it makes sense to ask what we have an understanding when we have of of an understanding being. but the underlyingsubstantivalist ontology such theories have at times presupposed. too. just as he tied Heidegger'sphenomenology too closely to Husserl's. and moreoverfind concreteexpression of it in our linguistic practice. to use Wilfrid Sellars' terminology. motif presentin Being and Timeat all? Philipse Why is the transcendental turn because writes.

And by this point the reader left with no reason to is that Philipse's discussion bears any relation to Heidegger's actual suppose views. Provocative claims. though I would hate to have to guess what they are. however.enlists Donald Davidson's argumentagainstconceptualschemes to insist that the very idea of global frameworks understanding incoherent. Philipse argues that Heidegger's historicism entails relativism. or Nietzschean. If propositions are individuated terms of fixed truth conditions. As a consequence. apparently. whether it be Heideggerian. Here." and that "BeforeNewton's laws were discovered. Heidegger must be drivento "a doctrineof global false consciousness" (308). Such an to approach. Marxist. Here again Heideggeris in bad company: The doctrine of a global false consciousness. but casting the issue in such terms obviously begs all the interesting questions about relapreconceived tivism from the start. Philipse insists. as elsewhere. This is a neat argument. critics used to be imprisonedin psychiatrichospitals for this reason. is almost guaranteed produceuninterestingand anachronistic results.it seems to me. or true today and false tomorrow. Philipse seems indifferentto the details of Heidegger's position and thinks it sufficient to trot out familiar argumentsfrom contemporaryanalytic philosophy to refute him. is not just untenable. And that doctrine. but how exactly should we understand them? Do they in fact imply relativism? Philipse takes it for grantedthat they do and then tries to demolish relativism in a single stroke. they are interpretedas confirmations of the very doctrineto which the critic objects. 570 TAYLOR CARMAN . he argues. Heideggerdoes say that "'There is' truth only insofar as and as long as Dasein is. and there is no reason to suppose that Heidegger's notion of the "history of being" relies even tacitly on such a dualism. Since Philipse also acknowledges that Heidegger is a realist (431-32 n251). Since few people are in fact likely to share Heidegof ger's interpretation our currentglobal frameworkas what Heideggercalls a of "technological understanding being. and that relativism is incoherent. implies that objections are not taken seriously. It may be that only his lack of success saved him from Nuremberg(308). Oddly. but morally bankrupt.they were not 'true' " (SZ 226). As Philipse sees it. then the in same proposition cannot be true for you and false for me.In Marxist states. the person who objects is not taken seriously as a rational and critical interlocutor. it is hardto see just what his relativism is supposedto amount to. Philipse's most heartfeltobjection to Heidegger's Neo-Hegelianism is a moral objection. One wonders what would have happened if Heidegger had been successful in his attemptto become a leading Nazi ideologist." he maintains. From the same high-altitudevantagepoint. This little diatribeevidently rests on some suppressedpremises.But Davidof is son's argumentassumes that the idea of a conceptual scheme makes sense only on the basis of a dualism of scheme and content.

a deliberatelydisguised call to religion. sinister link between the methodological atheism of Being and Time and the religious overtones of Heidegger's later writings. "illuminates and explains everything that Heidegger says about death and inauthenticity"(ibid. It is a commonplacethat Heidegger'sstyle of thinking much of the mood and metaphor of Christian theolabsorbedand preserved ogy. second. or why ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 571 . or you deserve to be hanged. by insisting on the harshnessand misery of worldly existence from an apparentlysecularpoint of view.Moreover. No discussion of Heidegger's Philosophy of Being would be complete without some mention of the true motivatingthesis animatingthe book.Philipse insists that Heidegger's entire oeuvre is guided by "a hidden religious agenda"(291). which he thinks forms a secret. The second phase was to satisfy this religious craving by explicitly metaphysical writings such as Was ist Metaphysik?(372) Philipse imagines that readingHeideggeras a scheming apologist for some kind of post-Christian Germanic religion involving "a postmonotheist worship of Being" (225) also sheds light on much of the admittedlyproblematic Division II of Being and Time: "This hypothesis.). though. It is also well known that Heidegger himself always as mistaken. not to mention (again) his cardinal distinction between being and entities." especially in the absenceof any reference to God. and that the early and later works together implement what he calls a covert "Pascalianstrategy" (224-25).either you accept the fact that most of the people have got it more or less right most of the time. insisting vehementlyrejectedsuch interpretations fundamentally instead on the religious neutralityof his thinking. What it fails to illuminate or explain is why Heidegger would devote so much effort over so many decadesto an exercise so grossly at odds with his avowed conception of philosophy as radicalquestioning. The thesis emerges in Philipse's account of what he calls the "postmonotheist" leitmotif." he maintains. Strangely undeterred the philosopher's own views on the subject by his avowed commitmentto taking others seriously as (especially considering rational and critical interlocutors). and critics have often been temptedto write him off as a theologian in philosopher's dress. Amazingly. as Philipse calls it. and hence the differencebetween his own thinking and traditional with God. 374). lies in Philipse's evident a priori hostility to religion and all things religious. and it had to paint life in this world in darkand gloomy colors in orderto arouse the craving for religion. "onto-theological" preoccupations A deeper philosophicalproblemwith this whole line of criticism. proceedingin two stages: first. by urging a leap of faith beyond the mundane. the "GrandStrategy" (239. was fully premeditated: The ontological analysis of Dasein had to be secular in orderto convince the unbeliever. he never tells us what he thinks makes a view or an attitude"religious.

also exhibits just the sort of closed. Instead.a religious perspective necessarily amounts to a philosophical liability. ideological thinking that Philipse himself claims to find so deplorable in Heideggerand his followers.Such an "interpretive hypothesis. he draws an altogether Manichaean distinction between rational discourseand religioushumbugand then proceedsto treat every obscurity and inconsistency he finds in Heidegger's texts as evidence of a deliberate proselytizing strategy. 572 TAYLOR CARMAN . is it not only reductiveand uncharitable." it seems to me.

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