This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com.
International Phenomenological Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Finally. 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. however. the charge of reflective incoherence is fallacious and question-begging." In short.(Princeton: Princeton University Press. he contends. while Heidegger's later writings amount to little more than thinly disguised religious propaganda. I believe. like the liar's paradox. Philipse concludes that "Heidegger's question of being should be rejected completely as it stands" (386). In his recent book. except where I quote Philipse's renderings.No. But even grantingthe distinction.'2 After over 500 pages (including notes) of patient and admittedly well-researched effort. the book does not represent a sufficiently serious effort to understandthe complexities and obscurities of Heidegger's thinking.Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. the sense and significance of the question that inspired Heidegger's philosophical thinking throughout his career. Herman Philipse sets out to analyze and evaluate. Translationsof Husserl and Heidegger are my own. and the ideas he presents and criticizes often bear little resemblance to Heidegger's views. Sein und Zeit (TUbingen:Max Niemeyer Verlag. Being and Time. 1998). both in his analysis and HermanPhilipse. formally self-defeating. 1979). Philipse relies on a crude distinction between "theoretical" and "applicative" interpretationsin arguing that Heidegger's conception of interpretationas a kind of projection (Entwurf)is. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 561 2 . as exhaustively as he can. notwithstandingits nearly comprehensive coverage of Heidegger's works. If Philipse is right. Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. analyze. But Philipse's reading of the texts is uncharitable. and ultimately discredit the whole of Heidegger's thought. 3. then students of philosophy should certainly waste no time reading either Heidegger or Heidegger's Philosophy of Being. Heidegger. HereafterSZ. November 2001 Making Heidegger TAYLORCARMAN On Sense (and Nonsense) of Barnard College HermanPhilipse's Heidegger's Philosophy of Being is an attempt to interpret. Unmarkedpage references are to this book. is a methodologically muddled blend of hackneyed cultural criticism and feeble conceptual analysis. 15th ed. that Philipse is wrong on so many points. for its part. namely "the question concerning the meaning of being. LXIII. 1927.citing his text. 1.
he suggests. however. Husserl stipulates that the term be "used primarilyfor the appearingitself." apparently. ed. the anti-religious prejudice that.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. So. in spite of itself. Die Idee der Phdnomenologie:Fiinf Vorlesungen. 1958). from Husserl and Dilthey. and finally theme. renders much of Philipse's own argumentdogmaticand unconvincing. Philipse distinguishes five "leitmotifs"that. Philipse's frequentlyuncharitable interpretations of Heidegger.in his critique. (The Hague: MartinusNijhoff. My objections center aroundwhat I regardas the book's most serious shortcomings:first. in retaining "Husserl'srhetoricof objectivity" and "the rhetoric of essential strucboth tures"(ibid. second. the Kantian-Husserlian the "postmonotheist" scendentaltheme.Philipse's "meta-Aristotelian dead-end. 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. 562 TAYLOR CARMAN . I shall confine my remarkshere to what strikeme as some of its most provocativeand problematic claims. Even a cursoryreadingof ?7 of Being and Timereveals just how profoundlyHeidegger's notions of phenomenaandphenomenologydiffer from Husserl's. W. the phenomenologicotranhermeneutical theme." for instance.). the subjective phenomenon"3-that is. for the contentsof or in consciousness. These are the socalled "meta-Aristotelian"theme. via Brentano. seems to imply a contradiction"(120). notwithstanding Aristotle's leitmotif' for undeniableimportance Heidegger. 14. Biemel. The "meta-Aristotelian"theme is "meta-. not for the transcendentobjects appearing to consciousness.that amateursand expertsalike in fact have a lot to learn from his hefty tome. Pointing out that the word 'phenomenon'is ambiguous "between appearing and that which appears. Husserl. run throughout Heidegger's works like so many recurringmusical themes. because Heidegger's question of being turnsout not to have much substantiveconnection with Aristotelian first philosophy. the Neo-Hegeliantheme. and its comprehensivecoverageof Heidegger's principaltexts is unmatchedin the secondaryliterature. he insists that. 'phenomenologico-hermeneutical' acknowledgesthatHeideggerrejectsthe notion of presuppositionless Philipse but descriptionin favor of circularinterpretation. Heideggerin effect assumes some extra-hermeneutical authority for his own claims. 2nd ed. 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. ironically. The book has much to recommendit by way of summaryand explication.
something that."that which is to become phenomenon can be hidden. though. or subject matter. begins by treating the term 'phenomenon' as a purely formal indicatorreferringto "that which shows itself. then.'or indeed 'mere appearance"' 29). stand in representational referential or relations to transcendent that make their appearance in or through objects them. and the mentalism that characterize Husserl's enterprise. is something that first and foremost precisely does not show itself."conception. he understands work of the phenomenologist as drawingout. of thereforeagrees with Husserl that phenomenology is an essenHeidegger tially descriptive.itself.the internalism. it does not yet specify the what. In addition to the merely formal notion of phenomenon.by contrast. lacks the resourcesfor morphological descriptions of natural phenomena as. And since Heideggermoreoverinterpretslogos as a "letting the somethingbe seen" (SZ 33). evoking. 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).phenomena are nothing essentially subjective. but ratherto let the ordinarily hiddenaspects of what shows itself show themselves or make themselves manifest.ratherthan hypotheticalor explanatory. Indeed. (SZ For Heidegger. but is at the same time something that essentially belongs to that which first and foremost shows itself. say. for all its exactness.Heidegger. and belongs to it in such a way as to constituteits meaning and ground(SZ 35). A phenomenonin the substantivephenomenologicalsense. or Substantively. Taken formally. Husserl points out. as opposed to merely appearingin or through some representational referentialintermediary. The task of phenomenology. not every aspect of what manifests itself is "given"in the sense of being selfevident or fully open to directinspection.enterprise. and they are emphaticallynot the immanentlyor self-evidentlyappearing contents of consciousness that.' 'lens-shaped. of course. accordingto Husserl.' ON MAKING SENSE(AND NONSENSE) HEIDEGGER 563 OF . then.And it is precisely because phenomenaare first and foremost not given that there is a need for phenomenology"(SZ 36). is not to give a merely descriptivereport of something objectively and self-evidently given. Geometry. Heidegger also advances a substantive. in contrast to what first and foremost shows itself.let alone an exact science. "'serrated. a notion that. But Husserlunderstoodthe task of phenomenology on analogy with descriptivenaturalsciences like botany. or what he calls the specifically "phenomenological.' 'notched. the manifest" (SZ 28). a phenomenon is just anything that manifests itself. Heidegger's appropriationof phenomenology is therefore already a repudiationof the representationalism. "has in the first instance nothing whatever to do with what one calls 'appearance. is hidden. he insists. and uncovering that which is coveredup and buried over in what ordinarilyshows itself in our everydayunderstanding things.
phenomenology amounts to "a Heidegger."5 he as a descriptive undertaking.'and the like. but also to Heidegger's own Interpretations.phenomenologymustbe hermeneutical." so that 'The phenomenology of Dasein is a hermeneutic"(SZ 37). it is between Husserlian phenomenology and hermeneutics.since the phenomenonhe is concernedto uncover is not something already given and self-evident."Instead. Philipse argues moreoverthat Heidegger'shermeneuticsis incoherenton as its own. botanical morphology" (ibid. 5th ed.. historical. "a critical interpretation. and explication. Just gesturing towardthe surfacecontinuity in the descriptivistrhetoricof phenomenology at large cuts no philosophicalice. Philipse seems to suggest that Heidegger equivocatesby retainingsome lingering commitment to an non-interpretive form of purely objective description. Perhaps with Husserl's own distinctionbetween exact and descriptiveconcepts in mind.too. Since Heidegger conceives of all interpretation structureof practicalunderstanding.'umbellate. 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. He intends his subtitle. critical). regardsphenomenology systematicand eidetic morphology. or to our present life" (50)." and "this cannot be done withoutinconsistency"(59): 4 5 Husserl. which are indeed only frequentlyuncritical or ahistorical (or both). If there is any contradictionbetween phenomenology and hermeneutics. Rather. Ideen. an extension of the "projective" Philipse "shows an applicative argues. ?145: 302. ?74: 138. Ideen zu einer reinen Phdnomenologie und phanomenologischen Philosophie: Allgemeine Einfiihrungin die reine Phanomenologie (Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. TAYLOR CARMAN 564 ."4For Husserl. say. phenomenain Heidegger'ssense stand in constant need of interpretiverediscovery.).even while he insists that his approach is hermeneuticalthrough and through. however. if are either "applicative. "'Description'here does not mean a procedurein the manner of. or "theoretical (objective. even refers to "the at bottom tautological expression 'descriptivephenomenology"' (SZ 35). he then goes on to say." a challenge not to standardscholarly approaches to Heidegger. Philipse philosophicalaccountof the natureof interpretation."if they "aimat discovering what a text meant in the historical circumstancesin as which it was written"(59)." they "applytexts to practical situations explains. though it "belongs to" what is given as "its meaning and ground. For Heidegger. his philosophical account of interpretation a bias because he generalizes to all interpretations theory of interpretation that is correctfor applicativeinterpretations only. then. 1993). "the meaning of phenomenologicaldescriptionas a method is interpretation. evocation. 1913. then.
144. 'The question whetherobjective truth can be attributedto human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. 1972. so he can hardly have been the pathetic relativist we find in Philipse's caricature. immediately inviteus to ask:Is the theory they itselfalso a projection. Philipse offers no textual evidence in supportof his claim. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 565 .Marxcontinues.. To begin with.Tucker. Man must prove the truth.2nd ed. 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. the reality and power.W. as for Engels. resembles as his Nietzsche'sclaim Heidegger's of thattruth a product a will to power. it is not the result of some purely cognitive mistake. but the nearestpassage I can find approximating it is the second thesis on Feuerbach.or an outcomeof class interests? so. or of If his whyshouldwe acceptit? . Besides. In formulating projective theoryof interpretation. though even he implicitly presupposes possibility a moreobjective deniesthispossibility cf. Norton & Inc. that is. For Marx."6The point is that purely theoreticalquestions in epistemology are irrelevant to practiceand ought to be set aside as obfuscations. it is much more plausible to understandMarx as simply suggesting that the practicalefficacy of thinking is an indication of its truth.C. (58. not that truth must be defined in terms of its practical effects.. indeed view of truth. R. many of them hyperbolic." Although some have been temptedto readthis remarkas endorsing a pragmatic theory of truth. a product a will to power."Thedisputeover the reality or non-realityof thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question. the this-sidednessof his thinking in practice. Suppose that that assertion (thatall assertionsare expressions of a will to power) is itself an expression of the will to power..view of interpretation. explicitly I think Philipse is wrong on all counts. not that they are strictly speaking theoretically senseless or incoherent. Becausethese theoriespurport be generaltheories to ests. Indeed. Heidegger the of kindof interpretation. 170).. Marx was famously convinced of the objective truth and scientific rigor of his own theories of history and economics. Nietzsche was of course a more radicalcritic of theoreticalobjectivity than Marx.. some perhaps even incoherent.ed.in thatit is reflectively aboutthe natureof theoryor interpretation.orMarx's is claimthattruth a product class interis of incoherent. but Philipse's indictmentof his doctrineof the will to power is just as sloppy and unconvincing. Nietzsche makes a number of notorious pronouncementsabout truth.. Company.1978). (New York: W.where Marx writes.But there is nothing self-defeatingin the assertion that all assertions are de facto expressions of a will to power. Marx nowhere says that truthitself is a product of class interests. dwelling on academicepistemological problems is symptomatic of a kind of intellectual alienation and false consciousness.
strictly speaking. As the aphoristLichtenbergonce said. Philipse changes the subject when he asks why we should accept such claims. as far as our own interpretiveefforts are concerned. it seems to me. my emphasis). But Nietzsche never makes that concession. nations are what breathelife into philosophical texts. the burdenwould still be on him to explain why that is so. One of the most uncharitable steps in Philipse's readingof Heideggeris their differences. In each case."non-applicative" plainly drivenby his own philosophical and theological preoccupationsthat the pretensecan hardlybe takenseriously. Less convincing is his insistence that the principle is what motivates Heidegger's 566 TAYLOR CARMAN . and why shouldhe? Philipse's argumentfares no better against Heidegger. and without them our into stale antiquarianreadingof the history of philosophy would degenerate ism.is not much interestedin epistemology for its own sake. Just taking it for grantedplainly begs the question. cal texts can avoid applicationof some sort to the contemporary conceptual Such ongoing interests and incliinterestsand inclinationsof the interpreter. The fact is that. The underlyingconfusion plaguing Philipse's account.Marx. his argumentsare so purely theoretical. then. for a lack of evidenceor argumentin supportof a theory is not the same as an internalinconsistency renderingit reflectively incoherent. 58). cf.reason to reject it.it's not always coming from the book. when a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard. interpretation what a text meant in the historical circumstancesin which it was written" what the text means. it seems to me. persuasive. But there is no paradoxin sight. is for it to mean somethingto us. according to which linguistic terms-even 'is' and 'not'-are meaningful only in virtue of referring to something.HeideggerembracedHusserl's his claim that. hence necessarily false. for his part. even if he were to drop the charge of incoherenceand maintain necessarily lack only-implausibly enough-that projective interpretations persuasiveforce. 332-35) are familiar and. Philipse's arrowsfall ratherwide of theirtargets. The argumentsPhilipse enlists against this naive "principle of referentiality" (100-09.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. "aim at discovering precisely. as Philipse contends. Philipse himself pretendsto be advancing a yet interpretation. in spite of semantic theory. and I think we ought to readNietzsche and Heideggeras denying the very possibility of an explanatorytheory of truth. And for a (59. So. lies in the crude distinction he draws between applicative and theoretical of Surely no philosophically interesting interpretation historiinterpretation. it aims at understanding text to mean something. More does not. neither Marx nor Nietzsche nor Heidegger advances an explicit theory of truth.
since Heideggerfrequentlyinsists that his phenomenology of moods (particularly anxiety. and a question concerning the meaning of the word 'being' on the other.of course. He neverthelessgoes on to reiteratethe central of that critique. is Carnap'sgrammaticalcritiqueof Heidegger's language throughoutthe 1929 lecture. Philipse distanceshimself. (New York: The Free Press. (Cambridge: P. 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. "What Is Metaphysics?" It is perhapsworth pointing out that here. "is meaningless because it violates the rules of logical syntax" (10)." In Logical Positivism.Self-Consciousnessand Self-Determination. Rudolf Carnap. from the uncomprehending objections of the positivists by admitting the obvious. "Heidegger'squestion of being and nothingness is nonsensical because it is ruledout by the principleof noncontradiction" (13). 11). A. logical impermissibility of his own sentences was no news to Heidegger. 1975. indeed.7More familiar.1967). that is. but only very slightly. 113. Indeed." Ph.Heidegger'sinsistence that our idea of a totality of points entities-and its counterpart. 147-48. Wegmarken. and boredom)cannot be understood merely psychological terms in abstractionfrom an account in of our understanding being. "Was ist Metaphysik?" Wegmarken. the serious question is how to understandthe philosophical import of such unconventionaluses of language. Ster. Heidegger. Greenier. (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.pointing out formal linguistic misconstructions is child's play.joy. But this is obviously of wrong as an interpretation the text.1."9 the syntactic novelty and even the So. Philipse's criticisms of Heideggerare not new. especially the claim that 'The nothing itself noths" (Das Nichts selbst nichtet). Philipse concludes. The MIT Press. 1986). ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 567 . Ayer.L. dissertation. trans. as elsewhere. Philipse opts for interpretingHeidegger's talk of "the nothing" as an oblique referenceto something merely subjective and psychological. 7 8 9 ErnstTugendhat. namely the experienceof anxiety. "Meaning and Being in Heidegger's Sein und Zeit.D. ed. 2nd ed. 1959). 1. University of Heidelberg.J. our understanding the totality of of of and so of nothing.108. namely. "The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language. that "Carnap'scritique of the lecture is uncharitable" (14). entities. Tugendhat further refers on this point to D. as well as his notorious discussion of "the nothing" (das Nichts) in his 1929 lecture. nothing-offers food for philosophical thought.occasional slide from talking aboutthe question of being to talking about the meaning of the verb 'to be' (see SZ 1. Ernst Tugendhatcomplains that Heidegger equivocatesbetween a question concerningthe meaning of being on the one hand.
if still only semi-articulate. in spite of its formal impropriety.use of language to evoke and stimulate philosophical reflection. which one might rationally violate.10 A more charitablereadingof these remarkswould suggest that Heidegger but is not trying (incoherently)to contradictthe law of non-contradiction. 203). Heidegger and nothingness is incompatible with the most fundamental logical (12). and what Philipse "crushes the quotes him saying. concerningbeing and nothing lie beyond the bounds of conceptuallanguage and propositional thought altogether (15. I believe Heidegger was not so confused as to suppose that the word 'nothing' refersto something. What Heideggerdoes say. 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. answersto what we understand 10 n Wegmarken. is that the principle of non-contradiction that in the pursuitof the question "thepower of the intellect in the question". For Heidegger. 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. and being is not an entity. Wegmarken.' This point alone should have convinced Philipse that when it comes to semanticsHeideggerindeed has far more in common with Wittgenstein than with Husserl. But Heideggerdoes not say principle. and Philipse offers no convincing textual support for such an irrationalist readingof the text.107.here the disastrous effect of saddling Heidegger with the unwelcome baggage of Husserl's referential semantic theorybecomes especially clear. is not something. ratherinsisting that traditionallogic is of no positive guidancein asking the question of being.116. TAYLOR CARMAN 568 . 116. What Heideggercalls the "hegemony" (Herrschaft) of logic" is not its legitimate authorityover formaljudgment and inference. Philipse gestures when he entertainsthe in the directionof a far more plausible interpretation for Heidegger. This approachpromises to make sense of Heidegger'soften idiosyncratic.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. field of inquiryinto nothingnessand being is shattered" (11).but its false promise to provide substantive metaphysicalinsight into fundamental.the principleof noncontradiction" this.philosophical questions. in Heidegger'ssense. what he called the betweenbeing and entities. philosophical questions possibility that.at times exasperating. Reference is referenceto entities. Indeed. so it cannot possibly be the referentof the word 'is.as for Wittgenstein. neither an entity nor the totality of entities when we understand that and what things are.
scientific knowledge.if by 'scientific image' one means not the content of scientific theories. "My hypothesis is thatHeideggertook the transcendental he wanted to solve the problem of the manifest image and the scientific image. Heideggeris an if means regardingour mundaneunderstanding a as antinaturalist. as Philipse maintains. Philipse charges that Heideggeris deeply confused.. Heidegger for as can thereforehardly have regardedeveryday understanding incompatible with the theoreticalresults of the sciences. the scientific image is derived. consists in mundane explanatory theories. changing global frameworks. as Sellars conceives of it. Everydayintelligibility in Heidegger's sense. motif presentin Being and Timeat all? Philipse Why is the transcendental turn because writes. conditions in general it is not obvious that an account of transcendental presupposesanythinglike the idealism and subjectivismof Kantand Husserl. a la Sellars. and he ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 569 . 'naturalism' kind of subjectively impoverished proto-theory. and in principle replaceableby. to use Wilfrid Sellars' terminology. and moreoverfind concreteexpression of it in our linguistic practice. Philipse goes on to criticize Heidegger's claim to be doing a kind of transcendentalphilosophy. Accordingto Philipse. too. "InSein und Zeit.. What then of the "Neo-Hegelianmotif' in Heidegger'sthought? Vaguely Hegelian themes emerge in Heidegger's later historicist conception of epochs informed by specific. again. if thatmeans rejectingscientific theory wholesale in favor of something like common sense. and that he solved it in an antithe naturalistway" (132). much of it actually is false. competing with. prioreven to propositionallyarticulated it cannot strictly speaking even be a candidate truth or falsity. Here. it makes sense to ask what we have an understanding when we have of of an understanding being. not only is it capable of being true or false. his apparent indifferenceto the problemof synthetica priori knowledge. however. or understandingsof being. He is not an antinaturalist. but the underlyingsubstantivalist ontology such theories have at times presupposed. and even false in a sense" (135). by contrast. it seems to me he ties Heidegger's transcendentalism too closely to the specific commitments of Kantian idealism. impoverished. 135) concerningordinaryunderstanding scientific knowledge. But Philipse's becomes implausibleas soon as we press for details. The maniinterpretation fest image.Similarly. Perhaps Heidegger was an incompatibilist. He suggests thatHeidegger'srefusalto distinguish phenomena from noumena. and his repudiation of the transcendental all underminehis claim to be offering an ego But accountof the conditions of the possibility of our understanding. Heideggerclaimed that . since we can ask about the content of that understanding. just as he tied Heidegger'sphenomenology too closely to Husserl's. So. Heidegger"endorsed incomand patibility thesis" (133. is pretheobelief contents. But here.Still. which means retical.
or Nietzschean. he argues. As a consequence. Provocative claims. Heidegger must be drivento "a doctrineof global false consciousness" (308). From the same high-altitudevantagepoint. 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. however. but morally bankrupt.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. critics used to be imprisonedin psychiatrichospitals for this reason.enlists Donald Davidson's argumentagainstconceptualschemes to insist that the very idea of global frameworks understanding incoherent. whether it be Heideggerian. Philipse argues that Heidegger's historicism entails relativism. This little diatribeevidently rests on some suppressedpremises. Here again Heideggeris in bad company: The doctrine of a global false consciousness. as elsewhere. Since Philipse also acknowledges that Heidegger is a realist (431-32 n251). 570 TAYLOR CARMAN . then the in same proposition cannot be true for you and false for me. it is hardto see just what his relativism is supposedto amount to.it seems to me. Philipse insists. but casting the issue in such terms obviously begs all the interesting questions about relapreconceived tivism from the start. One wonders what would have happened if Heidegger had been successful in his attemptto become a leading Nazi ideologist. the person who objects is not taken seriously as a rational and critical interlocutor. If propositions are individuated terms of fixed truth conditions. is not just untenable. and that relativism is incoherent." and that "BeforeNewton's laws were discovered. they are interpretedas confirmations of the very doctrineto which the critic objects. implies that objections are not taken seriously. Heideggerdoes say that "'There is' truth only insofar as and as long as Dasein is. 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.In Marxist states. is almost guaranteed produceuninterestingand anachronistic results. Oddly. Marxist. As Philipse sees it. Here. Philipse's most heartfeltobjection to Heidegger's Neo-Hegelianism is a moral objection. and there is no reason to suppose that Heidegger's notion of the "history of being" relies even tacitly on such a dualism. Philipse seems indifferentto the details of Heidegger's position and thinks it sufficient to trot out familiar argumentsfrom contemporaryanalytic philosophy to refute him. though I would hate to have to guess what they are.they were not 'true' " (SZ 226). or true today and false tomorrow. And that doctrine. Since few people are in fact likely to share Heidegof ger's interpretation our currentglobal frameworkas what Heideggercalls a of "technological understanding being." he maintains. It may be that only his lack of success saved him from Nuremberg(308). Such an to approach. This is a neat argument. apparently.
though. "illuminates and explains everything that Heidegger says about death and inauthenticity"(ibid. not to mention (again) his cardinal distinction between being and entities. 374). the "GrandStrategy" (239. The thesis emerges in Philipse's account of what he calls the "postmonotheist" leitmotif. and critics have often been temptedto write him off as a theologian in philosopher's dress. lies in Philipse's evident a priori hostility to religion and all things religious. Amazingly. was fully premeditated: The ontological analysis of Dasein had to be secular in orderto convince the unbeliever. proceedingin two stages: first.). and hence the differencebetween his own thinking and traditional with God. which he thinks forms a secret. by insisting on the harshnessand misery of worldly existence from an apparentlysecularpoint of view.Moreover. 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. It is also well known that Heidegger himself always as mistaken. and it had to paint life in this world in darkand gloomy colors in orderto arouse the craving for religion. 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. No discussion of Heidegger's Philosophy of Being would be complete without some mention of the true motivatingthesis animatingthe book. It is a commonplacethat Heidegger'sstyle of thinking much of the mood and metaphor of Christian theolabsorbedand preserved ogy. as Philipse calls it. second. Strangely undeterred the philosopher's own views on the subject by his avowed commitmentto taking others seriously as (especially considering rational and critical interlocutors). he never tells us what he thinks makes a view or an attitude"religious. a deliberatelydisguised call to religion. insisting vehementlyrejectedsuch interpretations fundamentally instead on the religious neutralityof his thinking.either you accept the fact that most of the people have got it more or less right most of the time.Philipse insists that Heidegger's entire oeuvre is guided by "a hidden religious agenda"(291). sinister link between the methodological atheism of Being and Time and the religious overtones of Heidegger's later writings. and that the early and later works together implement what he calls a covert "Pascalianstrategy" (224-25). or you deserve to be hanged." especially in the absenceof any reference to God." he maintains. or why ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 571 . "onto-theological" preoccupations A deeper philosophicalproblemwith this whole line of criticism. by urging a leap of faith beyond the mundane.
also exhibits just the sort of closed." it seems to me.Such an "interpretive hypothesis.a religious perspective necessarily amounts to a philosophical liability. 572 TAYLOR CARMAN . is it not only reductiveand uncharitable. 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. ideological thinking that Philipse himself claims to find so deplorable in Heideggerand his followers. Instead.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.