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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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Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation.'2 After over 500 pages (including notes) of patient and admittedly well-researched effort. for its part. Unmarkedpage references are to this book. notwithstandingits nearly comprehensive coverage of Heidegger's works. both in his analysis and HermanPhilipse. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 561 2 . November 2001 Making Heidegger TAYLORCARMAN On Sense (and Nonsense) of Barnard College HermanPhilipse's Heidegger's Philosophy of Being is an attempt to interpret. the sense and significance of the question that inspired Heidegger's philosophical thinking throughout his career. Heidegger. and ultimately discredit the whole of Heidegger's thought." In short. while Heidegger's later writings amount to little more than thinly disguised religious propaganda. analyze. formally self-defeating.Finally. is a methodologically muddled blend of hackneyed cultural criticism and feeble conceptual analysis. But Philipse's reading of the texts is uncharitable. If Philipse is right. Sein und Zeit (TUbingen:Max Niemeyer Verlag.No. 1998). Philipse relies on a crude distinction between "theoretical" and "applicative" interpretationsin arguing that Heidegger's conception of interpretationas a kind of projection (Entwurf)is. Being and Time. In his recent book. except where I quote Philipse's renderings. 1.(Princeton: Princeton University Press. then students of philosophy should certainly waste no time reading either Heidegger or Heidegger's Philosophy of Being. 3. like the liar's paradox. Translationsof Husserl and Heidegger are my own. LXIII. But even grantingthe distinction. 1979). the charge of reflective incoherence is fallacious and question-begging. namely "the question concerning the meaning of being. HereafterSZ. Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation. 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. 1927. and the ideas he presents and criticizes often bear little resemblance to Heidegger's views.Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. Philipse concludes that "Heidegger's question of being should be rejected completely as it stands" (386). that Philipse is wrong on so many points. he contends. Herman Philipse sets out to analyze and evaluate. I believe. 15th ed. the book does not represent a sufficiently serious effort to understandthe complexities and obscurities of Heidegger's thinking. however. as exhaustively as he can.citing his text.
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. Die Idee der Phdnomenologie:Fiinf Vorlesungen. So. Even a cursoryreadingof ?7 of Being and Timereveals just how profoundlyHeidegger's notions of phenomenaandphenomenologydiffer from Husserl's. 'phenomenologico-hermeneutical' acknowledgesthatHeideggerrejectsthe notion of presuppositionless Philipse but descriptionin favor of circularinterpretation. W. The book has much to recommendit by way of summaryand explication. the Kantian-Husserlian the "postmonotheist" scendentaltheme. he suggests. however. My objections center aroundwhat I regardas the book's most serious shortcomings:first. The "meta-Aristotelian"theme is "meta-.Philipse's "meta-Aristotelian dead-end. ed. in retaining "Husserl'srhetoricof objectivity" and "the rhetoric of essential strucboth tures"(ibid.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. Pointing out that the word 'phenomenon'is ambiguous "between appearing and that which appears. notwithstanding Aristotle's leitmotif' for undeniableimportance Heidegger. in spite of itself. I shall confine my remarkshere to what strikeme as some of its most provocativeand problematic claims. not for the transcendentobjects appearing to consciousness. 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. and finally theme. Husserl. seems to imply a contradiction"(120). 14." for instance. and its comprehensivecoverageof Heidegger's principaltexts is unmatchedin the secondaryliterature. for the contentsof or in consciousness. 1958). run throughout Heidegger's works like so many recurringmusical themes. he insists that. 2nd ed. Biemel. from Husserl and Dilthey. 562 TAYLOR CARMAN .that amateursand expertsalike in fact have a lot to learn from his hefty tome. second. because Heidegger's question of being turnsout not to have much substantiveconnection with Aristotelian first philosophy.in his critique. These are the socalled "meta-Aristotelian"theme. via Brentano. Philipse's frequentlyuncharitable interpretations of Heidegger. the anti-religious prejudice that. the subjective phenomenon"3-that is. Heideggerin effect assumes some extra-hermeneutical authority for his own claims." apparently.). Philipse distinguishes five "leitmotifs"that. ironically. the Neo-Hegeliantheme. (The Hague: MartinusNijhoff. renders much of Philipse's own argumentdogmaticand unconvincing. the phenomenologicotranhermeneutical theme. Husserl stipulates that the term be "used primarilyfor the appearingitself.
a phenomenon is just anything that manifests itself. The task of phenomenology. and the mentalism that characterize Husserl's enterprise. he insists. begins by treating the term 'phenomenon' as a purely formal indicatorreferringto "that which shows itself. a notion that.' 'notched. then. (SZ For Heidegger. as opposed to merely appearingin or through some representational referentialintermediary.' ON MAKING SENSE(AND NONSENSE) HEIDEGGER 563 OF . In addition to the merely formal notion of phenomenon. stand in representational referential or relations to transcendent that make their appearance in or through objects them. Husserl points out. in contrast to what first and foremost shows itself.let alone an exact science. then. "has in the first instance nothing whatever to do with what one calls 'appearance. and uncovering that which is coveredup and buried over in what ordinarilyshows itself in our everydayunderstanding things. Heidegger also advances a substantive. Taken formally. Geometry. but ratherto let the ordinarily hiddenaspects of what shows itself show themselves or make themselves manifest. something that. or subject matter.'or indeed 'mere appearance"' 29). Heidegger's appropriationof phenomenology is therefore already a repudiationof the representationalism. of course. or what he calls the specifically "phenomenological. it does not yet specify the what.the internalism. but is at the same time something that essentially belongs to that which first and foremost shows itself. and belongs to it in such a way as to constituteits meaning and ground(SZ 35). though.ratherthan hypotheticalor explanatory. say. or Substantively.phenomena are nothing essentially subjective. lacks the resourcesfor morphological descriptions of natural phenomena as. is hidden. and they are emphaticallynot the immanentlyor self-evidentlyappearing contents of consciousness that."conception. But Husserlunderstoodthe task of phenomenology on analogy with descriptivenaturalsciences like botany. the manifest" (SZ 28). A phenomenonin the substantivephenomenologicalsense. evoking. he understands work of the phenomenologist as drawingout. 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).Heidegger. Indeed.enterprise. "'serrated. accordingto Husserl.' 'lens-shaped. for all its exactness."that which is to become phenomenon can be hidden.by contrast.And it is precisely because phenomenaare first and foremost not given that there is a need for phenomenology"(SZ 36).itself. is not to give a merely descriptivereport of something objectively and self-evidently given. And since Heideggermoreoverinterpretslogos as a "letting the somethingbe seen" (SZ 33). is something that first and foremost precisely does not show itself. not every aspect of what manifests itself is "given"in the sense of being selfevident or fully open to directinspection. of thereforeagrees with Husserl that phenomenology is an essenHeidegger tially descriptive.
"'Description'here does not mean a procedurein the manner of. or "theoretical (objective." and "this cannot be done withoutinconsistency"(59): 4 5 Husserl. evocation. Ideen. his philosophical account of interpretation a bias because he generalizes to all interpretations theory of interpretation that is correctfor applicativeinterpretations only. "the meaning of phenomenologicaldescriptionas a method is interpretation. he then goes on to say. even refers to "the at bottom tautological expression 'descriptivephenomenology"' (SZ 35). but also to Heidegger's own Interpretations.'and the like."4For Husserl. TAYLOR CARMAN 564 . Philipse argues moreoverthat Heidegger'shermeneuticsis incoherenton as its own. Philipse philosophicalaccountof the natureof interpretation. historical. if are either "applicative. though it "belongs to" what is given as "its meaning and ground. Just gesturing towardthe surfacecontinuity in the descriptivistrhetoricof phenomenology at large cuts no philosophicalice." they "applytexts to practical situations explains.too. phenomenology amounts to "a Heidegger." a challenge not to standardscholarly approaches to Heidegger. however. 1913. which are indeed only frequentlyuncritical or ahistorical (or both). then. say.). Philipse seems to suggest that Heidegger equivocatesby retainingsome lingering commitment to an non-interpretive form of purely objective description. Ideen zu einer reinen Phdnomenologie und phanomenologischen Philosophie: Allgemeine Einfiihrungin die reine Phanomenologie (Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. He intends his subtitle.. ?74: 138. botanical morphology" (ibid. Perhaps with Husserl's own distinctionbetween exact and descriptiveconcepts in mind. phenomenain Heidegger'ssense stand in constant need of interpretiverediscovery. it is between Husserlian phenomenology and hermeneutics." so that 'The phenomenology of Dasein is a hermeneutic"(SZ 37). 1993). an extension of the "projective" Philipse "shows an applicative argues. critical). ?145: 302. or to our present life" (50). 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.since the phenomenonhe is concernedto uncover is not something already given and self-evident. and explication. For Heidegger."Instead. then."if they "aimat discovering what a text meant in the historical circumstancesin as which it was written"(59). 5th ed.phenomenologymustbe hermeneutical.even while he insists that his approach is hermeneuticalthrough and through. regardsphenomenology systematicand eidetic morphology. Rather."5 he as a descriptive undertaking.'umbellate. If there is any contradictionbetween phenomenology and hermeneutics. Since Heidegger conceives of all interpretation structureof practicalunderstanding. "a critical interpretation.
not that they are strictly speaking theoretically senseless or incoherent. To begin with. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 565 . many of them hyperbolic. resembles as his Nietzsche'sclaim Heidegger's of thattruth a product a will to power. dwelling on academicepistemological problems is symptomatic of a kind of intellectual alienation and false consciousness. Marx nowhere says that truthitself is a product of class interests.. some perhaps even incoherent.orMarx's is claimthattruth a product class interis of incoherent. Suppose that that assertion (thatall assertionsare expressions of a will to power) is itself an expression of the will to power. but Philipse's indictmentof his doctrineof the will to power is just as sloppy and unconvincing. Marx was famously convinced of the objective truth and scientific rigor of his own theories of history and economics. 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). (58.. Indeed. 'The question whetherobjective truth can be attributedto human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question.144.2nd ed. so he can hardly have been the pathetic relativist we find in Philipse's caricature.Marxcontinues. explicitly I think Philipse is wrong on all counts. Heidegger the of kindof interpretation. R.in thatit is reflectively aboutthe natureof theoryor interpretation. Besides. For Marx. 1972.or an outcomeof class interests? so. though even he implicitly presupposes possibility a moreobjective deniesthispossibility cf. Nietzsche makes a number of notorious pronouncementsabout truth. (New York: W.. as for Engels.. or of If his whyshouldwe acceptit? . indeed view of truth. but the nearestpassage I can find approximating it is the second thesis on Feuerbach."Thedisputeover the reality or non-realityof thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question. not that truth must be defined in terms of its practical effects.view of interpretation. Man must prove the truth.C.But there is nothing self-defeatingin the assertion that all assertions are de facto expressions of a will to power. that is.W. immediately inviteus to ask:Is the theory they itselfalso a projection. Company. it is not the result of some purely cognitive mistake. Philipse offers no textual evidence in supportof his claim. Nietzsche was of course a more radicalcritic of theoreticalobjectivity than Marx.. In formulating projective theoryof interpretation. a product a will to power." Although some have been temptedto readthis remarkas endorsing a pragmatic theory of truth. the this-sidednessof his thinking in practice.ed. Norton & Inc."6The point is that purely theoreticalquestions in epistemology are irrelevant to practiceand ought to be set aside as obfuscations. Becausethese theoriespurport be generaltheories to ests. the reality and power. it is much more plausible to understandMarx as simply suggesting that the practicalefficacy of thinking is an indication of its truth.where Marx writes. 170).Tucker.
my emphasis). interpretation what a text meant in the historical circumstancesin which it was written" what the text means. when a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard. 58). cal texts can avoid applicationof some sort to the contemporary conceptual Such ongoing interests and incliinterestsand inclinationsof the interpreter. Less convincing is his insistence that the principle is what motivates Heidegger's 566 TAYLOR CARMAN .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. it seems to me.reason to reject it. is for it to mean somethingto us. and why shouldhe? Philipse's argumentfares no better against Heidegger.it's not always coming from the book. One of the most uncharitable steps in Philipse's readingof Heideggeris their differences. for his part. "aim at discovering precisely. But there is no paradoxin sight. Just taking it for grantedplainly begs the question. The underlyingconfusion plaguing Philipse's account. in spite of semantic theory. Philipse himself pretendsto be advancing a yet interpretation. and I think we ought to readNietzsche and Heideggeras denying the very possibility of an explanatorytheory of truth. as Philipse contends. So. and without them our into stale antiquarianreadingof the history of philosophy would degenerate ism. for a lack of evidenceor argumentin supportof a theory is not the same as an internalinconsistency renderingit reflectively incoherent.is not much interestedin epistemology for its own sake. it aims at understanding text to mean something. according to which linguistic terms-even 'is' and 'not'-are meaningful only in virtue of referring to something. The fact is that.Marx. As the aphoristLichtenbergonce said. then. But Nietzsche never makes that concession. nations are what breathelife into philosophical texts. even if he were to drop the charge of incoherenceand maintain necessarily lack only-implausibly enough-that projective interpretations persuasiveforce. More does not. hence necessarily false.HeideggerembracedHusserl's his claim that. 332-35) are familiar and. Philipse changes the subject when he asks why we should accept such claims. neither Marx nor Nietzsche nor Heidegger advances an explicit theory of truth. And for a (59. strictly speaking. The argumentsPhilipse enlists against this naive "principle of referentiality" (100-09. it seems to me. as far as our own interpretiveefforts are concerned. the burdenwould still be on him to explain why that is so. In each case. Philipse's arrowsfall ratherwide of theirtargets. cf. his argumentsare so purely theoretical."non-applicative" plainly drivenby his own philosophical and theological preoccupationsthat the pretensecan hardlybe takenseriously. lies in the crude distinction he draws between applicative and theoretical of Surely no philosophically interesting interpretation historiinterpretation. persuasive.
1967). 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. 1. since Heideggerfrequentlyinsists that his phenomenology of moods (particularly anxiety. logical impermissibility of his own sentences was no news to Heidegger. University of Heidelberg. "is meaningless because it violates the rules of logical syntax" (10). (New York: The Free Press. from the uncomprehending objections of the positivists by admitting the obvious. Ster. "Heidegger'squestion of being and nothingness is nonsensical because it is ruledout by the principleof noncontradiction" (13)."9 the syntactic novelty and even the So. as well as his notorious discussion of "the nothing" (das Nichts) in his 1929 lecture. and boredom)cannot be understood merely psychological terms in abstractionfrom an account in of our understanding being.Heidegger'sinsistence that our idea of a totality of points entities-and its counterpart." Ph. "What Is Metaphysics?" It is perhapsworth pointing out that here. namely.D. Ayer. that is. 1986). "Was ist Metaphysik?" Wegmarken. but only very slightly. But this is obviously of wrong as an interpretation the text. (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann. Heidegger. 1959). ed. 2nd ed.occasional slide from talking aboutthe question of being to talking about the meaning of the verb 'to be' (see SZ 1. and a question concerning the meaning of the word 'being' on the other. is Carnap'sgrammaticalcritiqueof Heidegger's language throughoutthe 1929 lecture. trans. that "Carnap'scritique of the lecture is uncharitable" (14).pointing out formal linguistic misconstructions is child's play. A. Rudolf Carnap. ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 567 . indeed. Philipse opts for interpretingHeidegger's talk of "the nothing" as an oblique referenceto something merely subjective and psychological. the serious question is how to understandthe philosophical import of such unconventionaluses of language.1. Philipse distanceshimself.108. our understanding the totality of of of and so of nothing." In Logical Positivism. namely the experienceof anxiety. nothing-offers food for philosophical thought.L. (Cambridge: P. 11). 147-48. Wegmarken. entities.J. "The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language.of course. Ernst Tugendhatcomplains that Heidegger equivocatesbetween a question concerningthe meaning of being on the one hand. Philipse concludes. The MIT Press. all the while urging that we "not let ourselves be misled by the formal impossibility of the question concerningthe nothing. He neverthelessgoes on to reiteratethe central of that critique. 7 8 9 ErnstTugendhat. 1975. Tugendhat further refers on this point to D. Indeed. 113. Philipse's criticisms of Heideggerare not new.Self-Consciousnessand Self-Determination.joy. "Meaning and Being in Heidegger's Sein und Zeit. especially the claim that 'The nothing itself noths" (Das Nichts selbst nichtet). as elsewhere. dissertation. Greenier.7More familiar.
and Philipse offers no convincing textual support for such an irrationalist readingof the text. philosophical questions possibility that. 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. What Heideggercalls the "hegemony" (Herrschaft) of logic" is not its legitimate authorityover formaljudgment and inference. and being is not an entity. and what Philipse "crushes the quotes him saying. concerningbeing and nothing lie beyond the bounds of conceptuallanguage and propositional thought altogether (15. field of inquiryinto nothingnessand being is shattered" (11). if still only semi-articulate.philosophical questions. Heidegger and nothingness is incompatible with the most fundamental logical (12). which one might rationally violate.107. Wegmarken. is not something. answersto what we understand 10 n Wegmarken. TAYLOR CARMAN 568 . I believe Heidegger was not so confused as to suppose that the word 'nothing' refersto something. in Heidegger'ssense. Indeed.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.use of language to evoke and stimulate philosophical reflection. 116. To propose that cognates "ontologicaldifference" of the verb 'to be' refer to something is precisely to forget that being. For in doing so Philipse ignores the essential threadrunningthroughHeidegger's entire philosophy. 203). what he called the betweenbeing and entities. What Heideggerdoes say. For Heidegger.the principleof noncontradiction" this. Reference is referenceto entities. ratherinsisting that traditionallogic is of no positive guidancein asking the question of being. This approachpromises to make sense of Heidegger'soften idiosyncratic. neither an entity nor the totality of entities when we understand that and what things are. in spite of its formal impropriety.here the disastrous effect of saddling Heidegger with the unwelcome baggage of Husserl's referential semantic theorybecomes especially clear.at times exasperating.116. is that the principle of non-contradiction that in the pursuitof the question "thepower of the intellect in the question". But Heideggerdoes not say principle.but its false promise to provide substantive metaphysicalinsight into fundamental.10 A more charitablereadingof these remarkswould suggest that Heidegger but is not trying (incoherently)to contradictthe law of non-contradiction.as for Wittgenstein. Philipse gestures when he entertainsthe in the directionof a far more plausible interpretation for Heidegger.' This point alone should have convinced Philipse that when it comes to semanticsHeideggerindeed has far more in common with Wittgenstein than with Husserl. so it cannot possibly be the referentof the word 'is.
not only is it capable of being true or false. What then of the "Neo-Hegelianmotif' in Heidegger'sthought? Vaguely Hegelian themes emerge in Heidegger's later historicist conception of epochs informed by specific. is pretheobelief contents. Heidegger"endorsed incomand patibility thesis" (133. it makes sense to ask what we have an understanding when we have of of an understanding being. He suggests thatHeidegger'srefusalto distinguish phenomena from noumena. changing global frameworks. and he ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 569 .if by 'scientific image' one means not the content of scientific theories. just as he tied Heidegger'sphenomenology too closely to Husserl's. to use Wilfrid Sellars' terminology. which means retical. Heideggeris an if means regardingour mundaneunderstanding a as antinaturalist. if thatmeans rejectingscientific theory wholesale in favor of something like common sense. Heidegger for as can thereforehardly have regardedeveryday understanding incompatible with the theoreticalresults of the sciences. and his repudiation of the transcendental all underminehis claim to be offering an ego But accountof the conditions of the possibility of our understanding. a la Sellars. consists in mundane explanatory theories. as Sellars conceives of it. "InSein und Zeit. motif presentin Being and Timeat all? Philipse Why is the transcendental turn because writes. prioreven to propositionallyarticulated it cannot strictly speaking even be a candidate truth or falsity.. Accordingto Philipse. The maniinterpretation fest image. Perhaps Heidegger was an incompatibilist. Here. his apparent indifferenceto the problemof synthetica priori knowledge. since we can ask about the content of that understanding. and in principle replaceableby. competing with. too. But Philipse's becomes implausibleas soon as we press for details. Everydayintelligibility in Heidegger's sense.Still. as Philipse maintains. 135) concerningordinaryunderstanding scientific knowledge. however. and that he solved it in an antithe naturalistway" (132). and moreoverfind concreteexpression of it in our linguistic practice. and even false in a sense" (135). it seems to me he ties Heidegger's transcendentalism too closely to the specific commitments of Kantian idealism. So. Philipse goes on to criticize Heidegger's claim to be doing a kind of transcendentalphilosophy. He is not an antinaturalist. impoverished. or understandingsof being.. again. 'naturalism' kind of subjectively impoverished proto-theory. scientific knowledge. Heideggerclaimed that . much of it actually is false. But here. "My hypothesis is thatHeideggertook the transcendental he wanted to solve the problem of the manifest image and the scientific image. but the underlyingsubstantivalist ontology such theories have at times presupposed.Similarly. the scientific image is derived. conditions in general it is not obvious that an account of transcendental presupposesanythinglike the idealism and subjectivismof Kantand Husserl. Philipse charges that Heideggeris deeply confused. by contrast.
they are interpretedas confirmations of the very doctrineto which the critic objects. but casting the issue in such terms obviously begs all the interesting questions about relapreconceived tivism from the start. apparently. Philipse seems indifferentto the details of Heidegger's position and thinks it sufficient to trot out familiar argumentsfrom contemporaryanalytic philosophy to refute him. If propositions are individuated terms of fixed truth conditions. 570 TAYLOR CARMAN .it seems to me. Here. and there is no reason to suppose that Heidegger's notion of the "history of being" relies even tacitly on such a dualism.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. Philipse's most heartfeltobjection to Heidegger's Neo-Hegelianism is a moral objection. Since Philipse also acknowledges that Heidegger is a realist (431-32 n251). then the in same proposition cannot be true for you and false for me.enlists Donald Davidson's argumentagainstconceptualschemes to insist that the very idea of global frameworks understanding incoherent. And that doctrine. From the same high-altitudevantagepoint. but morally bankrupt. This little diatribeevidently rests on some suppressedpremises. Such an to approach.they were not 'true' " (SZ 226). or Nietzschean. It may be that only his lack of success saved him from Nuremberg(308). One wonders what would have happened if Heidegger had been successful in his attemptto become a leading Nazi ideologist. Marxist. Heidegger must be drivento "a doctrineof global false consciousness" (308). or true today and false tomorrow. implies that objections are not taken seriously. As Philipse sees it." and that "BeforeNewton's laws were discovered. 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. Philipse argues that Heidegger's historicism entails relativism. Here again Heideggeris in bad company: The doctrine of a global false consciousness. as elsewhere. 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. Provocative claims. and that relativism is incoherent. Heideggerdoes say that "'There is' truth only insofar as and as long as Dasein is. it is hardto see just what his relativism is supposedto amount to.In Marxist states. Oddly." he maintains. critics used to be imprisonedin psychiatrichospitals for this reason. is almost guaranteed produceuninterestingand anachronistic results. the person who objects is not taken seriously as a rational and critical interlocutor. Philipse insists. This is a neat argument. is not just untenable. though I would hate to have to guess what they are. however. As a consequence. whether it be Heideggerian. Since few people are in fact likely to share Heidegof ger's interpretation our currentglobal frameworkas what Heideggercalls a of "technological understanding being. he argues.
and it had to paint life in this world in darkand gloomy colors in orderto arouse the craving for religion. It is a commonplacethat Heidegger'sstyle of thinking much of the mood and metaphor of Christian theolabsorbedand preserved ogy. the "GrandStrategy" (239.Moreover. No discussion of Heidegger's Philosophy of Being would be complete without some mention of the true motivatingthesis animatingthe book. not to mention (again) his cardinal distinction between being and entities. was fully premeditated: The ontological analysis of Dasein had to be secular in orderto convince the unbeliever.)." he maintains. The thesis emerges in Philipse's account of what he calls the "postmonotheist" leitmotif. proceedingin two stages: first. Strangely undeterred the philosopher's own views on the subject by his avowed commitmentto taking others seriously as (especially considering rational and critical interlocutors). It is also well known that Heidegger himself always as mistaken. 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 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. 374). and hence the differencebetween his own thinking and traditional with God. and that the early and later works together implement what he calls a covert "Pascalianstrategy" (224-25). sinister link between the methodological atheism of Being and Time and the religious overtones of Heidegger's later writings. "onto-theological" preoccupations A deeper philosophicalproblemwith this whole line of criticism.Philipse insists that Heidegger's entire oeuvre is guided by "a hidden religious agenda"(291). by insisting on the harshnessand misery of worldly existence from an apparentlysecularpoint of view." especially in the absenceof any reference to God. or you deserve to be hanged. second. a deliberatelydisguised call to religion.either you accept the fact that most of the people have got it more or less right most of the time. and critics have often been temptedto write him off as a theologian in philosopher's dress. though. by urging a leap of faith beyond the mundane. insisting vehementlyrejectedsuch interpretations fundamentally instead on the religious neutralityof his thinking. he never tells us what he thinks makes a view or an attitude"religious. Amazingly. as Philipse calls it. or why ON MAKING SENSE (AND NONSENSE) OF HEIDEGGER 571 . lies in Philipse's evident a priori hostility to religion and all things religious. which he thinks forms a secret. "illuminates and explains everything that Heidegger says about death and inauthenticity"(ibid.
Instead. 572 TAYLOR CARMAN . is it not only reductiveand uncharitable. ideological thinking that Philipse himself claims to find so deplorable in Heideggerand his followers.a religious perspective necessarily amounts to a philosophical liability.Such an "interpretive hypothesis." it seems to me. 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. also exhibits just the sort of closed.