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