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