Murilo Cardoso de Castro

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Kockelmans: The Idea of Philosophy and the Problem of World Views (GA56-57)

domingo 16 de abril de 2017


In 1919 Heidegger gave a course on “The Idea   of Philosophy   and the Problem of World   Views.” In this course Heidegger focused on the “hermeneutic situation  ” of philosophy, as he found   it in 1919, and tried to determine his own   approach to philosophy in regard to philosophy, understood as a doctrine of world views (Dilthey  ), on the one hand  , and philosophy, understood as an original and basic science   (Aristotle  , Kant  , Husserl  ), on the other. At the same   time, Heidegger also made an effort   here to come to terms with the philosophy of values   as this was developed in neo-Kantianism, mainly by Windelband and Rickert  . The neo-Kantians occupied some kind of middle position   between the two extremes mentioned, insofar as they tried to develop philosophy as a system   of values which would provide us with the scientific means for developing one’s own world view  . Heidegger makes it quite clear that he finds a philosophy of world views completely unacceptable. His reading of Husserl’s article, “Philosophy as a Rigorous Science,” may have influenced [12] him in this move. [1] Genuine philosophy has nothing   to do with world views. Rather it is an original and basic science which is radically different from all other sciences, and it is a science that is capable of justifying its own “foundations.” Heidegger then tried to define the subject   matter of philosophy by means of an historical and critical   examination of traditional solutions to the problem. In this part of his lectures Heidegger shows his preference for asking pertinent questions: Does philosophy really have a subject matter? How is its matter given  ? What does “there is something” really mean  ? Heidegger also shows here already a preference for the use   of impersonal sentences: es wertet (it values), es weltet (it governs), es gibt (it gives, there is), etc. Heidegger may have been influenced in this by the typical language   use of Meister Eckhart  . We also find here a first indication   of the important role that Aristotle’s conception of aletheia   (truth  ) as non-concealment   will have in his later thinking. But most importantly, in this lecture course Heidegger time and again appeals to everyday experiences   that everyone   can have in his environing world   (Umwelt). This is clearly a deliberate effort on his part to get away from a type of philosophy that is concerned exclusively with the theoretical and perceptual dimension of our lives as we for instance find it in Husserl. Dilthey’s philosophy of life   may have inspired Heidegger to make this move. Yet, in this move Heidegger may also have been influenced by E. Lask who was the first to realize the phenomenological   problem of the theoretization of experience  , but appears to have been unable to find a non-theoretical solution for the problem. [2] Kisiel   has described the importance which Heidegger attributes   to this notion in the following terms:

Theoretization de-signifies, de-historicizes, unlives and unworlds our most original experiences. Philosophy’s radical quest for a pretheoretical something, not   only a worldly but also a preworldly something, makes the primal science at once a supratheoretical science. Philosophy must counter the theoretical tendency of other sciences to unlive the world and replace it with concepts, by [13] formulating ‘recepts’ (Rilckgriffe) which root   back in the life  -contexts underlying the sciences. The primal sense of this pretheoretical preworldly something must be seen phenomenally, i.e., purely intuitively. We must learn   how to experientially live such lived experiences in their motivations and tendencies. In short, we must come to understand   life. For life is not irrational, it is understandable through and through. Phenomenological intuition   as the living of primal experiences is hermeneutic intuition. [3] (1990, p. 11-13)


[1Edmund Husserl, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science,” in Peter McCormick and Frederick Elliston, eds., Husserl: Shorter Works. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981, pp. 166-97. Husserl’s article was translated by Quentin Lauer.

[2Theodore J. Kisiel, “Heidegger’s Early Lectures,” p. 30.

[3Ibid., pp. 30-31.