Citation for this page in APA citation style.           Close


Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Abraham Pais
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger asks a question that he thinks has gone unanswered, perhaps ignored, but at the least forgotten by philosophy since the presocratic philosophers, especially Parmenides and Heraclitus, but also what may be the single oldest fragment in Greek philosophy, that of Anaximander.

With his great work, Sein und Zeit - "Being and TIme," Heidegger hoped to return to a time when philosophers were more "open to Being."

Perhaps inspired by Franz Brentano's study on the many uses of the concept of Being (τὸ ὄν) in Aristotle, which also inspired Heidegger's mentor, Edmund Husserl, Heidegger's question is "What is Being? or "the Question of Being," as opposed to the multitude of time-bound, merely existing beings "thrown into the world" whom he called "das Seinde" (a plurality of beings that Heidegger wants to think about in its totality and thus a singularity) or "Dasein" - a human being thrown into the always already (immer schon) existent world.

From Parmenides, Heidegger takes the ideas that "Being Is," that "all is One,", and beyond those to the thought that "Being and thinking are the same."

From Heraclitus, Heidegger learns that "Being Becomes," because "all is flux."

But most of all, from Friedrich Nietzsche, Heidegger takes the Eternal Return of the Same as a philosophical method of turning Becoming into Being. We may learn more about Heidegger's own thinking from reading his extraordinary and extensive commentary on Nietzsche's Eternal Return in Also Sprach Zarathustra and the posthumous Will to Power. Heidegger argued that the most important thought of Nietzsche did not appear in his published works, but could only be found in his Nachlass.

Heidegger's Nietzsche

However, we cannot begin to understand Heidegger's dense argumentation, his invention of new technical language in German that he believes captures ancient philosophical and theological concerns, and his mesmerizing lecture style, unless we see how he mimics the writing styles of the early Greeks.

Heidegger believed that the early Greek language and the modern German have unique powers to elucidate philosophical problems. With Nietzsche, he accepted the special access through poetry and the arts to higher ideas. Certainly the greatest work on Greek thinking in the nineteenth century was being done by German thinkers.

As shown by Eliza Butler in her prescient 1935 book The Tyranny of Greece over Germany, the fascination of Germans with Greece is a long tradition of being anti-Roman that began with the art historian Johann Joachim WInckelmann in the mid-eighteenth century and continued through Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, and Friedrich Schiller to Friedrich Hólderlin, who was a great personal inspiration to Heidegger.

We also cannot begin to understand Heidegger without recognizing his position in a long line of "onto-theological" thinkers who puzzled over the question of the existence of a "supreme being." From Christian theologians like Augustine and Anselm, to Georg W. F. Hegel, Friedrich W. J. Schelling, and Hólderlin, the two philosophers and a poet who were young students together at the Túbingen Stift (an Evangelical-Lutheran seminary in Württemberg and Heidegger's own alma mater), there is a common thread of equating God and existence with the philosophical, even metaphysical, question of Being and beings.

They all worked on logical, ontological, or cosmological proofs of God'e existence, and although Heidegger elides and evades the pure religious aspects, it is "always already" in the background of his thinking. And his underlying, if sublimated, religion accounts for the phenomenal success of his writings in academic institutions that are just one collar away from being in the priesthood. This includes a large fraction of today's academics who consider themselves metaphysicians.

Now the information philosopher and metaphysicist is very comfortable discussing God, having discovered the cosmic creation process that must have been used by a God or gods to create the universe, should they exist. No professed theologian should ignore what modern science now tells us about the creation of non-living and living things.

Although Heidegger made it famous, the term onto-theology was coined by Immanuel Kant to describe reasoning theoretically to the existence of God, with no evidence from experience, based entirely on the concept of God. Kant defined cosmo-theology as deducing an original being from experience, from the empirical evidence of God in nature. These two transcendental forms of theology Kant distinguished from natural theology, in which an author of the world is discovered in the constitution of the world, demonstrating a natural or a moral order, respectively physico-theology or moral theology.
(The Critique of All Theology, ch. III, sect. 7, The Critique of Reason, A631)

It is in some ways ironic that Heidegger thought the presocratics were the right place to look for the origins of the search for God in thinking about the pure concept of Being.

Although metaphysics properly begins with Aristotle's search for the underlying principles of reality, he looked to the claims of the presocratics as possible answers to deep questions such as "what is there?" and what are the causes behind everything.

Most of their presocratic claims were speculations about the physical nature of the cosmos and its origins. In some ways, the presocratics might be viewed as the earliest natural scientists, with their strong interest in physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, meteorology, and even psychology. Where earlier thinkers had given mythological or religious explanations of natural phenomena, attributing them to named gods, the first thinkers in the Ionian school were called physiologoi by Aristotle, because they offered accounts (logoi) for nature (phusis).

If we describe the great triad of traditional/modern/postmodern as mythos/logos/nomos, we can say that the presocratics abandoned the traditional myths (mythos) in favor of modern reasoning (logos) about natural phenomena.

By contrast, Socrates/Plato changed the subject to ethical issues. The sophists argued that ethical problems are relative to the cultural values of a given community. They cannot be decided by reason. Science can discover how the world is (facts), but not how it ought to be (values). Values depend on the conventions and norms of a society, a question of nomos. Protagoras studied the norms of a community before writing their constitution for them. Protagoras was a postmodern thinker, probably the first. We make modern and postmodern a philosphical stance, not a temporal period.

It took Aristotle to return to cosmological, theological, and metaphysical issues first raised by the presocratic philosophers and the great epic writers like Homer and Hesiod. And in his great works on ethics, Aristotle sought universal principles. He was a modern thinker, who thought we can reason to values.

But Heidegger argues that the presocratic insights into Being have been forgotten, concealed, or abandoned by Aristotle. Heidegger, who is notoriously anti-science and anti-technology, ironically begins his onto-theological search for Being with the first thinkers to look for a scientific understanding of natural phenomena rather than a mythical-theological one.

Heidegger and Nietzsche
Heidegger thinks that Nietzsche's fundamental metaphysical position is captured in his doctrines of will to power and the eternal return of the same.

Heidegger claims that with Nietzsche's position, metaphysics has come to an end ("God is dead"), or perhaps to a new beginning?, viz., in Heidegger's own work with the recovery of Being.

This is because Heidegger arguably identifies metaphysics with onto-theology. When God dies so does metaphysics.

Now metaphysics has had a strong history as a necessary foundation for the empirical science of modern physics.

Kant claimed it was a scandal that philosophers could not even prove the existence of the external world - the "Dasein" of Things, let alone the Sein of God.. Heidegger said of such a proof:

The 'scandal of philosophy' is not that this proof has yet to be given, but that such proofs are expected and attempted again and again.

Heidegger's mentor, Edmund Husserl questioned Kant's division of the world into phenomena that are only revealing the "secondary qualities" of the British empiricists David Hume, John Locke, and a href="/solutions/philosophers/berkeley/">George Berkeley. Empricists said we could not know the things themselves - Kant's Ding an sich," but Husserl said we did reach them in our "Ideas." Information philosophy agrees with this access "to the things themselves" in our perception (at least some of) of their information content.

Nietzsche's Fundamental Metaphysical Position (from Heidegger's Nietzsche)
Nietzsche once wrote, at the time when the thought of return first loomed on his horizon, during the years 1881-82 (XII, 66, number 124): "Let us imprint the emblem of eternity on our life!" The phrase means: let us introduce an eternalization to ourselves as beings, and hence to beings as a whole; let us introduce the transfiguration of what becomes as something that becomes being; and let us do this in such a way that the eternalization arises from being itself, originating for being, standing in being.

This fundamental metaphysical demand — that is, a demand that grapples with the guiding question of metaphysics — is expressed several years later in a lengthy note entitled "Recapitulation," the title suggesting that the note in just a few sentences provides a résumé of the most important. aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy. (See The Will to Power, number 617, presumably from early 1886.)1 Nietzsche's "Recapitulation" begins with the statement: "To stamp Becoming with the character of Being — that is the supreme will to power ." The sense is not that one must brush aside and replace Becoming as the impermanent — for impermanence is what Becoming implies — with Being as the permanent. The sense is that one must shape Becoming as being in such a way that as becoming it is preserved, has subsistence, in a word, is. Such stamping, that is, the recoining of Becoming as being, is the supreme will to power. In such recoining the will to power comes to prevail most purely in its essence.

What is this recoining, in which whatever becomes comes to be being? It is the reconfiguration of what becomes in terms of its supreme possibilities, a reconfiguration in which what becomes is transfigured and attains subsistence in its very dimensions and domains. This recoining is a creating. To create, in the sense of creation out beyond oneself, is most intrinsically this: to stand in the moment of decision, in which what has prevailed hitherto, our endowment, is directed toward a projected task. When it is so directed, the endowment is preserved. The "momentary" character of creation is the essence of actual, actuating eternity, which achieves its greatest breadth and keenest edge as the moment of eternity in the return of the same. The recoining of what becomes into being — will to power in its supreme configuration — is in its most profound essence something that occurs in the "glance of an eye" as eternal recurrence of the same. The will to power, as constitution of being, is as it is solely on the basis of the way to be which Nietzsche projects for being as a whole: Will to power, in its essence and according to its inner possibility, is eternal recurrence of the same.

The aptness of our interpretation is demonstrated unequivocally in that very fragment which bears the title "Recapitulation." After the statement we have already cited — "To stamp Becoming with the character of Being — that is the supreme will to power" — we soon read the following sentence: "That everything recurs is the closest approximation of a world of Becoming to one of Being: peak of the meditation." It would scarcely be possible to say in a more lucid fashion, first, how and on what basis the stamping of Being on Becoming is meant to be understood, and second, that the thought of eternal return of the same, even and precisely during the period when the thought of will to power appears to attain preeminence, remains the thought which Nietzsche's philosophy thinks without cease.1

Nietzsche conjoins in one both of the fundamental determinations of being that emerge from the commencement of Western philosophy, to wit, being as becoming and being as permanence. That "one" is his most essential thought — the eternal recurrence of the same.

Yet can we designate Nietzsche's way of grappling with the commencement of Western philosophy as an end? Is it not rather a reawakening of the commencement? Is it not therefore itself a commencement and hence the very opposite of an end? It is nonetheless the case that Nietzsche's fundamental metaphysical position is the end of Western philosophy. For what is decisive is not that the fundamental determinations of the commencement are conjoined and that Nietzsche's thinking stretches back to the commencement; what is metaphysically essential is the way in which these things transpire. The question is whether Nietzsche reverts to the incipient commencement, to the commencement as a commencing. And here our answer must be: no, he does not.

Neither Nietzsche nor any thinker prior to him — even and especially not that one who before Nietzsche first thought the history of philosophy in a philosophical way, namely, Hegel — revert to the incipient commencement. Rather, they invariably apprehend the commencement in the sole light of a philosophy in decline from it, a philosophy that arrests the commencement — to wit, the philosophy of Plato. Here we cannot demonstrate this matter in any detail. Nietzsche himself quite early characterizes his philosophy as inverted Platonism; yet the inversion does not eliminate the fundamentally Platonic position. Rather, precisely because it seems to eliminate the Platonic position, Nietzsche's inversion represents the entrenchment of that position.

What remains essential, however, is the following: when Nietzsche's metaphysical thinking reverts to the commencement, the circle closes. Yet inasmuch as it is the already terminated commencement and not the incipient one that prevails there, the circle itself grows inflexible, loses whatever of the commencement it once had. When the circle closes in this way it no longer releases any possibilities for essential inquiry into the guiding question. Metaphysics — treatment of the guiding question — is at an end. That seems a bootless, comfortless insight, a conclusion which like a dying tone signals ultimate cessation. Yet such is not the case.

The End of Metaphysics
Because Nietzsche's fundamental metaphysical position is the end of metaphysics in the designated sense, it performs the grandest and most profound gathering — that is, accomplishment - of all the essential fundamental positions in Western philosophy since Plato and in the light of Platonism. It does so from within a fundamental position that is determined by Platonism and yet which is itself creative. However, this fundamental position remains an actual, actuating fundamental metaphysical position only if it in turn is developed in all its essential forces and regions of dominion in the direction of its counterposition. For a thinking that looks beyond it, Nietzsche's philosophy, which is inherently a turning against what lies behind it, must itself come to be a forward-looking counterposition.
Nietzsche the Last Metaphysician
Yet since Nietzsche's fundamental position in Western metaphysics constitutes the end of that metaphysics, it can be the counterposition for our other commencement only if the latter adopts a questioning stance vis-à-vis the initial commencement - as one which in its proper originality is only now commencing. After everything we have said, the questioning intended here can only be the unfolding of a more original inquiry. Such questioning must be the unfolding of the prior, all-determining, and commanding question of philosophy, the guiding question, "What is being?" out of itself and out beyond itself.

Nietzsche himself once chose a phrase to designate what we are calling his fundamental metaphysical position, a phrase that is often cited and is readily taken as a way to characterize his philosophy: amor fati, love of necessity. (See the Epilogue to Nietzsche contra Wagner; VIII, 206).* Yet the phrase expresses Nietzsche's fundamental metaphysical position only when we understand the two words amor and fatum and, above all, their conjunction — in terms of Nietzsche's ownmost thinking, only when we avoid mixing our fortuitous and familiar notions into it.

Amor — love - is to be understood as will, the will that wants whatever it loves to be what it is in its essence. The supreme will of this kind, the most expansive and decisive will, is the will as transfiguration. Such a will erects and exposes what it wills in its essence to the supreme possibilities of its Being.

Fatum - necessity — is to be understood, not as a fatality that is inscrutable, implacable, and overwhelming, but as that turning of need which unveils itself in the awestruck moment as an eternity, an eterniy pregnant with the Becoming of being as a whole: circulus vitiosus deus.

Amor fati is the transfiguring will to belong to what is most in being among beings. A fatum is unpropitious, disruptive, and devastating to the one who merely stands there and lets it whelm him. That fatum is sublime and is supreme desire, however, to one who appreciates and grasps the fact that he belongs to his fate insofar as he is a creator, that is, one who is ever resolute. His knowing this is nothing else than the knowledge which of necessity resonates in his love.

The thinker inquires into being as a whole and as such; into the world as such. Thus with his very first step he always thinks out beyond the world, and so at the same time back to it. He thinks in the direction of that sphere within which a world becomes world. Wherever 1 hat sphere is not incessantly called by name, called aloud, wherever it is held silently in the most interior questioning, it is thought most purely and profoundly. For what is held in silence is genuinely preserved; as preserved it is most intimate and actual. What to common sense looks like "atheism," and has to look like it, is at bottom the very opposite. In the same way, wherever the matters of death and the nothing are treated, Being and Being alone is thought most deeply — whereas those who ostensibly occupy themselves solely with "reality" flounder in nothingness.

Supremely thoughtful utterance does not consist simply in growing taciturn when it is a matter of saying what is properly to be said; it consists in saying the matter in such a way that it is named in nonsaying. The utterance of thinking is a telling silence.' Such utterance corresponds to the most profound essence of language; which has its origin in silence. As one in touch with telling silence, the thinker, in a way peculiar to him, rises to the rank of a poet; yet he remains eternally distinct from the poet, just as the poet in turn remains eternally distinct from the thinker.

Everything in the hero's sphere turns to tragedy; everything in the demigod's sphere turns to satyr-play; and everything in God's sphere turns to ... to what? "world" perhaps?
On the Scandal in Philosophy (from Sein und Zeit)
Reality as a problem of Being, and whether the 'External World' can be Proved
Of these questions about Reality, the one which comes first in order is the ontological question of what "Reality" signifies in general. But as long as a pure ontological problematic and methodology was lacking, this question (if it was explicitly formulated at all) was necessarily confounded with a discussion of the 'problem of the external world'; for the analysis of Reality is possible only on the basis of our having appropriate access to the Real. But it has long been held that the way to grasp the Real is by that kind of knowing which is characterized by beholding [das anschauende Erkennen]. Such knowing 'is' as a way in which the soul — or consciousness — behaves. In so far as Reality has the character of something independent and "in itself", the question of the meaning of "Reality" becomes linked with that of whether the Real can be independent 'of consciousness' or whether there can be a transcendence of consciousness into the 'sphere' of the Real. The possibility of an adequate ontological analysis of Reality depends upon how far that of which the Real is to be thus independent — how far that which is to be transcended — has itself been clarified with regard to its Being. Only thus can even the kind of Being which belongs to transcendence be ontologically grasped. And finally we must make sure what kind of primary access we have to the Real, by deciding the question of whether knowing can take over this function at all.

These investigations, which take precedence over any possible ontological question about Reality, have been carried out in the foregoing existential analytic. According to this analytic, knowing is a founded mode of access to the Real. The Real is essentially accessible only as entities within-the-world. All access to such entities is founded ontologically upon the basic state of Dasein, Being-in-the-world; and this in turn has care as its even more primordial state of Being (ahead of itself — Being already in a world — as Being alongside entities within-the-world).

The question of whether there is a world at all and whether its Being can be proved, makes no sense if it is raised by Dasein as Being-in-the-world; and who else would raise it? Furthermore, it is encumbered with a double signification. The world as the "wherein" [das Worin] of Being-in, and the 'world' as entities within-the-world (that in which [das Wobei] one is concernfully absorbed) either have been confused or are not distinguished at all. But the world is disclosed essentially along with the Being of Dasein; with the disclosedness of the world, the 'world' has in each case been discovered too. Of course entities within-the-world in the sense of the Real as merely present-at-hand, are the very things that can remain concealed. But even the Real can be discovered only on the basis of a world which has already been disclosed. And only on this basis can anything Real still remain hidden. The question of the 'Reality' of the `external world' gets raised without any previous clarification of the phenomenon of the world as such. Factically, the 'problem of the external world' is constantly oriented with regard to entities within-the-world (Things and Objects). So these discussions drift along into a problematic which it is almost impossible to disentangle ontologically.

Kant called the inability to prove the existence of an external world the "scandal" of philosophy
Kant's 'Refutation of Idealism' shows how intricate these questions are and how what one wants to prove gets muddled with what one does prove and with the means whereby the proof is carried out. Kant calls it 'a scandal of philosophy and of human reason in general' that there is still no cogent proof for the 'Dasein of Things outside of us' which will do away with any scepticism. He proposes such a proof himself, and indeed he does so to provide grounds for his 'theorem' that 'The mere consciousness of my own Dasein — a consciousness which, however, is empirical in character — proves the Dasein of objects in the space outside of me.'

We must in the first instance note explicitly that Kant uses the term 'Dasein' to designate that kind of Being which in the present investigation we have called 'presence-at-hand'. 'Consciousness of my Dasein' means for Kant a consciousness of my Being-present-at-hand in the sense of Descartes. When Kant uses the term `Dasein' he has in mind the Being-present-at-hand of consciousness just as much as the Being-present-at-hand of Things.

The proof for the `Dasein of Things outside of me' is supported by the fact that both change and performance belong, with equal primordiality, to the essence of time. My own Being-present-at-hand — that is, the Being-present-at-hand of a multiplicity of representations, which has been given in the inner sense — is a process of change which is present-at-hand. To have a determinate temporal character [Zeitbestimmtheit], however, presupposes something present-at-hand which is permanent. But this cannot be 'in us', 'for only through what is thus permanent can my Dasein in time be determined'. Thus if changes which are present-at-hand have been posited empirically 'in me', it is necessary that along with these something permanent which is present-at-hand should be posited empirically 'outside of me'. What is thus permanent is the condition which makes it possible for the changes 'in me' to be present-at-hand. The experience of the Being-in-time of representations posits something changing 'in me' and something permanent 'outside of me', and it posits both with equal primordiality.

Of course this proof is not a causal inference and is therefore not encumbered with the disadvantages which that would imply. Kant gives, as it were, an 'ontological proof' in terms of the idea of a temporal entity. It seems at first as if Kant has given up the Cartesian approach of positing a subject one can come across in isolation. But only in semblance. That Kant demands any proof at all for the `Dasein of Things outside of me' shows already that he takes the subject — the 'in me' — as the starting-point for this problematic. Moreover, his proof itself is then carried through by starting with the empirically given changes 'in me'. For only `in me' is 'time' experienced, and time carries the burden of the proof. Time provides the basis for leaping off into what is 'outside of me' in the course of the proof. Furthermore, Kant emphasizes that "The problematical kind [of idealism], which merely alleges our inability to prove by immediate experience that there is a Dasein outside of our own, is reasonable and accords with a sound kind of philosophical thinking: namely, to permit no decisive judgment until an adequate proof has been found." But even if the ontical priority of the isolated subject and inner experience should be given up, Descartes' position would still be retained ontologically. What Kant proves—if we may suppose that his proof is Icorrect and correctly based—is that entities which are changing and entities which are permanent are necessarily present-at-hand together. But when two things which are present-at-hand are thus put on the same level, this does not as yet mean that subject and Object are present-athand together. And even if this were proved, what is ontologically decisive would still be covered up—namely, the basic state of the 'subject', Casein, as Being-in-the-world. The Being-present-at-hand-together of the physical and the psychical is completely different ontically and ontologically from the phenomenon of Being-in-the-world. Kant presupposes both the distinction between the 'in me' and the `outside of me', and also the connection between these; factically he is correct in doing so, but he is incorrect from the standpoint of the tendency of his proof. It has not been demonstrated that the sort of thing which gets established about the Being-present-at-hand-together of the changing and the permanent when one takes time as one's clue, will also apply to the connection between the 'in me' and the 'outside of me'. But if one were to see the whole distinction between the 'inside' and the 'outside' and the whole connection between them which Kant's proof presupposes, and if one were to have an ontological conception of what has been presupposed in this presupposition, then the possibility of holding that a proof of the `Dasein of Things outside of me' is a necessary one which has yet to be given [noch ausstehend], would collapse.

Heidegger thinks the only scandal is that philosophers keep looking for a proof
The 'scandal of philosophy' is not that this proof has yet to be given, but that such proofs are expected and attempted again and again. Such expectations, aims, and demands arise from an ontologically inadequate way of starting with of such a character that independently of it and 'outside' of it a 'world' is to be proved as present-at-hand. It is not that the proofs are inadequate, but that the kind of Being of the entity which does the proving and makes requests for proofs has not been made definite enough. This is why a demonstration that two things which are present-at-hand are necessarily present-at-hand together, can give rise to the illusion that something has been proved, or even can be proved, about Dasein as Being-in-the-world. If Dasein is understood correctly, it defies such proofs, because, in its Being, it already is what subsequent proofs deem necessary to demonstrate for it.

If one were to conclude that since the Being-present-at-hand of Things outside of us is impossible to prove, it must therefore 'be taken merely on faith' , one would still fail to surmount this perversion of the problem. The assumption would remain that at bottom and ideally it must still be possible to carry out such a proof. This inappropriate way of approaching the problem is still endorsed when one restricts oneself to a 'faith in the Reality of the external world', even if such a faith is explicitly 'acknowledged' as such. Although one is not offering a stringent proof, one is still in principle demanding a proof and trying to satisfy that demand.

Even if one should invoke the doctrine that the subject must presuppose and indeed always does unconsciously presuppose the presence-at-hand of the 'external world', one would still be starting with the construct of an isolated subject. The phenomenon of Being-in-the-world is something that one would no more meet in this way than one would by demonstrating that the physical and the psychical are present-at-hand together. With such presuppositions, Dasein always comes 'too late'; for in so far as it does this presupposing as an entity (and otherwise this would be impossible), it is, as an entity, already in a world. 'Earlier' than any presupposition which Dasein makes, or any of its ways of behaving, is the 'a priori' character of its state of Being as one whose kind of Being is care.

Heidegger on the Presocratics
Heidegger is said to have had a turn (Kehre) from the combined existential and ontological concerns in his 1927 masterwork Being and Time to focus on the fundamental problem of ontology - the meaning of "Being." He first studied Aristotle's views on ontology and then looked backward in time to the earlier work in Plato's fictitious Parmenides, then to the few fragments of Parmenides' great Poe On Nature

Heidegger's to the earliest presocratic philosophers was to recover what he called the "question of Being," which he claimed had been forgotten in the sophisticated development of metaphysics by the time of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He lectured on Parmenides as early as 1922 and in 1932 started his arguments with Anaximander of Miletus, in a work published in German in 2012 and recently translated into English as The Beginning of Western Philosophy.

focused on four fragments of Greek text, one from Anaximander, one from Parmenides, and two from Heraclitus.

Heidegger began lecturing on early Greek thinkers perhaps as early as 1915, and repeated work on their works for the rest of his life. The questions he raised are those first treated by Friedrich Nietzsche in his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, which appeared only posthumously in 1903. Nietzsche singled out Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Anaxagoras.

References
Heidegger pages at Ereignis (Beyng.com)

Martin-Heideger.org

For Teachers
For Scholars
1. [From David Farrell Krell notes on "Recapitulation." Nietzsche, by Martin Heidegger, Volume 2, p. 201. Krell's reference CM is to the Kritische Gesamtausgabe of Nietzsche's works.]\]

As the note on page 19 of Volume I of this series relates, Heidegger employs the "Recapitulation" note (WM, 617) at crucial junctures throughout his Nietzsche lectures. See, for example, NI, 466 and 656; NII, 288 and 339; and p. 228, below. Yet the title "Recapitulation" stems not from Nietzsche himself but from his assistant and later editor Heinrich Koselitz (Peter Gast). Furthermore, the sentences from this long note which Heidegger neglects to cite by no means corroborate the use he makes of it. The whole of Nietzsche's sketch (now dated between the end of 1886 and spring of 1887), as it appears in CM, Mp XVII 3b [54], reads as follows:

To stamp Becoming with the character of Being — that is the supreme will to power.

Twofold falsification, one by the senses, the other by the mind, in order to preserve a world of being, of perdurance, of equivalence, etc.

That everything recurs is the closest approximation of a world of Becoming to one of Being: peak of the meditation .

The condemnation of and dissatisfaction with whatever becomes derives from values that are attributable to being: after such a world of Being had first been invented.

The metamorphoses of being (body, God, ideas, laws of nature, formulas, etc.) "Being" as semblance; inversion of values: semblance was that which conferred value—

Knowledge itself impossible within Becoming; how then is knowledge possible? As error concerning itself, as will to power, as will to deception.

Becoming as invention volition self-denial, the overcoming of oneself: not a subject but a doing, establishing; creative, not "causes and effects."

Art as the will to overcome Becoming, as "eternalization," but shortsighted, depending on perspective: repeating on a small scale, as it were, the tendency of the whole

What all life exhibits, to be observed as a reduced formula for the universal tendency: hence a new grip on the concept "life" as will to power

Instead of "cause and effect," the mutual struggle of things that become, often with the absorption of the opponent; the number of things in becoming not constant.

Inefficacy of the old ideals for interpreting the whole of occurrence, once one has recognized their animal origins and utility; all of them, furthermore, contradicting life.

Inefficacy of the mechanistic theory — gives the impression of meaninglessness. The entire idealism of humanity hitherto is about to turn into nihilism — into belief in absolute worthlessness, that is to say, senselessness...

Annihilation of ideals, the new desert; the new arts, by means of which we can endure it, we amphibians.

Presupposition: bravery, patience, no "turning back," no hurrying forward

N.B.: Zarathustra, always parodying prior values, on the basis of his own abundance.


Realität als Problem des Seins und der Beweisbarkeit der »Außenwelt«
In der Ordnung der aufgezählten Fragen nach der Realität ist die ontologische, was Realität überhaupt bedeute, die erste. Solange jedoch eine reine ontologische Problematik und Methodik fehlte, mußte sich diese Frage, wenn sie überhaupt ausdrücklich gestellt wurde, mit der Erörterung des »Außenweltproblems« verschlingen; denn die Analyse von Realität ist nur möglich auf dem Grunde des angemessenen Zugangs zum Realen. Als Erfassungsart des Realen aber galt von jeher das anschauende Erkennen. Dieses »ist« als Verhaltung der Seele, des Bewußtseins. Sofern zu Realität der Charakter des An-sich und der Unabhängigkeit gehört, verknüpft sich mit der Frage nach dem Sinn von Realität die nach der möglichen Unabhängigkeit des Realen »vom Bewußtsein«, bzw. nach der möglichen Transzendenz des Bewußtseins in die »Sphäre« des Realen. Die Möglichkeit der zureichenden ontologischen Analyse der Realität hängt daran, wie weit das, wovon Unabhängigkeit bestehen soll, was transzendiert werden soll, selbst hinsichtlich seines Seins geklärt ist. Nur so wird auch die Seinsart des Transzendierens ontologisch faßbar. Und schließlich muß die primäre Zugangsart zum Realen gesichert sein im Sinne einer Entscheidung der Frage, ob überhaupt das Erkennen diese Funktion übernehmen kann.

Diese einer möglichen ontologischen Frage nach der Realität vorausliegenden Untersuchungen sind in der vorstehenden existenzialen Analytik durchgeführt. Erkennen ist danach ein fundierter Modus des Zugangs zum Realen. Dieses ist wesenhaft nur als innerweltliches Seiendes zugänglich. Aller Zugang zu solchem Seienden ist ontologisch fundiert in der Grundverfassung des Daseins, dem In-der-Welt-sein. Dieses hat die ursprünglichere Seinsverfassung der Sorge (Sich vorweg — schon sein in einer Welt — als Sein bei innerweltlichem Seienden).

Die Frage, ob überhaupt eine Welt sei und ob deren Sein bewiesen werden könne, ist als Frage, die das Dasein als In-der-Welt-sein stellt — und wer anders sollte sie stellen? — ohne Sinn. Überdies bleibt sie mit einer Doppeldeutigkeit behaftet. Welt als das Worin des In-Sein, und »Welt« als innerweltliches Seiendes, das Wobei des besorgenden Aufgehens, sind zusammengeworfen, bzw. gar nicht erst unterschieden. Welt aber ist mit dem Sein des Daseins wesenhaft erschlossen; »Welt« ist mit der Erschlossenheit von Welt je auch schon entdeckt. Allerdings kann gerade das innerweltliche Seiende im Sinne des Realen, nur Vorhandenen noch verdeckt bleiben. Entdeckbar jedoch ist auch Reales nur auf dem Grunde einer schon erschlossenen Welt. Und nur auf diesem Grunde kann Reales noch verborgen bleiben. Man stellt die Frage nach der »Realität« der »Außenwelt« ohne vorgängige Klärung des Weltphänomens als solchen. Faktisch orientiert sich das »Außenweltproblem« ständig am innerweltlichen Seienden (den Dingen und Objekten). So treiben diese Erörterungen in eine ontologisch fast unentwirrbare Problematik.

Die Verwicklung der Fragen, die Vermengung dessen, was bewiesen werden will, mit dem, was bewiesen wird, und mit dem, womit der Beweis geführt wird, zeigt sich in Kants »Widerlegung des Idealismus«. Kant nennt es »einen Skandal der Philosophie und allgemeinen Menschenvernunft«, daß der zwingende und jede Skepsis niederschlagende Beweis für das »Dasein der Dinge außer uns« immer noch fehle. Er selbst legt einen solchen Beweis vor und zwar als Begründung des »Lehrsatzes«: »Das bloße, aber empirisch bestimmte Bewußtsein meines eigenen Daseins beweist das Dasein der Gegenstände im Raum außer mir«.

Zunächst ist ausdrücklich zu bemerken, daß Kant den Terminus »Dasein« zur Bezeichnung der Seinsart gebraucht, die in der vorliegenden Untersuchung »Vorhandenheit« genannt wird. »Bewußtsein meines Daseins« besagt für Kant: Bewußtsein meines Vorhandenseins im Sinne von Descartes. Der Terminus »Dasein« meint sowohl das Vorhandensein des Bewußtseins wie das Vorhandensein der Dinge.

Der Beweis für das »Dasein der Dinge außer mir« stützt sich darauf, daß zum Wesen der Zeit gleichursprünglich Wechsel und Beharrlichkeit gehören. Mein Vorhandensein, das heißt das im inneren Sinn gegebene Vorhandensein einer Mannigfaltigkeit von Vorstellungen, ist vorhandener Wechsel. Zeitbestimmtheit aber setzt etwas beharrlich Vorhandenes voraus. Dieses aber kann nicht »in uns« sein, »weil eben mein Dasein in der Zeit durch dieses Beharrliche allererst bestimmt werden kann«4. Mit dem empirisch gesetzten vorhandenen Wechsel »in mir« ist daher notwendig empirisch mitgesetzt ein vorhandenes Beharrliches »außer mir«. Dieses Beharrliche ist die Bedingung der Möglichkeit des Vorhandenseins von Wechsel »in mir«. Die Erfahrung des In-der-Zeit-seins von Vorstellungen setzt gleichursprünglich Wechselndes »in mir« und Beharrliches »außer mir«.

Der Beweis ist allerdings kein Kausalschluß und demnach nicht mit dessen Unzuträglichkeiten behaftet. Kant gibt gleichsam einen »ontologischen Beweis« aus der Idee eines zeitlich Seienden. Zunächst scheint es, als habe Kant den cartesischen Ansatz eines isoliert vorfindlichen Subjekts aufgegeben. Aber das ist nur Schein. Daß Kant überhaupt einen Beweis für das »Dasein der Dinge außer mir« fordert, zeigt schon, daß er den Fußpunkt der Problematik im Subjekt, bei dem »in mir«, nimmt. Der Beweis selbst wird denn auch im Ausgang vom empirisch gegebenen Wechsel »in mir« durchgeführt. Denn nur »in mir« ist die »Zeit«, die den Beweis trägt, erfahren. Sie gibt den Boden für den beweisenden Absprung in das »außer mir«. Überdies betont Kant: »Der problematische [Idealismus], der ... nur das Unvermögen, ein Dasein außer dem unsrigen durch unmittelbare Erfahrung zu beweisen, vorgibt, ist vernünftig und einer gründlichen philosophischen Denkungsart gemäß; nämlich, bevor ein hinreichender Beweis gefunden worden, kein entscheidendes Urteil zu erlauben«'.

Aber selbst wenn der ontische Vorrang des isolierten Subjekts und der inneren Erfahrung aufgegeben wäre, bliebe ontologisch doch die Position Descartes' erhalten. Was Kant beweist - die Rechtmäßigkeit des Beweises und seiner Basis überhaupt einmal zugestanden -, ist das notwendige Zusammenvorhandensein von wechselndem und beharrlichem Seienden. Diese Gleichordnung zweier Vorhandener besagt aber noch nicht einmal das Zusammenvorhandensein von Subjekt und Objekt. Und selbst wenn das bewiesen wäre, bliebe noch immer das ontologisch Entscheidende verdeckt: die Grundverfassung des »Subjektes«, des Daseins, als In-der-Welt-sein. Das Zusammenvorhandensein von Physischem und Psychischem ist ontisch und ontologisch völlig verschieden vom Phänomen des In-der-Welt-seins.

Den Unterschied und Zusammenhang des »in mir« und »außer mir« setzt Kant - faktisch mit Recht, im Sinne seiner Beweistendenz aber zu Unrecht - voraus. Desgleichen ist nicht erwiesen, daß, was über das Zusammenvorhandensein von Wechselndem und Beharrlichem am Leitfaden der Zeit ausgemacht wird, auch für den Zusammenhang des »in mir« und »außer mir« zutrifft. Wäre aber das im Beweis vorausgesetzte Ganze des Unterschieds und Zusammenhangs des »Innen« und »Außen« gesehen, wäre ontologisch begriffen, was mit dieser Voraussetzung vorausgesetzt ist, dann fiele die Möglichkeit in sich zusammen, den Beweis für das »Dasein der Dinge außer mir« für noch ausstehend und notwendig zu halten.

Der »Skandal der Philosophie« besteht nicht darin, daß dieser Beweis bislang noch aussteht, sondern darin, daß solche Beweise immer wieder erwartet und versucht werden. Dergleichen Erwartungen, Absichten und Forderungen erwachsen einer ontologisch unzureichenden Ansetzung dessen, davon unabhängig und »außerhalb« eine »Welt« als vorhandene bewiesen werden soll. Nicht die Beweise sind unzureichend, sondern die Seinsart des beweisenden und beweisheischenden Seienden ist unterbestimmt. Daher kann der Schein entstehen, es sei mit dem Nachweis des notwendigen Zusammenvorhandenseins zweier Vorhandener über das Dasein als In-der-Welt-sein etwas erwiesen oder auch nur beweisbar. Das recht verstandene Dasein widersetzt sich solchen Beweisen, weil es in seinem Sein je schon ist, was nachkommende Beweise ihm erst anzudemonstrieren für notwendig halten.

Wollte man aus der Unmöglichkeit von Beweisen für das Vorhandensein der Dinge außer uns schließen, dieses sei daher »bloß auf Glauben anzunehmen«', dann wäre die Verkehrung des Problems nicht überwunden. Die Vormeinung bliebe bestehen, im Grunde und idealerweise müßte ein Beweis geführt werden können. Mit der Beschränkung auf einen »Glauben an die Realität der Außenwelt« ist der unangemessene Problemansatz auch dann bejaht, wenn diesem Glauben ausdrücklich sein eigenes »Recht« zurückgegeben wird. Man macht grundsätzlich die Forderung eines Beweises mit, wenngleich versucht wird, ihr auf anderem Wege als dem eines stringenten Beweises zu genügen.

Selbst wenn man sich darauf berufen wollte, das Subjekt müsse voraussetzen und setze unbewußt auch schon immer voraus, daß die »Außenwelt« vorhanden sei, bliebe die konstruktive Ansetzung eines isolierten Subjekts doch noch im Spiel. Das Phänomen des In-derWelt-seins wäre damit ebensowenig getroffen wie mit dem Nachweis eines Zusammenvorhandenseins von Physischem und Psychischem. Das Dasein kommt mit dergleichen Voraussetzungen immer schon »zu spät«, weil es, sofern es als Seiendes diese Voraussetzung vollzieht —und anders ist sie nicht möglich —, als Seiendes je schon in einer Welt ist. »Früher« als jede daseinsmäßige Voraussetzung und Verhaltung ist das »Apriori« der Seinsverfassung in der Seinsart der Sorge.

Glauben an die Realität der »Außenwelt«, ob mit Recht oder Unrecht, beweisen dieser Realität, ob genügend oder ungenügend, sie voraussetzen, ob ausdrücklich oder nicht, dergleichen Versuche setzen, ihres eigenen Bodens nicht in voller Durchsichtigkeit mächtig, ein zunächst weltloses bzw. seiner Welt nicht sicheres Subjekt voraus, das sich im Grunde erst einer Welt versichern muß. Das In-einer-Weltsein wird dabei von Anfang an auf ein Auffassen, Vermeinen, Gewißsein und Glauben gestellt, eine Verhaftung, die selbst immer schon ein fundierter Modus des In-der-Welt-seins ist.

Das »Realitätsproblem« im Sinne der Frage, ob eine Außenwelt vorhanden und ob sie beweisbar sei, erweist sich als ein unmögliches, nicht weil es in der Konsequenz zu unaustragbaren Aporien führt, sondern weil das Seiende selbst, das in diesem Problem im Thema steht, eine solche Fragestellung gleichsam ablehnt. Zu beweisen ist nicht, daß und wie eine »Außenwelt« vorhanden ist, sondern aufzuweisen ist, warum das Dasein als In-der-Welt-sein die Tendenz hat, die »Außenwelt« zunächst »erkenntnistheoretisch« in Nichtigkeit zu begraben, um sie dann erst durch Beweise auferstehen zu lassen. Der Grund dafür liegt im Verfallen des Daseins und der darin motivierten Verlegung des primären Seinsverständnisses auf das Sein als Vorhandenheit. Wenn die Fragestellung in dieser ontologischen Orientierung »kritisch« ist, dann findet sie als zunächst und einzig gewiß Vorhandenes ein bloßes »Inneres«. Nach der Zertrümmerung des ursprünglichen Phänomens des In-der-Welt-seins wird auf dem Grunde des verbleibenden Restes, des isolierten Subjekts, die Zusammenfügung mit einer »Welt« durchgeführt.


Chapter 1.4 - The Philosophy Chapter 1.6 - The Scientists
Home Part Two - Knowledge
Normal | Teacher | Scholar