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Heidegger vs Descartes

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  • Joseph Polanik
    Heidegger vs Descartes 1: The Problem _Being and Time_, as Heidegger admits, is not completely grounded. The considerations which follow will not have been
    Message 1 of 40 , Feb 11, 2008
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      Heidegger vs Descartes

      1: The Problem

      _Being and Time_, as Heidegger admits, is not completely grounded.

      "The considerations which follow will not have been grounded in full
      detail until the 'cogito sum' has been phenomenologically destroyed."
      [BaT. 123].

      the 'phenomenological destruction' of the Cartesian 'cogito sum' was to
      have been in Part 2, Division 2 of BaT; but, as we all know, that
      section never appeared. consequently, an evaluation of the ground upon
      which the Heideggerian corpus stands (or fails to stand) requires an
      attempt to reconstruct the missing case against the 'cogito sum' from
      Heidegger's other writings on this point; for example, _Introduction to
      Phenomenological Research_, _What is a Thing_ and possibly other works.

      Let's say one extracts Heidegger's case against the Cartesian 'I am'
      from these sources. my question is how would Heidegger focus the attack
      so that it does not also deconstruct the Heideggerian 'I am'.

      2: Starting from Common Ground

      it is well known that Descartes accepts 'I am' as a true statement; for,
      'I am' is what survives the doubting of all that can be doubted.

      less well known is that Heidegger also accepts 'I am' as a true

      in discussing the first-person viewpoint inherent in any Dasein,
      Heidegger writes "Because Dasein has in each case mineness, one must
      always use a personal pronoun when one addresses it." [BaT. 68] one of
      the two paradigmic examples he gives is 'I am' (the other is 'you are').

      [I am assuming that Heidegger would not give us, as an example of using
      a personal pronoun to address dasein, a statement that is false when
      uttered by dasein.]

      suppose, while reading BaT, I get to the opening line of Part I, Ch 1,
      Sec 9, "We are ourselves the entities to be analysed"; and, decide to
      translate this sentence into a first person statement. I might say 'I am
      this entity which I will analyze' or 'I am *this* which I will analyze'
      or 'I am; and, I will analyze the referent of "I"' or ... whatever.

      in saying something along these lines, it seems that I am in the same
      situation that Descartes' found himself in early in the Second
      Meditation, just after he realized that 'I am' is necessarily true. this
      situation is best described by what I call the CPI, the Claim of Partial
      Ignorance: I know that I am; but, not what I am.

      Descartes, quite naturally, proceeds to ask 'what am I?'.

      one question that Heidegger takes up in his analysis of dasein is 'who
      is dasein?'; but, the details of the analysis make it clear that
      Heidegger is actually asking 'what is dasein?' --- detailing the
      idiosyncracies of a given dasein's personality just isn't relevant to
      the analysis.

      so, these two philosophers start from a common ground, the self-aware
      'I' in a state describe by the CPI; both philosophers ask the same
      question (although Heidegger asks other questions as well); but, each
      ended up with a different conclusion.

      Descartes concludes that the 'I' is a soul that is distinct from its
      body and that will continue to be even after the body ceases to exist.
      Heidegger concludes that the 'I' is just a body with a highly developed
      capacity for experiencing and for reflecting upon its experiences.

      3. Focusing the Attack

      it seems to me that the focus of Heidegger's phenomenological
      destruction of the 'cogito sum' must be at or after the point where
      Descartes and Heidegger *diverge* from the common ground of the CPI,
      from the state of knowing that I am; but, not what I am. otherwise,
      Heidegger's own conclusions about dasein would take some damage from his
      own attack.

      4. Questions for Discussion

      I am hoping this post will provoke discussion on at least these two

      * has the extent of the common ground been correctly described; or, have
      I included too much or too little?

      * how can Heidegger focus his case against the 'cogito sum' (or
      cartesian thinking, generally) so that his own conclusion about dasein
      survive undamaged?


      Joe Polanik

      Philosophy is, after all, done ultimately in the first person for the
      first person. --- H-N Castaneda

    • Susan Schnelbach
      I think Trinidad left a long time ago and Eduard comes and goes a few times a year. - Susan ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Message 40 of 40 , Mar 6, 2008
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        I think Trinidad left a long time ago and Eduard comes and goes a few
        times a year.

        - Susan

        On Mar 3, 2008, at 3:38 PM, eupraxis@... wrote:

        > I think Trin has left the group altogether. His email is defunct as
        > well. I have tried to contact him privately to no avail.
        > Wil
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Knott <knott12@...>
        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 3:25 pm
        > Subject: [existlist] Re: Hide Egger and Discart
        > > I mean Bookdoc thinks you are Trini.
        > While I don't remember ever thinking that of anyone (except in jest,
        > as Mr. Dad did try his damndest to convince me i was a lawyer named
        > Knott who lived in kentucky, so i'd have thought the portrayal of
        > paranoia funny), I did think it funny that Duard and Trini are never
        > in the same room...Coincidence ultimately as unless one (or a third)
        > is a talented actor, they will likely not have any similar features.
        > Hoho Hanny

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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