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Heidegger vs Descartes: The Easy Way Out?

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  • Joseph Polanik
    ... in an earlier post you referred me to sections 12 and 13 or BaT. in these sections Heidegger talks a lot about dasein as Being-in-the-world . now,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 25, 2008
      jimstuart51 wrote:

      >jPolanik wrote:

      >>so, how do I determine that I am a dasein instead of a mind, or
      >>spirit or soul or a group of neurons or a quantum phenomenon?

      >Heidegger gives reasons for thinking that I am a Dasein in B&T. He
      >also gives reasons for thinking I am not an immaterial soul or a
      >group of neurons or a quantum phenomenon in that text.

      in an earlier post you referred me to sections 12 and 13 or BaT. in
      these sections Heidegger talks a lot about dasein as
      'Being-in-the-world'. now, clearly, the human body is in the world. it
      is a physical object like any other. we eat food and the atoms from the
      food become incorporated into the body. bodily waste products and the
      body itself after its death are recycled by the physical universe into
      other entities.

      in short, the evidence is inescapable: the human body is composed of the
      same 'stuff' that makes up the rest of the physical universe.

      physical objects are usually said to exist. I call them 'existents' or
      'existing things' or 'existential realities'.

      the question then becomes: is 'being' just a synonym for 'existing' (as
      used by ordinary folds and academics other than Heidegger scholars) or
      is there something more 'here' when there is dasein --- being-here

      would you post a brief extract of those passages in BaT where Heidegger
      addresses these questions concerning the structure of the human
      individual and concludes that I am not an immaterial soul or a group of
      neurons or a quantum phenomenon and so on?

      >Perhaps, he does not decisively refute Descartes' view that I am an
      >immaterial soul. But, as Wil says, many others have argued that
      >Descartes "cogito ergo sum" does not in itself establish that I am an
      >immaterial soul (in fact you admit this as well).

      Descartes would admit this too, I think. after all, he invokes it (uses
      the cogito or the idea behind it without actually saying "cogito ergo
      sum") early in the second meditation; and, there is a long way to go
      before the end of the sixth.

      'I experience; therefore, I am' establishes the phenomenological reality
      of the phenomenological experiencer. this, by itself, is probably not
      too controversial. the tough part is deciding whether the
      phenomenological experiencer is generated by the brain, some immaterial
      reality or by the interaction of the two or in some other way.

      most people take the easy way out and just assume the explanation they
      like best. it doesn't matter which explanation is assumed --- it is the
      act of assuming that makes that way the easy way.

      Descartes tried to prove that the answer he found was actually true.

      >Descartes makes plenty of questionable moves between the start of
      >Meditation One and the end of Meditation Six.

      this is true.

      >I am not aware of any reputable philosopher who thinks that
      >Descartes' arguments in The Meditations are all sound.

      neither am I.

      the question is whether so-called reputable philosophers have just
      reverted to the easy way instead of tackling the hard way.

      did Heidegger take the easy way out?

      >Are you just arguing that Heidegger did not decisively refute
      >Descartes' view (something Heidegger himself admits), or are you
      >arguing for something more substantial? Are you arguing that
      >Descartes' arguments in The Meditations are all sound?

      >Further, as Descartes says that he cannot trust in logic until he
      >proves that God exists, I'm still not sure what you think the status
      >of the "therefore" can have for Descartes. You call it a "forensic
      >inference" but this sounds like a logical inference to me. And, as
      >Wil points out, the "cogito ergo sum" of the Fourth Discourse is
      >meant to fit into the Second Meditation – the Discourse on Method is
      >just a preparatory sketch for the full argument in The Meditations.

      >Finally, as Descartes doesn't in fact use the "therefore" in the
      >Meditations, why are you so bothered that Heidegger also drops it?

      in BaT Heidegger promises us a phenomenological destruction of the
      'cogito sum'. he has already altered Descartes' formula. so his
      deconstruction of 'cogito sum' (even if this can be found in his other
      writings) is of questionable relevance unless he first justifies
      altering the formula Descartes actually uses.

      in the Meditations, Descartes does not write the words "cogito ergo
      sum". as I've said before, he dramatized or depicted the use and
      discovery of this principle.


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

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