Beyond Alethia: A Critique of Heideggerian Einaiology

Colledge, Richard John David (2006). Beyond Alethia: A Critique of Heideggerian Einaiology PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Colledge, Richard John David
Thesis Title Beyond Alethia: A Critique of Heideggerian Einaiology
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2006
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Aurelia Armstrong
Total pages 284
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subjects L
440106 Logic
Abstract/Summary The work of Martin Heidegger holds a pre-eminent place in contemporary ontological metaphysics, and this, it is argued, is a deeply two-edged sword. Proceeding on the basis of the unity of Heidegger’s life-long project, the thesis critically evaluates Heideggerian thought, with a particular emphasis on its early formative texts (1923-35), highlighting what are seen as both its radical insights and its important shortcomings. The essay essentially follows Heidegger’s own philosophical practice in two senses. First, it takes a strongly historical approach both to the etymology and semantics of the language of ontology, as well as to the context of Heideggerian thought in the tradition of western metaphysics. Second, beyond the method of ‘immanent critique’ alone, it adopts a version of Heidegger’s own methodology of ‘retrieval’ (Wiederholung) in its confrontation with his thought: on one hand affirming the radically insightful nature of key elements of his work, while on the other hand looking to bring out of Heidegger’s (and his precursors’) own texts something of their ‘drawing back’ from the deepest latent implications of his (and their) own insights. The essay begins with a historico-linguistic survey of the language of western ontology, from its origins in ancient Greek and Hellenistic metaphysics, through to its reception into medieval Latin, and onto its deployment in contemporary German and English, in this way establishing a key aspect of the ‘pre-history’ of the ‘ontological difference’ in terms of infinitival-participial renderings of the ‘question’. The interpretation offered here is then contrasted with key elements of Heidegger’s own reading of the ancient origins of the tradition, and thus the first major strand of the essay’s critique of Heideggerian thought is established along both linguistic and conceptual lines: i.e., that is amounts to an ‘einaiolisation’ of the broad question of ontology. On the basis on this critique, the essay then sets out the understanding of ‘be’ ειναι, esse, Sein) to be defended in what follows, a reading that situates itself between the Heideggerian and Thomistic positions, affirming and opposing key elements of each. On one hand, the vast wealth of Heidegger’s alethiological phenomenology of ‘world’ is affirmed as a radical advance on traditional static notions of essence, while on the other hand the collapse of any genuine understanding of the depth dimension of ‘to exist’ (υπαρχειν, ex(s)istere) is identified as a major point of contention with Heidegger’s ‘einaiology’. In this way, the second major strand of the essay’s critique of Heideggerian thought is established: i.e., that it amounts to a partialising ‘alethiolisation’ of ontology. Within the context provided by the essay to this point, a more explicit ‘retrieval’ of Heideggerian thought is then enacted first of all by situating his thought within the broad transcendental-phenomenological tradition in which it is so deeply embedded. In particular, this entails close readings of the methodological exclusion (εποχη) of exist(ence) seen in texts by Kant and Husserl, a strategy that in both cases is inadequately ameliorated by allusions to that which is surplus (Überschuß) to predication, meaning, sense, essence. Within the rich context provided by this analysis, the nature of Heidegger’s innovation within, and yet deep adherence to, the transcendental-phenomenological tradition is sketched. The essay’s fourth and final chapter involves a detailed confrontation with Heidegger’s delimitation of the Seinsfrage to alethiological and einaiological concerns alone. This involves a close reading of some major early texts on the question of the independent integrity of beings from world(ing) and thus the meaning of Heidegger’s category of ‘Vorhandenheit’, noting some substantial ambiguities on this question. It also involves a more systematic assessment of the consequential deep inner-contradictions of Heidegger’s project as a whole, including some reflections on strands of early Heideggerian thought that appear to be attempts to address these deeply embedded tensions and problems. The essay’s conclusion very briefly links the enacted critique of Heideggerian ‘ontology’ to the broader question of the understanding of contingency in contemporary continental philosophy, thereby indicating something of the place of these reflections within a larger project of thought – concerning philosophy as a ‘hermeneutics of awe’ – for which it serves as an essential prolegomena.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:02:49 EST