Heideggers Philosophic Pedagogy (Continuum Studies in Continental Philosophy)

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  1. Heidegger's Philosophic Pedagogy – By M. Ehrmantraut
  2. Metaphysics
  3. My Shopping Bag
  4. lewin david dr | University of Strathclyde

Hermeneutics is the art or practice of interpretation. Heidegger is hermeneutical in that he holds the following. All understanding is interpretative in that it always has preconceptions. One has genuine understanding insofar as one has worked through the relevant preconceptions. For according to Heidegger our initial understanding of our relations to the world involves some particularly misleading and stubborn preconceptions, some of which derive from philosophical tradition. Gabriel Marcel invented that latter term for ideas held by Sartre and by Simone de Beauvoir. A term used so broadly is hard to define precisely.

These theses indicate that for the existentialist philosophy must be practical. It is not, though, that existentialism puts ethics at the heart of philosophy. That is because a further central existentialist idea is that no-one, even in principle, can legislate values for another. But in no further way does that ethic make much claim to objectivity. What of politics? Little in Husserl fits a conventional understanding of political philosophy. Sartre came to hold that his existential ethics made sense only for a society that had been emancipated by Marxism Sartre xxv-xxvi.

Sartre and Merleau-Ponty give one to think, also, about the idea of artistic presentations of philosophy Diprose and Reynolds: ch. What of Heidegger? Should philosophers get involved in politics? And was Gilbert Ryle right to say - as allegedly, apropos Heidegger, he did say Cohen n. The foregoing material indicates a sense in which phenomenology is its own best critic. Indeed, some reactions against phenomenology and existentialism as such — against the whole or broad conception of philosophy embodied they represent — owe to apostates or to heterodox philosophers within those camps.

We saw that, in effect, Sartre came to think that existentialism was insufficient for politics. Levinas accused phenomenologists prior to himself of ignoring an absolutely fundamental ethical dimension to experience see Davis Derrida resembles Sartre and Levinas, in that, like them, he developed his own metaphilosophy treated below largely via internal criticism of phenomenology. Another objection to phenomenology is that it collapses philosophy into psychology or anthropology.

Husserl himself criticized Heidegger in that way. Rather differently, some philosophers hold that, despite its attitude to naturalism, phenomenology needs to be naturalized Petitot et al As to existentialism, it has been criticized for ruining ethics and for propounding an outlook that is not only an intellectual mistake but also — and Heidegger is taken as the prime exhibit — politically dangerous see Adorno and ch.

See Literary Theory section 1 for a wider or less historical notion of Critical Theory. According to Critical Theory, the point of philosophy is that it can contribute to a critical and emancipatory social theory. The specification of that idea depends upon which Critical Theory is at issue; Critical Theory is an extended and somewhat diverse tradition.

Most of the members of this generation had Jewish backgrounds. For that reason, and because the Institute was Marxist, the first generation fled the Nazis. The Institute re-opened in Frankfurt in Within the third, Axel Honneth is the best known. There is a fourth generation too. Moreover, there were stages or phases within the first generation. The treatment of first generation Critical Theory that follows confines itself to iii and iv.

He was director of the Institute at the time. He introduced the phrase partly from prudence. But prudence was not the only motive for the new name. Horkheimer meant to clarify and shape the enterprise he was leading. That enerprise, he proposed see Horkheimer , was the construction of a social theory that was, for one thing, broad. It treats society as a whole or in all its aspects.

That breadth, together with the idea that society is more independent of the economy than traditional Marxism recognizes, means that Critical Theory ought to be interdisciplinary. The expertise of the first-generation encompassed economics, sociology, law, politics, psychology, aesthetics and philosophy. Next, Critical Theory is emancipatory. It aims at a society that is rational and free and which meets the needs of all. It is to that end that Critical Theory is critical.

It means to reveal how contemporary capitalist society, in its economy and its culture and in their interplay, deceives and dominates. Critical Theory so defined involves philosophy in several ways. To begin to explain that third point: Horkheimer and company little specified the rational society they sought and little defended the norms by which they indicted contemporary society. With Marx, they held that one should not legislate for what should be the free creation of the future. With Hegel, they held that, anyway, knowledge is conditioned by its time and place. They held also, and again in Hegelian fashion, that there are norms that exist largely unactualized within capitalism — norms of justice and freedom and so forth — which suffice to indict capitalism.

Philosophy, especially post-Kantian German Idealism, had tried to overcome various types of alienation. But only the achievement of a truly free society could actually do that, according to Critical Theory. Note lastly here that, at least after , Critical Theory denied both that ostensibly Marxist regimes were such and that emancipation was anywhere nearly at hand. There is a sense in which philosophy looms larger or even larger in the next phase of the first generation of Critical Theory.

For, this phase of the movement the 'critique of instrumental reason' phase propounded that which we might call with a nod to Lyotard a very! Adorno and Horkheimer are the principle figures of this phase, and their co-authored Dialectic of Enlightenment its main text. To disenchant the world is to render it calculable. The Dialectic traces disenchantment from the historical Enlightenment back to the proto-rationality of myth and forward to modern industrial capitalism to its economy, psychology, society, politics, and even to its philosophies.

Here is the parallel idea in the Dialectic. Enlightenment has reverted to myth, in that the calculated world of contemporary capitalism is ruled, as the mythic world was ruled, by impersonal and brutish forces. Adorno and Horkheimer elaborate via the idea of instrumental reason although, actually, the preferred term in Dialectic of Enlightenment — and in Horkheimer's Eclipse of Reason , something of a popularization of the Dialectic — is 'subjective reason'.

Disenchantment produces a merely instrumental reason in that it pushes choice among ends outside of the purview of rationality. That said, the result — Horkheimer and Adorno argue — is a kind of instrumentalization of ends. Ends get replaced, as a kind of default, by things previously regarded merely instrumentally. Thus, at least or especially by the time of contemporary capitalism, life comes to be governed by such means-become-ends as profit, technical expertise, systematization, distraction, and self-preservation.

Do these ideas really amount to Critical Theory? Perhaps they are too abstract to count as interdisciplinary. Worse: they might seem to exclude any orientation towards emancipation. True, commentators show that Adorno offered more practical guidance than was previously thought; also, first-generation Critical Theory, including the critique of instrumental reason, did inspire the s student movement.

However: while Marcuse responded to that movement with some enthusiasm, Adorno and Horkheimer did not. Perhaps they could not. They write xvi :. We have no doubt—and herein lies our petitio principii —that freedom in society is inseparable from enlightenment thinking. We believe we have perceived with equal clarity, however, that the very concept of that thinking, no less than the concrete historical forms, the institutions of society with which it is intertwined, already contains the germ of the regression.

Habermas is a principal source of the criticisms of Adorno and Horkheimer just presented. Nonetheless, or exactly because he thinks that his predecessors have failed to make good upon the conception, Habermas pursues Critical Theory as Horkheimer defined it, which is to say, as broad, interdisciplinary, critical, and emancipatory social theory.

The central thesis of the critique of functionalist reason is that the system has colonized the lifeworld. In order to understand the thesis, one needs to understand not only the notions of system, lifeworld, and colonization but also the notion of communicative action and — this being the most philosophical notion of the ensemble — the notion of communicative rationality.

Communicative action is action that issues from communicative rationality. The lifeworld comprises those areas of life that exhibit communicative action or, we shall see, which could and perhaps should exhibit it. The areas at issue include the family, education, and the public sphere. A system is a social domain wherein action is determined by more or less autonomous or instrumental procedures rather than by communicative rationality.

Habermas counts markets and bureaucracies as among the most significant systems. So the thesis that the lifeworld has been colonized by the system is the following claim. The extension of bureaucracy and markets into areas such as the family, education, and the public sphere prevent those spheres from being governed by free and open discussion.

Heidegger's Philosophic Pedagogy – By M. Ehrmantraut

Habermas uses his colonization thesis to explain alienation, social instability, and the impoverishment of democracy. He maintains, further, that even systems cannot function if colonization proceeds beyond a certain point. The thinking runs thus. Part of the way in which systems undermine communicative action is by depleting resources social, cultural and psychological necessary for such action. But systems themselves depend upon those resources.

Still: Habermas makes it relatively clear that the colonization thesis is meant not only as descriptive but also as normative. For consider the following. How far does Habermas warrant the normativity, which is to say, show that colonization is bad? It is hard to be in favour of self-undermining societies. But some degree of? But Habermas does have the following argument for the badness of colonization. Habermas a: and Habermas respectively.

For it is central both to his philosophy of language or to his so-called universal pragmatics and to his ethics. To put the second of those points more accurately: the idea of a communicative telos is central to his respective conceptions of both ethics and morality. Habermas understands morality to be a matter of norms that are mainly norms of justice and which are in all cases universally-binding. Ethics , by contrast, is a matter of values, where those values: express what is good for some individual or some group; have no authority beyond the individual or group concerned; and are trumped by morality when they conflict with it.

Habermas has a principle, derived from the linguistic, communicative telo s mentioned above, which he applies to both normal norms and ethical values. To wit: a norm or value is acceptable only if all those affected by it could accept it in reasonable — rational and uncoerced — discourse.

Note, too, that in the twenty-first century Habermas has turned his attention to 1 that which religion can contribute to the public discourse of secular states and 2 bioethics. Habermas connects postmetaphysical thinking to something else too. Habermas detects the philosophy of consciousness in Descartes, in German Idealism, and in much other philosophy besides.

Seemingly a philosophy counts as a philosophy of consciousness, for Habermas, just in case it holds this: the human subject apprehends the world in an essentially individual and non-linguistic way. Habermasian postmetaphysical thinking has been charged both with retaining objectionable metaphysical elements and with abandoning too many of philosophy's aspirations. The second criticism is most associated with Karl-Otto Apel, who nonetheless has co-operated with Habermas in developing discourse ethics.

On the first criticism, see for instance Geuss 94f. Habermas has been charged, also, with making Critical Theory uncritical. The idea here is this. In allowing that it is alright for some markets and bureaucracies to be systems, Habermas allows too much. This issue is an instance of the so-called normativity problem in Critical Theory, on which see Freyenhagen ; Finlayson For an affirmative answer, see Geuss Adorno has been the principal target for such criticisms and Adorno did defend his style; see Joll Yet Habermas, too, is very hard to interpret.

Philosophy is co-extensive with metaphysics in that all philosophy since Plato involves such a project of grounding. Now Heidegger himself holds that beings das Seiende have a dependence upon being das Sein. Indeed, being is identical to no being or being s or property or cause of any being s whatsoever. But what, then, is being? We might as do Young and Philipse use 'being', uncapitalized, to refer to the first of these sense and 'Being' capitalized to refer to the other. Where both senses are in play, as sometimes they seem to be in Heidegger's writing, this article resorts sometimes to the German das Sein.

Note, however, that this distinction between two senses of Heideggerian Sein is interpretatively controversial. In the first and as it were lowercase sense, being is what Heidegger calls sometimes a 'way of revealing'. One wants specification of all this. We shall see that Heidegger provides some. Nevertheless, it may be a mistake to seek an exact specification of the ideas at issue.

For Heidegger may not really mean das Sein in either sense to explain anything. He may mean instead to stress the mysteriousness of the fact that beings are accessible to us in the form that they are and, indeed, at all. That said, sometimes Heidegger gives a longer list of epochs, in which list the epochs correlate with metaphysical systems. It is important that this history, and indeed the simpler tripartite scheme, does not mean to be a history merely of conceptions of being.

It means to be also a history of being itself , i. Heidegger allows also for some ontological heterogeneity within epochs, too. All Heidegger ff. Some of this conception is actually fairly straightforward. The Thing the bridge , persons, and numerous other phenomena all stand in relations of mutual determination, i. But in modernity ontological variety is diminished, according to Heidegger. In modernity Things become mere objects. Indeed subsequently objects themselves, together with human beings, become mere resources.

A resource or 'standing-reserve'; the German is Bestand is something that, unlike an object, is determined wholly by a network of purposes into which we place it. That metaphysics, which tends towards seeing man as the measure of all things, is in fact metaphysics as such, according to Heidegger. For anthropocentrism is incipient in the very beginnings of philosophy, blossoms in various later philosophers including Descartes and Kant, and reaches its apogee in Nietzsche, the extremity of whose anthropocentrism is the end of metaphysics.

And that end reflects the reign of resources. More on this mitigation shortly. What though is wrong with the real being revealed as resource? Some such forgetfulness is nigh inevitable. We are interested in beings as they present themselves to us. So we overlook the conditions of that presentation, namely, being and Being. But Enframing represents a more thoroughgoing form of forgetfulness. Such nihilism sounds bearable. But Heidegger lays much at its door: an impoverishment of culture; a deep kind of homelessness; the devaluation of the highest values see Young ch.

The thinking at issue is a kind of thoughtful questioning. Whatever its object, thinking always involves recognition that it is das Sein , albeit in some interplay with humanity, which determines how beings are. Indeed, Heideggerian thinking involves wonder and gratitude in the face of das Sein. A small amount of it actually consists of poems. A related objection is that, though Heidegger claimed to leave theology alone, what he produced was an incoherent reworking of religion Haar ; Philipse Structuralism was an international trend in linguistics, literary theory, anthropology, political theory, and other disciplines.

It sought to explain phenomena sounds, tropes, behaviors, norms, beliefs. The post-structuralists applied this structural priority to philosophy. They are post -structuralists less because they came after structuralism and more because, in appropriating structuralism, they distanced themselves from the determinism and scientism it often involved Dews 1—4. But attention is restricted to the best known and most controversial of the post-structuralists, namely, Jacques Derrida.

The notion of text here is a broad one. It extends from written texts to conceptions, discourses, and even practices. Nevertheless, Derrida's early work concentrates upon actual texts and, more often than not, philosophical ones. That in turn is for two reasons each of which should become clearer below. First, the nature of deconstruction varies with that which is deconstructed.

Second, there is a sense in which texts deconstruct themselves. Nonetheless: deconstruction, as a practice, reveals such alleged self-deconstruction; and that practice does have a degree of regularity. The practice of deconstruction has several stages. Moreover, it is presumed that in each case a single text is, at least centrally, at issue.

Within or via such commentary, the focus is upon metaphysical oppositions. The next step in deconstruction is to show that the text undermines its own metaphysical oppositions. Here is a common way in which Derrida tries to establish the point. He tries to show that a privileged term essentially depends upon, or shares some crucial feature s with, its supposed subordinate.

Husserl distinguishes mental life, which he holds to be inherently intentional inherently characterized by aboutness from language, which is intentional only via contingent association with such states. Thereby Husserl privileges the mental over the linguistic. Or so Derrida argues Derrida, section 4. A further strategy involves the notion of undecidability see Derrida, section 5.


A third stage or aspect of deconstruction is, one can say, less negative or more productive and Derrida himself calls this the productive moment of deconstruction. Derrida argues, initially, as follows. Speech — and even thought, understood as a kind of inner speech — shares with writing features that have often been used to present writing as only a poor descendent of speech.

Those features include being variously interpretable and being derivative of something else. But there is more. Arche-writing establishes or reveals a limit to any kind of expression a limit, namely, to the semantic transparency, and the self-sufficiency, of expressions. Other deconstructions proceed similarly. What is the status of these conditions? That encourages this idea: here we have an account not just of concepts but of things or phenomena.

Yet Derrida himself does not quite say that. He denies that we can make any simple distinction between text and world, between conceptual system and phenomena. Nor does Derrida think that, by providing such notions as arche-writing, he himself wholly evades the metaphysics of presence. Derrida retained the foregoing views, which he had developed by the end of the s. But there were developments of metaphilosophical significance.

On some of these topics, see Derrida, section 7. Despite his views about the difficulty of escaping metaphysics, and despite his evident belief in the critical and exploratory value of philosophy, Derrida has been attacked for undermining philosophy. Habermas provides an instance of the criticism. Habermas argued that Derrida erases the distinction between philosophy and literature. But the result, Habermas thinks, is an effacement of the differences between literature and philosophy. Derrida objected to being called unargumentative.

Subsequently, Habermas and Derrida underwent something of a rapprochement. There might be a sense in which Derrida is too rigorous. One might reject that view. Something Levinas said apropos Derrida serves as a response. The following anxiety might persist. Note that, in the case of many of the items that follow, the date given for a text is not the date of its first publication.

Nicholas Joll Email: joll. Metaphilosophy What is philosophy? Introduction The main topic of the article is the Western metaphilosophy of the last hundred years or so. Some Pre-Twentieth Century Metaphilosophy Socrates believed that the unexamined life — the unphilosophical life — was not worth living Plato , Apology , 38a. Explicit and Implicit Metaphilosophy Explicit metaphilosophy is metaphilosophy pursued as a subfield of, or attendant field to, philosophy.

The Classification of Metaphilosophies — and the Treatment that Follows One way of classifying metaphilosophy would be by the aim that a given metaphilosophy attributes to philosophy. The particular placing of some individual philosophers within the schema is problematic. The case of the so-called later Wittgenstein is particularly moot. Should he have his own category? The delineation of the traditions themselves is controversial. The notions of the Analytic and the Continental are particularly vexed. The difficulties here start with the fact that here a geographical category is juxtaposed to a more thematic or doctrinal one Williams Moreover, some philosophers deny that Analytic philosophy has any substantial existence Preston ; see also Rorty a: ; and some assert the same of Continental philosophy Glendinning 13 and ff.

Even only within contemporary Western history, there are significant approaches to philosophy that seem to at least somewhat warrant their own categories. This article does not examine those approaches. Analytic Metaphilosophy a. The Tractatus maintains the following. Logical Positivism We witness the spirit of the scientific world-conception penetrating in growing measure the forms of personal and public life, in education, upbringing, architecture, and the shaping of economic and social life according to rational principles.

In Theories of Justice itself, distributive justice was the topic. History of Philosophy For a long time, most analytic philosophers held that the history of philosophy had little to do with doing philosophy. Revisionary metaphysics attempts the impossible, namely, to depart from the fundamental features of our conceptual scheme. The first point shows the influence of Wittgenstein. So does the third, although it is also as Strawson may have recognized somewhat Heideggerian.

Naturalism including Experimentalism and Its Challenge to Intuitions Kripke and especially Quine helped to create, particularly in the United States, a new orthodoxy within Analytic philosophy. Pragmatism, Neopragmatism, and Post-Analytic Philosophy a. Pragmatism The original or classical pragmatists are the North Americans C. Continental Metaphilosophy a. Phenomenology and Related Currents i. Existential Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Existentialism Husserl hoped to found a unified and collaborative movement.

One encounters values within the world indeed, one encounters them bound up with facts ; but nothing rationally compels decision between values. They write xvi : We have no doubt—and herein lies our petitio principii —that freedom in society is inseparable from enlightenment thinking.

Habermas Habermas is a principal source of the criticisms of Adorno and Horkheimer just presented. Derrida's Post-Structuralism Structuralism was an international trend in linguistics, literary theory, anthropology, political theory, and other disciplines. References and Further Reading Note that, in the case of many of the items that follow, the date given for a text is not the date of its first publication.

Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, Edited by Mary Geach and Luke Gormally. The Analytic Turn. Good on, especially, the notions of analysis in early Analytic philosophy and on the historical precedents of those notions. Beauchamp, Tom L. Bernstein, Richard J. Cambridge MA and Cambridge. An account of the influence and importance of pragmatism. Stocksfield: Acumen. Clarke, Stanley G. London and New York: Verso. Graham Birchill and Hugh Tomlinson.

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Less of an introduction to metaphilosophy than its title might suggest. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Not introductory. An influential but very short definition of metaphilosophy. Tries to clarify and evaluate some of Habermas' thinking on religion. London and New York: Continuum. Prinz, Jesse J. Knobe and S. Nichols eds.

Experimental Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Urmson, J. London: Oxford University Press. Rescher, Nicholas Philosophical Dialectics. An Essay on Metaphilosophy. Centres upon the notion of philosophical progress. Contains numerous, occasionally gross typographical errors. Rorty, Richard ed. Second edition. A useful study of s to s Analytic metaphilosophy. Rorty, Richard, Schneewind, Jerome B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sorell, Tom, and Rogers, C. Oxford and New York: Oxford. Nicholas Bunnin and E. Tsui-James, pp. Oxford: Blackwell. Treats, among other things, these notions: conceptual truth; intuitions; thought experiments. Third edition. Burtt, E. Campbell and B. Hunter eds. Moral Epistemology Naturalized , Supple. Logical Positivism. Cavell, Stanley The Claim of Reason. Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cohen, G. Reprinted in Hardcastle, Gary L. Copi, Irving M. Freeman, Samuel Rawls.

Oxford and New York: Routledge. Gellner, Ernest Words and Things. An Examination of, and an Attack on, Linguistic Philosophy. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. Glock, Hans-Johann ed. Hacker, P. Adorno, a founding member of the Frankfurt school and widely regarded today as its most brilliant exponent. Steven Helmling is centrally concerned with Adorno's notoriously difficult writing, a feature most commentators acknowledge only to set it aside on Adorno, a Heidegger and Happiness offers an original interpretation of Heidegger's later thought, within the context of his philosophy as a whole, to develop a new conception of human happiness.

The book redeems the essential content of the Greek notion of eudaimonia and transcends recent debates concerning the 'objectivity' or 'subjectivity' of happiness Heidegger and Happiness offers an original interpretation of Heidegger's later thought, within the Our era is profoundly marked by the phenomenon of exile and it is has become increasingly urgent to rethink the concept of exile and our stance towards it. This renewed reflection on the problem of exile brings to the fore a number of questions regarding the traditionally negative connotation of exile. Is there not another way to understand the Our era is profoundly marked by the phenomenon of exile and it is has become increasingly urgent to Foucault's Legacy brings together the work of eight Foucault specialists in an important collection of essays marking the 25th anniversary of Foucault's death.

Focusing on the importance of Foucault's most central ideas for present-day philosophy, the book shows how his influence goes beyond his own canonical tradition and linguistic milieu. Conant has two published articles in the same set, and 33 articles cite his work between and baseline of 6, articles. Though both are published in paradigmatically continental journals, they draw substantially on analytic interpretations of Wittgenstein, and discuss the relationship between Wittgenstein and the analytic tradition.

Introduction Analytic and continental philosophers differ on the worth of transcendental reasoning. Analytic concern with transcendental reasoning was evident from the beginning of the movement, and although the analytic literature saw a brief mini-industry on the subject following Peter Strawson s prominent use of the method, discussion of their acceptability has always been more common than their actual use, and the trend of the discussion has run against the argument form.

To the extent that continental philosophy persists in the use of such modes of reasoning, then, it comes under analytic question. By contrast, in the continental traditions from Kant to the present , it seems to us that transcend ental reasoning is close to ubiquitous2 although what the transcendental involves has been significantly and separately reconfigured by phenomenology and the genealogical turn, as well as by a more constructivist understanding of philosophy emphasizing the transformative potential of the method in concept creation.

There are continental concerns about the status of transcendental reasoning, but continued creative use persists and there is no general agreement that transcendental argumentation is especially problematic. In fact, it is sometimes claimed and frequently implied that a transcendental dimension is of the essence of philosophy: any philosophical activity that does not refl ect on its own conditions of possibility is nave or pre-critical; and reflections on the conditions of contemporary philosophical discourse, subjectivity, and cultural life more generally lead to an appreciation of the problem of modernity.

And, of course, this is one way of throwing the analytic project into question. On th e other hand, any suggestion that a transcendental dimension is necessary to philosophy need not automatically exclude analytic philosophy. To the extent that analytic philosophers do meta-philosophy of some kind as very many do , especially in dwelling on the relationship between experience and refl ection on that experience not so much from nowhere but rather from within , they are also perhaps minimally transcendental philosophers, even if a certain commonsens e attitude or commitment to naturalism might quickly short-circuit or limit.

Postanalytic and Metacontinental the significance given to such refl ections. In this chapter, we trace these divergent attitudes vis--vis transcendental reasoning, with the goal of identifying some of the background differences in each tradition that internally justify the divergence. We begin with the analytic attitude to transcendental reasoning, which we argue is due in part to the explicit objections to transcendental reasoning absorbed by the analytic community, but also due in part to the methodological role of empiricism, the analytic understanding of transcendental argument as a form, and to a wider analytic attitude to necessity-mongering claims.

We then look at continental appropriations of such arguments, making use of Mark Sacks notion of a situated thought to outline transcendental reasoning involving embodiment and time, and considering the extent to which analytic criticisms apply to such usages. Analytic attitudes to the transcendental In Transcendental Arguments and Scepticism, Robert Stern observes that there is a widespread conviction that there is something vaguely disreputable or even dishonest about transcendental arguments.

For the past thirty years or so, transcendental arguments have neither been used nor analysed extensively in the analytic journal literature, and when such prominent analytically trained philosophers as Putnam, Davidson,6 and McDowell7 do make use of them, it appears to be taken as something of a sign of non-analyticity. For instance, Pascal Engel denies that many of those who are generally taken to be French analytic philosophers should be considered thus, precisely because of their residual allegiance to the transcendental.

The Fate of Transcendental Reasoning dependence of transcendental argument on transcendental philosophy, or about the most fruitful way to generalize on or depart from the model establishe d by Kant s usage. Given the well-known differences in the interpretation of Kant in the two traditions, this is not an unreasonable view. There is arguably no common referent here.

Kant is indeed read across both traditions, but it does not follow that there is a neutral characterization of the transcend ental argument form common to both analytic and continental philosophers as the locus of disagreement. Consider, for instance, the following minimal characterization of the transcendental argument form: A transcendental argument is an inference from a state of affairs that indisputa bly obtains, to the existence of a further, contested, state of affairs that is recognised to be a necessary condition for this obtaining a condition for its possibility.

The uncontested state of affairs is almost always subject-involving it might involve such first personal matters as having knowledge, or certain experiences, or beliefs, or conceptual capacities, or it might involve intersubj ective relations or practices of some kind. The contested state of affairs may or may not be subject-involving. The structure of such an argument is then as follows: 1. Subject-involving state of affairs p obtains. A necessary condition for p obtaining is that q obtain.

So q obtains. If this is all a transcendental argument comes to, it is a special case of reaso ning by modus ponens and so not a distinct argument form at all. One might seek a different inferential frame for the argument interpreting it as a species of inference to the best explanation, say , but again the result is nothing distinc tive. More must be said if we are to get at the contested nature of the form. Much of Kant s own practice is missing in this skeletal characterization most obviously the intended role of such demonstrations as in some sense securing synthetic a priori principles or concepts and one can select from the two post-Kantian traditions many different ways of adding flesh to these bones, in the form of further conditions or constraints that attempt to capture the distinctive featur e and so the distinctive possibilities of such reasoning.

For instance, it might be that the notion of necessity in play in 2 is not simply conceptual or logical; or that the condition it expresses is to be thought of as a type of non-logical, non-psychological dependence relation; or that the goal of the transcending manoeuvre is to re-conceive the two states of affairs so as to understand them a s distinct though connected. Or the contextual surrounds of a transcendental argument might be critical it might be that it has an essentially anti-sceptical function; or that it starts from the explanatory question how is p possible?

Postanalytic and Metacontinental a further transcendentally idealist project. There is no general agreement across the traditions or within each on each of these matters; different ways of understanding transcendental argument have developed in parallel. Indeed, it is not unusual for this state of affairs itself to be celebrated as a mark of the vitality of the method.

For instance, Ameriks remarks: Even if Kant s system is a multilayered complex that has only one root in common sense. The fertile ambiguity of these concepts. But, of course, much of the fertile amb iguity of transcendental reasoning is not on show in analytic treatments, even though it is the analytic movement that has been more concerned with the identification and discussion of a transcendental argument form.

This needs explanation. Analytic work in other cases vectors in on such fertile ambiguity precisely to see whether it is indeed so fertile. Contemporary analytic discussi ons of the ontological argument form distinguish Anselmian, Cartesian, Kantian, and Gdelian forms, with numerous variations depending on whether conceptual, experiential, modal or other circumstances are used to launch them. Why is there not the same sustained analytic persistence with transcendental modes of reasoning?

Why is the project of explication dropped so quickly? So it seems to us that what needs to be explained here is how the analytic interest in trans cendental argument as a form arose, without being accompanied by this same exploration of potential variation. In the early analytic context, at least, the answer seems clear, and it involves the way that empiricism functioned as a methodological constraint, rather than merely as a truth claim.

Even non-empiricists among the early analytics such as Russell at some times took empiricist scruples very seriously as a mark of epistemic respectability in his last major work, Russell is concerned to show that his deviations have what may be called an empiricist fl avour 15 , and empiricist scruples baulk at transcendental methods.

Methodological worries of this kind are never with just the particular issue at hand a particular use of transcendental reasoning, say ; rather, the potential cost is in the confounding of the whole research program. Hostility to transcendental reasoning was thereby part and parcel of Russell and Moore s formative attempts to distance themselves from British idealism. The logical positivists influentially rejected the synthetic a priori, suggesting that such. The Fate of Transcendental Reasoning knowledge claims amounted to poetry, mysticism or nonsense. Of course, in different ways, Wittgenstein s Tractarian picture, the verification principle and the pluralist view involved in Carnap s semantic phase seem to have a synthetic a priori status by their own lights, as has often been noted,17 but this was not taken as any kind of spur to transcendental reasoning.

Rather, within the empiricist analytic tradition such problems were most obviously to be resolved by adopting a more thoroughgoin g coherentism and the radical empiricism of Quine. At this point, then, transcendental reasoning ran squarely against the research program of the emerging analytic movement; to take it seriously was to be some other kind of philosopher. Given this attitude, it is hardly surprising that analytic discussion of transce ndental reasoning could only come about with the rise of obviously non-positivistic and even non-empiricist schools, constrained not in the least by methodological empiricism.

These conditions obtained for the mid-century ordinary language movement in England. And from the start there is a conception of transcendental argument as a separate argument form with a logical or semi-logical structure, capable of being recognized in the work of other philosophers, past and present, and perhaps available for use in analytic projects. The first clear attempt at t his is J.

Austin s isolation of transcendental argument as a distinctive if limite d method of reasoning in his paper Are there A Priori Concepts? But they are not so. On the contrary, it is not so very long since these alleged entities were calculated into existence by a transcendental argume nt: and in those days, anyone bold enough to say there were universals kept the argument always ready, to produce if challenged. Postanalytic and Metacontinental one could take to be a difficulty with any general strategy of using such arguments repeatedly rather than as one-offs, as it were : Now it must be asked: what conceivable ground have we for identifying the universals of our original argument with the universals of this second argument?

Except that both are non-sensible, nothing more is known in which they are alike. Is it not odd to suppose that any two distinct transcenden tal arguments could possibly be known each to prove the existence of the same kind of thing? First, in treating transcendental argument as a form entirely detachable from its Kantian heritage, Austin is making a characteristically analytic move. The implication is that this is something we can lift out of the general milieu of transcendental idealism or critical philosophy and treat on its own, or recognize at work in other contexts, and thus it is also available for analysis as a logical structure.

Second, considered as such a form, in Austin s hands the transcendental argument becomes much the same sort of device as the standard argument forms of the ordinary language school; say, the paradigm case argument, or the argument from excluded opposites. In each of these three cases, the argument form involves reasoning to a state of affairs from a capacity we have that presupposes it our wielding of red presupposes red things exist; our talk of counterfeit coins presupposes there are real ones.

What is metaphysics? A 'Continental philosophy' perspective

One can see Austin, then, as offering a very thin understanding of transcendental argument, on which the argument form comes down to a kind of logical or conceptual relationship between capacity and ground. This is surely in part due to the context of ordinary language philosophy itself, inclined to be suspicious of traditional metaphysical or critical terminology. In such a context, one can see Austin s version of the transcendental argument, like Hume s account of causation, as something of a revisionary clean-up job: the intention is not to engage in Kantian exegesis, let alone to enjoy the fertile ambiguity that Ameriks celebrates.

Rather it is to identify an argument form that can in theory be given general work to do because sufficiently purged of links to the transcendental philosophy , but that is perhaps not as useful as its proponents suppose.

Austin s transcendental argument form is by his lights a bad argument form, but a clear one. The ordinary language movement also offers the first explicit analytic rejection of this view, and the first sign of a more optimistic role for transcendental argument. Peter Strawson s monograph, Individuals, endorses descriptive metaphysics as a middle way between revisionary metaphysical activities and the ordinary activities of philosophical analysis such as the appeal to paradig m.

The Fate of Transcendental Reasoning cases. In setting out the case for going beyond mere analysis, Strawson highlig hts the limits of analysis as a path to understanding: Up to a certain point, the reliance upon a close examination of the actual use of words is the best, and indeed the only sure, way in philosophy.

But the discriminations we can make, and the connexions we can establish, in this way, are not general enough and not far-reaching enough to meet the full metaphysical demand for understanding. For when we ask how we use this or that expression, our answers, however revealing at a certain level, are apt to assume, and not to expose, those general elements of structure which the metaphysician wants revealed. Our conceptual scheme of a single unifi ed system of spatio-temporal relations is the framework within which we organize our individuating thoughts about particulars, but a condition of our having such a scheme is our acceptance of the persistence of at least some individual particulars through periods of non-continuous observation; hence we are justified in believing in the persistence of some individual particulars.

Nonetheless, Strawson holds that it has value in defeating the sceptic, since the argument shows the sceptic pretends to accept a conceptual scheme, but at the same time quietly rejects one of the conditions of its employment. Two objections have had especially great influence in the analytic literature.

It is a further step from this claim to the claim that this is how things are. The proponent of the argument can only immodestly take this step if the premises of the argument are bolstered with a commitment to a thesis strong enough to bridge the gap idealism, or verificationism, for instance. Yet this is a premise the sceptic will not accep t.

Stroud goes further, pointing out that the utility of the transcendental argument is in question even if such a background is assumed, since direct non-transcendental argument from idealism or verificationism is now sufficient to establish the conclusion. Postanalytic and Metacontinental ii Second, as Krner and Stroud both point out, the necessary connection identified in Strawson s arguments between experiential fact and transcendental ground is itself difficult to defend against the skeptic. Hence a suppressed premise of the argument is that no other conceptual framework is available.

This is a version of a concern Russell set out in classical form in The Problems of Philosophy the necessities established by transcendental reasoni ng must be relative necessities, in that they depend on features of our conceptual framework which themselves might well be contingent.

Both of these objections are widely known within the analytic community, having been discussed in the literature particularly in the decade after Stroud s first paper on the topic. And, of course, this suggests a straightforward intern al explanation of the current analytic attitude to transcendental reasoning. According to this explanation, the contemporary attitude is a function of the literature on the Krnerian and Stroudian objections: analytic philosophers now simply have reason to regard transcendental arguments as bad arguments; as a result there has been a decline in interest in the argument form.

There is indeed something to this explanation, but it is a little too straightforward as it stands, for two reasons. First, it doesn t explain a difference in the analytic treatment of what one might call dubious argument forms. Other historically infl uential argument forms are discussed in the analytic literature, even though they are generally regarded as unsuccessful. The ontological argument, as noted earlier, remains a lively subject of discussion in the analytic journals, and is the subject of s everal recent monographs.

One might in the same way regard Putnam and Davidson as part of a minority on the subject of transcendenta l reasoning, but there is an important disanalogy in the first case, but not the second, being in the minority is not taken as a sign of non-analyticity. Second, it doesn t explain the differences in the analytic treatment of these particular objections in this case as opposed to others. Objections much like those of Stroud and Krner can be raised against other argument forms that remain central to the analytic literature.

Many argument forms that ostensibly see off the sceptic argument patterns based on reliabilism, say, or those based on some form of contextualism fall foul of sceptical replies of a Stroudian flavour. Many argument patterns are only valid within the scope of particular assumptions, or can only lend coherence-building support to a position; they might therefore seem open to Stroud s follow-up objections about the utility in argument of the transcendental argument form.

Krnerian worries about strong claims of necessity arise wherever an argument depends on a claimed necessity or impossibility for instance, in arguments based on thought experimen ts of the kind Roy Sorensen calls possibility refuters. The Fate of Transcendental Reasoning they are a respectable minority, and they involve claimed necessities thinly disguised as claims about impossibility.

Each of these situations is one in whi ch a Stroudian or Krnerian move might be made or has been made, pointing to a sceptical countermove or an overly confi dent claim of necessity. Yet in none of these cases is the fact of objection of this kind taken as debate-closing in the way that it apparently has done for transcendental reasoning.

So the internal explanation taken entirely by itself won t do; at best it is incomplete. The analy tic attitude to transcendental reasoning genuinely depends also on particular norms and habits peculiar to the analytic tradition. One of these is simply the focus on argument form in general. Stroud s sceptical objection can seem puzzling or nit-picking to continental philosophers who are generally unconcerned with the anti-sceptical role of transcendental arguments, but focusing on the sceptic as the opponent can be a little misleadin g.

Arguably Stroud s objection causes far more general trouble to the argument form as a whole, assuming indeed as the analytic tradition does that such forms are in a sense universal, capable of use across differing contexts. Any argument form at all that can be taken without too much distortion out of its original context can be re-characterized as having an anti-sceptical function, i n that it could in principle be wielded in a different context against someone sceptical about its conclusion.

Similarly, any putatively anti-sceptical argumen t that has the same kind of potential transferability can simply be seen as an argument for its conclusion, no matter what the dialogic context it arises in. By contrast, if we do not think of transcendental reasoning as having such universal form, Stroud s objection remains localized to sceptical debates, with which continental philosophers are not generally concerned. A second feature of the landscape that comes into play here, we think, is the attitude of the analytic tradition to claims of necessity or necessary connectio n.

The internal force of the Krnerian objection can be misjudged by non-analytics for precisely this reason. On the one hand, naturalized epistemology and radical empiricism have become far more significant in the analytic tradition under the influence of Quine. From this point of view, such exercises as Strawson s can, at most, show the structure of a conceptual framework that we happen to hold, and no part of which is beyond potential revision. In many dialogues within analytic philosophy, necessity-mongering is regarded sceptically even by those who are not themselves Quineans; the attitude here is captured by Daniel Dennett s oft-repeated remark that philosophers too often mistake a failure of imagination for an insight into necessity, and by the neo-Humean dictum that necessities are theoretical costs, to be minimized wherever possible.

It rapidly became clear that formally specifiable alethic modalities are legion, each yielding a distinct sense of necessity, and that temporal, deon tic and other necessities could be modelled in the same way, and post-Kripkean diagnoses of recurrent equivocation between types of necessity are habitual. Postanalytic and Metacontinental As a result, contested philosophical argument forms that depend on alleged but unexamined necessities have to be treated with care even by those who endorse a priorist reasoning; clarity, rather than fertile ambiguity, is at a premium here.

Of course, these are general concerns, and much analytic argumentation does involve claims about what is necessary, so again a double standard might seem to be in play. Not so. First, some analytic necessity claims are just ways of pointing out the impossibility of contradiction, or unpacking an explicit definition for analysis and potential refutation.

Transcendental arguments do not make similarly secure claims about the necessity of the connection between an agential and a non-agential state of affairs obtaining. Second, there is a difference for the analytic philosopher in what might be called the constructive potential of various premises. Suppose, as many analytic philosophers from Bertrand Russell on have declared, the task of philosophy is to refi ne and regiment, rather than replace, our common-sense stock of opinions.

Such an attitude does not prevent the philosopher arriving at highly unusual places David Lewis s modal realism, Peter van Inwagen s views on persons. But it does place certain limits on the kinds of premises that will be readily accepted ; premises that do not receive the immediate backing of intuition and fail to be credentialed by common sense are open to doubt. If such premises are claims about the necessity or impossibility of a certain state of affairs obtaining, an d it is not clear that the necessity or impossibility is logical or defi nitional in nat ure, then this doubt becomes a form of permanent contestation.

No matter how detailed the philosophical work taking one to the claimed necessity, it remains an entirely provisional claim in the sense that its rejection is conceivable. Van Inwagen, for instance, argues that the problem of evil is an unsuccessful argument because it has philosophically controversial premises, and so cannot move a person ideally agnostic on the point at issue. Krner s concern is that a claimed necessity may simply reflect the limits of our conceptual framework; the current objection is that the necessitarian premises of transcendental arguments do not refl ect the immediately apparent limits of our conceptual framework.

As such, a transcendent al argument will never or rarely be able to play a constructive role in the fruitful development of an analytic position. At best it will be met with a shru g and a could be and that is just not enough to go on with. Continental attitudes to the transcendental In continental circles, transcendental reasoning is controversial and perhaps even permanently contested terrain.

Certainly it is contested by all of the grea t. The Fate of Transcendental Reasoning philosophers of the tradition, and the risks associated with such forms of reasoning are acknowledged. But it is not controversial enough to induce general abstinence. Instead, the implicit rationale seems to be a bit like Pasca l s Wager believing in the efficacy of transcendental arguments, if they work, may result in tremendous results a Copernican revolution ; if they do not, some important concepts will have nonetheless been created.

Better that, on this view, than disbelieving and being the under-labourer of science. While various continental philosophers have subjected Kant s conception of the transcendental to critique, few have thought that this signalled the end of the transcendental project. Rather, the aim, scope and structure of transcendent al reasoning is instead consistently reinvented by all of the major philosophers associated with this tradition.

Indeed, the assumption is more that whatever his failings, Kant s transcendental project and the project of philosophical critique more generally achieved something of the utmost importance. The German Idealists Fichte, Schelling, Hegel all described themselves as transcendental philosophers, and the revival of interest in Kant in the late nineteenth and ear ly twentieth century in Neo-Kantianism Cassirer, Brunschvig, etc.

In the twentieth century, transcendental arguments, proofs, interpretations, etc. So too, are various contemporary German philosophers of recognition, including Habermas and Apel, whose concern is primarily with performative contradiction and the way they provide transcendental conditions. Postanalytic and Metacontinental for communicative rationality. While we cannot offer an adequate survey of these differing continental treatmen ts of transcendental reasoning, nor establish for each whether the analytic criticisms apply, we can usefully abstract from these varied projects to note that all of these philosophers make claims about anteriority.

Each of these anteriorities has a reaso nably clear role to play in what Mark Sacks calls situated thought: the thought that one would have from a particular point within a framework, the content of which is informed by it being grasped as if from that perspective. It is not bare propositional content as if from nowhere, but is rather informed by being phenomenologically embedded and directed. Construing transcendental arguments as formally valid inferences cannot be adequate, and while they can be modestly understood as conceptual claims, for any transcendentally reached conclusion to be a priori true requires some kind of shifting to the level of experience.

A s a result, the thinker needs to be genuinely co-implicated with what is thought. And while there is certainly a circularity here, it is one that is borne of reflection, and is not something that can be overcome. A transcendental argument must have some relationship to experiences that are possible or actual in this world, or to concepts that structure our world, as is the case with the historical a priori of Foucault s early work, which is avowedly transcendental.

While Heidegger has a complicated relation to transcendental philosophy, there are many chains of priority claims in Being and Time, often posed in the. The Fate of Transcendental Reasoning telltale language of primordiality and the always-already. Famously, the ready-to-hand is claimed to be a condition of possibility of apprehending object s as present-at-hand, or as unready-to-hand. Philosophy has traditionally prioriti zed the theoretical encounter with things; on Heidegger s view Dasein associates with things fi rst and foremost on a practical and immediate basis that he calls the ready-to-hand, which refers to the availability of things for our use and deployment in relation to the completion of tasks.

The world is not primarily the scientific world, but the practical one of everyday life, and the transcende ntal claim is that any present-at-hand analysis never leaves behind the practical but presupposes it, in the sense that it is made possible by it. Some closely related claims are put forward by Merleau-Ponty in Phenomenology of Perception. Often associated with the thesis of the primacy of perception , rather than rejecting scientific and analytic ways of knowing the world MerleauPonty argues that such knowledge is always derivative in relation to the more practical aspects of the body s exposure to the world, notably our bodily intentionality that seeks equilibria or maximum grip with the world through the refinement of our body-schema and the acquisition of fl exible habits and skills.

For him, these aspects of bodily motility and perception are the transcendental conditions that ensure sensory experience has the form of a meaningful field rather than being a fragmented relation to raw sense data, and this kind of know-how the I can is also said to be the condition of possibility of knowledge-that the I think. Of course, there is a diffi culty her e as there is with Heidegger , since philosophical reflection is required to illuminate this priority of know-how. Whether or not this is an insuperable problem is debatable, but for most phenomenologists it is, rather, a fertile occasion for thought precisely of the transcendental variety.

A concrete example of Merleau-Ponty s claim is the argument that, to put it bluntly, grasping is a condition of possibility of pointing; the ability to poin t to one s nose an abstract, reflective activity , depends on one s ability to grasp one s nose a practical response to solicitation from the world; say a mosquito bite, or a need to scratch , but not vice versa.

lewin david dr | University of Strathclyde

Merleau-Ponty backs the claim by appeal to empirical studies of injuries, phenomenological descriptions of what is involved in these two ways of inhabiting space, the alleged inability of empiricism and intellectualism to adequately describe or explain either the phenomenology or the empirical facts of the case a kind of inference to a bette r explanation , and also transcendental reflection about enabling conditions for our experience of the world motor intentionality. As Dreyfus and Kelly put it: The agent feels immediately drawn to act a certain way. This is different from deciding to perform the activity, since in feeling immediately drawn to do.

Postanalytic and Metacontinental something the subject experiences no act of the will. Rather, he experiences the environment calling for a certain way of acting, and finds himself respondin g to the solicitation. If we grant for the moment that there are non-inferential perceptual norms of this kind, then it is at least ope n to make a case of the kind that Sacks puts forward one on which beliefs can be justified without appeal to inductive or other non-deductive evidence, and yet not in virtue of anything like straightforward conceptual analysis.

Of cours e, an analytic philosopher suspicious of transcendental reasoning might well maintain that to show that something is non-inferential is not to show that it i s infallible,47 nor that it is prior to inference. Indeed, the more controversial part of any such argument would be to establish in what sense these non-inferential aspects say Heidegger s ready-to-hand, or Merleau-Ponty s bodily intentionality are the ground for inference.

Robert Brandom, for example, refuses to concur with Heidegger on this. These kind of phenomenological arguments are not straight a priori arguments. While they depend upon experience, and claim that certain enabling conditions make possible this experience, phenomenological refl ection also allows us to attend through reflection to some extent to these so-called enabling conditions which were previously in the background; they also become perspicuous in cases of breakdown when things are unready-to-hand.

This need not lead to a problem of infinite regress. Bodily intentionality is claime d to be primordial, and not everyone must see the claimed necessity, nor indeed need the process of coming to see this putative necessity itself be immediate. On the contrary, it depends on detailed descriptions of phenomena and the structures of experience, and the concepts involved in such descriptions are capable of alternative understandings.

However, not any reconstruction will be possible and the empirical hence remains an important constraint. The important question for the continental philosopher here is just when such reconstructions become a pathological attempt to immunize one s theory against any possibility of error. This is always a judgment call, dependi.