Blake Peter Stove

Blake Peter Stove, ‘The Truth of Heidegger’s Existential Analytic of Dasein‘ (MA in Philosophy, 2021)

Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time is an ambitious work that fuses transcendental-ontological and historical themes. Critics have argued that these two aspects of the work are inconsistent and, in light of Heidegger’s substantive claims regarding the historical structure of human existence, the methodological commitment to the transcendental-ontological notion of originary truth should be abandoned. ‘Detranscendentalised’ readings of Being and Time, to adopt Steven Crowell’s term, suggest this is because the historical themes cast doubt on the ability of the philosophising subject (Dasein) to identify and conceptualise timeless and ahistorical ontological structures. This thesis argues that the apparent tension between the transcendental-ontological and historical aspects of Being and Time can be resolved using the existential analytic of Dasein as the guiding theme. The existential analytic of Dasein is the explication of the universal existential structures of the philosophising subject. Heidegger’s achievement in Being and Time is to acknowledge the historical structure of human existence and incorporate it within the possibility of transcendental-ontological inquiry.

This thesis is divided into three chapters. The first chapter introduces the existential analytic of Dasein as the guiding theme and examines the apparent tension by outlining Heidegger’s methodological commitments in Division I and substantive claims in Division II of Being and Time. The problems of access and articulation, which prove decisive for resolving the apparent tension, are also introduced. The second chapter begins by outlining Crowell’s challenge to the detranscendentalists and details the argumentative strategies employed in the detranscendentalised readings of Cristina Lafont, Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida. The final chapter resolves the apparent tension by arguing that the detranscendentalists’ argumentative strategies are insufficient for rejecting the transcendental-ontological themes in Being and Time. This chapter also argues that detranscendentalised readings typically contain latent transcendental-ontological commitments that are inconsistent with the predominant role assigned to the historical themes. The detranscendentalised readings are in this respect beset by the same inconsistency that they claim to find in Being and Time.
Supervisors: Dr Andrew Inkpin, Dr François Schroeter