Thursday, 12 October 2000

From "The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity"

By Jürgen Habermas.

In their attempts to overcome the philosophy of the subject, Hegel and Marx had been ensnared in its own basic concepts. This objection cannot be leveled at Heidegger, but a similarly telling one can be. So little does Heidegger free himself from the pregiven problematics of transcendental consciousness that he can burst the conceptual cage of philosophy of consciousness in no other way than by abstract negation [...] "dispense with the inappropriate concern with 'science' and 'research'" [...]

Husserl understood his transcendental reduction as a procedure that was supposed to allow the phenomenonologist to draw a clear line between the world of beings given in the natural attitude and the sphere of the pure constituting consciousness which first lends beings their meaning. His whole life long, Heidegger held on to the intuitionism of this procedure; in the late philosophy, his manner of proceeding is simply relieved of the claims to be methodical and set free for a privileged "inherence in the truth of being." Husserl's way of posing problems also remains normative for Heidegger, inasmuch as he merely turns the basic epistemological question into an ontological one. In both cases, the phenomonelogical gaze is directed upon the world as the correlate of the knowing subject. In contrast to, say, Humboldt, Mead, or the later Wittgenstein, Heidegger does not free himself from the traditional granting of a distinctive status to theoretical activity, to the constative use of language, and to the validiy claim of propositional truth. He also remains attached, in a negative way, to the foundationalism of the philosophy of consciousness [...] Because Heidegger does not gainsay the hierarchical orderings of philosophy bent on self-grounding, he can only counter foundationalism by excavating a still more deeply laid - and henceforth unstable - ground [...] Heidegger passes beyond the horizon of the philosophy of consciousness only to stay in the shadows.

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