Heidegger's science of being, 1919-1930
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Heidegger calls his philosophy a “science of being” (BPP 11). The intersecting phenomenological, ontological, hermeneutical, existential, and anthropological themes of Being and Time, as well as Heidegger’s many influences, make the task of determining the subject matter and method of this science a difficult one. This dissertation defends two main theses. First, Heidegger is a metaphysical realist. He intends his inquiry into being to “carve reality at the joints.” This is an unpopular reading, so I devote a large portion of the dissertation to criticizing competing non-metaphysical and anti-realist interpretations. Second, Being and Time and surrounding works combine the many philosophical threads mentioned above into a unified, coherent, and original whole. In Chapter 1 I offer an interpretation of the subject matter of Heidegger’s science and criticize a competing style of interpretation, the “meaning interpretation.” In Chapter 2 I offer an interpretation of Heidegger’s method and criticize interpreters who claim that Heidegger’s hermeneutical transformation of phenomenology is inconsistent with his scientific aspirations. In Chapter 3 I attempt to resolve two puzzles about Husserl and Heidegger’s conceptions of scientific philosophy. In Chapter 4 I offer a realist account of Heidegger’s debt to Kant, contrasting it with an influential reading of Heidegger as a “temporal idealist.” In Chapter 5 I examine Heidegger’s turn to anthropological and biological themes after Being and Time and reject interpretations on which this turn undermines the science of being.