Heidegger and phenomenology

Is Heidegger’s philosophy “phenomenology”? Or was what he was doing in effect Ab-bildung (Heidegger, 1988) and Destruktion (Heidegger, 1996) from within the contemporary movement of phenomenology? To answer this question, it is useful to turn to The basic problems of phenomenology, which is based on Heidegger’s lecture course given in 1927 (Heidegger, 1988).

Comparing The basic problems of phenomenology to a recent translation of his lecture course given during the winter semester of 1919-1920, which is published as Basic problems of phenomenology (Heidegger, 2013), it is quite clear to the reader that in the space of seven years leading up to the publication of Being and time in 1927, Heidegger abandoned his initial hopes for the new movement of phenomenology to be capable of giving access to the essential question of being (Seinsfrage) in philosophical thinking. Through his re-interpretation and his appropriation of Dilthey’s hermeneutic questions during the same period in his early career, Heidegger was finally able to demonstrate in Being and time that the promise of ontological opening in phenomenology can only be carried out by “destroying” or “de-representing” (ab-bilden) the Cartesian transcendetalism of Husserl, the founding father of phenomenology and Heidegger’s original mentor, and uncover an Ereignis or an arche of appropriation where being (Sein) can be truly understood as being (Sein) by way of the hermeneutics of its standing place in the life-world (Lebenswelt), namely Dasein. In other words, Heidegger can only enter into the hermeneutic circle by abandoning Husserl’s vision and project.

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