- Series: Studies in Continental Thought
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Indiana University Press; Fifth Edition, Enlarged edition (September 22, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0253210674
- ISBN-13: 978-0253210678
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #873,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Fifth Edition, Enlarged (Studies in Continental Thought) Paperback – September 22, 1997
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With every passing year . . . this work continues to grow in significance and stature. Publication of this new translation could not be more timely . . . a finely nuanced translation . . . This authoritative English translation will play an important role in determining Heidegger's reputation in the coming years. An essential acquisition for all collections. (Choice)
One of Heidegger’s most important and extraordinary works. . . . indispensable for anyone interested in Heidegger’s thought as well as in current trends in hermeneutics, ethics, and political philosophy. (Interpretation)
Heidegger’s interpretation of Kant remains a challenging way to address the issues that both Kant and Heidegger saw as crucial. . . . In reading [Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics] we can struggle with some basic issues of human existence in the company of two great minds. (International Philosophical Quarterly)
About the Author
Richard Taft is former Research Fellow at Trinity College, Hartford, and former Fulbright Fellow at the Hegel Archive of the Ruhr University in Germany.
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Surprisingly enough, Heidegger offers a rather faithful exegesis of Kant's discussion of the schematism from the Critique of Pure Reason. This is a close and careful reading of Kant which demonstrates Heidegger's skill at reconstruction of an existing text. The short Part One of this book is a work of art as Heidegger clearly defines Kant's project as a groundwork for metaphysics, that is, as ontology, by tracing the initial remarks by Kant to their Greek and scholastic origins. Therefore, Heidegger argues that the Kant of the First Critique does not bring forth a theory of knowledge (and against the Prolegomena that Kant is making a foundation for science), but rather, that the real project is a critique of metaphysics by returning to ontology as the groundwork for metaphysics. Thus, this project runs straight into Heidegger's own concerns of the possibility of anthropology.
Included in this edition is a transcript of the historical (and highly entertaining) debate between Heidegger and Ernst Cassier from the Davos lectures. Along with this, the editors have included other illuminating notes, drafts, and forwards.
Whether for or against Heidegger, this book clearly demonstrates the enormous philosophical skills of Martin Heidegger.
Heidegger wrote in the Preface to the original (1929) edition: “In its essentials, the following interpretation was first presented in a four-hour course held during the winter semester of 1925-1926. It was later repeated in lectures and series of lectures (at the Herder Institute in Riga in September, 1928, and in connection with the university courses held at Davos in March, 1929). This interpretation of the ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ arose in the course of the elaboration of the second part of [Being and Time].”
He comments, “The instance capable of establishing the legitimacy of these material judgments concerning the Being of the essent cannot be found in experience, for experience of the essent is itself always guided by the ontological comprehension of the essent, which last becomes accessible through experience according to a determinate perspective. Ontological knowledge, then, is judgment according to principles which must be brought forth without recourse to experience.” (Pg. 18-19)
He observes, “We say, for example, that this house which we perceive reveals how a house appears in general, consequently that which we represent in the concept ‘house.’ But in what way does the aspect of this house reveal the HOW of the appearance of a house in general? The house itself, indeed, presents a definite aspect. But we do not have to lose ourselves in this particular house in order to know exactly how it appears. On the contrary, this particular house is revealed as such that, in order to be a house, it need not necessarily appear as, in fact, it does appear. It reveals to us ‘only’ the ‘how’ of the possible appearance of a house.” (Pg. 99)
He points out, “The interpretation of the laying of the foundation of metaphysics has revealed that the transcendental imagination is not merely an external bond which fastens two extremities together. It is originally unifying, i.e., it is the specific faculty which forms the unity of the other two, which faculties themselves have an essential structural relation to it. Is it possible that this originally unifying… center is that ‘unknown, common root’ of both stems? Is it accidental that with the first introduction of the imagination Kant says that ‘we are scarcely ever conscious’ of its existence?” (Pg. 144)
He states, “Reason can now no longer be taken as a ‘higher’ faculty… But thought and intuition , though distinct, are not separated from one another like two totally different things. On the contrary, as species of representation, both belong to the same genus of re-presentation in general. Both are representations of modes of… An insight into the primordially representational character of thought is not less important than is an exact comprehension of the sensible character of the imagination. An original disclosure of the understanding must take account of its innermost essence, namely, its dependence on intuition. This being-dependent-on is the being-as-understanding of the understanding.” (Pg. 154)
He says, “The pure finite self has in itself a temporal character. Therefore, if the ego, i.e., pure reason, is essentially temporal, the fundamental determination which Kant provides for transcendental apperception must first become intelligible through this temporal character. Time and the ‘I think’ are no longer opposed to one another as unlike and incompatible; they are the same… [Kant] succeeded in bringing them together in their primordial identity---without, to be sure, having seen this identity expressly as such.” (Pg. 197)
He concludes, “In every mood wherein ‘things are this or that way’ with us, our own Dasein is manifest to us. We have, therefore, an understanding of Being even though the concept is lacking… This comprehension of Being, such as we have briefly sketched it, remains on the level of the purest, most assured and most naïve patency… and yet if this comprehension of Being did not occur, man could never be the essent that he is, no matter how wonderful his faculties. Man is an essent in the midst of other essents in such a way that the essent that he is and the essent that he is not are always already manifest in him. We call this mode of being EXISTENCE, and only on the basis of the comprehension of Being is existence possible.” (Pg. 234-235)
He adds, “The problem of the laying of the foundation of metaphysics is rooted in the question of the Dasein in man, i.e., in the question of his ultimate ground, which is the comprehension of Being as an essentially existent finitude… Insofar as the Being of this essent lies in existence, the question as to the essence of Dasein is an existential one… Hence, the laying of the foundations of metaphysics is based upon a metaphysics of Dasein. But is it at all surprising a laying of the foundations of metaphysics should itself be a form of metaphysics, and that in a pre-eminent sense?” (Pg. 238)
This book is a much better exposition of Heidegger’s ideas, than of Kant’s, perhaps; but its proximity to Heidegger’s writing of Being and Time make this book a very useful companion to that book (Heidegger’s most influential).
Watch out for Heidegger's own recoil regarding spatiality and its relation to time.