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Getting the Subject back into the World: Heidegger's Version

  • Fergus Kerr


In a footnote to the preface to the second edition of his Critique of Pure Reason (1787) Kant remarked that ‘it still remains a scandal to philosophy and to human reason in general that the existence [Dasein] of things outside us … must be accepted on faith, and that if anyone thinks good to doubt their existence, we are unable to counter his doubts by any satisfactory proof’ (B XL). In Being and Time (1927) Heidegger remarks, somewhat less famously, that the scandal of philosophy, far from being the continuing absence of philosophically satisfactory proof of the existence of the world outside human subjectivity, is rather-the-very idea that such proof need be sought at all: ‘If Dasein is understood correctly, it defies such proofs, because, in its being, it already is what subsequent proofs deem necessary to demonstrate for it’ (BT, 205).



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1 Heidegger, Martin, Sein und Zeit (1927), trans. Macquarrie, John and Robinson, Edward as Being and Time (London: SCM Press, 1962), cited as BT, with the original pagination in the margins.

2 Heidegger, , The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, trans. Heim, Michael (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984), cited as MFL, the text of a lecture course at Marburg in 1928.

3 Heidegger, , The Essence of Reasons, trans. Malick, Terrence (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1969), cited as ER, from Vom Wesen des Grundes, first published in a Festschrift for Edmund Husserl (1929).

4 See The Gospel according to John, trans, with an introduction and notes by Brown, Raymond E. (New York: Doubleday, 1966), Volume 1, 508´9.

5 See Guignon, Charles B., Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983).

6 Originally published in Mind 38 (1929), reprinted in Ryle, Gilbert, Collected Papers (London: Hutchinson, 1971), Volume 1, 197214.

7 Ibid. 210.

8 See Richardson, John, Existential Epistemology: a Heideggerian Critique of the Cartesian Project (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).

9 I am grateful to David Cockburn for his comments on an earlier version of this paper.

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Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
  • ISSN: 1358-2461
  • EISSN: 1755-3555
  • URL: /core/journals/royal-institute-of-philosophy-supplements
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