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Heidegger's Kantian idealism revisited

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I offer a revised interpretation of Heidegger's 'ontological idealism' - his thesis that being, but not entities, depends on Dasein - as well as its relationship to Kant's transcendental idealism. I build from my earlier efforts on this topic by modifying them and defending my basic line of interpretation against criticisms advanced by Cerbone, Philipse, and Carman. In essence, my reading of Heidegger goes like this: what it means to say that 'being' depends on Dasein is that the criteria and standards that determine what it is to be, and hence whether an item (or anything at all) is, are conceptually interwoven with, and hence conceptually dependent upon, a structure that could not obtain without Dasein (namely, time). For this reason, to ask whether entities (e.g., nature) would exist, even if we (Dasein) did not, is either to ask an empirical question with an obvious negative answer (viz., According to our best current theories, does everything depend causally upon us?), or to ask a meaningless question with no answer (viz., If we suspend or discount the standards and criteria that determine whether anything is, does anything exist?). In short, Heidegger is an empirical realist, but neither a transcendental idealist nor realist.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Georgetown University

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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