Sunday, May 18, 2008

Heidegger, Lafont and the necessity of the transcendental

Heidegger, Lafont and the necessity of the transcendental
R. Matthew Shockey
Indiana University, South Bend, USA

Cristina Lafont's recent reading of Heidegger offers a powerful formulation of the widespread view that once one recognizes our `facticity' and the role of language in shaping it, there is no room left to talk about transcendental structures of meaning or experience. In this article I challenge this view. I argue that Lafont inaccurately conflates what Heidegger calls our `understanding of being' with that which language discloses. In order to show that the philosophical motivation for this conflation is unsound, I also argue that Lafont's own positive theory of meaning itself tacitly assumes a distinction between factical and transcendental, and so rests on exactly what she finds problematic in Heidegger. This still leaves a puzzle as to how factical individuals are actually able to grasp anything transcendental, so I conclude by sketching Heidegger's method of `formal indication', which is meant to show precisely how this can be done.

Key Words: facticity • Martin Heidegger • language • transcendental philosophy

from here

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