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Heidegger's Philosophy of Science



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Fordham University Press New York


Copyright © 2000 by Fordham University Press

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Perspectives in Continental Philosophy No. 12 ISSN 1089-3938

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Glazebrook, Trish. Heidegger's philosophy of science I Trish Glazebrook.-1st ed.

p. cm.-(Perspectives in continental philosophy; no. 12)

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8232-2037-0 (hc)-ISBN 0-8232-2038-9 (pbk.)

1. Heidegger, Martin, 1889-1976-{:ontributions in philosophy of science.

2. Science-Philosophy-History-20th century.

l. Title.

II. Series.

B3279.H49 G57




Printed in the United States of America 00 01 02 03 04 54321 First Edition

For Geoffrey and Norma










Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Science


Husser!: Philosophy As Rigorous Science 20 Kant and Metaphysics: Grounding Science 25 Synthetic A Priori Judgments 36 The Thing and Copernican Revolution 41 The A Priori 47 Mathematical Projection: Galileo and Newton 51 Metaphysics and the Mathematical 60 Conclusion 63


Experiment and Representation



Crucial Experiments


Experiment and Experience


Violence 96 Setting Up the Real: Exact Science Representation 112 Conclusion 117



Science in the Institution



The Nothing 124 Destiny as Nihilism

Self-Assertion: Knowing versus Amassing lnformation 139

The Threat of Science 148 Valuative Thinking and Disillusionment Conclusion 159






Ancient Science



<l>uoU; As Truth


Aristotle's Analogy of Being



Theoretical versus Productive Knowledge


�uvaflEL ov


<l>uoU; and lEXVI') Conclusion 205



Science and Technology



Epoch and Essence 209


"Science Does Not Think" 214 Thinking As Thanking: Being and Being





The Theory of the Real 232




Quantum Theory









Index of Greek Expressions




There are many people to thank for their support and assistance during the time I have been working on this book. Research was funded by the University of Toronto, the government of Ontario, and the German government, and further supported by the De­ partment of Philosophy at Auckland University. I could not have done without the productive commentary, advice, and discus­ sion on the entire manuscript that I got from Graeme Nicholson, Rebecca Comay, Will McNeill, and Dan Dahlstrom. Their close readings and prompt responses were indispensable to the devel­ opment of this book. I am further indebted to Will McNeill for his enthusiastic and precise suggestions on translation. I am grateful to Father Joseph Owens for teaching me to love Aris­ totle. Jim Brown's support at the University of Toronto was su­ pererogatory, and lowe Ian Hacking a great deal for his contribution to my understanding of the philosophy of science, despite his dislike of both Heidegger and this project. Jim Wetzel and Marilyn Thie read and commented helpfully on individual chapters. I wish I knew the names of those who asked questions on the chapter on experimentation at the Ontario Philosophical Association meeting at Waterloo University in 1993. Their com­ ments were useful. Likewise my critique of Heidegger's reading of Aristotle was all the better for rigorous scrutiny at the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy in New Orleans in 1993 (on <jl1Jm� and 'tfXV!']) and Georgetown in 1996 (on Aris­ totle's analogy of being). T he chapter on Heidegger and the institution benefited from exposure to the Department of Phi­ losophy at DePaul University in Chicago and at the annual con­ ference of The Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy in Seattle in 1991. The original idea for the book was conceived in conversation with David Wood, and first tried out in the philosophy department at the University of Guelph in



1991. In particular, I wish to thank Jack Caputo, whose ongoing support of this work has been crucial to its completion. On a more personal note, thanks to Brian Hackeson for keep­ ing my computer running, to George Hendry for all those lunches, to Louise Signal for spunk and chocolate biscuits, to Ann Saddlemeyer and the residents of Massey College, to Jac­ ques Bismuth for backgammon, and to Rachel Boyington, who kept things in perspective by sharing the first weeks of her life with me as I completed the original draft. My deepest debts of love and life are to Geoff and Norma Rotenberg, and it is to their memory that I dedicate this book.



Aristoteles, Metaphysik IX.1-3

An Post

Posterior Analytics


"The Age of the World Picture," in QCT


Basic Concepts (G)


"On the Being and Conception of <jl1JOU; in Aristotle's

Physics B.l"


"Die Bedrohung der Wissenschaft"


Basic Problems ofPhenomenology (GP)


Being and Time (5Z)


Basic Wr itings


Critique ofPure Reason


Early Greek Thinking


Einfiihrung in die Metaphysik (IM)


Nicomachean Ethics


"On the Essence of Truth," in BW


The Fundamental Concepts ofMetaphysics (GM)

Grundbegriffe (BC)


Die Frage nach dem Ding


"The Rectorate 1933/34: Fa cts and Though ts," with 5A



Die Grundbegriff


Die Grundprobleme der Phiinomenologie (BPP)




History of the Concept of Time (PGZ)


Introduction to Metaphysics (EM)


"Die Kehre"


Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik (KPM)


Kant and the Problem ofMetaphysics (KM)


Metaphysische Anfangsgriinde der Logik (MFL)




The Metaphysical Fo undations of Logic (MAL)


"Modem Natural Science and Technology"




"Modem Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics," in





Nietzsche I


Nietzsche II


De Pa rtibus Animalium


Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs (HCT)




"Philosophy as Rigorous Science" (Husserl)


The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays


"The Self-Assertion of the German University"

Sein und Zeit (BT)



"Science and Reflection," in QCT


"Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universitat;


Das Rektorat 1933/34: Tatsachen und Gedanken"


Vortriige und Aujsiitze



What Is Called Thinking ? (WHD)


Was heisst Denken? (WCT)


What Is Metaphysics ?


Postscript to What Is Metaphysics?


"Vom Wesen der Wahrheit," in W


"Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft"

Heidegger's Philosophy of Science


"ON THE LONGEST DAY he ever Jived," said Father Richardson, "Heidegger could never be called a philosopher of science" (1968:511). W hat exactly does it mean, to be a philosopher of science? The label received widespread adoption only in the late 1950s, and one of the few things philosophers of science agree upon is that the discipline is not clearly demarcated. The breadth and diversity of philosophy of science is due in large part to the fact that the term "science" itself covers a wide range of practices and modes of thought. Social science, for example, may be no more scientific than the sociology of science is philo­ sophical, or just as scientific as the latter is philosophicaL One thing is clear: the task of the philosopher of science is, at least in part, to ask what constitutes science. Heidegger is certainly a philosopher of science in this respect. Over several decades he explores the thesis that science is the mathematical projection of nature. From its incipience in "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft," to its full formula­ tion in Being and Time, to the analysis of representation in "The Age of the World Picture," to the entanglement with technology in What Is Called Thinking?, to the setting up of the real in "Sci­ ence and Reflection," the idea that science is the mathematical projection of nature runs throughout Heidegger's work as a background against which his critique of modernity unfolds. This conception of science binds together his thinking of the question of science over sixty years. The several analyses of science that Heidegger undertakes during his life have been remarked on and described, but never interpreted as a coherent movement throughout his thought. John Caputo has argued that there are two essences of science in Heidegger's work: a hermeneutic one and a deconstructive one. The former he uncovers in Being and Time and suggests is an "existential genealogy" (1986:44), inseparably bound to an alleg-



edly pure logic of science, that explores the genesis of science in the historical life of the scientist. This essence is subsequently suppressed in Heidegger's thought, Caputo argues, by the de­ constructive sense, "which signifies an entire understanding of man and world, of being and truth" (1986:44). Caputo intends to correct a misunderstanding in which Heidegger is taken as hostile to science by showing instead that Heidegger sought to critique and delimit science in its deconstructive sense. My reading of Heidegger's philosophy of science is sympa­ thetic to Caputo's account. Heidegger was not well versed in science, as Patrick Heelan has underscored (1995:579). Yet I resist apologism. Heidegger's continual rethinking of the question of science is not a naive non-scientist's condemnation, for which greater technical expertise would be necessary to achieve valid­ ity. Rather, his contribution to philosophy of science is his in­ sight into the extent to which science underwrites modernity. By laying out a sustained analysis of Heidegger's philosophy of science, I extend Caputo's reading even further. I expose the hermeneutic and deconstructive essences of science in Heideg­ ger's early and late work, respectively, and furthermore suggest

a transitional period in Heidegger's thinking in order to trace

how it develops from the former to the latter. Theodore Kisiel has also uncovered several-three, in fact­ essences of science in Heidegger's work. The earliest he calls a

logical conception, and I find it in a 1916 text, "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft." He describes two further es­ sences of science from Being and Time: an existential one, which

is much like Caputo's hermeneutic; and a metaphysical or ep­

ochal conception, which he locates in the unpublished Part Two

of the book and claims is later elaborated under the rubric "over­

coming metaphysics" (Kisiel 1977:163). Heidegger's later analy­ sis of modem science is a critique of the nihilistic metaphysics

of subjectivity that he holds is essential to modem science. He holds that science informs modernity, and hence his critique is ultimately, as Kisiel suggests, an attempt to expose, and there­ fore to overcome, the metaphysics of the modem epoch. These different but not discordant accounts of the various es­ sences of science in Heidegger's work uncover the complexity of his thinking on the question of science. His thesis that the es-



sence of science is the mathematical projection of nature does not fail so much as it calls for reformulation when he realizes that the relation between thinking and science is not what he had previously taken it to be. That relation was expressed by the thesis that philosophy is itself a science. This claim is not as sim­

ple as it may seem. Na turwissenscha jt is natural or physical science, for which physics is paradigmatic. But Wissenschajt also sounds of Geistes­ wissenschajt, the arts or humanities. For the early Heidegger, struggling against the yoke of transcendental idealism, these two conceptions are entangled in his attempt to ground the sci­ ences in metaphysics and his thesis that philosophy is itself a science. When the attempt fails, Heidegger leaves behind that thesis. What remains is a specific, if not always precise and never entirely static, topic: the question of the nature of science. At

issue here is Na turwissenschajt-specifically, the mathematical

physics of modernity that begins with Galileo, flourishes under Newton, and has its quintessential expression in quantum theory. Yet philosophy of science is more than a battle to draw the borders of science. It is also an inquiry into several sets of ques­ tions: the logic of discovery, proof, and method; the metaphysi­ cal and epistemological suppositions of scientific knowledge; the historical genesis and development of the experiment; the political consequences of institutionalized science; and the na­

ture and limits of theory. Not only can each of these constella­ tions of inquiry be traced throughout Heidegger's work, but also that work can be bridged to the analytic tradition of philosophy of science. How are Kuhn's "paradigms" different from Heideg­ ger's "basic concepts," and from Ge-stell? What conclusions does Heidegger take from his insight, shared with Hacking, that ex­ periments both represent and intervene? Where does Heidegger stand in the realist debate? on the existence of crucial experi­ ments? on the role of mathematics in modem physical science? These are questions that can be answered out of Heidegger's philosophy of science. It would be ludicrous and tedious, however, to suggest that Heidegger has a view on every issue taken up by the analytics. He says almost nothing explicitly, for example, about the prob-



lem of induction, the relation between the philosophy and the history of science, the nature of probability, the logical founda­ tions of statistical inference, and the function of explanation. Yet neither does, nor even could, each analytic philosopher of sci­ ence treat every issue that falls under the rubric of philosophy of science. Certainly Heidegger has enough to say on a broad range of topics pertaining to science that I can defend the claim that he has a philosophy of science on the superficial basis of the number and variety of way he addresses the issue. I will, how­ ever, argue more deeply for Heidegger's philosophy of science by mapping its content, and by locating his thinking in the ana­ lytic discourse. Accordingly, I share none of Father Richardson's reluctance to call Heidegger a philosopher of science. The infamous distinc­ tion Father Richardson drew between Heidegger I and Heideg­ ger II was a useful and insightful tool for seeing changes and transitions, breaks, and abandonments in Heidegger's ongoing work. Yet now, some twenty-odd years after Heidegger's death, when Father Richardson himself (1997:18) has grown uncom­ fortable with the division, I emphasize rather the continuity in Heidegger's work: the question of natural science is a constant and continuous support against which Heidegger's thinking de­ velops and grows. Certainly, as Karlfried Grunder has claimed, the "problem of the essence, possibility, and limitations of science pervades all his writings published to date" (1963:18). The earliest entry in

the Gesamtausgabe uses the "dazzling results [gliinzenden Erfol­

gen]" ("Realitatsproblem" 3) of scientific practice to press the problem of realism. In reportedly the last thing Heidegger wrote before his death, he questioned the relation between science and technology (MNST 1-2). In the sixty-four years between these two texts, natural science is ubiquitously peripheral and regu­ larly central to his thought. Yet an analysis of the significance of the question of natural science to Heidegger's thought, though overdue, has not been worked out. Indeed, whereas treatments of Heidegger's critique of technology abound, his lifelong entanglement with issues concerning the natural sciences has remained largely neglected. There is a growing body of papers on the topic, but a systematic,



sustained account of the development of Heidegger's treatment of science is missing. This book is aimed precisely at addressing that gap by demonstrating both the significance of science to Heidegger's thought and the contribution of that thought to phi­ losophy of science. I show not only that Heidegger works exten­ sively and systematically on questions concerning science, but also that his ongoing consideration of science guides and in­ forms his work on other issues, especially his critique of technol­ ogy. Further, I show that issues crucial to Heidegger's analysis are central in the analytic tradition of philosophy of science, and

I bring his contribution to bear on that tradition. In a word, then,

I intend to interpret Heidegger in a radically novel way: accord­ ing to his philosophy of science. The years in which Heidegger wrote can be divided into three distinct phases as philosophy of science: the early view, extend­ ing into the 1930s, in which he held that philosophy is itself scientific; a transitional phase, in which he turns to questions of scientific practice and away from problems of philosophy, that is, from metaphysics to physics; and a later phase, from the 1950s onward, in which he locates the essence of science in the essence of technology. What binds these three periods together, such that they are one path of thinking rather than simply three different inquiries, is the notion that science is projective. In the early years, Heidegger understands such projection as the estab­ lishing of regional ontologies by means of basic concepts. Dur­ ing the transitional phase, he struggles to work out the projective nature of science by looking to the writings of Galileo and New­ ton. He talks not of basic concepts, but of the mathematical, which has been compared to the Kantian a priori (Kisiel 1973), but which Heidegger reformulates away from Kant's idealism. In the later years, Heidegger names what is projective in technol­ ogy "Ge-stell," and argues that the essence of science is to be found in this essence of technology. Hence the three stages of Heidegger's critical inquiry into science have a unity insofar as each is a different formulation of its projective nature. Heidegger's early inquiries into the projection at work in sci­ ence are made against a Husserlian background. Philosophy is rigorous science for Heidegger, as it was for Husserl, rather than Weltanschauung philosophy. By using phenomenology as a sci-



entific method for doing ontology, however, Heidegger rejects the bracketing of metaphysical issues for which Husserl's phe­

nomenology called. He accepts Husserl's conception of regional ontology, in which the sciences define some realm of beings as their object by projecting a basic concept. But Heidegger further

argues that metaphysics, in contrast to the sciences, takes being as its object. At the root of regional ontologies lies, then, funda­ mental ontology. Hence Heidegger calls scientific philosophy a pleonasm: ontology, as the exploration of the ground of the sci­ ences, is already inherently scientific. Yet this relation of grounding proves problematic to Heideg­ ger as he attempts to understand it more deeply. The ground of science may be the projection of a realm of being, but Heidegger resists that the final word on science is idealism. The projective nature of modem science lies in the fact that the scientist pro­ ceeds on the basis of an idea, a hypothesis, rather than with the object. That is to say, a science that begins with a regional ontol­ ogy is idealistic in that it is founded on an a priori conception of its object rather than on experience. Yet Heidegger no longer holds that such an a priori conception is necessary to all and every science. Rather, it is characteristic for him of modern sci­ ence. He looks to uncover other possibilities for the essence of science: to answer how the essence of science can be projective without simply collapsing into idealism. In the 1930s, Heidegger describes the essence of science as research. He argues that the transition from the ancient experi­ ence of nature to that of Galileo and Newton is the move from a realism in which qJ'lJOL£, nature, is a priori-that is, prior to thought-to an idealism in which the a priori formulation of a hypothesis precedes the investigation of nature. His particular interest is the Cartesian establishing of certainty on the cogito that is paradigmatic of representational thinking, such that

knowledge in modernity has its foundation in the thinking sub­ ject rather than in the thing known. This thesis is particularly significant as a critique of modem science, since the claim to certainty on the part of scientists surn as Newton and Bacon takes much of its force from the empirical nature of experimen­ tal science. The analysis of the essence of science as research

leads Heidegger to argue that the experimental method is a set-



ting up of nature on the basis of an a priori conception from which the appeal to the empirical is derivative. During this tran­ sitional phase, his developing insight into the essence of science as projective is that the projection at work in science sets up not only the realm of beings to be investigated, but also the episte­ mic criteria that determine what counts as knowledge in science. In his later writings, Heidegger argues that the essence of sci­ ence lies in the essence of technology. In a nutshell, he holds that the tripartite division of the history of Western thought so pervasive in his work-that is, the division into ancient, medie­ val, and modem epochs--culminates in modernity as the epoch of science and technology. He argues that technology is essen­ tially a reformulation of the essence of science. Since Being and Time, Heidegger has argued that modem science projects an un­ derstanding onto nature. In that understanding, nature consists in spatiotemporally extended bodies subject to efficient causes. In 1940 he teaches that Aristotle held rather that nature is teleo­ logical. Final, much more so than efficient, causes are crucial to understanding nature in Aristotle's Physics. Only once nature has been rendered devoid of final causes-that is, devoid of end and purpose-by the modem scientific confinement to efficient causes, is nature available ideologically for appropriation to human ends and purposes in technology. Accordingly, the re­ vealing of nature as a standing-reserve at the disposal of human being that is the essence of technology, is made possible by mod­ em science. Heidegger's ongoing critique of science is accordingly an ac­ count of the resolution of modernity into technology. It is a novel expression of what it might mean to be postrnodern which goes beyond a metaphysics of subjectivity to other possibilities for thinking and being. Heidegger recognizes that modem sci­ ence is the historical, Western expression of the human desire to know. But he escapes the problem of cultural relativism that haunts post-Kuhnian philosophy of science by thinking it more deeply than the notion of worldview permits. He holds that modem science is a destiny; that is, it is definitive of a historical epoch in which being and human being unfold together in a metaphysics of subjectivity. There are other possibilities for knowledge in Heidegger's view. For example, the ancient inter-



pretation of being as qJ1JOL� reveals new beginnings latent in the epoch of science and technology, since that epoch can trace its origin to the ancient Greek world. Beyond representation lie

thinking (Denken) and reflection (Besinnung).

By dividing Heidegger's analysis of the essence of science into an early, a transitional, and a late period, I will show not that there are several-and especially not two--Heideggers, but rather precisely that his work is an ongoing development. For indeed, these three periods in his thinking are bound together as an analysis of modem science and an uncovering of other possibilities for understanding nature. The role of representa­ tion in modem science-that is, the question of how scientific projection determines its object-is the decisive factor that un­ derlies each account. I will trace the development of his thinking about science in five chapters. The remainder of this introduc­ tion first outlines the movement that binds these five chapters together and then summarizes the internal logic of each chapter. In the first chapter, I explore the relation between metaphys­ ics, mathematics, and science. I show how Heidegger rejects Kant's idealism as the basis on which to understand science. The next chapter lays out his argument that modem science is bound by the experimental method to a subjective metaphysics of rep­ resentation. The third chapter explores his disillusionment with the university as the housing of the sciences and his questioning of the value of knowledge. The fourth chapter reads Heidegger on ancient science. I argue that the loss Heidegger sees in Plato and Aristotle of a pre-Socratic insight into q)'UOL�, nature, pro­ vides him with a place for rethinking the essence of science in terms of possibilities that lie outside modem science. The final chapter analyzes Heidegger's account of the relation between science and technology in order to interpret his claim that the essence of science lies in the essence of technology. I conclude with a brief comment on quantum theory in which I make sense of Heidegger's denial that quantum physics is essentially differ­ ent from Newtonian physics. The first of the following chapters is an explication of Heideg­ ger's early analysis of modem science, by which I mean his thinking in the years from 1916 to the mid-1930s. During these years Heidegger maintains, on the one hand (e.g., in Being and



Time), that the essence of science is the mathematical projection of nature, and on the other hand (e.g., in Basic Problems of Phe­ nomenology), that metaphysics is the science of being. The latter thesis becomes for Heidegger problematic as he attempts to ground the sciences in metaphysics in Kantian style. His account of metaphysics is very much tied up in his reading of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Having looked at this text several times already, he asks in 1935 in Die Frage nach dem Ding why it was both possible and necessary for Kant to write such a critique. At precisely the point in the course where he raises this question explicitly, he turns from Kant to Galileo and Newton. Kant's text is directed exactly at securing the certainty of Newton's physics through the synthetic a priori nature of Euclidean geometry. Yet Heidegger's analysis of the mathematical in modem science cuts more deeply than the claim that Newton's physics is mathemati­ cal insofar as it uses Euclidean geometry to describe nature. Rather, Heidegger finds in the mathematical the a priori projec­ tion of certainty. He concludes that science entails a binding to­ gether of a metaphysics and an epistemology; that is, he shows that modem science entails an a priori stance toward what can be known. He explores this stance by looking to the scientific method itself. Hence he turns from a consideration of metaphys­ ics as a science to the sciences themselves. The pivot by means of which Heidegger makes this tum is the experiment. Accordingly, the next chapter looks to the logic of scientific development and methodology. I read Heidegger as arguing that the empirical is not the experiential as qtltELQla was for Aristotle, and that the experimental method is a mathemati­ cal idealism. I raise three specific issues surrounding the experi­ ment and locate Heidegger's treatment of these issues in the analytic debate. First, crucial experiments: is a single experimen­ tal result enough to prove or overturn a theory? Heidegger an­ swers that it is. Second, the theory-Ioadedness of observation:

does the informing of fact by theory preclude realism? Heideg­ ger holds that it does not, but he displaces the debate. And third, representation in modem science: how does science represent its objects? Heidegger argues that it does so mathematically, but he radically revises that term. These issues lay a basis for Heideg­ ger's later critique of technology in their treatment of represen-



tation. Furthermore, they serve to explicate his claim that the essence of science is research, and to show that his central con­ cerns are thematic in contemporary analytic philosophy of sci­ ence. The chapter on science in the institution investigates the Be­ triebscharakter of science. It is an account of Heidegger's view of the role of the sciences in the university, and of his analysis of the university as the housing of the sciences. His vision is that the German university, grounded in the essence of science, can serve to guide the historical destiny of human being. Since Hei­ degger holds that human being is definitively constituted as in­ quirer, and he takes modem human being to inquire first and foremost as scientist, he envisions the university as the institu­ tion in which human being realizes itself in the modem epoch. His disillusionment with that vision comes with the realization that, whereas he calls for a renewal of science for the sake of the sciences themselves in their service of human being and the history of being, the Nazi call for a renewal of the sciences is toward their own political ends in shaping the destiny of the German people. What little I have to say about Heidegger's involvement with National Socialism is found in this chapter. The next chapter treats Heidegger's view of ancient science. I focus first on Heidegger's uncovering of being as <pUOL�, nature, for the pre-Socratics, and then on the impact of Aristotle's anal­ ogy of being on this earlier experience of nature. In Heidegger's account, Aristotle narrowed the ancient conception of nature by maintaining that <pUOL� is one way of being among others. None­ theless, he sees in Aristotle a glimmer of the pre-Socratic insight. This is Aristotle's distinction between <pUOL� and "tEXVT], between nature and artifact, that has subsequently been lost in an under­ standing of nature by analogy to artifact. The emergence of modem science is therefore for Heidegger the culmination of a narrowing conception of nature that began with Aristotle. He reads Aristotle's analogy of being by way of actuality and poten­ tiality, well beyond Brentano's analysis by way of the categories. His novel reading of the analogy thinks the difference between nature and artifact in Aristotle. The latter holds that things in nature move---that is, realize their end-of their own accord. An acorn, for example, moves toward its fulfillment as an oak tree



on the basis of an internal drive. An artifact, however, requires something outside itself to bring it to fulfillment: an artist. This distinction echoes, Heidegger argues, the pre-Socratic under­ standing of being as q)1JOL�, since it is as nature that being first and foremost comes to presence. Aristotle's understanding of nature as form and matter, however, despite the priority he as­ signs to form, opens up the possibility of understanding nature by analogy to artifact. As the human artisan imposes form onto matter in the creative act, so nature can be understood as having a creator. Things in nature can be experienced as artifacts of di­ vine origin. This possibility of understanding nature is for Hei­ degger decisive to the subsequent history of the West. He reads Aristotle's Physics to rethink nature as more than an analogue of the artifact. In the final chapter I turn to the question of the relation be­ tween modem science and technology and substantiate my ar­ gument that the ancient distinction between q)1JOL� and 'tEXV1] is not sustained in the modem epoch. In 1966, in a letter to Profes­ sor Schrynemakers, Heidegger suggests three sets of questions to the participants of a symposium on the influence of his think­ ing. The first is the question posed in Being and Time of the mean­ ing of being, whether that question has been taken up, if it is possible to do so, and how it characterizes his relation to the Western tradition of thinking. The second is the question of the limits of Being and Time, what an account of the epochs of being accomplishes as an interpretation of the age of technology. The third raises the issue of the relation of being to modem science. Heidegger hopes the symposium will work out one of these questions. I suggest that these three questions are different for­ mulations of the same issue that cannot be worked out sepa­ rately. Being, science, and technology are bound together in a critique of modernity. Te n years later, in 1976, Heidegger formulates the question of science and technology as one question: "Is modem natural science the foundation of modem technology-as is sup­ posed-or is it, for its part, already the basic form of technologi­ cal thinking, the determining fore-conception and incessant incursion of technological representation into the realized and organized machinations of modem technology?" (MNST 3). In



Heidegger's analysis, modem science is not simply the founda­ tion of technology, but rather the basic form of technological

thinking. His insight is that what was originally for the Greeks


difference so radical as to preclude identity through analogy


in modernity an unsustainable distinction. Hence Heidegger's

claim that the essence of science lies in the essence of technology.

I trace his account of the relation between the two and show how he understands the essence of technology to have arisen out

of the essence of modem science. For modem science moves much like ancient "tEXVT]: the scientist begins with an idea which

is then imposed onto nature.

I close with a short comment on Heidegger's view of quantum theory in which I argue that he recognizes no significant distinc­ tion between Newtonian physics and quantum mechanics. Al­ though Heidegger understands the difference between the mathematics of each, he holds that definitive of Newtonian physics is its projection of nature as a coherence of forces calcu­

lable in advance. Quantum physics shares this projection in Hei­ degger's account. I use Bell's inequalities to assess Heidegger's analysis of quantum physics in order to ask whether his view holds beyond the science of his day into more recent develop­ ments in quantum theory. It is impossible to pursue Heidegger's philosophy of science without encountering the questions of metaphysics, technology, and representational thinking. This is not because Heidegger's account of science is derivative upon these other issues, but rather because his developing views on science underlie these issues that are so Significant to his thought. Although a substan­ tial body of literature has developed in recent years on the ques­

tion of Heidegger's analysis of science, no text to date has systematically explored its place in his thinking. Griinder's claim that the problem of science pervades Heidegger's writings continues to hold true beyond 1956 when Griinder made it. I show that the question of science is foundationally informative of Heidegger's work and is basic to a novel and coherent, sys­ tematic account of his thinking, as well as a contribution to phi­ losophy of science. This reading of Heidegger is radical. It cuts to the root of his thinking, for I argue that what are taken to be Heidegger's many



and significant contributions to philosophy-that is, his over­ coming of metaphysics, his rereading of the ancients, his critique of technology and representationalthinking, his vision and revi­ sion of language, truth and thinking-have at their core an in­ quiry into science that drove his thinking for sixty years. I am not arguing for a new reading of a few texts, or for adjustments and refinements of existing readings of Heidegger. Rather, I am bringing to light a new basis on which to interpret his work as a whole. I am not suggesting that there do not exist already in­ sightful and important interpretations of his work. Heidegger may be right that "Every thinker thinks one only thought" (WeT 50/WHD 58), but the richness of the history of philosophy speaks to the multiple possibilities for envisioning such a thought. I read Heidegger's thought as a philosophy of science.


Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Science

HEIDEGGER'S ACCOUNT of science can be concisely expressed by the thesis that modem natural science consists in the mathemati­ cal projection of nature. This view is evident as early as 1916 in "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft," where he dis­ tinguishes history from natural science on thebasis of the projec­ tion of the time concept in each. It is explicit in §69 of Being and Time, where his analysis of the theoretical attitude echoes the account he gives of Galileo in 1916 and takes up again in 1935. The end of Heidegger's early view of science is evident in that 1935 text, Die Frage nach dem Ding, as well as in Introduction to Metaphysics. In Die Frage nach dem Ding, Heidegger does not re­ linquish the idea that science is the mathematical projection of nature, but he has untangled that thesis from a second thesis central to his early view: that metaphysics is itself a science. Heidegger's philosophy of science from 1916 to the mid-1930s cannot be understood apart from his account of metaphysics as science. Explication of this early view entails laying out his ac­ count of the relation between metaphysics and natural science. Heideggerbegins by taking metaphysics to ground the sciences. He does not remain satisfied with this view, but rather eventu­ ally determines the relationbetween metaphysics and science as the mathematical. For Heidegger, the mathematical is that which is known beforehand and brought to experience by the under­ standing. In Being and Time and in Basic Problems of Phenomenol­ ogy, he begins his inquiry into the question of being with the ontic fact that any understanding ofbeings entails a prior projec­ tion of being. In Basic Problems of Phenomenology, the object of fundamental ontology as Heidegger envisions it is being, and the task is the investigation of being in order to secure the sci­ ences in their regional ontology.




Regional ontology is the condition for the possibility of any science. Heidegger argues in Basic Problems ofPhenomenology that all non-philosophical sciences, that is, the positive sciences, "have as their theme some being or beings, and indeed in such

a way that they are in every case antecedently given as beings to

those sciences. They are posited by them in advance" (BPP 13/ GP 17). Sciences are positive in the sense that they posit their realm of objects in a regional ontology. Regional ontology is the determination of the subject area of a science by projection of what Heidegger calls, in Being and Time, "basic concepts" (BT

29/529). By projecting a basic concept, the scientist establishes

a realm of possible objects of inquiry, a "world" in Heidegger's

second of the four senses of that term in Being and Time (BT 93/ 5264-65). Heidegger suggests that the movement of the sci­ ences happens when their basic concepts "undergo more or less radical revision" (BT 29/529), much as Thomas Kuhn argues that sciences move through paradigm shifts during crises. In The

Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics in 1929-30, Heidegger de­

scribes such a situation with respect to the life sciences. Biology, he argues, confronts the task of developing "an entirely new projection of the objects of its enquiry" (FCM 188/GM 278). In Being and Time, Heidegger argues that the basic concepts of

a science are transparent to it, as Kuhn holds in his historical

analysis that paradigms shifts come from within the sciences themselves. In the 1929-30 lectures, however, the situation is not quite so simple. Heidegger describes a circular interrelatedness between metaphysicS and science. The proposition that ex­ presses the presupposition essential to, in Heidegger's example, zoology, does not come from zoology, yet it cannot be "eluci­ dated independently of zoology either" (FCM 187/GM 276). What is this interrelatedness? Heidegger argues that ordinary understanding finds such circularity objectionable, and he in­ sists that the movement is not dialectic. Later, throughout sev­ eral texts but especially in "Science and Reflection," Heidegger will argue that no science has access to its own essence; he calls

a science's basic concept "das Unumgiingliche" (SR 177IVA 60),

that which cannot be gotten around. No science can raise the

question of the projection of the being of its objects that makes

it possible. Yet the move to this blindness on the part of the sci-





ences--called "one-sidedness" in What Is Called

hence to the problem of whence comes critical thinking of sci­ ence is a development in Heidegger's thinking. In Being and Time

and Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Heidegger holds that phe­

nomenology is the method of scientific philosophy that can raise precisely the question of the grounding of the sciences in their a priori projection of being.

In Being and Time, Heidegger uses phenomenology as the method for raising the question of being. Both this text and Basic Problems of Phenomenology explore temporality as fundamental to the constitution of Dasein, and both texts are aborted projects. In §69 of Being and Time, Heidegger analyzes the shift in under­ standing from everyday, concernful dealings to the theoretical attitude. He is interested in the change in understanding being that the theoretical attitude involves. As in Basic Problems ofPhe­ nomenology, Heidegger holds in Being and Time that an under­ standing of being underwrites the sciences, and his interest is in laying this understanding bare. Hence the theses that philoso­ phy is a science and that science is the mathematical projection of nature are entwined in Heidegger's phenomenology: scien­ tific philosophy raises the question of the projection of being at work in the sciences. That is to say, philosophy is a science for Heidegger insofar as it is metaphysics, and metaphysics unfolds in 1927 in two tasks: first, Being and Time is an attempt at an

analytic of

Dasein; and second, Basic Problems of Phenomenolo gy

Th inking?-and

is an attempt at grounding the sciences. In 1928, these two tasks coincide in the self-undermining of metaphysics. Heidegger argues in The Metaphysical Foundations ofLogic that the concept of metaphYSics consists in fundamental ontology and metontology (MFL IS8/MAL 202). He introduces metontology to characterize the recoil (Umschlag) at the heart of fundamental ontology in which ontology turns back on itself by placing into question the very notion of questioning. In William McNeill's reading of this obscure moment of recoil, Dasein as questioner is unsettled. McNeill argues (1992:76) that the shift (Umschlag) Heidegger describes in §69 of Being and Time, which

he attempts to analyze again in Basic Problems of Phenomenology,

is this very turning into metontology in which ontology recoils upon itself, and that this moment of recoil is found again in the





interpretation of Antigone in Introduction to Metaphysics. In the

former two texts, argues McNeill, the withdrawal of the meaning of being is so radical that the possibility of thematizing the pro­ jection of beings as a whole is "far from assured" (1992:77). In Introduction to Metaphysics, the question of being is displaced by the withdrawal of being which prevails as being's appearance in beings: "because such withdrawal prevails precisely as the appearing of being in beings, being can no longer be thought of as the 'earlier,' the apriori ground of beings" (McNeill 1992:78). The year 1935 is therefore a crucial one in Heidegger's thinking. The thesis that has driven his inquiry into being through Being

and Time and Basic Problems of Phenomenology, that being is an a

priori project, stands in conflict with the regional ontologies of the sciences. For the apophantic moment in which beings are uncovered is the withdrawal of being, not its presencing for thinking. McNeill's reading of metontology can be applied to the ten­ sion at the heart of the entanglement of scientific philosophy with the sciences understood as the mathematical projection of nature. When the a priori projection of being becomes problem­ atic because it is a withdrawal and not a presence, the projection of being at work in the regional ontology of science becomes likewise awkward. If phenomenological inquiry with being as its object is no longer possible, since the a priori nature of such an understanding of being has been undermined, then the ques­ tion of what metaphysical assumptions underwrite science be­ comes not only sensible but also demanded: if being's withdrawal precludes its aprioricity, then on what basis can the sciences be taken to have a metaphysical grounding? It is pre­ cisely this question that Heidegger asks in Die Frage nach dem Ding, and which he answers with the notion of the mathemat­ ical. Accordingly, the two theses that Heidegger holds until the 1930s with respect to science-that philosophy is itself scientific and that science is the mathematical projection of nature-are entangled insofar as he takes the task of scientific philosophy to be the investigation of being as a means for establishing the re­ gional ontologies of the sciences on sure ground. The possibility of such an investigation is undermined by the realization that





the projection of the being of beings is simultaneously a with­ drawal of being. Hence Heidegger is drawn to the question of the metaphysical ground of the sciences, an investigation he un­ dertakes in Die Frage nach dem Ding by uncovering the metaphys­ ics of modem science at work in Galileo and Newton and quintessentially formulated in Descartes's foundation of the sci­ ences upon the self-certainty of the knowing subject. Heidegger's move from philosophy as science to the question of the sciences themselves can be thought through by tracing the separation of the two theses that characterize his early view. Heidegger gives up the thesis that philosophy is scientific, and subsequently goes on to rethink the thesis that science is the mathematical projection of nature. He does not simply tum from metaphysics and thereby come to science. Rather, his thinking is driven by the question of being, and I argue that the failure of his attempt to give the sciences a metaphysical grounding is at the heart of his tum away from metaphysics. To examine Heidegger's thesis that philosophy is itself a science, one must read that thesis against the background of Husserl's conception of rigorously scientific philosophy: phe­ nomenology. Joseph Kockelmans (1985) has given an extensive treatment of the Hegelian and Husserlian background against which Heidegger's thinking of science comes about. Rather than repeat that work, I will point only to the question of philosophy as rigorous science. Heidegger repudiates Husserl's epoche and prefers to make ontology central rather than bracket it. For Hei­ degger argues that whereas ontic sciences proceed on the basis of a regional ontology, taking as object some realm of being, scientific philosophy (i.e., ontology) takes as its object being it­ self. His break with Husser!, despite the apparent ambivalence

he shows toward Husserl in 1925 in History ofthe Concept of Time,

is his insistence that ontology is precisely the issue at stake if philosophy is to be properly scientific. It is the history of ontology that Heidegger wishes to destruct­ ure in Being and Time, and it is ontology that he names as scien­

tific philosophy in Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Yet these

texts lead Heidegger to the question, what is metaphysics? Hei­ degger's reading of Husserl leads him to Kant and away from the claim that ontology is the science that has being as its object,




to the claim that being is not an object at all. In his entanglement with Kant, Heidegger fails to distinguish the pure from the a priori in the first Critique. Hence when Heidegger appeals to the notion of certainty in modem science, he calls that certainty mathematical rather than a priori.

Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, situated between the in­

quiries into ontology and the 1929 address on metaphysics, is the text wherein Heidegger makes the shift from ontology to metaphysics. Heidegger holds, under the influence of Husserl, that philosophy is a science; and against Husser!, that scientific philosophy is ontology. The latter claim pushes Heidegger back to Kant, wherein he confronts metaphysics. It is Heidegger's overcoming of Kant that constitutes as a single move his aban­ donment of the claim that philosophy is itself a science and his abandonment of metaphysics. That move is the insight in Kant and the Problem ofMetaphysics that philosophy cannot provide a ground for the sciences. Philosophy as science had always been intended by Heidegger to do exactly that, and hence in discard­ ing that task he discards the thesis that philosophy is a science. Having worked through the history of philosophy as science, Heidegger is drawn to the sciences. In 1929, in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, he thematizes the life sciences, specifi­ cally biology and zoology; and in 1935, in Die Frage nach dem Ding, he treats explicitly the physics of Galileo and Newton. In the claim that science consists in the mathematical projection of nature, Heidegger considers science in the narrow sense of natu­ ral science. He examines Galileo's free-fall experiment and New­ ton's first law of motion as a rethinking of the mathematical. On the basis of a radical interpretation, Heidegger proposes that the mathematical is the metaphysical moment of modem science. My strategy is therefore straightforward. I look at how philos­ ophy as rigorous science is different in Heidegger's account from Husserl's, and then assess Heidegger's reading of Kant on metaphysics and the a priori. This will bring me directly to the notion of the mathematical in Heidegger, and I will examine the thesis that physics consists in the mathematical projection of nature in Heidegger's analyses of Galileo and Newton. A con­ cluding section on metaphysics and the mathematical will lay the groundwork for Heidegger's subsequent philosophy of sci-



ence. Hence this chapter shows how Heidegger moves from phi­ losophy as science to philosophy of science.


In 1925, Heidegger argues that it was Husserl who founded sci­ entific philosophy as phenomenology in his Logical Investigations (HeT 24/PG2 30). In Being and Time, Heidegger acknowledges several debts to Husserl. He dedicates the book to him and ap­ propriates his maxim of phenomenology, "To the things them­ selves" (BT 58/52 34). In a footnote, he says that Husserl "enabled us to understand once more the meaning of any genu­ ine philosophical empiricism" (BT 490, n. x/52 50, Anm. x). In another note, he attributes to Husserl the temporal interpreta­ tion of metaphysics as presence that he himself intends to inves­ tigate as an exploration of the ecstatical unity of Dasein (BT 498, n. xxiii/52 363, Anm. xxiii), but which remained unpublished. He further claims that Husserl's Logical Investigations prepared the ground for Being and Time, since it was therein that phenom­ enology first emerged (BT 62/52 38). Yet Heidegger rejects Husserl's phenomenology by arguing that what is essential in phenomenology is not its actuality as a philosophical movement. "Higher than actuality stands possibil­ ity" (BT 63/52 38), and it is the possibility of phenomenology that Heidegger wishes to seize upon. When he distinguishes his project from anthropology, he cites Husserl's "Philosophy as Rigorous Science" for the recognition that a person is not a thing (BT 73, n. v/ 52 47-48), that is, Dasein is not simply present-at­ hand. Yet when he argues that the limitation of the anthropologi­ cal inquiry is that "the cogitationes are either left ontologicaliy undetermined, or get tacitly assumed as something 'self-evi­ dently' 'given' whose 'Being' is not to be questioned" (BT 75/ 52 49), he must be referring to Husserl. In Basic Problems of Phe­ nomenology, Heidegger locates this criticism of Husserl-that he fails to question being-in the epoche. Heidegger did not allow the text of his 1927 lecture course on phenomenology to be published until 1975, when it appeared as Volume 24 of the Gesamtausgabe. The explicit acknowledgment




of Husserlian phenomenology found in Being and Time is not

evident in Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Yet the introduction

appears to have been cribbed from Husser!'s contribution to the first volume of Logos in 1911, "Philosophy as Rigorous Science." Here Husser! distinguishes phenomenology as scientific philos­ ophy from Weltanschauung philosophy, precisely the distinction at work in Heidegger's introduction to Basic Problems ofPhenome­


Husser! argues in "Philosophy as Rigorous Science" for a phi­ losophy that is scientific, rather than either naturalism or Weltan­ schauung philosophy. Naturalism in his account naturalizes consciousness and ideas on the basis of empirical science. The naturalist, Husser! claims, seeks to lay out the natural laws of thinking and "believes that through natural science and through a philosophy based on the same science the goal has for the most part been attained" (PRS 169). Like contemporary cognitive sci­ ence, naturalism looks for laws of nature to describe thought. But, criticizes Husser!, this position is self-refuting since it be­ gins with a theoretical absurdity. Since it binds itself to empirical science, which deals only in bodies, and consciousness is not a body, Husser! sees implicit in naturalism the preclusion of the very thing it seeks to investigate. Insofar as contemporary cogni­ tive science looks to the brain to explain the mind, it is suscepti­ ble to the same criticism. Husser! suggests "a phenomenology of consciousness as opposed to a natural science about con­ sciousness" (PRS 173). This phenomenology investigates the intentional correlates of consciousness and hence clarifies all fundamental kinds of objec­ tivities. It pursues the relation between consciousness and being not as the relation between mind and bodies but rather as the relation between subjective consciousness and intentional ob­ jects within consciousness. Hence it is related to psychology, but whereas psychology concerns itself with empirical conscious­ ness, phenomenology in Husser!'s sense deals with pure con­ sciousness, that is, essences and essential relations. It "makes no use of the existential positing of nature" (PRS 183) but seeks to investigate what the psychic is. Psychology, on the other hand, begins with a supposition of the psychic, and hence Husser! calls absurd its hope to "give scientific value to the designation of the




psychical" (PRS 184). Hence Husserl's philosophy as rigorous science can be neither naturalism nor psychology. Furthermore, Husserl is not arguing for Weltanschauung phi­ losophy. The latter seeks the wisdom of the age, he claims, that "according to the situation of the time, harmoniously satisfies both intellect and feeling" (PRS 194). Scientific philosophy, on the other hand, is impersonal and requires not wisdom but theo­ retical talent by means of which it "increases a treasure of eter­ nal validities" (PRS 195). It bears the stamp of eternity, and hence it "alone is capable of providing a foundation for a philos­ ophy of spirit" (PRS 189). Indeed, this is what scientific philoso­ phy is about in Husserl's view: it is radical and foundational, a science of true beginnings, of origins, and it "must not rest until it has attained its own absolutely clear beginnings" (PRS 196). Husserl envisions this philosophy as a scientific critique of rea­ son that has a rigorous method of proceeding and which pro­ vides a sure foundation both for itself and for cultural practices like the sciences. Likewise, Heidegger rejects worldview philosophy as inade­

quately radical in Basic Problems ofPhenomenology. Like Husser!,

he finds that worldview philosophy is limited by its belonging to "the particular contemporary Dasein at any given time" (BPP 6/GP 7). It arises for a particular factical Dasein. Although Hei­ degger is interested precisely in the scientific construction of a worldview, his philosophy "must define what in general consti­ tutes the structure of a worldview" (BPP lO/GP 13). Hence that philosophy is not directed at the formation of a particular world­ view, but nonetheless remains at the foundation of worldview formation. Accordingly, Heidegger's phenomenology is, like Husserl's, an alternative to Weltanschauung philosophy. But Hei­ degger's conception of phenomenology is fundamentally at odds with Husserl's. For both Heidegger and Husser!, phenomenology is a method, and for each it begins with a reduction. Yet their reductions move in opposite directions. Husserl turns away from the ques­ tion of being. He is prepared, at §148 to §150 of Ideas, for exam­ ple, to take up the questions of formal and regional ontology. But he disregards the question of being by suggesting that for his inquiry, fantasies such as "winged horses, white ravens,





golden mountains, and the like" (Hussed 1983:356/Ideen 310) serve just as well as examples of physical objects as things in actual experience. Hussed is interested in physical objects as in­ tentional correlates of consciousness and not as bodies consti­ tuted outside of consciousness. Subsequently, he claims at §59 of Cartesian Meditations that the task of an ontology of the real wodd is, though necessary, not philosophical, and at §60 of the same text that the results of his inquiry are metaphysical only as "anything but metaphysics in the customary sense" (1960:139; 1950:166). Hussed's concern is meaning, not being. And indeed,

Heidegger repudiates Hussed in 1929 precisely for his idealistic epistemology, for failing to "ask the question about the being constituted as consciousness" (MFL 133/MAL 167). Whereas Hussed's epoche is the bracketing of ontology, for Heidegger "phenomenological reduction means leading phe­ nomenological vision back from the apprehension of a being to the understanding of the being of this being" (BPP 21/GP 29). Heidegger's reduction is precisely to the question of being. It is first a negative move away from the particular being, and second a positive construction of being that brings it into view "in a free projection" (BPP 22/ GP 29). This projection is free in that it does not reduce being by making it accessible as a being. These two basic components of Heidegger's method, combined with the destruction of traditional use of concepts as the third, are "phi­

the concept of phenomenological investi­

gation" (BPP 23/GP 31). Phenomenology is for Heidegger the scientific method of ontology, and he therefore rejects Hussed's phenomenology, which begins by precluding the question of being. Heidegger's criticism of Hussed here leads him directly to Kant, and indeed Heidegger's focal criticism of Hussed is that he is neo-Kantian. He charges Hussed with following Kant in taking existence to mean extantness (BPP 28/GP 36), and later with using Descartes's distinction between res cogitans and res extensa in order to characterize subjectivity (BPP 124-25/GP 175-76). Hence Hussed's separation of beings into subjectivity and objectivity presses the question of the unity of being. Yet, as Hofstadter notes in the introduction to his translation, Heidegger chooses Kant, not Hussed, "as the most suitable rep-

losophy as science,





resentative of the problem" (BPP xvi). Heidegger has already

argued in 1925, in History of the Concept ofTime, that the Marburg

school misinterprets Kant by appropriating him to psychology, that is, by reading him as "working out the constitutive mo­ ments of knowledge in the form of a science of consciousness" (HCT 16/PGZ 18). For Heidegger, reading Kant is an opportu­ nity to think his work as metaphysics rather than epistemology, and to retrieve a "philosophy of science" (HCT 16/PGZ 18), as he called it in 1925, that is obscured by Husserlian psychologistic subjectivism. In his investigation into the thesis of logic, the "is" of the cop­ ula, Heidegger commends Husserl for bringing logic to light. But he "did not succeed in conceiving logic philosophically" (BPP 178/GP 253), rather tending to develop it as a separate science in the conceptual schemata of neo-Kantianism. Heideg­ ger takes such preoccupation with propositional logic in ques­ tioning truth and being to be a "principal criterion of neo­ Kantianism" (BPP 201/GP 286) and argues that it was Husserl who first drew the distinction between making a judgment and its factual content that makes such an approach possible. Hus­ serl is accordingly not only neo-Kantian for Heidegger, but fur­ ther, a basis for neo-Kantianism. Hence Heidegger's treatment

of Husserl in Basic Problems of Phenomenology brings him face-to­

face with Kant. Indeed, in his rejection of worldview philosophy, Heidegger pinpoints the entry of the word "Weltanschauung" into philoso­ phy in Kant's Critique of Judgment. Here it means "a beholding of the world as simple apprehension of nature in the broadest sense" (BPP 4/GP 6). He says that this usage dies out, but he attempts to retrieve something of it by appealing to Kant's dis­ tinction between the academic and cosmic concepts of philoso­ phy. The latter investigates the end of human reason, that for the sake of which reason is what it is, while the former is "the whole of all the formal and material fundamental concepts and principles of rational knowledge" (BPP 8/GP 10). This gets at the distinction Heidegger wants to draw between scientific and worldview philosophy, since in making his distinction Kant brings the question of the end of human reason to the center of the question of philosophy. But it is an inadequate distinction





for Heidegger, since philosophy in the cosmic sense does not have as its task the question of the development of a worldview, and Heidegger's inquiry, though not directed at the formation of a particular worldview, is aimed at the foundation of worldview formation. Accordingly, Heidegger does not set his task in the early years differently from Husserl's vision of his task. Both seek to investi­ gate what is foundational and hence prior to a worldview, and both resist naturalism, psychology, and the entrenchment of philosophy in a worldview. Yet the two are in fundamental dis­ agreement about what the scientific philosophy is that pursues their chosen task. Each calls his method phenomenology, but whereas for Husser! that means the radical investigation of con­ sciousness and not being, for Heidegger it means precisely the question of being. So formulated, Heidegger's phenomenology leads him from Husser! back to Kant.


Heidegger's ear!y view of the sciences is colored by his commit­ ment to metaphysics, which is for him philosophy proper be­ cause he holds that metaphysics is itself a science: the science of

being. Basic Problems ofPhenomenology operates within a tension

in which metaphysics understood as ontology is a science, yet thoroughly distinct in Heidegger's view from the sciences. He separates them on the basis that the sciences are positive, that is, they work with some realm of beings whose being is posited. Metaphysics, however, has as its object being rather than a par­ ticular realm of beings. Whereas sciences proceed on the basis of regional ontology, scientific philosophy is fundamental on­ tology.

In 1929, two years after Being and Time, Kant and the Problem of

Metaphysics was published. This text begins the separation of philosophy and the sciences that will serve as the basis for Hei­ degger's critique of representational thinking. His abandonment of metaphysics as the science of being and his later critique of the sciences both arise from a tension in his reading of Kant: on the one hand, ontology is the science of being; on the other hand,




it is not a positive science. This cmoQLa dissolves in the claim that being is not an object of cognition. But therefore philosophical thinking cannot be for Heidegger a positive science. His inter­ pretation of Kant plays a key role in his thinking on the relation between and subsequent separation of metaphysics and science. In Being and Time, Heidegger distinguishes everyday under­ standing from the theoretical attitude. Basic Problems ofPhenome­ nology aligns ontology with the theoretical attitude since Heidegger argues that philosophy is itself a science, "the science of being" (BPP Ilff./GP 15). Ontology is so scientific that "the expression 'scientific philosophy' contains a pleonasm" (BPP 4/

GP 4). Heidegger's concern in Basic Problems of Phenomenology is

to show that scientific philosophy is ontology, and thereby to retrieve the question of being from its history. Yet ontology occu­ pies the ambiguous position here that, though a science, it is distinguished from the positive sciences. The difference between the positive sciences and ontology is that whereas positive sci­

ences "deal with that which is, with beings

domains, for instance, nature" (BPP 13/GP 17), philosophy has being as its object. The positive sciences are grounded in re­ gional ontology and are only possible on the basis of that prior understanding of being. The task of ontology is precisely the inquiry into that prior understanding. Heidegger rejects ontotheology in his ubiquitous claim that

being is not itself a being. In both Basic Problems ofPhenomenology

and Being and Time, he attributes to Kant the thesis that "being

is not a real predicate" (BPP 27ff./GP 35; BT 127/5Z 94). In the

latter text, he explains that this claim means exactly that being is not accessible as an entity (BT 127/5Z 94; d. BT 23/5Z 4). In the former, he explains further that the claim that being is not a real predicate means "that something like existence does not belong to the determinateness of a concept at all" (BPP 32/GP 42). The distinction at work here between existence and reality is one he draws from Kant. Heidegger argues that reality for Kant is synonymous with Leibniz's term possibilitas. Realities are "the what-contents of possible things in general without regard to whether or not they are actual" (BPP 34/GP 45). Reality belongs to the category of quality, whereas existence belongs to the category of modality.

with specific





For, argues Heidegger, extantness belongs to an existent thing whether it is perceived or not, since it is only on the basis of a prior extantness that a thing can be perceived (BPP 49, 70ff. /GP 66, 98-99). Extantness is a sufficient but not necessary condition for being perceived. Accordingly, Heidegger objects that "posi­ tion in the sense of positedness is not the being of beings rather, it is at most the how of being apprehended of something posited" (BPP 49 /GP 49). Kant's account of being falls short.

Although in 1925, in History of the Concept of Time, Heidegger

saw the possibility of a retrieval of Kant away from epistemology and toward metaphysics, and the promise in Kant of a treatment of the question of being, in 1927 he finds the latter hope disap­ pointed. Yet Kant's metaphysics is the location Heidegger chooses to begin his laying bare of the basic problems of phenomenology. For Kant's claim that existence is added synthetically to the con­ cept is food for thought about being. In fact, Kant's synthetic a priori cannot but be intriguing to the thinker who argues in Being and Time that the understanding which discloses entities in their possibility has a projective fore-structure that understands being (BT 192-93/5Z 151). Heidegger asks whether simply to say that this "fore" is "a priori" is to conceive adequately of its character. And he finds that it is not, for the a priori project is of meaning, which characterizes Dasein, and he instead wishes "to make the scientific theme secure by working out these fore­ structures in terms of the things themselves" (BT 195/5Z 153). In other words, the inquiry of Being and Time is scientific insofar as it investigates not transcendental subjectivity, but rather the question of being. Hence the eventual abandonment of the project of Being and Time. As long as Heidegger undertakes his journey around the hermeneutic circle as an analytic of Dasein, he will remain in an idealist metaphysics. But he is not yet ready to give up the at­ tempt to retrieve philosophy from that history of metaphysics as idealism. Instead, he goes at the problem differently in Basic Problems of Phenomenology. He seeks still a scientific philosophy for which the basic issue is the question of being, but in this text he explores the relation between ontology and the sciences. The positive sciences provide Heidegger with a different access to




the question of the projection of being, since each positive sci­ ence is grounded in a regional ontology, precisely such a projec­ tion. Hence the grounding of the positive sciences is a perfect location for scrutinizing the a priori nature of understanding in which being is that a priori.

Early in Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Heidegger raises the

question of being as a problem of the a priori (BPP 20/GP 27). Being is always prior to beings in understanding. It is not prior in the sense of clock time, but in the sense that "it is implicit in the basic constitution of the Dasein itself that, in existing, the Dasein also already understands the mode of being of the ex­

tant" (BPP 71 /GP 100). Likewise, in Being and Time, Heidegger

notes the a priori nature of being in a world for Dasein (BT 144/

5Z 110; d. BT 249/5Z 206). Furthermore, in Basic Problems of

Phenomenology, he comes back to the question of the a priori in his closing statement. Plato is "the discoverer of the a priori" (BPP 326 /GP 463-64) who expresses that discovery in his doc­ trine that "learning itself is nothing but recollection" (BPP 326/ GP 464-65). Demythologizing this claim, Heidegger interprets it to mean that "being has the character of the prius which the human being, who is familiar first and foremost with beings, has forgotten" (BPP 326 /GP 465). Liberation from Plato's cave is precisely the retrieval of the a priori (i.e., being) from this obliv­ ion in forgottenness. What is at stake in Basic Problems ofPhenom­ enology is how being stands as an a priori in the ontological difference. On this basis, Heidegger argues that there is a twofold possi­ bility of objectivity and therefore two possible types of science:

"objectification of beings as positive science; objectification of being as Temporal or transcendental science" (BPP 327/GP 466). That is, there are positive sciences whose grounds are laid in regional ontologies, the objectification of beings, and there is in Heidegger's account a further science that objectifies being yet is not grounded in a regional ontology. This is the science of being, and it is not positive for Heidegger. It does not posit being, but rather seeks to explain "why the ontological determi­ nations of being have the character of apriority" (BPP 325/GP 462) by means of an inquiry into the temporality of the under­ standing of being.





Hence under Heidegger's reading, Kant, rather than denying the possibility of metaphysics, "is in search precisely of a scien­ tific metaphysics, a scientific ontology" (BPP 30/GP 39). Yet in that reading, Kant's search fails. Kant speaks of the concept of

being, but in Der einzig miigliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstra­

tion des Daseins Gottes (5.78) he declares it an unanalyzable con­ cept. The suggestion "that the concept of 'Being' is indefinable" (BT 23/52 4) is one of the three presuppositions against which Heidegger argues for the necessity of raising the question of being in the opening pages of Being and Time. The meaning of being is not eliminated as a question by the indefinability of the concept. The latter shows, rather, that this question must be faced. Kant never faces it, argues Heidegger in Basic Problems of Phe­

nomenology, since he does not go beyond understanding being as position to the analysis called for by the indefinability of the concept. Likewise, Heidegger argues in Being and Time that Kant failed to achieve insight into the problem of temporality because

"he altogether neglected the problem of Being

provide an ontology with Dasein as its theme" (BT 45/52 24). Heidegger does recognize that the problems of a theory of knowledge and of the question of being are related. He argues that attempts to solve the problem of reality "in ways which arc just 'epistemological' '' (BT 252/52 208) show that the problem, as ontological, must be taken back to an existential analytic of Dasein. But Heidegger's call to an analytic of Dasein toward a renewed metaphysics is a question of emphasis and a shift away from neo-Kantian interpretations. That is, it is an attempt to do ontology by means of an inquiry into human understanding that does not reduce the issue to idealism.

Heidegger sees himself in Being and Time and Basic Problems of

Phenomenology as a revisionist. He is undertaking the Kantian task of grounding knowledge, but revising that task to achieve it successfully through an analysis of temporality. Kant's Coper­ nican revolution can be truly revolutionary-in fact, scientific­ for Heidegger only as an analytic of Dasein that does not lose sight of the question of being. Basic Problems ofPhenomenology is then for Heidegger, as was Being and Time, an attempt to retrieve the question of ontology from its collapse into epistemology

[and] failed to




through an analytic of Dasein. He reads Kant as undertaking also precisely that task, but failing in that he does not see beyond being as position. Heidegger of course fails also insofar as both these texts remain incomplete. He undertakes the task again in

Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. Once again he locates his

inquiry in the relation between philosophy and the sciences, spe­ cifically, metaphysics and physics. The development of Heideg­ ger's thinking from the earlier two attempts is that now he denies that relation is one of ground, and on this basis he argues that his inquiry is into being, not knowledge.

Heidegger argues in 1929 in Kant and the Problem ofMetaphysics

that there is a specific sense in which Kant's first Critique is not about knowledge. That is to say, "ontology in no way refers pri­ marily to the laying of the ground for the positive sciences" (KPM 8/KM 12), but rather serves a "higher interest" of reason. This claim is a shift in Heidegger's thinking. It is a rejection of the Husserlian thesis that philosophy is a rigorous science in the sense that its primary task is a securing of the epistemological foundation of the sciences. Heidegger argues in 1929, as he has consistently argued before, that Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is to be read as a ground-laying of the problem of metaphysics, not as a question of epistemology. He again takes exception to neo­ Kantian readings of the Critique as a theory of knowledge. But for the first time he voices his discomfort with the neo-Kantians as the suggestion that the relation between metaphysics and the sciences is not one of ground. The question of being is for Kant, he argues, rather a transcendental inquiry. It is formulated on the assumption that objects must conform to our knowledge (KPM 8/KM 12-13). The issue is not What must things be like such that we can know them?, but What are the structures of knowledge to which objects must conform in order to be known? This is taken as Kant's Copernican revolution precisely in that it rewrites the question of knowledge as the question of the constitution of the transcendental subject rather than as the question of the constitution of things. But, Heidegger argues, Kant's inquiry does not shake the tra­ ditional account of truth as correspondence. Rather, foreshad­ owing "On the Essence of Truth," Heidegger argues that Kant's inquiry "actually presupposes it, indeed even grounds it for the





first time" (KPM 8/KM 13), by showing that ontic truth can only achieve such correspondence if the being as a being is already apparent in its being, that is, on the basis of ontological truth. Kant's thinking is not revolutionary for Heidegger because it shifts the focus of the question of truth to the subject. Yet Hei­ degger sees in Kant's Copernican revolution the forcing of the question of ontology. He says the year before that reading an epistemological intent in Kant as a Copernican revolution is a misunderstanding (MFL 142/MAL 179). For Heidegger reads Kant as turning back the question of knowledge to its ground in the pre-understanding of being that makes any knowledge of particular beings possible (KPM l1 /KM 17). Accordingly, the knowledge of beings that is the sciences, for which an object is given in its being beforehand in a regional ontology, is exactly what Heidegger does not wish to pursue and does not see pursued in Kant's first Critique. Heidegger's claim that the purpose of the Critique is not primarily to ground the positive sciences is in essence the argument that ontology is not Simply propaedeutic to the positive sciences. In 1929 Heideg­ ger is concerned to distinguish ontology from the positive sci­ ences, that is, metaphysics from physics, as he was in Basic

In 1929 metaphysics is taken as

Problems of Phenomenology.

ground-laying for the sciences, but ground-laying is now under­ stood as "elucidation of the essence of comporting toward be­ ings in which this essence shows itself in itself so that all assertions about it become provable on the basis of it" (KPM 7/ KM 10). Metaphysics establishes a comportment toward beings on the basis of which hypotheses can be proven. This change in view came about the year before. In fact, in 1928 Heidegger ar­ gued, contrary to his earlier view, that ontology is not a science. In 1928 Heidegger gave the lecture course that is published

under the title The Metaphysical Fo undations of Logic. Here he

thought through the conjunction of the idea of being with the idea of ground. He argues that the problem of ground is also the central problem of logic (MFL 117/MAL 144-45). But for Heidegger, "logic is nothing other than the metaphysics of truth" (MFL 213/MAL 275). Truth is already thought in this text as the presence of being that makes possible the assertion and its correspondence. Ground is thus understood by Heidegger in




terms of Dasein's transcendence. Because Dasein transcends, it is free to think toward ends and reasons, hence to ask, why? Heidegger formulates ground as "essence, cause, truth or argu­ ment, intention" (MFL lIS/MAL 143). In taking beings as their object, the positive sciences obviously then inquire into grounds. But what of their ground? Heidegger argues that ontology­ that is, the question of beings as a whole-is not "a summary ontic in the sense of a general science that empirically assembles the results of the individual sciences" (MFL 157/MAL 199-200). One cannot simply combine the regional ontologies of the sci­ ences to get at ontology. Accordingly, Heidegger argues for the first time, in what for him is a radical change from his earlier view, that "nonsensical at bottom is the expression 'scientific philosophy,' because philosophy is prior to all science, and can be so only because it is already, in an eminent sense, what 'sci­ ence' can be only in a derived sense" (MFL ISO/MAL 199-231). In his supplement, Heidegger again explicitly rejects the thesis that philosophy is a science. His claim is that in order to ground the sciences, philosophy must be something quite different from them. The thesis that philosophy is a science is given up pre­ cisely in order to argue that the task of philosophy, albeit not its only or primary task, is the grounding of the sciences.

In Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, when Heidegger again

takes up the question of the metaphysical grounding of the sci­ ences, he argues that metaphysics lays the ground for the sci­ ences by establishing a comportment toward beings that is secure in its own truth. The possibility of such comporting lies in the method of the natural sciences, upon which, according to

They realized that reason has insight

Kant, "a light broke

only into what it produces itself according to its own design" (CPR Bxiii; KPM 7/KM 10). Heidegger interprets this observa­ tion as the recognition of a preliminary understanding of being at work in the sciences, and he focuses on the fact that it is being

that is understood rather than on the a priori nature of such understanding. Since what makes the sciences possible is their preliminary understanding of being, ontology stands in relation to the sciences. Regional ontologies, not fundamental ontology, ground the sciences. Fundamental ontology is an inquiry into





Dasein, as, for example, in Being and Time. A regional ontology, and not metaphysics, grounds physics in Heidegger's account. For, he argues, the relation between the two is such that one only comes to metaphysics through physics. Heidegger quotes Heinze on metaphysics: "It is a science that is, so to speak, out­ side of the field of physics, which lies on the other side of it" (KPM 4/ KM 7). Metaphysics is meta precisely in that it is beyond physics, not prior to it. One does not, as the history of science shows, have first to do ontology to make scientific investigation possible. In Being and Time Heidegger argued that the sciences cannot and should not wait for philosophy to do its ontological work before they proceed (BT 76/5Z 51). He argued there that the task of philosophy is not one of grounding, but of recapitulat­ ing ontic discovery in greater ontological transparency. The in­ sight that reason can be certain only of what it itself projects is an indication of a "fundamental conditional connection between ontic experience and ontological knowledge" (KPM 7/KM 12). One comes to the problem of fundamental ontology only when the sciences have done their work such that a pre1iminary under­ standing of being is evident. Metaphysics understood as funda­ mental ontology cannot ground the sciences because it necessarily follows upon them. Yet neither is metaphysics grounded in physics in Heidegger's account. Mathematical natural science is exhausted at the point at which a pre1iminary understanding of being is uncovered. The connection between ontic experience and ontological knowledge does not solve the problem of the pre1iminary under­ standing of being, but rather only points to it (KPM 7/KM 12). To proceed with the task of laying a ground for metaphysics, the inner possibility of ontology must be shown. This could hardly be construed as the task of the positive sciences. In Heidegger's account, then, in 1925, the sciences do not ground metaphysics any more than metaphysics grounds them. Hence Heidegger ex­ plicitly separates scientific philosophy from the positive sciences

radically in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics.

This is the sense for Heidegger in which Kant's first Critique is not about knowledge (KPM l1/KM 17). It is rather a ground­ laying for metaphysics. Heidegger understands !-lETa Ta qJUOLXU as "the title of a fundamental philosophical difficulty" (KPM 4/





KM 7). Under Aristotle's much earlier analysis, Heidegger sug­ gests, a doubling is uncovered in metaphysics. On the one hand, it is knowledge of beings as beings; on the other hand, it is knowledge about the region of beings from which being as a whole determines itself. This doubling is reflected in a division of metaphysics into metaphysica generalis, which is knowledge of beings in general, and metaphysica specialis, knowledge of the principal divisions of the former, that is, God, nature, and hu­ mankind. An inquiry into metaphysica specialis is brought to the question of what makes possible such ontic knowledge, that is, knowl­ edge about particular beings, whether supreme, natural, or human. The fundamental philosophical difficulty that is meta­ physics consists in the fact that a being is always encountered with a previous understanding of its being. This preliminary un­ derstanding of being, questioned in metaphysica generalis, makes

metaphysica specialis possible. The inquiry into metaphysica spe­ cialis is thus led back to metaphysica generalis, which is in the

broadest sense the problem of ontological knowledge. On this basis, Heidegger argues that "transcendental knowl­ edge does not investigate the being itself, but rather the possibil­ ity of the preliminary understanding of Being" (KPM lO/KM 16). In Heidegger's account, Kant's inquiry in the first Critique is not simply a theory of experience or a theory of knowledge, but rather a laying of the groundwork for the problem of metaphys­

ics that is ontology. Kant's text "signifies

the working out of

a complete determination of the 'whole contour' and the 'whole internal, articular structure' of ontology" (KPM l1 /KM 16). What is at stake under Heidegger's reading of the Critique of Pure Reason is the inner possibility of ontology. The task Heidegger envisions for Kant's text is to secure the possibility of questioning being, the a priori in knowledge. "How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?" is the question Heidegger acknowledges explicitly as that for the whole sake of which the Critique is undertaken (KPM 10/KM 15). But Heideg­ ger has dislocated Kant's question "How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?" from transcendental subjectivity, that is, from neo-Kantian accounts, and relocated it in ontology. What,





KM 7). Under Aristotle's much earlier analysis, Heidegger sug­ gests, a doubling is uncovered in metaphysics. On the one hand, it is knowledge of beings as beings; on the other hand, it is knowledge about the region of beings from which being as a whole determines itself. This doubling is reflected in a division of metaphysics into metaphysica generalis, which is knowledge of beings in general, and metaphysica specialis, knowledge of the principal divisions of the former, that is, God, nature, and hu­ mankind. An inquiry into metaphysica specialis is brought to the question of what makes possible such ontic knowledge, that is, knowl­ edge about particular beings, whether supreme, natural, or human. The fundamental philosophical difficulty that is meta­ physics consists in the fact that a being is always encountered with a previous understanding of its being. This preliminary un­ derstanding of being, questioned in metaphysica generalis, makes

metaphysica specialis possible. The inquiry into metaphysica spe­ cialis is thus led back to metaphysica generalis, which is in the

broadest sense the problem of ontological knowledge. On this basis, Heidegger argues that "transcendental knowl­

edge does not investigate the being itself, but rather the possibil­ ity of the preliminary understanding of Being" (KPM lO/KM 16). In Heidegger's account, Kant's inquiry in the first Critique is not simply a theory of experience or a theory of knowledge, but rather a laying of the groundwork for the problem of metaphys­

ics that is ontology. Kant's text "signifies

the working out of

a complete determination of the 'whole contour' and the 'whole internal, articular structure' of ontology" (KPM l1 /KM 16). What is at stake under Heidegger's reading of the Critique of Pure Reason is the inner possibility of ontology. The task Heidegger envisions for Kant's text is to secure the possibility of questioning being, the a priori in knowledge. "How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?" is the question Heidegger acknowledges explicitly as that for the whole sake of which the Critique is undertaken (KPM 10/KM 15). But Heideg­ ger has dislocated Kant's question "How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?" from transcendental subjectivity, that is, from neo-Kantian accounts, and relocated it in ontology. What,





then, of that question? How are synthetic a priori judgments possible in Heidegger's account?


In Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Heidegger finds many

senses of "synthetic" at work in the first Critique. Initially, he defines the synthetic nature of judgments in a twofold sense:

"first, as judgments in general [which synthesize-i.e., con­ nect-subject and predicate]; and second, insofar as the legiti­ macy of the 'connection' (synthesis) of the representation is 'brought forth' (synthesis) from the being itself with which the judgment is concerned" (KPM 10/KM 15). These are the senses in which synthetic a posteriori judgments are synthetic. There is, however, a further sense of "synthetic" at work in synthetic a priori judgments. Because it is a priori, a synthetic a priori judg­ ment "should bring forth something about the being which was not derived experientially from it" (KPM lO/KM 15). These three senses of "synthesis" are complicated by a further distinction of synthesis into three kinds: veritative, predicative, and apophantic (KPM 19/KM 29). Veritative synthesis is a medi­ ation between thinking and its object by intuition which makes judgments true or evident and is recognizable as the second of the syntheses defined earlier. In veritative synthesis lies also the predicative synthesis: the unification of various representations into a single concept. Predicative synthesis did not appear in the earlier account. Although the name suggests it is the synthesis of predicate and subject, it is defined here differently, and here Heidegger calls that synthesis of subject and predicate apophan­ tic. In yet a further synthesis (one could call it a meta-synthesis), predicative and apophantic synthesis are "joined together into a structural unity of syntheses" (KPM 19/KM 29). Furthermore, the thrust of Heidegger's reading of Kant is that Kant's insight in the first Critique is that sensibility and understanding are syn­ thesized by imagination, which is not simply another faculty among the three but rather the basis for their structural unity. Now Heidegger's reading becomes interesting, rather than simply an explOSion of "synthesis" into more senses than one





can keep clear. Heidegger explicates in Section 31 the difference between the A and B editions of the first Critique. He argues that in the former Kant makes his insight into imagination as the synthesis of intuition and understanding, an insight that shows how understanding is inherently finite through its inseparability from possible experience, its bond to intuition. But, argues Hei­ degger, in the B edition Kant shrank back from that insight and instead gave priority to the understanding. As "pure reason as reason drew him increasingly under its spell" (KPM 115/KM 168), Kant shrank back from the idea that sensibility constituted the essence of reason insofar as the synthesis of imagination ren­ ders a structural unity of sensibility and understanding. Heideg­ ger accuses Kant of being unable to stomach his own insight into the finitude of human understanding and therefore of giving logic primacy in his B edition. Heidegger rejects the "already long-established" (KPM 116/KM 170) reading of the two edi­ tions as a move from a psychological interpretation to a logical one by suggesting that the more exclusive orientation to pure reason of the B edition is, in fact, more psychological than the earlier account. Heidegger argues that Kant fell back from his insight into imagination as the unity of a pure, sensible reason because his inquiry into the subjectivity of the subject led into "darkness the abyss of metaphysics" (KPM 146/KM 214-15). In this in­ quiry, "the manner of questioning regarding human beings be­ comes questionable" (KPM 146/KM 214). The manner of questioning leads into anthropology. The question, What is being?, asked by means of the subjectivity of the subject, unveils

the more original question: "What does Being mean, which is al­ ready understood in advance in every question?" (KPM 152/KM

223). The latter question is anthropological because it poses the question of being via the nature of human being as questioner. What the anthropological question asks about is the possibil­

ity of comprehending what is always already understood. The Cri­

tique undermines itself by uncovering the finitude of Dasein, for the A edition, under Heidegger's reading, uncovers as necessary for understanding what it seeks to show is possible. This is the sense of synthesis that is crucial to Heidegger's inquiry: ontolog­ ical synthesis, the synthesis of being and the object of thought in





the prior understanding of being that is present in all human understanding. Kant's turn from anthropology to logic in the move from the A to the B edition is, in Heidegger's view, an attempt to remedy this collapse of the question of being into the finitude of human understanding. But the second edition, as a preference for the synthetic power of understanding over imagi­ nation, is a move in the wrong direction. 1his is to say that Heidegger is dissatisfied with Kant's Coper­ nican revolution. Kant was unable to sustain the analytic of Da­ sein requisite for the grounding of metaphysics. And Heidegger himself attempts to retrieve the ground-laying of metaphysics in such an inquiry. He does this by retrieving the insight that the question of being is the finitude of human understanding. He rethinks the Critique into the terminology of Being and Time and concludes that "in the ground of its essence Dasein holds itself into the Nothing" (KPM 162/KM 238). 1his is Dasein's anxiety, the basic disposition that places the thinker before the nothing, and presumably this anxiety is expressed by Kant precisely in his falling back from the question of human finitude and appeal­ ing to the understanding over intuition.

In the same year he published Kant and the Problem of Meta­

physics, Heidegger gave the lecture What Is Metaphysics ? In this lecture the question of the nothing and a shrinking back before that question in anxiety are explored, albeit not as an inquiry into Kant. Here Heidegger is drawn back to the question of the relation between metaphysics and the sciences, but unlike in his earlier texts, Heidegger no longer argues that metaphysics is propaedeutic to the sciences. Rather, he suggests that its func­ tion with respect to the sciences is unification and guidance. In the technical organization of the universities, he argues, "the practical establishment of goals by each discipline provides the only meaningful source of unity" (WM 96/W 104). But, he adds, the root of the sciences has therein atrophied. The sciences want to know nothing of the nothing in spite of the fact that "scientific existence is possible only if in advance it holds itself out into the nothing" (WM 111/W 121). Rather, the sciences lose themselves in beings, a move Heidegger will later call, in "On the Essence of Truth," errancy, the insistent holding fast to beings and the inessential. Hence "man goes wrong as regards the essential






genuineness of his standards" (ET 135/W 195-96). Likewise, in What Is Metaphysics ? Heidegger suggests that the question of metaphysics is, "Why are there beings at all, and not rather nothing?" (WM 112/W 122). Since metaphysics asks about the nothing, into which the sciences hold themselves out, "Only if science exists on the base of metaphysics can it advance further in its essential task, which is not to amass and classify bits of knowledge but to disclose in ever-renewed fashion the entire region of truth in nature and history" (WM l11/W 121). The relation between the sciences and metaphysics goes deeper than it did for Heidegger in his earlier accounts. Metaphysics is not simply a ground for the sciences, but, as the inquiry into their root, has a guiding function to perform. If science determines the existence of modern Dasein, then its guidance from the mere amassing of information to knowledge is a crucial function that the sciences cannot perform themselves. For the sciences are a shrinking back in anxiety from the very thing Kant shrank be­ fore: the nothing.

Heidegger, however, in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics,

holds fast in the face of such anxiety and pursues the question of the finitude of human understanding. He finds there the "what always already was" (KPM 164/KM 240), evident in the history of metaphysics as early as the ancients in their metaphysics of presence. Being has always had an alreadiness, its a priori, and for Heidegger this is the synthesis at stake in the ground-laying of metaphysics. It is what he calls ontological synthesis, the prior understanding of being that makes all questioning and under­ standing possible. But the "earlier" at work here has nothing to do with time if time is taken in the common sense of sequential moments measured by clocks. Rather, time is to be understood in a more fundamental sense, as the horizon of understanding constitutive of Dasein. That is to say, the retrieval of Kant's insight in the A edition of the Critique is exactly the task Heidegger understands himself to have undertaken in Being and Time. But having done the groundwork necessary to the question of being, both in Being

and Time and now again in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics,

neither text then undertakes the question. The former was never completed, and the latter simply ends with a citation from Aris­ totle's Metaphysics 7.1, the question of what being is. Heidegger





has argued that the ground for this question (i.e., metaphysics) is precisely Kant's question, "How are synthetic a priori judg­ ments possible?"-and read that question as, "How is being al­ ways understood a priori?" But no answer is forthcoming. Heidegger takes up Kant's account of synthetic a priori judg­ ments again in the lecture course from 1935-36 published as Die Frage nach dem Ding. Heidegger explains here the background against which Kant makes the claim that there are synthetic a priori judgments (FD 129-31). In the tradition, analytic judg­ ments were always taken to be a priori, whereas synthetic judg­ ments were a posteriori. Kant's account of the difference between synthetic and analytic judgments is consistent with this history, for Kant argues that while analytic judgments fail to go beyond the concept in question, synthetic judgments are syn­ thetic precisely in that they add something beyond what is con­ tained in the concept. This is a straightforward reading of the first Critique (A6-7/B10-11). Synthetic judgments are what Kant calls "ampliative" in that they bring to a concept something extra. The "something extra" of synthetic judgments was accord­ ingly taken to entail that such judgments are a posteriori, for if the source of this "something extra" is not the concept, then it must be the thing encountered in experience. Only analytic judgments could be a priori, since they do not exceed the con­ cept, and synthetic judgments were taken to be a posteriori, since they add to the concept what is not already there and hence require experience for their verification. Kant's task is to break that correlation in order to show that synthetic a priori judgments are possible. Heidegger argues that the "something extra" of synthetic judgments is the object (Gegenstand) (FD 142). As he argued in

Basic Problems of Phenomenology that, for Kant, being is position

as a relation between an object and thought, so he argues again here that synthesis is the relation between an object and a con­ cept that is an "alongsideness" (Beistellen) (FD 142). He asks not simply, "How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?", but, "How are they necessary?" He answers that they are necessary for the possibility of human knowledge as experience (FD 132). U knowledge had no "something extra," it would be knowledge





only of reason itself and not of what is other to reason, the object which the thinker understands as alongside but precisely other to the thinker. He takes this point to be precisely the thrust of Kant's highest principle of synthetic knowledge: that the condi­ tions for the possibility of experience are at the same time the conditions for the possibility of the objects of experience (FD


Heidegger argues that to understand this highest principle of synthetic judgments is not just to understand Kant's text as a book, but is to master the starting point of historical Dasein which cannot be avoided, skipped, or in any other way denied (FD 143). But, he claims, this principle must be brought to an appropriate transformation for delivery into the future. This appropriate transformation is recognition of the between

(Zwischen). Die Frage nach dem Ding concludes with the claim that

the highest principle of synthetic judgments-that the condi­ tions for the possibility of experience are at the same time the conditions for the possibility of the objectivity of the objects of experience-points to what moves between human being and thing. Kant's question concerning the thing is tied up with the question of human being, since knowledge takes place precisely between the two.


Die Frage nach dem Ding is then precisely the kind of retrieval Heidegger called for earlier, that of a grounding of metaphysics in the finitude of human understanding. But Heidegger reads Kant here with an openness not earlier evident. Rather than at­ tempt to adapt the Critique into the project and terminology of Being and Time, this text seeks to explore what Kant's thought makes possible in the history of metaphysics. Kant opens up a dimension between thinker and thing in which to raise the ques­ tion of being. Metaphysics need neither confine itself to a naive inquiry into the nature of things nor collapse into idealism in an entanglement with subjectivity. Heidegger concludes in Introduction to Metaphysics that the a priori was originally for the Greeks being as q)1J<JL�, nature.





<l>UOL� is not experienced free of empirical admixture, but is pre­ cisely what is experienced as empirical content. Accordingly, Heidegger could not have raised the question of being without a long struggle with Kant. That struggle began as an analytic of Dasein and hence as a transcendental inquiry in the Kantian sense: an inquiry into the structures of understanding. Yet Hei­ degger's reading of Kant is complicated and tedious, as much because Heidegger must dig deeply into the assumptions that inform his thinking in order to retrieve the question of being from its forgottenness in idealism, as because in his reading of Kant, it has been a struggle to confine Kant to metaphysics rather than epistemology. Heidegger's reading of Kant contains an ongoing tension. On the one hand, Heidegger rejects neo-Kantian accounts, espe­ cially the Marburg school, and his aim is to retrieve Kant from their reading. On the other hand, Kant is not to be retrieved as misread. He is simply too committed to psychologistic subjectiv­ ism and idealism by the transition in his thinking from the A to the B edition of the first Critique. Heidegger wants to make both claims: Kant has been misread, and his project fails. For Heideg­

exercise in metaphysics, but


one that fails to avoid the trap of idealism. Heidegger's existen­ tial analytic of Dasein is an attempt to achieve the aim of the first Critique. Being and Time grounds and limits the sciences by showing that the theoretical attitude is a modification of everyday understanding, and it shows how synthetic a priori

judgments are possible by investigating the structure of under­ standing. Heidegger's attempt to undertake Kant's project more successfully is in a sense an attempt at the Kantian Copernican revolution without entrapment in idealism. In 1938, however, Marjorie Grene argued that Heidegger's thinking is no Copernican revolution. She argues that there is simply nothing revolutionary in it (Grene 1976:39), and agrees with Camap's analysis (1931) of What Is Metaphysics?-that Hei­ degger's arguments "depend to a large extent on syntactical misconstructions" (Grene 1976:45). Expressions such as "world worlds" or "nothing nothings," she argues, are meaningless. For her, Heidegger fails in his attempt to write the Kantian Coperni­ can revolution more successfully.

the Critique of Pure Reason is an

fails in his attempt to write the Kantian Coperni­ can revolution more successfully. the Critique of





In 1967, Charles Sherover described Kant's Copernican revo­ lution as the insight "that all knowledge of the particular things in our field of cognitive vision, is dependent on the prerequisite for something to be, to be knowable, for us" (1967:561), precisely the formulation of Kant's Copernican revolution that Heidegger rejects. Sherover described Heidegger's work as a move from Kant's philosophy to ontology, whereas the move to ontology is what Heidegger attributes to Kant. Sherover read Heidegger not as a return to Aristotle's thinking but as a continuation of Kant's thinking. While Heidegger has remained faithful to the Kantian problematic of transcendental subjectivity, his "aim has been the unification of [human being] with the world as it appears to [one], the unification of [human being's] structure in order to account for the coherence of human experience" (1967:572). In Sherover's account, Heidegger's thinking is implicitly a Coperni­ can revolution in exactly the sense in which Heidegger sees such a thing in Kant. Unlike Grene, Sherover takes Heidegger to be successfully revisionist of Kant. In 1971, George Vick argued that Heidegger's philosophy is a new Copernican revolution that stands "to overturn the commonsense and linguistic structures on which depend alike the earlier Kantian 'revolution' and most philosophy since" (1971:630). Kant made the subject the measure of truth, whereas Heidegger seeks to make apprehension constitutive of human being. Vick takes Heidegger as not simply revisionist but as a radical revolutionary, novel in his account of knowledge. Whereas Grene saw such expressions as "world worlds" or "nothing nothings" as meaningless, Vick viewed the parallel construction of his own coinage, "manifestation manifests," as a call for a new syntax to express the radical meaning contained therein. While Grene attacked Heidegger as an arrogant poseur, Sherover supported Heidegger's response to the Kantian prob­ lematic, and Vick lauded the "radically different syntax" (1971 :630) implied by Heidegger's work. Grene wrote on the basis of Being and Time and lectures given in 1931 and 1932. Sher­ over's preoccupation was almost exclusively with Kant and the

Problem of Metaphysics. Vick focused on Introduction to Metaphys­

ics. Heidegger is or is not a revolutionary or non-sensical thinker





depending upon which texts one chooses as focus and how one

chooses to read them. Certainly, taking the later of these texts as a culmination of Heidegger's view on the question of transcendental subjectivity,

it is clear that Heidegger separates the transcendental from the

subject. He explains in Introduction to Metaphysics that insofar as Being and Time is an exposition of a transcendental horizon, "the 'transcendental' there intended is not that of the subjective con­ sciousness; rather, it defines itself in terms of the existential-ec­ static temporality of human Dasein" (1M 18/EM 14). Likewise,

at §l1 (a) of The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, Heidegger re­

fuses to read transcendence for Kant as psychologistic. Rather,

it is based on "the immediate relation a subject has to the being

itself" (MFL 164/MAL 210). In fact, argues Heidegger, transcen­ dence is being-in-the-world. His aim is to extricate the question of being from its entanglement in subjectivity by arguing that being is prior to understanding. Heidegger's reading of Kant allows him to do precisely that. In his reading of the A edition of the Critique, Heidegger argues that in the ontological synthesis of imagination, the finitude of human understanding is not a collapse into subjectivity and ide­ alism but rather the very condition for the possibility of knowl­ edge of things. If philosophical Copernican revolution is a move from metaphysics to epistemology, from the question of the thing to the question of knowledge, then Heidegger does not achieve it, for to do so would be to fall into idealism. If, however, the revolution takes up the question of human understanding in the relation between the thinker and the thing, then Heidegger does achieve it. But then Marjorie Grene is right: Heidegger's thinking is not novel, for it is simply an exposition of Kant, a retrieval of the first Critique from neo-Kantian interpretations. The metaphor of Copernican revolution has become, however,

a strange way to describe Kant. Copernicus's revolutionary in­ sight is that human being is not central to the universe. The neo­ Kantian commitment to idealism is precisely the reverse in that idealism puts human consciousness at the center of all that is known. Yet Heidegger's insight into Kant on imagination is pre­ cisely such a revolution, for it culminates in a rejection of ideal­ ism in the claim made in 1935 in Introduction to Metaphysics and




again in the Beitrage, that for the Greeks being is <:pUOL�. This claim is a location of the question of the human understanding of being precisely in the relation between thinking and the things it thinks about. And it is a Copernican revolution in the sense that, by rejecting idealism, it removes human being from the center of the issue and places the thing there instead. In 1938, in §111 of the Beitrage, Heidegger argues that being was <:pUOL� for the Greeks and prior to any understanding. Tran­ sitional to this text are Introduction to Metaphysics and Heideg­ ger's reading of Kant entitled Die Frage nach dem Ding, both from

1935. In Introduction to Metaphysics, Heidegger dispenses with

the term "ontology," which marks the traditional doctrine of

taking the question of the thing to be a branch in a philosophical system. There is an alternative: "we can also take the word 'on­

tology' in the 'broadest sense,'

to make being manifest itself, and to do so by way of the ques­ tion 'how does it stand with being?' (and not only with the es­ sent as such)" (1M 41/EM 31). The terms "ontology" and "ontological" should be abandoned, argues Heidegger, since this question has been rejected by the schools of academic phi­ losophy, which "strive for an 'ontology' in the traditional sense" (1M 41/EM 31). The purpose is not to set up a traditional ontol­ ogy, or to criticize the mistakes of the tradition, but to reestablish a historical relation to being. Heidegger therefore asks in Intro­ duction to Metaphysics whether philosophy and metaphysics are historical sciences capable of such a task. His answer is that they

"are not sciences at all" (1M 43/EM 33). In fact, it is only philoso­

phy, "as distinguished from all science" (1M 44/EM 33), that can

[which) Signifies the endeavor

determine a fundamental relation to history in which that rela­ tion itself is historical. Heidegger's rejection of neo-Kantianism has led him to reject the thesis that philosophy is a science. Yet as long as Heidegger raises the question of being as a ques­ tion of human understanding-specifically, as the a priori pro­ jected in scientific understanding-he cannot extricate the question of being from the history of idealism, from Kant's a priori. If being is taken as a concept, metaphysics remains em­ broiled in the web of transcendental subjectivity in which con­

cepts are to be found. That Being and Time and Basic Problems

of Phenomenology were never completed is not symptomatic of





Heidegger's failure, but of his eventual insight that being is not simply prior in human understanding, but rather prior to human understanding. In What Is Called Thinking ? Heidegger argues that Kant's claim that being is among the almost unanalyzable concepts is justified only if one assumes that being can be grasped by a concept

(WCT 179/WHD 167). What counted as evidence in The Basic

Problems of Phenomenology that ontology is a misunderstood sci­ ence, because its object is for Kant the concept of being reduced to unanalyzability by the tradition of metaphysics (BPP 4/GP 60), stands as evidence almost thirty years later that being is

unanalyzable because it is not a concept (WCT 179/ WHD 167).

To be grasped as a concept is to be an object of cognition, that is, represented. Accordingly, Wha t Is Called Th inking ? is a cri­ tique of representational thinking and thereby a critique of the sciences, for which representation of an object is definitive. Hei­ degger argues that beings could not appear as objects unless the being of beings first prevailed (WCT 234/WHD 142), as he has always held. But his later work is predicated on the insight that being cannot be represented and analyzed as beings can. He has by 1952 given up his commitment to metaphysics and aban­ doned the assumption that being can be grasped as a concept. Philosophy is therefore not a science in Heidegger's later view, such that he suggests in What Is Called Th inking ? that philosophy take as its model not the sciences, but ancient tEXVT] (WCT 22/

WHD 10).

Die Frage nach dem Ding is the first instance wherein Heidegger takes up the question of metaphysics as a historical question without an explicit intention to extricate the question from its history through a destruction. Dissatisfied with the attempted

destructions found in Being and Time, Basic Problems of Phenome­ nology, and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Heidegger ap­ proaches metaphysics in What Is Metaphys ics? and Introduction

to Metaphysics as an explicitly nonhistorical inquiry, wherein he prefers instead to pursue a specific question: "Why are there beings at all, and not rather nothing?" What Is Metaphys ics? con­ cludes by introducing this question, and the lectures in the sum­ mer semester of 1935 begin with it. By 1935 Heidegger has given up the thesis that philosophy is a science. When he raises the






question of metaphysics in the winter semester of 1935-36 in Die Frage nach dem Ding, he undertakes the question of the thing as explicitly historical, but no longer as scientific. Heidegger's reading of Kant in his 1935-36 lecture course stands in marked contrast to his earlier accounts. It is here that Heidegger makes his final break with Kant, precisely because he has abandoned the thesis that philosophy is a science. This move arises out of Heidegger's critique of Kant. Yet it does not bring him directly to his later account of thinking. Before he asks about the task of thinking at the end of philosophy, he raises questions about the sciences. The attempt to establish philoso­ phy as science leads Heidegger to the sciences themselves, that is, the history of physics. The issue that draws him there is the a priori.


What interested Heidegger about Kant, he read as ontology. He sought to take up Kant's question "How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?" as an ontological inquiry. Thus he read the question as "How is it possible that in any inquiry, being is always already understood?" He took "synthetic" to mean that being is brought to, not uncovered in, experience. Aprioricity he understood as the "alreadiness" of being. His fascination with being is accordingly located in the fact that being is found in experience only because it is first brought to it. Hence being be­ longs neither to things nor to thought but to the relation between the two; it is prior to both understanding and its object. Heidegger has always taken investigation of aprioricity to be fundamental to philosophy. In Being and Time he claims that a priori analysis of scientific disciplines is what he is after, and he adds in a footnote that " 'A-priorism' is the method of every scientific philosophy which understands itself" (BT 490/5Z 50,

n. x). In Basic Problems of Phenomenology he cites the second task

of phenomenology as the clearing up of the meaning of this a priori. He wants to understand how being belongs to beings a priori, that is, how being always belongs to beings yet is prior to their experience. Yet Heidegger never quite cleared up the mean-




ing of the a priori, for he missed Kant's separation of the a priori from the pure. Kant argued that there are judgments that have empirical con­ tent but are not dependent on experience. Indeed, the task of the Critique oj Pure Reason was precisely to rupture the correlation between analytic and a priori judgments on the one hand, and synthetic a posteriori judgments on the other. Kant sets up this rupture by distinguishing the a priori from the pure. Judgments are pure for Kant "when there is no admixture of anything em­ pirical" (B3). A "pure" representation is one "in which there is nothing that belongs to sensation" (A20/B34). A priori judg­ ments, on the other hand, Kant does not characterize solely in terms of whether or not they have empirical content. Rather, ne­ cessity and universality are the hallmarks of aprioricity for him, such that he claims that when one is found, the other need not be proven because they always belong together (B4). At B3 Kant gives the example of the judgment "every alteration has its cause" as a priori but not pure, "because alteration is a concept which can be derived only from experience." At A9/B13 he ex­ plains further, using a similar example, "Everything which hap­ pens has its cause," by asking how it is that the understanding finds support for this claim when the predicate (cause) is foreign to the concept (everything which happens), yet considered con­ nected to it. Kant answers that the source of this connection cannot be ex­ perience "because the suggested principle has connected the second representation with the first, not only with greater uni­ versality, but also with the character of necessity, and therefore completely a priori" (A9/B13). A posteriori judgments never contain such epistemic certitude, since there could always be some possible experience that would show them to be false. For instance, in claiming " All swans are white," one can never be absolutely certain that there is not some black swan somewhere that has simply not been encountered. That everything has a cause, however, carries an epistemic force that the understand­ ing takes to be universal such that it could not be any other way. It thus follows for Kant that all pure judgments are a priori, for their freedom from the empirical gives them universality and necessity; but it does not follow that all a priori judgments are





pure. Some a priori judgments have empirical content, even though they are not founded on experience. Accordingly, the a priori for Kant is not simply prior to experience, but rather car­ ries a certainty, the certainty of universality and necessity. This is precisely Kant's point in arguing that there are synthetic a priori judgments, and that the laws of Newton's physics are ex­ actly such claims. He seeks to show that Newtonian physics in­ volves judgments that are not analytic, but nonetheless certain. In Heidegger's reading, what is added to the concept in a syn­ thetic judgment is a relation between the concept and the thing. Being is the synthetic a priori in that it brings to the concept what is not contained in it already, and it does so with a logical priority in experience. Herein lies Heidegger struggle with being, which he has himself positioned neither in the concept nor in experience. In thinking through Kant's account of synthetic a priori judgments, Heidegger has always been preoc­ cupied with their synthetic nature. In Basic Problems ofPhenome­ nology, for example, the thrust of his analysis of Kant was the synthesis of being with an object that positions that object in actuality. Hence he read Kant's metaphysics as committed to being as position. And the discussions of the a priori in Die Frage nach dem Ding revert quickly to consideration of the synthetic moment in which being is projected onto things, rather than sticking with the a priori, for Heidegger's claim, evident as early as Being and Time, that being is always already understood, col­ lapses this "alreadiness" of being with the synthesis of being and object. SynthesiS and aprioricity come together in Heideg­ ger's understanding that being is projected, that it is found in things because it is placed there by the thinker. Accordingly, Heidegger's claim that a synthetic a priori judg­ ment "should bring forth something about the being which was not derived experientially from it" (KPM 10/KM 15) fails to ac­ knowledge Kant's distinction between a priori and pure. He rec­ ognizes that Kant's a priori coincides precisely with what he wants to say about being: it pertains to beings without being experientially derived. Yet Heidegger neglects the episternic cer­ tainty that is definitive for Kant of a priori judgments. He con­ flates the pure and the a priori in his reading of Kant. The cause of this conflation in Heidegger's assessment of Kant





is his preference for the A edition of the first Critique. The exam­

ple "every alteration has a cause," which Kant used to distin­ guish a priori from pure, appears there only once, yet twice in the B edition, at A9/B13 and at B3. Elsewhere where the text is common to both editions and Kant defines the pure, at All/ B24 and A20/ B34, he uses it interchangeably with the a priori. Heidegger clearly understands in Kilnt and the Problem of Meta­ physics that the A edition argues for the inseparability of sensa­ tion and understanding, while the B edition prioritizes reason in its freedom from sensation. Hence it makes perfect sense that Kant's emphasis on the pure would become apparent in the B edition, and that Heidegger would miss it. After ail, what he is interested in is precisely how being is a priori, but hardly pure, since it must for Heidegger belong to beings. He attempts there­ fore to retrieve the a priori from pure reason, and in doing so he fails to see the definitive characteristic of the a priori for Kant. What he takes Kant to mean by "a priori," Kant in fact conveys by "pure." Since purity and aprioricity often go hand in hand, this oversight would have little impact on many readers of Kant

who might fail prey to it. But the consequences are severe for Heidegger, for he is intent on the question of being, and what is pure can never figure in the question of being. Rather, since the pure contains "no admixture of anything empirical" (B3), it is bound to transcendental idealism. Hence when Heidegger wishes in Die Frage nach dem Ding to pursue the question of what is already given and therefore cer­ tain in any knowledge, he does not do so on the basis of Kant's

a priori. Rather he turns to the Greeks and the mathematical,

despite the fact that Kant is the subject of the course and that the Kantian a priori is the obvious candidate for such a discussion.

Heidegger intends the mathematical to do exactly the job Kant assigned to the a priori. As the a priori carried the epistemic force of certainty for Kant, so the mathematical entails the cer­ tainty of givenness in Heidegger's analysis. Accordingly, Theo­ dore Kisiel (1973) is right to identify the mathematical in Heidegger with the Kantian a priori. Yet Heidegger himself did not see this. He looks not to Kant but to the ancients to raise the issue of epistemic certitude, and he raises that issue not as the question of the a priori, but as the question of the mathematical.






John Sallis understands Heidegger's mathematical in terms of Kant's a priori, as does Theodore Kisiel, insofar as it means what is projected by the understanding onto things, that is, insofar as the mathematical is prior to experience (Sallis 1970: 145ff.). Yet if Heidegger intends merely that the mathematical is projective, then his phrase "the mathematical projection of nature" is re­ dundant. Heidegger wants more out of the mathematical than simply that it is projective. For Heidegger, the mathematical pro­ jection of nature determines both beings and knowledge. In Die Frage nach dem Ding, Heidegger tackles the question of what is modem science, as opposed to ancient. He argues that the claims that modem science is factual, that it is experimental, and that it is a measuring science are inadequate to distinguish it from ancient science, for these claims do not capture the fun­ damental feature that rules and determines the movement of modem science. This fu ndamental feature is its "manner of working with the things and the metaphysical projection of the thingness of the things" (MSMM 249/FD 52). This feature is, according to Heidegger, the mathematical. Heidegger argues that modem science is not mathematical simply by virtue of the fact that it is calculative and uses num­ bers. He notes the modem preoccupation with the calculable and reckonable. But, Heidegger argues, the mathematical is not exhausted by numbers. Rather, calculation is a particular form of the mathematical that has come to dominance because num­ bers are its most familiar form (MSMM 253/FD 58). He suggests that the Greek understanding of "tel �ae��U"ta, in which the modem mathematical has its etymological root, was much broader. Which Greeks Heidegger is referring to here, he does not say. The ensuing discussion, however, echoes Plato's Meno. Heidegger suggests that for the Greeks, a thing could be known in different respects: insofar as it is self-moving ("tel q)"UOLXU), insofar as it is made by people ("tel :rtOL01J�eva), insofar as it can be in use ("tel XQ��U"ta), insofar as one can have anything to do with it at all ("tel :rtQuy�a"ta), and insofar as it is learnable and teachable ("tel �ae��a"ta) (MSMM 250/FD 53-54). The mathematical is learnable and teachable because it is what about




the thing is already known: "The J!uOiuwtu are the things insofar as we take cognizance of them as what we already know them to be in advance, the body as bodily, the plant-like of the plant, the animal-like of the animal, the thingness of the thing, and so on" (MSMM 251/FD 56). The mathematical is the basis on which we encounter things as already given. It is "the funda­ mental presupposition of the knowledge [Grundvoraussetzung

des Wissens] of things" (MSMM 254/FD 58).

For Heidegger, a number is an instance of the mathematical. He argues early in Die Frage nach dem Ding that although a num­ ber-5, for example---can be called a thing in some sense (FD 3), it is not a thing in the narrow sense of what is graspable and visible (FD 4-5). It is not a spatiotemporally extended body. Rather, it is brought to the thing by the understanding. Numbers are found in things not because they are already there, but be­ cause the understanding brings them to things as an aspect that can be known about the thing. Numbers therefore carry episte­ mic certainty insofar as they are found in experience by being first projected there. Reason is certain of its own creation. Hei­ degger means by the mathematical not just what is projective, but also what carries epistemic force. His phrase "the mathemat­ ical projection of nature" can be read as "the epistemically cer­ tain projection of nature." He is interested in showing how nature is projected in modem physics as something about which certainty can be had. Later, in "The Age of the World Picture" Heidegger will call this projection of certainty "rigor" (AWP 119/H 79) and once more appeal to what to. J!uOT)J!UtU meant for the again unspecified Greeks. The rigor of science is exactitude, numerical precision. The relation between things and numbers as one of epistemic force clearly holds in the case of measurement. Things are mea­ surable insofar as they stand in time and space. But a clock, which measures time, cannot tell or show one what time is. This

point is made both in Die Frage nach dem Ding (FD 17) and in Basic Problems of Phenomenology, where Heidegger argues that

clock usage-that is, measurement of time-is possible only be­ cause of an original having of time (BPP 245 /GP 347-48). Hei­ degger argues that we assign time to clocks. The measurement of time is "a modification from the primary comportment




toward time as guiding oneself according to it" (BPP 258/GP 365).

Because things stand in space and time, they can be measured. That mathematics is numerical and calculative is derivative from its originary meaning as "tCt J.Lu8iU.ta"tu, the respect in which cer­ tainty can be established concerning things. In Die Frage nach dem Ding, Heidegger characterizes the es­ sence of the mathematical in its modem formulation by looking to Galileo and Newton. His early conception of science is in fact framed by two readings of Galileo, this one from 1935-36, and "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft" from 1916. In both texts, Heidegger construes the essence of science as the mathematical projection of nature. In the earlier one he uses Gal­ ileo's formula for the acceleration of bodies in free-fall as the definitive example of the projection of the grounding concepts (time and space) of natural science (ZG 415-33). In Die Frage nach dem Ding he uses Galileo's free-fall experiment and New­ ton's law of inertia to raise the question of the justification and limits of the mathematicaL These two analyses of modem science are remarkably similar. In both cases what is noted is the projection of space and time, and therefore also of things, as uniform and homogenous. But the significance of these texts remains obscure unless read against the discussion of the theoretical attitude at §69 of Being and Time. There, the mathematical projection of nature is the hallmark of the modem scientific, theoretical attitude. The de­ velopment of Heidegger's account of the mathematical essence of modem science can be laid out over these three texts. In "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft," Heideg­ ger's intent is to distinguish physics from history on the basis of the projection of the time concept at work in each. He argues that the mathematical projection in Galileo's free-fall experiment is of the concepts of space and time. Space is understood as "endless, each space-point equal to any other, likewise each di­ rection to any other.'" Time also "has become a homogenous positional order-a scale, a parameter."2 Space and time in mod-

order-a scale, a parameter."2 Space and time in mod- 1 "unendlich, jeder Raumpunkt mit jedem gleichwertig,

1 "unendlich, jeder Raumpunkt mit jedem gleichwertig, desgleichen jede Richtung mit jeder anderen" (ZG 422).





em science are a coordinate system in which objects are located. From CaWean physics on, then, the "object of physics-we can now say, in brief-is the lawfulness of motion.'" CaWeo is ac­ cordingly the origin of modem physics for Heidegger in that thereafter, "physics strives towards equations, in which are laid down the most general, lawlike relations with regard to the processes in the relevant areas [of physics] .'" CaWeo's experi­ ment in free-fall is decisive for modem science in the sense that he establishes physics as the search for laws of nature. Heidegger argues that this distinctive character of modem sci­ ence comes about on the basis of a difference in method between the ancients and the moderns:

The old contemplation of nature would have proceeded with the problem of fall such that it would have tried through observation of individual cases of falling phenomena to bring out what was now common in all cases, in order then starting from here to draw conclusions about the essence of falling. Galileo does not start with the observation of individual falling phenomena, on the con­ trary with a general assumption (hypothesis) which goes: bodies fall-robbed of their support-so that their velocity increases pro­ portional to time (v = g. t), that is, bodies fall in uniformly accel­ erated motion.'

is, bodies fall in uniformly accel­ erated motion.' Whereas Aristotle proceeded by making generalizations on the

Whereas Aristotle proceeded by making generalizations on the basis of a series of observations, CaWeo's method is instead to hypothesize a universal law. He makes an assumption, and then seeks its validation in experimentation. Heidegger develops this

3 "Gegenstand der Physik ist-so konnen wir jetzt kurz sagen-die Geset­ zlichkeit der Bewegung" (ZG 421). ' ''strebt rlie Physik nach Gleichungen, in denen allgemeinste gesetzliche Be­ ziehungen beztiglich der Vorgiinge auf den betreffenden Gebieten niedergelegt sind" (ZG 420). ' ''Die alte Naturbetrachtung ware bei dem Fallproblem so vorgegangen, daIS sie durch Beobachtung einzelner Faile von Fallerscheinungen herauszu­ bringen versucht hatte, was denn nun allen Fallerscheinungen gemeinsam sei, urn dann von hier aus auf das Wesen des Falles zu schlielSen. Galilei setzt nicht mit der Beobachtung von einzelnen Pallerscheinungen ein, sondem mit einer allgemein Annahme (Hypothese), rlie lautet: rlie Korper fallen-ihrer Unter­ lage beraubt-so, daB ihre Geschwindigkeit proportional der Zeit wachst (v = g t), d.h. die Korper fallen in gleichma/Sig beschleunigter Bewegung" (ZG






view in Being and Time by exploring its metaphysical conse­ quences. Heidegger argues at §69(b) of Being and Time that the theoreti­ cal attitude is a changeover in the projection of being at work in concernful dealings. He claims that the only way entities can be discovered is by prior projection of their state of being. What is significant about the theoretical attitude is not that it relies on mathematics, in the ordinary sense of calculation, and hence achieves a precision and exactness, or that the facts which it ex­ poses hold for every knower (BT 414/5Z 362). That is to say, the significance of the theoretical attitude is not to be uncovered on the basis of the precision of mathematics, or as a Kantian analy­ sis of the universality of transcendental subjectivity. Rather, what is decisive is the way in which theoretical understanding projects the being of nature. In concernful dealings, where Dasein first has a world, things are constituted by the context of equipmentality and their involvement. In the theoretical attitude, such involvement does not belong to beings. Rather, a thing is encountered as "an entity

a corporeal Thing subject to the law of gravity"

(BT 412/5Z 361). Whereas in concernful dealings, nature is pro­

with 'mass'

jected in its readiness-to-hand, in the theoretical attitude the being of nature is projected in another way. In the theoretical attitude, nature consists in bodies that are governed by the laws of physics. Heidegger argues, as he did in "Der Zeitbegriff in der Gesch­ ichtswissenschaft," that in modem scientific projection, place

"becomes a matter of indifference

a 'world-point,' which is in no way distinguished from any

other" (BT 413/5Z 361-62). But in Being and Time he deepens

that insight. He argues that a thing's relation to its place changes

in the theoretical attitude. The law of gravity holds for all beings

regardless of their place, and hence no thing has any special place by which it can be distinguished from other things. The theoretical attitude homogenizes not just space and time but also the bodies that are the objects of physicS. It homogenizes the objects of physics by projecting their thinghood alike. For it is the th inghood of things that is understood beforehand in the theoretical attitude.

a spatio-temporal position,





It is on the basis of this prior projection of thinghood that "entities are disclosed in their possibility" (BT 192/52 151) by the theoretical understanding. In the theoretical attitude, a thing is projected in its possibility as a spatiotemporally extended body constrained by laws such as the law of gravity. A hammer, for example, when not used circumspectly as a tool, regarded in the theoretical attitude as an entity with mass, is looked at in a new way, "as a corporeal Thing subject to the law of gravity" (BT 412/52 361). The thingness of the thing is its extension in space and time. The genesis of modem science lies in its revision of the thinghood of the things investigated by physics. Hence the genesis of modem science is precisely a metaphysical moment. In the 1916 text, Heidegger found modem physics to be meth­ odologically distinct from ancient in that Galileo investigates laws of nature that are determined a priori. Here in Being and Time, he recognizes the metaphysical implications of this lawful­ ness of nature. The homogenization of space and time, and therefore of the bodies taken as object, has implications for the being of the beings investigated. In Die Frage nach dem Ding, Hei­ degger develops this account further by determining that meta­ physical moment as the mathematical. In Die Frage nach dem Ding Heidegger repeats his claim that the projection of space and time in modem science entails a ho­ mogenization of things. The thinghood of things consists in their bodily occupation of and movement between spatiotemporal co­ ordinates. Heidegger observes that when Galileo argues that the difference in time it takes two bodies to fall is due to the air's resistance, not the inner nature of the bodies, he is understand­ ing all bodies to be alike: "All determinations of bodies have one basic blueprint, according to which the natural process is noth­ ing but the space-time determination of the motion of points of mass" (MSMM 267/FD 71). Modem physics is the study of bod­ ies in motion. It is this homogenization of the objects of physics that makes it possible to construe their behavior according to universal laws. Since both Galileo and Newton investigate physics in terms of universal laws, Heidegger recognizes in this text no significant distinction here between them, except insofar as Newton gives explicit formulation to what was implicit in Galileo's physics.





Heidegger tTanslates Newton's Latin: "Every body continues in its state of rest, or uniform motion in a stTaight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by force impressed upon it" (MSMM 256/FD 60; cf. Newton 1960:13; Thayer 1953:25). And he argues that Newton's First Law of Motion, the law of inertia, was discovered by Galileo, who, however, "applied it only in his last works and did not even express it as such" (MSMM 256/FD 61). He quotes from Galileo's Discorsi (giving no more precise reference): "I think of a body thrown on a horizontal plane and every obstacle excluded. This results in what has been given a detailed account in another place, that the motion of the body over this plane would be uniform and perpetual if the plane were extended infinitely" (MSMM 266-67/FD 70), and consid­ ers this the antecedent of Newton's law. There is an explicit claim in Galileo's Two New Sciences that is very similar to Newton's law: "we may remark that any velocity once imparted to a moving body will be rigidly maintained as long as the external causes of acceleration or retardation are re­ moved" (1914:243). For Galileo, however, this claim is not the point at stake. He explains that the perpetual motion here al­ luded to is only possible on a horizontal plane, since any inclina­ tion of the plane would be an external (i.e., external to the moving thing) cause of acceleration or retardation. This claim is therefore supportive to a corollary of his beliefs about falling bodies. That motion is determined in Galileo's primitive formulation and thematically by Newton on the basis of external force is, however, decisive for modem science. Heidegger contTasts the modem mathematical projection of nature with Aristotle's view. For Aristotle, "ouva!-tL�, the capacity for [a body's] motion, lies in the nature of the body itself" (MSMM 261/FD 66). Fiery things move upward, toward the heavens, and earthly things move downward, toward the center. Heavenly motion is circular and complete, whereas earthly motion is incomplete because it does not achieve the perfection of the circle. There are for Aris­ totle different kinds of motion based on different kinds of things. In modem science, on the other hand, nature is projected differ­ ently: "Nature is no longer the inner principle out of which the motion of the body follows; rather, nature is the mode of the





variety of the changing relative positions of bodies, the manner in which they are present in space and time, which themselves are domains of possible positional orders and determinations of order and have no special traits anywhere" (MSMM 264/FD 68). This is the case, according to Heidegger, in the physics of both Galileo and Newton, whose law of inertia is about every body and makes no distinction between the motion of different kinds of bodies. On the basis of this analysis of Galilean and Newtonian phys­ ics, Heidegger summarizes the mathematical essence of modem science in six points. First, it is "a project of thingness which, as it were, skips over the things" (MSMM 267-68/FD 71). The mathematical projection of nature establishes the domain of physics as the realm of moving bodies. This determination of the thingness of things "skips over" the things by approaching them on the basis of a prior understanding. There is no opportu­ nity for things to speak for themselves, that is, to show them­ selves other than as bodies in motion. Hence modem science proceeds on the basis of a metaphysical projection into which it is not the task of that science to inquire. Later in several texts, but especially in "Science and Reflection" and What Is Called Thinking?, Heidegger will argue that such self-critique is impos­ sible for the sciences. The second point is that the essence of the mathematical is axiomatic. The mathematical project posits beforehand "that which things are taken as, what and how they are to be evalu­ ated" (MSMM 268/FD 71). Heidegger argues that the Greek word for such conceptualization and evaluation was aSLoOl and that such anticipatory determinations and assertions were called aSUl>Ilm:a. This is why Newton's laws of motion are entitled "Axiomata." His axioms are fundamental propositions that set things up in advance upon their foundation as things. The next three points follow from the fact that the essence of the mathe­ matical in modem science is axiomatic. First, insofar as modem science is axiomatic, the essence of things is anticipated and their structure and relation to other things are sketched in advance in the mathematical project. Second, the axiomatic project recons­ trues nature as "the realm of the uniform space-time context of motion" (MSMM 268/FD 71). Third, such an axiomatically




determined realm of nature requires an appropriate mode of ac­ cess for the things within it. Heidegger argues that because modem science is mathemati­ cal in this sense of axiomatic, things are now no more than what they are prefigured to show themselves as within the realm of nature. They show themselves "only in the relations of places and time points and in the measures of mass and working forces" (MSMM 268/FD 72). Accordingly, the project deter­ mines the experience of things by establishing the conditions under which nature can provide answers to questions. Rather than looking to ordinary experience for such answers, the mod­ em scientist therefore looks to the experiment. The sixth and final point summarizing the essence of the mathematical is that numerical measurement becomes possible and in fact requisite in the mathematical projection of nature. Modem science is necessarily mathematical in the ordinary, nar­ row sense of calculative and numerical because it is mathemati­ cal in Heidegger's broader sense. Because the project entails a uniformity among bodies, in which all alike are governed by relations of space, time, and motion, "a universal uniform mea­ sure [is required] as an essential determinant of things" (MSMM 269/FD 72). Only on the basis of the mathematical projection of nature, suggests Heidegger, does Descartes develop analytical geometry, Newton, infinitesimal calculus, and Leibniz, simulta­ neously, differential calculus. The narrow sense of the mathematical, and even much of modem mathematics, is derivative for Heidegger from his broader sense of 1:(1 l-luST)l-lm:u. Modem science is mathemati­ cal-that is, calculative--in a way it never could have been for Aristotle, because the essence of modem science is the mathe­ matical projection of nature. Accordingly, Heidegger argues in 1938 in "The Age of the World Picture"; "If we come across three apples on the table, we recognize that there are three of them. But the number three, threeness, we already know. This means that number is something mathematical. Only because numbers represent, as it were, the most striking of always-al­ ready-knowns, and thus offer the most familiar instance of the mathematical, is 'mathematical' promptly reserved as a name for the numerical" (AWP 118-19/H 78). The mathematical is




wh at is al ready known beforeh and in any understanding. Therefore it is a commitment to wh at counts as knowledge. On th e basis of his account of th e math ematical, Heidegger reads th e directive over th e door of Plato's Academy: "aYEUl!LE ­ 'tQT]'t oC; !LT]bEi.C; ELaL'tUl!" This is not th e order th at only th ose wh o know geometry in the sense of knowing certain rel ations be­ tween lines and figures can enter th e Academy. Rath er, Heideg­ ger reads it as th e cl aim th at only th ose wh o know th e math ematical in its originary sense may enter. On ly th ose wh o h ave grasped "the fundamental condition for th e proper possi­ bil ity of knowing" (MSMM 254/ FD 58) have a pl ace in th e Acad­ emy. This condition for th e possibility of knowing is " the knowledge of th e fundamental presuppositions of all knowl ­ edge and th e position we take based on such knowl edge" (MSMM 254/FD 58). P ut more simpl y, knowledge is conditional upon its explicit foundation and awareness of its lim its. In th is sense, th e h istory of metaphysics belongs to th e math emati cal .


In Die Frage nach dem Ding, th e h istory of modem metaphysics is so tied up with ph ysics forHeidegger th athelooks to th eh istory of science precisely with th e intention of understandin g modem metaph ysics. It is wh en he wants to understand " the possibility and necessity of such a th ing as Kant's Critique of Pure Reason"· (FD 50) th at he turns to G al ileo and Newton. He explores mod­

em metaph ysics by trying to bring to l igh t th e essential feature of modem knowledge as it is evident in ph ysics. Indeed, th e cl aims Heidegger makes in Being and Time about th e sh ift from concemful dealings to th e th eoretical attitude of ph ysics can be understood as exactly an analysis of th e h istorical devel opment of modem physics. Heidegger describes the transition from concem ful dealin gs

as a sh ift in wh ich th e understanding

of bein g ch anges over at §69(b). At §16 he discusses how th e

to th e th eoretical attitude

"die Moglichkeit und Notwendigkeit von so etwas wie Kants »Kritik der reinen Vermmft«" (FD 50).





worldly character of the environment announces itself by way of conspicuousness, obtrusiveness, and obstinacy, the modes of concern in which what is ready-to-hand is brought to the fore as present-at-hand, in which utility becomes thinghood. It seems in both these places that the changeover from concemful deal­ ings to the theoretical attitude belongs to individual Dasein. Yet at §69(b), this move is not characterized as a transition in the attitude of individual Dasein so much as a moment in the history of science. Heidegger explores the theoretical attitude as "the rise of mathematical physics" (BT 413/52 362). This ambi­ guity, whether the move to the theoretical attitude is to be un­ derstood as made by an individual or as a moment in the history of science, can be resolved by simply answering that it is both. The definitive moments of the history of science take place in the thinking of individual scientists. Given Heidegger's treatment of Galileo as definitively characteristic of modem science in the texts from 1916 and 1935, Galileo is for Heidegger, although con­ spicuously absent from §69(b) of Being and Time, precisely the individual scientist in whose thinking mathematical physics first arose. Accordingly, the historical rise of modem physics is for Heidegger not just a moment in the history of physics, but also a moment in the history of metaphysics. In Die Frage nach dem Ding he develops this insight into the relation between physics and metaphysics by pinpointing the mathematical. Heidegger argues that "modem natural science, modem mathematics, and modem metaphysics sprang from the same root of the mathematical in the broader sense" (MSMM 272-73/ FD 75). Because metaphysics reaches the farthest, to beings as a whole, and the deepest into the being of beings as such, it is metaphysics that must inquire into its mathematical basis. The locus Heidegger chooses for this inquiry is the beginning of modem philosophy in Descartes. Heidegger tells a story about Descartes that he calls "at best only a bad novel" (MSMM 274/FD 77). In this account, Des­ cartes liberated philosophy from the disgraceful petrification of academic knowledge which failed to concern human being or illuminate reality. Through a process of doubt, Descartes even­ tually came to the indubitable foundation of the ego cogito, for doubting has the doubter as its condition. This is the insight that





a theory of the world must follow upon a theory of knowledge:

that philosophy begins with reflection upon knowledge and its possibility. Accordingly, epistemology became through Des­ cartes the foundation of philosophy. Heidegger has a different story to tell. He argues that Des­

cartes's central work is Meditationes de prima philosophia and that prima philosophia is the :rtQUrtl] tpLAoootpla of Aristotle. Such first

philosophy says nothing about a theory of knowledge but con­ cerns rather the being of beings. As he argued that Kant was a metaphysician and not an epistemologist, so Heidegger argues in 1935 that Descartes's inquiry is metaphysical rather than epis­ temological. For what Descartes doubts, he suggests, is precisely the being of beings. Descartes's work came about in a time when "mathematics had already been emerging more and more as the foundation of thought and was pressing toward clarity" (MSMM 275/FD 77). Knowledge has in Descartes's day, Heideg­ ger holds, a sure foundation in mathematics, and it is rather being that is in doubt. Heidegger therefore reads Descartes's method of doubting as not in the least bit skeptical. Rather, it comes about in a time of passion to clarify and show the fundaments of knowledge. Heidegger interprets this passion as the will of the mathematical "to explicate itself as the standard of all thought and to establish the rules which thereby arise" (MSMM 275/FD 78). Descartes's Meditations are a "reflection upon the fundamental meaning of the mathematical" (MSMM 275/FD 78) that concern the totality of beings and knowledge thereof. Hence they are necessarily a reflection upon metaphysics in Heidegger's sense of the mathe­ matical. They are an argument to ground the being of beings in certainty. Heidegger looks for further evidence of his reading of Des­ cartes in an unfinished, early work published posthumously, Re­ gulae ad directionem ingenii. In this work, mathematics submits

itself to its own essence in order to become "the measure of the enquiring mind" (MSMM 276/FD 78). The essence of the mathe­ matical is the fundamental presupposition of knowledge, and in this text Descartes enunciates the rules of thinking. This is the sense in which, for Heidegger, Descartes submits the mathemat­ ical to its own essence. It is here, Heidegger argues, that Des-





cartes coins the modem concept of science, for he "grasps the idea of a scientia universalis, to which everything must be di­ rected and ordered as the one authoritative science" (MSMM 276/FD 78). This is the mathematical in the sense of mathesis


If the mathematical in this sense is to ground knowledge, it requires the formulation of special axioms that must be abso­ lutely certain and that must determine in advance the thingness of things. Descartes is thus in search of "the very first and high­ est basic principle for the Being of beings in general" (MSMM 278/FD 80). As a truly mathematical principle, it must require no further ground, that is, it must be self-grounding. Descartes's cogito ergo sum is precisely this principle. Accordingly, the foundation of modem science is the subjec­ tivity of the subject. Heidegger makes the connection between modem science and metaphysics on the basis of the mathemati­ cal. For in his view, the "question about the thing is now an­ chored in pure reason, i.e., in the mathematical unfolding of its principles" (MSMM 282/FD 83). The mathematical provides a bridge by means of which metaphysical assumptions find their expression in science. Assumptions about the object of science are not separated from the question of the possibility of knowl­ edge in the modem epoch. Kant's Critique ofPure Reason is there­ fore the necessary formulation of the question of the thing in that epoch.


In his early writings, prior to "The Age of the World Picture," Heidegger consistently maintains that the essence of science is the mathematical projection of nature. This point is entangled, however, in his further argument that philosophy is itself a sci­ ence. He first takes metaphysics as science to ground the positive sciences, since it is the task of metaphysics to show how a re­ gional ontology is possible. By 1929 he holds that the task of metaphysics is not the grounding of science in regional ontology, but rather the establishing of goals for the sciences to give them a meaningful unity. In 1935 the question of regional ontology





and of meaningfulness come together in Heidegger's insight that the meaningfulness of physics lies precisely in its projection of the being of beings, in its mathematical projection of nature.

Rather than suggesting that metaphysics has a critical task to perform in scrutinizing science, he argues that modem science is in its mathematical essence precisely metaphysical. Metaphysics is no longer a science for Heidegger so much as a determining aspect of modem physics. Heidegger disentangles the claim that philosophy is a science from the claim that science is the mathe­ matical projection of nature such that he rethinks the relations among metaphysics, physics, and mathematics in a way that will prove crucial to his later account of technology. Only under­ standing his early view of physics so developed makes it possible to understand his later view of both phYSics and technology. Accordingly, Heidegger's early account of physics as science is a view that develops over a twenty-year period. It begins in 1916 when he notes that Galileo projects space and time as uniform and homogeneous and determines the lawfulness of motion on that basis. It develops in Being and Time when he rec­ ognizes that this projection is a metaphysical determination of beings, a projection of the being of the beings under inquiry. And it culminates in Die Frage nach dem Ding when he argues that modem science is metaphysical insofar as its determination of its object brings with it a mathematical grounding of knowl­ edge. Heidegger's later account of technology, that it is not just a collection of equipment but rather a truth, a way of revealing, would not be possible without the development of his account of science in these early years, for it is in these years that Heideg­ ger sees that the mathematical projection of nature at work in physics is not just a methodology but a metaphysics. In Heidegger's later view, philosophy's task is to think being, which it cannot do scientifically; and the essence of science lies in the essence of technology. The mathematical projection of na­ ture remains in this later account of science, but the question of the essence of science is reformulated. The ground upon which this reformulation becomes necessary is Heidegger's tum from the question of philosophy as science to the sciences themselves. That turning point has been laid out as an inquiry into Galileo and Newton. Heidegger develops it further by looking to the scientific method: experimentation.


Experiment and Representation

THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE is conc ern ed in l arge part with the logic and epistemol ogy of sc ientific theory and practic e. Heideg­ ger is c ertainly a philosopher of sc ience in this sense, for his analysis of the experimental method is an ongoi ng consideration of the epistemolo gic al assumptions underl yi ng sc ientific ratio­ nal ity, as wel l as a historical acc ount of the prac tic e of sc ienc e by Gal ileo and Newton in c ontrast to A ristotle. In the 1930s, Heidegger's anal ysis of the experimental method is the begin ­ ni ng of his c ritique of representational thinking, for the cul mi­ nating question he poses is that of the role of mathematic al representation in sc ienc e. He unc o vers a metaphysics of subjec­ tivity in whic h the c ertainty of the experimental method is founded upon the self-assertion of the thinking subjec t. Experi­ mentati on is therefore underwritten in Heidegger's acc ount by an epistemology seeking the c larity a nd disti nc tness of subjec ­ tive representations, aC artesian logic that sec ures in suc h repre­ sentations truths from which other truths can follow. Sir Karl Popper (1959) argues that the logic of sc ientific devel ­ opment is not one of verific ation, not one of establ ishing c ert ain ­ ties and sec uring trut hs, but of the falsific ati on of hypotheses. Kuhn (1970) mai ntains that the history of sc ience c onsists in shi fts between inc ommensurable paradigms, from, for example, P tolemy'S geoc entric universe to Copernican hel ioc entrism. The history of sc ience ca nnot be considered c umul ative under Kuhn's acc oun t, sinc e there is no l ogic al conti nuity throughout suc h a shift. Lakatos (1970) defends the notion of progress against the Kuhnian view by arguing that rational rec onstruc ­ tion of paradigm shifts is possibl e. Fe yerabend (1975) c l aims that "a nything goes," that is, sc ientific progress best tak es pl ac e when c onfl ic ting or i nc ommensurable paradigms coexist in the-





oretical anarchism. In fact, he suggests, the history of science is filled with idiosyncratic and irrational moments, such that the logic and rationality held essential to science are more myth than truth. Heidegger, unlike these analytics, is not strictly interested in the history of science. Rather, his concern is with the history of being, and with human being as the location of such a history. He thinks that history as a sequence of three epochs: the ancient, the medieval, and the modem. The latter is determined by sci­ ence, as the Greeks were by philosophy and the medievals by religion. Heidegger's work in the 1930s on the experimental method will move him toward this conclusion. Hence his contri­ bution to the history and philosophy of science is not an analysis of the epochal history of science, but rather of the epochs of being. His analysis of experimentation shows that representa­ tional thinking, definitive of modernity, is first and foremost found in scientific method. For this reason, Heidegger is inter­ ested in the differences between ancient and modem science; that is, he treats the history of science in order to think the place of science in modernity and not as a historian of science. Unlike the analytics, whose aim is an analysis of science itself, Heideg­ ger seeks to understand science toward a further end. He lays bare the role of science in determining modernity in the West. Heidegger's conception of the logic and epistemology of sci­ entific theory and practice is not easily positioned in relation to the analytic tradition. Whereas the analytics uncover a logic within the history and practice of science, for Heidegger science is part of a larger logic. The logic by which he reads the history of science is ultimately a historical dialectic, despite his explicit repudiation of dialectic in, for example, his 1928 lecture course,

The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. There he argues that

"all dialectic in philosophy is only the expression of an embar­ rassment" (FCM 187/GM 276), but in 1940 he will argue that Aristotle is decisive for what emerges in modem metaphysics as the collapse of science and technology. I will lay out Heidegger's reading of Aristotle in the penultimate chapter of this book, and I will argue in the final chapter that for Heidegger, the history of the West is the history of the collapse of what were for Aris­ totle clearly demarcated branches of knowledge. Theoretical and




productive knowledge merge in the common essence of modem science and technology. This is a picture in which the history of the West is reduced to a reconciliation within knowledge, a reconciliation for which negative dialectic is now called, if other possibilities for human knowledge are to be opened. There are also for Heidegger smaller moments of dialectic in the history of the West. I will examine these moments more closely in a chapter on ancient science, for the accounts Heideg­ ger gives of Plato and Aristotle are the clearest examples of a logic of dialectic at work in the history of human knowledge of nature. Heidegger argues in Introduction to Metaphysics that Plato is a pivotal figure, both preserving and irretrievably changing pre-Socratic insight into being. When Plato interprets being as 'L&Ea (IM 180ff. /EM 137f£.), he preserves the pre-Socratic notion of being as presence, but abolishes being as (jllJOL�, such that the stability of the l:&Ea over and against the transience of (jruau; con­ tains the origin of the medieval distinction between existentia and essentia (1M 181/EM 138). Plato reconciles being with idea in essence, a synthesis out of which existence emerges as antithesis. Heidegger argues in 1940 that Aristotle's Physics is a similarly destructive and preservative moment in the history of the West, preserving an echo of the pre-Socratic experience of being, while planting the seed that will flower as the distinction between na­ ture and spirit (BCP 224/W 243). Aristotle is the site of the origi­ nal reconciliation of nature and production that determines a common essence for science and technology in modernity. Hence it is not clear whether Plato or Aristotle is to be read as the crucial figure in the transformation of the ancient into the medieval epoch. For indeed, an account of the relation between Plato's and Aristotle's thinking is sorely lacking in Heidegger's work. In the 1930s Heidegger seems to have been looking for an account of that transformation. He attempted to find it in Plato in "Plato's Doctrine of Truth" and Introduction to Metaphysics, but he subsequently located the end of ancient metaphysics in Aristotle. Heidegger reads the history of being as a sequence of epochs-the ancient, the medieval, and the modem-which are radically distinct, yet bound inextricably to prior epochs by a logic of intellectual history. Science, as part of that history, falls into the same tripartite





epochal division, yet it also plays a special role only beginning to be visible to Heidegger in the 1930s. In this decade, he ac­ knowledge the significance of physics in ancient thought. He argues in 1935, in Introduction to Metaphysics, that CPU<JL�, nature, the object of physics, is the original determination of being for the pre-Socratics. Physics is not just a discipline within a taxon­ omy of knowledge, but informative of the pre-Socratic experi­ ence of being. Furthermore, it is in 1938, in "The Age of the World Picture," that Heidegger first sees that science is decisive for the modem epoch insofar as representational thinking in­ forms modernity. The experiment is the 1:6lto� wherein Heideg­ ger develops the latter thesis. On the one hand, then, Heidegger can be aligned with Kuhn:

there are epochs in the history of science which are radically distinct. On the other hand, Heidegger's continual retrieval of Greek concepts as a strategy for understanding the modem demonstrates his Lakatosian commitment to the intelligibility and rationality of shifts between epochs. Accordingly, Heideg­ ger could not be aligned with Feyerabend, despite their shared nostalgia for the Greeks. Feyerabend argues that science is not as rational as has been supposed, whereas Heidegger's intent with respect to science is to investigate it as the yardstick of ra­ tionality in modernity, that is, as the paradigm of representa­ tional thinking. Unlike the analytics, Heidegger is not concerned with whether or not science is rational, for he holds that science is the determination of rationality for the modems. In analytic terms, then, he is an anti-realist. In 1938 Heidegger argues that the modem epoch is the age of the world as picture, that is, that representational thinking is the hallmark of modernity. Furthermore, he argues in the Beitrnge that representational thinking is a condition for the possibility of the experimental method. I will expose those theses within these and other of his writings, but also support the stronger interpretation of Heidegger's position: modem science is not just symptomatic of, but rather essential to and informative of, the modem epoch. Indeed, Heidegger's account of representation in experimentation points to Descartes as the origin of the meta­ physics of modem subjectivity, and hence of representation. Descartes's method in philosophy, as he himself points out in




the preface to his Meditations on First Philosophy, is borrowed

from the sciences, where it has been for him successful (Des­ cartes 1986:4). The sciences set the standard for truth and knowl­ edge in modernity. Heidegger is, then, preoccupied with the sciences not in order to understand better their logic and devel­ opment, but in order better to understand the rationality of the modem epoch. Hence it can be argued, with Father Richardson (1968:511), that Heidegger is not a philosopher of science, since his interest in science is on the way to analysis of the history of being. Yet it can also be argued, with Karlfried Griinder, that issues of sci­ ence pervade Heidegger's writings (1963:18). Heidegger is in­ tensely preoccupied with questions of scientific practice and theory, with its logic and epistemological assumptions and con­ sequences, for he reads science as the determining ground of the metaphysical epoch of nihilism. This argument will come to fruition in the Nietzsche volumes. In the 1930s, on the way to that argument, Heidegger continues to develop his earlier concep­ tion of modem science by looking to the experimental method. Heidegger's conception of science is traceable back to his earli­ est work, that is, to his clear if superficial commitment to scien­ tific realism explicit in 1912 in his discussion of the problem of realism in modem philosophy, and to his interest in 1916 in con­ trasting Aristotle's scientific methodology with Galileo's. In the earlier text, Heidegger argues that philosophy must be able to answer the question of realism, since the sciences are so success­ ful. His assumption is that the success of the sciences depends upon the truthfulness of their account of physical reality. In 1916, however, he argues that modem science is projective. This thesis is typical of anti-realism. Is Heidegger, then, a realist or an anti-realist? I argue that he does not reduce to the either/ or of realism and anti-realism, for he holds that the experiment is projective in its understanding, yet that it gets at truths about physical reality. Heidegger's view that the essence of science lies in the mathe­ matical projection of nature was first evident in 1916 in "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft." Here he considers the projection of the concept of time in the physics of Aristotle and Galileo in contrast to time in the historical sciences. Using





Galileo's law of free-fall acceleration, he characterizes modem science as the a priori formulation of hypotheses which are then tested in experimentation. TIUs account is based on the popular view of the scientific method. It is naively misconceived in that Newton describes himself as working in the reverse order: he experimented in order to uncover phenomena which he general­ ized by induction into universal law. Yet it is some twenty years until Heidegger will cite Newton's Principia on method (MSMM

259/FD 63).

In Being and Time the account is more sophisticated than it was in 1916. Heidegger argues in §69 that more than the time concept is projected onto nature in the theoretical attitude: the projection of the being of beings gives the theoretical attitude its stance. Anticipating the analytic debate about the theory-loadedness of observation, Heidegger suggests in §69(b) of Being and Time that only in the light of such a projection of the being of beings can a fact be found and set up for an experiment. There are no bare facts without a prior ontological commitment. Heidegger's ac­ count has developed since 1916, but he holds fast to the question of the role of the mathematical projection of nature in the sci­ ences. In fact, it is in the decade following Being and Time that he first develops this question. Heidegger develops the question by contextualizing it in a dis­ cussion of the experimental method. The focal texts are Die Frage nach dem Ding, the Beitriige, and "The Age of the Wo rld Picture." Three particular issues, all of which revolve around the question of the projective nature of the scientific method, can be traced throughout these texts. First, how is nature projected in the sci­ entific method such that certainty can come from a single experi­ mental result? That a single result can be decisive is a point made in the Beitriige.' Analytic philosophy of science has raised the same issue as the question of the crucial experiment. I use

the Michelson-Morley experiment, which disproves the aether hypothesis, by way of a case study, to see whether Heidegger's claim that a condition for the possibility of the modem experi­ ment is the decisiveness of a single result is justified.

' All translations from this text are my own, with the generous guidance, assistance, and advice of Will McNeill. The original will be given in footnotes.




Second, the Beitriige raises the question of the experiment by drawing a distinction between empirical evidence and ordinary experience. nus is not a new issue to Heidegger. He first sepa­ rates the empirical evidence of the experiment from experience in Die Frage nach dem Ding, where he suggests that Galileo and Newton argue against the evidence of experience (MSMM 265-66/FD 69). In the Beitriige he asks whether observation in experiment creates or observes the phenomena at issue. In "The Age of the World Picture" he argues that research in physics

stipulates in advance "that which must henceforth

(AWP 119/H 78). Is nature thus investigated discovered or cre­ ated as an object of knowledge? For analytic philosophers of science, this problem takes the form of the worry that the theory-loadedness of observation brings a threat of vicious circularity: the theory may determine what counts as the facts, which in tum support the theory. Hei­ degger's answer in "The Age of the World Picture" is that sci­ ence does not necessarily create phantasms in its account of nature. But, Heidegger argues (and still maintains in 1954 in "Science and Reflection"), in establishing its sphere of objects, science determines the real within reductive limitations. Hence Heidegger treads a middle ground within the realist/ anti-realist debate in which theoretical entities are to be taken either literally or as fictional. He holds that science does not make up but rather sets up its object. TIUrd, I address the question of representation in science inso­ far as that representation is mathematical. In the Beitriige, the question of calculation is brought into Heidegger's account of the mathematical nature of modem science. Whereas pre­ viously, in Die Frage nach dem Ding, Heidegger redefined the mathematical to mean the a priori (MSMM 251-53/FD 56-58), in the Beitriige he asks about the numerical aspect of science. The calculative representation of nature is also an issue in "The Age of the World Picture," where Heidegger rethinks the mathemati­ cal projection of nature by arguing that the rigor of mathemati­ cal, physical science is exactitude. It is on the basis of the conclusions about representation drawn in this text that he will later argue that the essence of science is to be found in the es­ sence of technology. Accordingly, the work Heidegger does on

be nature"





representation and the scientific method in the 1930s is founda­ tional to his later critique of technology. These issues demonstrate three things. First, that Heidegger's analysis of the experiment is a study of the logic and epistemol­ ogy of science in the traditional sense of philosophy of science. Second, that his account of science can be put into dialogue with the analytic tradition of the philosophy of science. And third, that the experiment is the bridge by means of which Heidegger moves from his early analysis of the essence of science as the mathematical projection of nature to his later analysis of the es­ sence of science as the essence of technology. Accordingly, the experiment plays a more significant role in Heidegger's analysis of modem science than may be readily ap­ parent. He claims, after all, in 1935 that the fact that modem science is experimental is inadequate to distinguish it from an­ cient and medieval science (MSMM 248/FD 51-52), and that to call modem science experimental is to miss its fundamental fea­ ture (MSMM 249/FD 52). He goes on to identify the fundamen­ tal feature of modem science as the mathematical. It is only through Heidegger's analysis of the mathematical, at work in his ongoing conception of science as the mathematical projection of nature, that his account of the role of the experiment in modem science can be grasped. For the experiment, it seems, is an ap­ peal to the facts. It ensures in experience, as Kant's first Critique demanded, what reason adduces. Heidegger argues, however, that the experimental method is a projection of a priori concep­ tions onto nature, rather than observation and experience. This is Heidegger's insight into the scientific method in the 1930s: experimentation is a methodological idealism. It begins with an idea to which nature is then confined. Hence the experi­ ment is mathematical in the strong sense Heidegger develops in Die Frage nach dem Ding. When he says in those lectures that the experiment is not a fundamental feature of modem science, he is denying that experimentation establishes modem science as the science of facts in contrast to medieval superstition. He will go on to argue that the fundamental feature of modem science is the mathematical, which means that it is projective (MSMM 251-53/FD 56-57). When this text is read in conjunction with those written three years later, the Beitriige and "The Age of the




World Picture, " it is clear that the projective essence of modem science lies in its experimental method. Nature is conceived and represented in the experiment.


Some twelve years after Galileo's death, and sixty years after the event supposedly took place, Viviani recorded that Galileo climbed the tower of Pisa and let fall two objects. This moment began modem science, it is commonly believed, by establishing the revolutionary experimental method. It is odd that such a groundbreaking event took so long to be mentioned in print; so odd, in fact, that Favaro, chief editor of the National Edition of Galileo's works, suggests that it must be true, despite the lack of remark in the literature of the time, because Viviani must have heard it from Galileo himself. Lane Cooper suggests rather that the story is a myth (1935:13ff.). Ernest Moody argues further that even if the event did take place, "we may be assured on the incontestable authority of Galileo himself that its physical mean­ ing was totally different from that which is ascribed to it by the tradition of our physics books" (1951:163). Galileo does refer twice in De Motu, written while he was at Pisa between 1589 and 1592 but unpublished until the late eigh­ teenth century, to experiments involving throwing spheres from towers (1960:31, n. 12; 107). Both references are strange in that Galileo describes how, when two weights are thrown simultane­ ously from a height, the lighter initially descends ahead of the heavier, which then catches up and passes the lighter. His expla­ nation is that the heavier must overcome more inertia to begin its descent. That the heavier should initially descend more slowly is so unexpected a claim that presumably its source must be observation. Yet this evidence that Galileo performed the experi­ ment is not conclusive. At this point in De Motu, Galileo inserts a marginal note: "Borrius, part 3. ch. 12" (1960:106, n. 2). Borri taught at Pisa while Galileo was a student there, and in his De Motu Gravium et Levium he describes throwing weights from his window with the result that the lighter descended more quickly. He explains this observation along the lines of Galileo's later





reasoning. It could very well be that rather than performing the experiment himself, Galileo borrowed the account from Borri. Whether or not Galileo actually performed the experiment seems, however, irrelevant. Borri did similar experiments, and Simon Stevin of Bruges claims in 1605 that he and John Grotius had long before performed experiments involving dropping weights thirty feet (Cooper 1935:14). Renieri actually dropped weights from the tower of Pisa in 1641, which he reported to Galileo as part of an exchange of correspondence that makes no mention of Galileo's performing similar experiments (Cooper 1935:30). Such experiments clearly took place in Galileo's day. That Galileo has been recorded as the daring groundbreaker perhaps says more about Galileo's personality and reputation than it does about the history of science. For, if the story is a myth, then it is a founding myth, and Galileo is its hero. He founds modern science by the radical introduction of a novel method. The hallmark of modern science is precisely that method: ex­ perimentation. Experimentation is a break with the medieval, scholastic tradition. It is a turn toward nature to uncover truths that can be used toward practical ends. In 1620