Phenomenological Ontology or the Explanation of Social Norms?: A Confrontation with William Blattner's Heidegger's Temporal Idealism


Some of the most important contributions over the past two decades to understanding Heidegger's thought have been made by philosophers writing in English and sharing the broad perspective of analytic – or, perhaps better, “post-analytic” – philosophy. With Heidegger's Temporal Idealism, William Blattner has moved this approach several important steps forward. Like others in this recent movement, he interprets Heidegger not so much in the terms of existentialism or post-structuralism, as in those of the later Wittgenstein, classical American pragmatism, and neo-pragmatism. Also like other Anglo-American interpretations of Heidegger, Blattner's (1.) focuses primarily on the Sein und Zeit era; (2.) tends to steer away from Heidegger's analysis of authenticity and toward his analysis of Dasein's everydayness; (3.) accords an especially large role to Being-with (Mitsein) and the They (das Man) in the constitution of everyday meaning; and (4.) is particularly concerned with developing a view of the foundation of “mind” and scientific knowledge in the practical abilities of Dasein as Being-in-the-world. Given the obvious centrality of time in SZ, it is surprising that there have been relatively few concerted attempts to critically explicate Heidegger's view of it. Blattner's book fills this gap by focusing on Heidegger's interpretation of Dasein's “originary temporality”, as explicated in Division Two of SZ.

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