Makeshift: Heidegger and the Phenomenology of Original Temporality
When questions are raised about principles, the network of exchange that they have opened becomes confused, and the order that they have founded declines. A principle has its rise, its period of reign, and its ruin. Its death usually takes disproportionately more time than its reign.[i]
a. Prologue: Toward an Understanding of Heidegger’s “Sein und Zeit” Project
One of the primary statements in the published fragment of Being and Time is that any honest (eigentlich) phenomenological investigation must have an ontic fundament. This claim not only concerns the “founding condition” for a self-interpretation of the being for whom being is an issue, but also intimates the irreducible facticity and embeddedness of any philosophical inquiry amidst the world. In other words, the notion that thought can extricate itself from be-ing, temporality, existential spatiality, etc. – in a word finitude - is for Heidegger, a severed illusion “founded” upon a non-original conception of existence and being. As Nietzsche scolds Plato in the Preface to Beyond Good and Evil, such an Other-worldly hypothesis, if it were true, would deny perspective and life itself. An honest phenomenology cannot take refuge in these numinous ontologies of Plato, Descartes, Kant, without forsaking the significance of phenomenology as a desire for the truth of things themselves. Dishonesty would entail a retreat from the phenomenon into a simulacrum of radical transcendence, an escape into an eternity without temporality.
It is in this light that we must approach Heidegger’s own attempts to articulate a fundamental ontology - or a radical phenomenology - in the 1920’s and perhaps beyond. As Kisiel has written in The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being and Time, it had been nearly impossible to approach an understanding of this period of inquiry due to the fact that the crucial texts concerned were simply not available. In this way, when Being and Time appeared, a great astonishment arose in light of the un-prepared-ness of the reading public at the time. No one but his students had any scent or taste of the brew Heidegger had been cooking up for so long. Indeed, he had published nothing since his Habilitation work on Duns Scotus in 1915. After nearly twelve years of public “silence”, Being and Time came as quite a surprise to not only the philosophical community, but also to his students (and perhaps to Heidegger himself). As Kisiel traces the genealogy of this work, we can see many variations of its themes and radical changes in its articulation even during run-up to its composition - a writing which comprised three drafts, in a rough sketch, “The Dilthey Draft: The Concept of Time”, the “Ontoeroteric Draft: History of the Concept of Time”, and “The Final Draft: Toward a Kairology of Being” - the so-called existentialist draft – written in about a month. Heidegger’s variations upon theme and experimentation, attempts, with respect to expression and nomenclature underscores the contention that Being and Time must also be considered, along with his lectures and published works of the period to be one concretion of the original projection of a “Sein und Zeit” project. The fact that “Sein und Zeit” never saw the light of day - in a formally published manner - underlines not only the makeshift, thrown, character of philosophical inquiry, but also the destructive character of academos upon philosophical creativity. It is common knowledge that Heidegger was not yet ready to hand in “Sein und Zeit”, but had to, if he was to continue teaching. Thus, in a rough and ready way, we have Being and Time, a written makeshift which indicates its perhaps illusory hope of more time to eventually finish the work. Yet, even amidst this makeshift, we can still think and exist and can enter into the questions asked by the “Sein und Zeit” project. But, for such an untimely exploration, Heidegger’s lecture courses must come into play, not to supplant the “masterpiece”, but to retrieve, set free, and augment the same questioning that Being and Time also incites.
which has changed for our era of readers of Being
and Time is the availability of the lectures courses prior, simultaneous,
and posterior to Being and Time. There is also documentary and biographical
material surrounding this period which cannot help but to cast into relief
these makeshifts, this topoV of
Heidegger’s world. In this way, the
horizons of astonishment in the face of Being and Time are slowly being
transformed - but not eliminated – as these do not ultimately depend upon
One of the deficiencies of work on the 1920’s phenomenology has been the hegemonic position given to Being and Time. Kisiel for instance gives us the impression that all of Heidegger’s work of the period is meant merely to lead up to Being and Time – in some kind of philological [teleology]. In this way, he ends his otherwise great book before any consideration of Basic Problems of Phenomenology and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. Such non-treatment of important lecture courses and a third published work of the period gives the impression that these are dispensable, that they are merely commentaries on the main work or serve only to unpack what is already there in Being and Time (and indeed they need not be read to understand being and time).
In fact, many of the lecture courses both before and after Being and Time not only go beyond the “content” of Being and Time (with respect to the larger “Being and Time project”), but many also seek to criticise or revise various claims or constructions in Being and Time itself. While I am not in any way seeking to diminish the importance of Being and Time, it would be a vast hermeneutical error to disregard unpublished and published works as mere supplements, when in fact, these seek to “go all the way to the end” of this project – rhetoric which Heidegger deployed in his lecture courses. The centrality given to Being and Time leads us to the unfortunate circumstance in which [Being and Time] is re-mystified, de-contextualized, or as Heidegger says in his early lectures un-worlded. In other words, that which Kisiel has applauded as our ability to finally understand this work is eliminated in a repetition of an artificial astonishment in the face of a magnum opus. Indeed, it should be claimed that Heidegger’s great work was never written, that it remained in a state of incompletion, in fragments like the pre-socratics. And it could be noted that in light of the irreducible facticity of honest philosophical inquiry that this, as Bataille writes in Theory of Religion, is quite appropriate. Otherwise we are left with treatments of Being and Time and aspects of this work, such as Being in the World by Dreyfus, which merely considers the first part of a published fragment and hence gives neither an adequate interpretation of the work as published nor of its place amid the larger project of a radical phenomenology. This is not to criticise texts for the first time reader of Being and Time which may aid in a comprehension of this difficult work. However, it would be radically misleading to not invoke the questions and perspectives of the “Sein und Zeit” project, which, it could be claimed, point beyond the 1920’s to the so-called turn (Kehre) and to Heidegger’s later writings, not to mention merely Division Two of Being and Time.
In this Introduction, I will lay out a rough sketch of the pathways which can be taken to enter into the myriad intricasies and ultimate simplicity of Heidegger’s 1920’s phenomenology – the “Sein and Zeit” project. Initially, in keeping with the methodology of formal indication in his project of a radical phenomenology, I will thematise the indication of a “makeshift” so as to cast the “Sein und Zeit” project into relief as an attempt at the disclosure of the radical temporalization of thought. I will next lay out a genealogy of the texts which cast into relief the topoV of the 1920’s phenomenological investigations. Finally, I will set forth the morphology of Heidegger’s radical phenomenology – “Sein und Zeit” project, as described in Basic Problems of Phenomenology as a prelude to a description of the chapters of this study.
b. The Indication of “Makeshift” in an Interpretation of Heidegger’s Radical Phenomenology
A 'makeshift' (Behelf) is a temporal improvisation - to make shift with 'what' one has - also a shift-ing of one thing into another, change of character, transition, transfer to a differing 'state', ‘place’ – it is a dwelling for the time being. It is also a fore-seeing (pro-visio), project (Entwurf), an orientation, a formal indication for departure and be-ing. It concerns factical existence, yet, and this is 'where' the difference between Heidegger and Kant becomes most evident, it is not practical, in Kant's sense, in that the being of Dasein is disclosed as Care. And, the meaning of Care is Temporality.[ii] Kant, fresh from his revisions of the Critique of Pure Reason in its second edition, clearly eliminates imagination (i.e., temporality), from any fundamental role in the Critique of Practical Reason.[iii] Throughout his persistent criticism of a sensuous 'ethics of happiness', whether of Aristotle, Epicurus et al., Kant warns his reader that any contamination of morality with interest, temporality, imagination, or sense, will undermine the 'necessity' and 'universality' of the moral law, and thus, will render [his own] categorical imperative - impossible. For Kant, the noumenon, ding an sich, although it must exist, it cannot be known, just as one’s maxim will forever remain a secret from even oneself. But, this does not seem to have prohibited Kant from embracing a “practical” morality. Heidegger, in his turn, seeks to place temporality (transcendental imagination) and existential openness amidst the heart of a phenomenology of factical, lived existence, be-ing – indeed, into the heart of philosophy itself. Such a 'placing' is intimated in Heidegger's indication of the meaning of Being in its own self-projection upon a horizon of ecstatic, original temporality (ursprüngliche Zeitlichkeit, or Temporalität). The radical character of Heidegger’s phenomenology is also revealed in his statement which began this study that any ontological-existential thinking – radical phenomenology - as an understanding of Being, will have an 'ontic' fundament, that of existence (Dasein). Temporality itself will thus be finite, and thought will necessarily be "makeshift".
Kant writes in the Introduction to the Critique of Practical Reason, one of the sources for the title of this study, that one ought to tell a young man to be industrious and thrifty, so that when he is older, he will be able to provide for himself. Indeed, Kant declares that such a recommendation is not only 'reasonable', but is in fact a precept of pure, practical reason - an imperative issued from 'reason' itself. It is questionable however whether such comportments of industry and thrift, of this poihsiV of the phenomenal world, could have any direct interface with the noumenal ends of reason. Yet, if we have no knowledge of the noumenal or of the invisible realm of the maxim, then how are we to prioritize one course of life in distinction from any other way of life – as long as it appears not to violate the moral law – indeed this law itself is a subject of longstanding contestation? Why for instance, in his Religion Within The Limits of Reason Alone, is Christian faith placed over all in Kant, as the exemplar of the numen, of the sacred? He himself admits in passing that the pagan religions and Islam, as these fostered an aesthetic and discipline of the moral law, are also acceptable to reason.
Indeed, Kant does suggest another existential possibility, but only in contrast, and one which we are lead to believe he does not judge to fit into his 'practical precepts of reason.' He writes that some young man may expect he could 'make shift with little,' get about with 'what' gives itself, get on upon his 'wits,' 'luck' - surely not upon these timeless ingredients for practical and theoretical 'reasons'.[iv] It is more of an improvisation – it is provisional, temporal. Yet, it is not only possible, but is uncannily indicative for Heidegger of an ecstatic open-ness toward a myriad of singular temporal meanings of existence.[v] Such a 'makeshift', for Heidegger, would indicate a provisional (thrown) projection of self-understanding amidst being-in-the-world. In this way, a 'makeshift' would intimate, in a pre-philosophical manner and in the spirit of Heidegger’s early phenomenology of formal indication - thought with temporality at its core. Heidegger describes this as first philosophy in his 1928 lecture course, The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, the “science sought after, the science that can never become a fixed possession and that, as such, would just have to be passed on. It is rather the knowledge that can be obtained only if it is each time sought anew.”[vi]
This portrayal of thinking as 'makeshift' is an obvious challenge to Kant's own description of his own architectonic as having only to be 'passed on.'[vii] Heidegger himself expresses this indication at least twice. In a letter to Karl Jaspers in 1936[viii], he expresses his despair that his thinking in comparison to the 'Greats'[ix] will only remain a 'makeshift.' A second reference occurs in his post-war essay, 'Letter on Humanism,'[x] where he refers to the 'makeshift' character of moral ties, as having relevance for only the present day. However, in that he is also seeking to disclose the truth of being via a thinking which 'lets being be,' Heidegger embraces the finitude of a thought which holds itself in this abyss of original temporality - not seeking evasions, salvation, or escape from this τoπoς of lived existence. Yet, even this self-expression of the phenomenon, as a thinking of be-ing, can be fathomed only in light of its ecstatic temporality and finitude, articulated already in Division Two of Being and Time. This is where Schürmann’s suggestion of reading Heidegger backwards becomes most pertinent. The “experience of durability” to which Heidegger alludes in his Letter on Humanism is not that of thought but of being. In this way, thinking will be makeshift. Yet, in light of the insurmountable horizons of temporality, even this Being must be conceived as finite. In this light, Husserl's pregnant reference to 'makeshifts' in his 1905 lectures, edited in fact by Heidegger and published in 1928 as The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, is pertinent not only to Husserl's neo-Cartesian - 'a-temporal' – [consciousness], but also to the question of the temporal character of what Sherover has called a 'hermeneutic structure of resoluteness', in “Dasein and Temporality”. Husserl, speaking about the modes of time, memory and expectation, contends he can conceive of a 'prophetic consciousness' where 'each character of the expectation' is 'before our eyes.' Or, he says, where a plan is intentionally disclosed to such an extent that one already accepts it as 'future reality', as pure spontaneity. Yet, he adds, there will also need to be those other 'unimportant things', those ‘makeshifts', which fill out a concrete image, and can, in that they are, be other than they are (my emphasis). Husserl states that such a 'character' is that of 'being open.'[xi] As we will see, it is this 'openness' which discloses this temporal meaning of Being (Sein).
That this makeshift character of finite understanding also pertains to the project of radical phenomenology - what we will designate as the ‘Sein und Zeit” project - will be the central thrust of this study. While the most radical insights into the makeshift character of thinking are clearly evident in Being and Time, the latter work, in its incompletion, fails to fully disclose the radical temporality of thought and existence. The “extreme model” of Being and Time, a criticism from The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic must destroy its own language of transcendental structure so as to set free more fluid, flexible – or post-structuralist – articulations. Such expression is housed in the archives and translations of his many improvised lectures of the period – and by the differing languages or houses of being in his later writings. It is in this way that we can seek to comprehend the radicality of Heidegger’s first philosophy and may better appreciate the temporal character of his later turns and ways. It is here where his later works emerge for an understanding of the ‘Sein und Zeit” project – the “Being and Time project”. For while Heidegger seeks an experience of the [durable] in the Letter on Humanism, such an experience takes place upon a topoV of piety and humility, of a thought which lets being be – or as the dedicated submission to the phenomenon in his early 1920’s lectures. In other words, such a thought not only seeks to destroy the history of ontology, but also seeks to de-construct itself. It is open to transfiguration – it is makeshift.
g. Heidegger’s “Being and Time Project” – Genealogy of the Texts
In a summary of the Davos Disputation with Ernst Cassirer, and in his lecture on Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Heidegger is documented as announcing the deaths of the principles of 'reason', logoV, and 'spirit' as adequate "grounds" for a finite thinking rooted in existence. He rings the alarm bells - the “foundations of Western thinking" are in "crisis" - and are threatened with utter collapse. Heidegger makes these statements amidst the horizons of his own temporal existence and problematic, that of his radical temporalization of thought and of the exposure of these traditional grounds to their 'tragic' origin as aspirations of finitude. Cassirer contests Heidegger's radical, temporal interpretation to Kant – any thought worth its salt must be open to the eternal. Despite his comments elsewhere that defer to the spirit of Cassirer's criticism, Heidegger intimates possible readings of or engagements with the Kantian text which moves beyond "philology" or "scholarship" in the usual sense of cultivating or advocating a "school of thought" – or any attempt to identify the will as a ding an sich. Heidegger’s attempt to disclose an "unsaid", to de-construct texts so as to retrieve the original temporality of the question, concerns not only Kant but, in light of the “Being and Time project”, other thinkers, such as Leibniz and Husserl, who are significant for his expression of a radical phenomenology – for his temporalist thinking.
In many ways, these many names are place-names, topoi, for the investigation of the historicity of thought in its significant statements, junctures, reversals, transitions, convergences, transgressions. And, there is a marked similarity in the treatment of these many thinkers as each is appropriated in the context of Heidegger's "makeshift". As suggested, he does not seek to be a "good scholar", but a philosopher and radical phenomenologist, who desires the truth and investigates various topoi of thought with respect to their disclosure of "matters themselves", in their accentuation of the phenomenon of original temporality. In his activity of squatting these various topoi, Heidegger is in a destruktive comportment with the "history of ontology", but in a way which seeks to learn from the errancy of the thesis that truth resides in the proposition and that the measure of truth is ultimately "logic". Often in the unpublished lectures, we find unexpected formulations and previously unknown – unchartered - investigations, such as Heidegger's extended discussion of sexual difference in The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic. In the same lecture, he depicts his own Being and Time as an example of an "extreme model" with respect to its explication of Eigenlichkeit. These lectures are accentuated in the present work due to their rather neglected status in the literature to date. While a few have focussed on Heidegger's work in this period, it is safe to say that the majority neglects the 1927-1928 lecture courses in favour of Being and Time and often very minute sections of Heidegger's so-called "magnum opus". Moreover, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics is rarely discussed in conjunction with Being and Time (even in the sense of the 'Being and Time project' projected in Heidegger's outline of Being and Time), but has been co-opted in order to evoke the sterile debate of whether "Heidegger's Kant" is the “real” Kant. In light of this reticence to "go all the way to the end", Heidegger's work lies in ruins, despite a few who have attempted to understand "matters themselves".
We must attempt to redress this omission - and begin to deal with the relevant extant texts in the context of an investigation of Heidegger's radical temporalization of thought, of his temporal problematic and its implications. Such an attempt is not a 'cutting and pasting' the fragments of a project in ruins - instead, we must seek to enter into the questions raised by these texts, published and unpublished. Yet, we must not get lost in philological discussions of the relations between texts (or of the relative weight of published and unpublished works), but must seek after that toward which each points, and in this mosaic of indications, to see these various texts as disclosive of being-in-the-world as the finite existence of the self amid its world. In other words, one must attempt to understand these texts as an expression, logoV, which is regulated by the desire to exceed towards or be open to "things themselves". To understand a radical, makeshift phenomenology, of original temporality, each must enter into a questioning of existence so as to illuminate this overwhelming topoV for oneself.
radical or “
There is no need to set out however an absolute beginning to Heidegger's 1920's phenomenology. It may well be argued that it all begins with his 1921-22 lectures on Aristotle’s theory of time. In fact, it is in these lectures that he begins to suspect the existence of a more primordial temporality standing in the background of Aristotle’s substantialist conception of time as an identity in the difference of a succession of “nows”. Indeed, we will hear many echoes of this concept of “common time” throughout Heidegger 1920’s work, culminating in Basic Problems of Phenomenology and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. Yet, the Aristotle lecture remains in a merely critical and suggestive comportment, and thus cannot be considered the sole origin of Heidegger’s radical phenomenology. Indeed, it could be just as reasonably argued that his work on Duns Scotus, Paul or his intimations of “primitive dasein” speak directly to the concerns of his phenomenology. As he will be the first to say, as a historical being, it is impossible to get rid of that which has been. This is not to argue against the search for origins, but to disclose that the original field of existence is a tapestry of many strands, voices and genealogies.
In this way, the topoV, if not the origin, of Heidegger’s 1920’s radical phenomenology is more plausibly located with a specification of the phenomenon of original temporality of the self, of existence (Dasein), in his The Concept of Time.[xiii] In this short lecture, given to the Marburg Theological Society, Heidegger seeks to displace the linear model of clock-time in order to excavate the temporality of finite existence. As he moves through the lecture, Heidegger calls on his audience to detach itself from the interpretation of time which sets an external standard, whether from the clock setting upon the wall, that mechanical device, which executes a repetition of the same, or finally from the fluctuations of night and day in the cycles of nature. We are invited to retrace, de-sever, the root of these expressions of time to the singularity of the temporality of one’s own existence and its indigenous expression of the meaning of one’s being. As we move further away from the superficiality of Aristotelian time, we begin to name and express the contours and pathways to an original disclosure of our own ecstatic temporality. It was in this lecture to the Marburg Theological Society where Heidegger first publicly articulated the existentials of care, being-toward-death and the call of conscience.
These preliminary and schematic indications acquire increasing power and breadth in the confrontation with Husserl in his 1925 lecture course History of the Concept of Time. Heidegger charges that phenomenology, despite its rhetoric of the phenomena, has been co-opted and suppressed by traditional conceptualities, such as "reason", "consciousness", taken wholesale from the Cartesian orthodoxy, and a "common time" transplanted from mathematics, as the mathesis universalis. These heavily laden conceptualities and geometries obscure the original trajectory and purported intention of the phenomenological movement - "to the things themselves". Amidst the "network of exchange", phneomonelogy succumbs to the history of ontology, to a "logic" of discrete, linear identity. Husserl, in his Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness is interested in the myriad phenomena of time-consciousness, but not in the temporality of [consciousness] itself. He suppresses that which he designates as merely the “anthropological” dimension of existence in a quest for [pure consciousness] - even though he confesses that any attempt to fulfil the intention of any infinite would, after a time, break down. Such suppressions of temporality and existence entail tacit theoretical and practical – and ontological - commitments. In the light of these affiliations, phenomenology is exposed as un-phenomenological.
Heidegger seeks to disclose the being of the being that we are via destruktion of a tradition, a language, a house of being, which shrouds access to a formal indication of this phenomenon which seeks to express itself. He insists upon an original 'unity' of intimate self-interpretation that is an expression of singular temporal existence. Heidegger rejects that which he indicates as a "mythology of consciousness" with its logic of severance in its assertion, in the manner of Rickert, Brentano and Husserl, of the extremes of the psychic and physical. He asks after the be-ing of these extreme positions. In a coup d' grace, Heidegger points out an exception, that within the antithetical framework of consciousness, there is no way to tell if a hallucination is "real". Phenomenologically, a hallucination erupts amidst an intentional relation, of which the distinction between the physical and psychical is posited as elements of an interpretation. Yet, in the neo-Kantian framework, a hallucination is merely another “objective” representation. There is no means of allowing one to step outside the representational envelop in order to posit the actuality of the entity itself. Moreover, it is no answer to merely retreat, as Husserl (or Hegel, in his own way) has done, into a reduced immanence in which the phenomenon is merely treated as an idea of pure consciousness. Such a rejection of transcendence provokes, for Heidegger, the question of being. There is no clarification of the being of the acts of consciousness, despite the implicit positing of a tacit ontology of consciousness.
For Heidegger, dasein is not consciousness, nor is it a subjective immanence, which sets apart from the object or the transcendent. Indeed, the self is always already amidst its world, transcending towards beings – dasein is this transcending, this ecstasis. This phenomenon of world, as a projection of the binding commitments of a resolute self, is disclosed in the mood of anxiety amidst the event of being-toward-death. The phenomenon whose being is to be and whose being is at issue is existence, da-sein, itself. Such a topoV of self-interpretation displaces the severance of [consciousness] and temporality. Heidegger insists that this severance is a detour and evasion of the "matters themselves". The “matters themselves” is the existence of an ecstatic, temporal self, a phenomenon which seeks to express the meaning of its own be-ing.
In Being and Time, Heidegger continues on his way in the clearing of this topoV for a hermeneutics of existence. Through the temporal disclosure of existence, dasein, Heidegger allows the phenomenon to express itself via the myriad of existentials, for instance, being-in-the-world, Care, being-toward-death, conscience, and guilt et al. Ultimately each of these expressions find there root in the many events of disclosure in anticipatory resoluteness as finite characters or disseminations of one's own singular be-ing, amidst this projection of oneself upon the horizons of one's own indigenous historicity. These characters of being give expression (Ausdruck) to the specificity of the be-ing of existence as a [condition], prior to the modes of theoretical or practical [reason]. In the language of Being and Time, these characters indicate the existence of the self, of this overwhelming moment of finitude, prior to the technical severance of vorhanden and zuhanden. The emphasis upon the self-expression of existence entails a deconstruction of the severance, which is merely a repetition of the representational or epistemological models of truth – each of which flees in the face of an archeology of knowledge. That toward which Heidegger is pointing is the specific being of human existence - dasein - as indicated in the existentiale - makeshifts, as they can be other than they are - outside technical and theoretical interpretations and conceptualities – as an intimate hermeneutic of existence.
an existential disclosure of being-in-the-world finds further expression amid
another topoV, in the deconstruction of
the Monadology of Leibniz in the Metaphysical Foundations of Logic. In this lecture course, the last given at
As a further amplification of this trajectory of thinking, Heidegger makes, in his little known lecture Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1928), a crucial distinction betwixt the "subsumptive" model posited by Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason (a model which is forced to take its conceptuality from a "logic" that is ready-to-hand), and a radical phenomenology which discloses an expressive explanation for the emergence of an indigenous conceptuality. For Kant, reason must always remain sequestered from temporality and its theoretical surrogate, the transcendental imagination. It is this distantiation of reason from temporality that in the end necessitates the architectonic of subsumptive judgment. In this model, it is only violence and unquestioned “authority of reason” which can account for the "unity" of knowledge. The expressive interpretation of the origin of the concepts necessitates the disclosure of a pure, sensuous reason. In the end, this hybrid cannot in the end be distinguished from the transcendental imagination, or from ecstatic temporality. In light of the transfigured scenario of the expressive model, it becomes possible to lay out a situation of original temporality amid which existence can articulate the temporal and worldly character of its ecstatic self, as a pure turning-towards that which is given from itself, as pre-theoretical 'object relatedness. “Conceptuality” becomes the self-expression of the phenomenon of existence, of being-in-the-world in its yearning for finite transcendence and meaning.
The destruktion of the severance of existence and expression intimates Heidegger's engagement with Kant in his Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, in which sensibility and the concept are excavated, traced back to a "common rooting" in the transcendental power of imagination (Einbildungskraft), which, in a qualified way, is synonymous with original temporality. If a makeshift phenomenology seeks to disclose the phenomenon of original temporality, via a reminder of its original desire, it also seeks to unearth the schematism of transcendental imagination (ecstatic temporality) as the source of conceptuality in Kant. The ostensible commitment of Kant to an a-temporal, non-sensuous (“spontaneous”) reason has already been shaken through Heidegger's tracing of the stems of understanding and sensibility to a common root of imagination, and more explicitly, his locating of the [origin], and hence, [legitimacy] of a philosophical conceptuality in the expressive articulation of the schematism of pure imagination. Temporality here is pure self-affection and self-expression. For Heidegger, the very presence of a transcendental deduction in the Critique of Pure Reason indicates a derivative interpretation of conceptuality. More problematic for Heidegger is the explicit suppression of imagination not only in the Second Edition of the First Critique, but also in the two following Critiques. Even in the Critique of Judgement, Reason will deploy the free-floating imagination for its own ends. Beauty (and the Sublime) serve practical (moral) reason – and nothing besides.
The infrastructure of Kant's segregation of reason or apperception from any immediate contact with temporality or imagination had already been indicated in Basic Problems as "Kant's Thesis of Being". This phrase does not merely indicate a "position" taken on a well accepted path of questioning, but is an excavation of Kant's interpretation of being as position, as an object posited by consciousness. For Kant, the subject as apperception is that "ground" upon which all objects and experience achieve their unity. An a-temporal subject does not touch time - it posits beings that are 'in time'. In the wake of Heidegger's destruktion of this a-temporal subject, however, be-ing withdraws from the possibility of being a mere positing of consciousness. Existence, on the contrary, expresses its own intimate self-interpretation, of an understanding of being - prior to the opposition of consciousness and temporality. Heidegger underscores his destructive intent through an excavation of common time – a projection which suppresses, covers up the desires of myriad ecstatic temporalities. Indeed, it is such a common time, which allows Kant the pretence that he can merely posit being, consciousness and its segregated “unity”. For Heidegger, beyond the domesticated time of a vanquished sublime, there lies an original temporality upon which being and existence are projected, as are all thoughts about beings. In a moment of anticipatory resoluteness, existence not only expresses its own self-interpretation, but also expresses its own temporality and historicity. Such a gesture indicates a radical temporalization of thinking.
This topoV of ecstatic self-expression and of the temporal horizons for the meaning of being is most radically fulfilled by Heidegger in the closing pages of Basic Problems. While this lecture pertains to a great extent to the task of a destruction of the history of ontology, it also to an even greater extent attempts to fulfil the original question in the published fragment of Being and Time as to the temporal horizon for the articulation of the question of being. It is in this lecture, as we have seen, that Heidegger circles around again to his initial deconstruction of common time to original temporality. For while the published portion of Being and Time enacted the hard labour of clearing a ground for an articulation of the ontological difference between being and beings, between the topoV of existence and the technical domains of the everyday, it is Basic Problems which most clearly begins to disclose the temporal horizons upon which (Woraufhin) being is ecstatically projected in the attainment of its own meaning. Heidegger begins to answer the questions he posed in the published portion of Being and Time:
If Dasein harbors the understanding of being within itself, and if temporality makes possible Dasein in its ontological constitution, then temporality must also be the condition of the possibility of the understanding of being and hence of the projection of being upon time.[xiv]
The intimacy of self-interpretation is an affective self-finding, an understanding of being, an a priori light that illuminates “what” it encounters. This is also to be understood in the light of the temporal horizon upon which one's understanding of being is projected. That which is 'beyond' being is that upon which being is to be projected. Understanding, projecting upon, envisages its horizonal schema upon that which it is projected, the background of its sense or meaning. In each of the projections, being as the horizon, removes itself, projected as the horizon, to clear a playspace for this arrival of these entities which we encounter in everyday being-in-the-world. In this way, being is 'prius', whose expression is made possible by original temporality, while this latter is enigmatically given by being.
Of course, it could well be argued that such an ecstatic projection is at least implicit in the moment of anticipatory resoluteness in which a meaning of being is disclosed in the singular answer of dasein to its own call of conscience back to itself. Yet, Basic Problems is unique in its disclosure of not only the explicit understanding of being with respect to temporality, but also the excavation of existence and of its existential characters as the self-expression of temporality. In this way, Heidegger sketches a makeshift answer to the question of ‘being and time: '... we understand being from the original horizonal schema of the ecstases of temporality.'[xv] The horizonal schema are not 'outside', detachable from the ecstasies of temporality. The latter projects these schema along with the ecstasies, the 'unity' of which allows for this 'there' of openness, and for this possibility of understanding. Moreover, it is in this circle of being and time, in the ecstasies of temporality, and their own native horizons upon which these are projected, that thought finds its “unity” in the ecstatic-horizonal unity of these ecstasies in the self-remembrance of the self as temporality.
This finite or makeshift thinking throws the traditional principle of reason into question. In such a raising of the question of the principle of reason, a 'network of exchange' which this principle originally opened becomes confused, broken, a wrench thrown in the works disrupts 'business as usual'. However, even if the principle of reason has already undergone its rise and its reign, its death may take, as Schürmann intimates, with senses of irony and tragedy, even longer than its reign. In this way, Heidegger's indication of a pure, sensible reason is such an eruption of confusion and absurdity in its "networks of exchange", and perhaps a first step in the unknotting and ruin of its 'order'. Such a counter-ruination would be the setting free of the temporal self to express itself amidst its own indigenous existence. Yet, amidst the hegemony of a "common time", a decadent reason persists in its function of suppressing an expression of being-in-the-world. As Schürmann lays out in his posthumous work Broken Hegemonies, these "makeshifts" of ousia, arce, logos, eidoV, ratio, substance, cogito, which set decaying in the dust may, in the end, intimate the possibility of a different future - for no reason other than that each is broken – and will have inevitably broken.
δ. The Morphology of Radical Phenomenology
Heidegger's 'Being and time project' (radical phenomenology) has three originally linked components, as stated in the Basic Problems: reduction, destruction, and construction.[xvi] Reduction concerns an uncovering, finding the phenomenon of an original temporality of da-sein, as a self- interpretation of the being of existence in its general and singular temporal senses or meanings amidst being-in-the-world. Since finite knowing is rooted in ontic being, this self-interpretation will not be a Kantian self-examination of an immovable 'Subject', but a finite knowing of the self gained amidst a 'moment of vision' (Augenblick) in which the self comes 'face to face' with its temporal be-ing without evasion. Amidst anticipatory resoluteness, there is a radical singularization of the self, which discloses a sense of its own being, and of its 'interest' in this being (which is its most pressing issue). In this light, a 'fundamental ontology' is not an 'ontology' in the traditional sense, but a de-substantialization of a ‘what’ and ‘how’ essence into a 'that' of a radical singularity, a disclosure of existent being, not via real or idealist predication, but in this instant of self expression. A moment of vision, in this way, is a primitive sense of 'theory', qeorein, a disclosure amid a lived temporality, neither an ancient beholding of nouV (mind), nor as a modernist theoretical objectification.
The questions bound up with a “reduction to” or “retrieval of” the phenomenon and an understanding of its being are not those of 'positive' science, as if one could research a 'reduction'. This latter is questioning that must have already been undertaken. In that one cannot simply 'decide' to undergo such a questioning, and as there seems to be no 'natural incentive' to exit this 'world' of absorbed familiarity, of average everydayness, we take heed the comments made by Heidegger, that it is 'surprise', the unexpectant, breach, an 'event', death, catastrophe, or a work of art discloses that which is 'there' - if only provisionally. A reduction is not something that one can choose, just as one cannot choose an earthquake. It is an 'event' of being thrown into 'nothing'.[xvii] Such a 'moment of vision', as with anxiety and that 'call' of conscience, breaks in as 'strange', conspicuous, amidst an average circumspection of everydayness, as disturbance, disruption of familiar expectancy, questioning which tears us out of our absorption, beyond the merely unfamiliar into that 'uncanny'.
A destruktion, with respect to Heidegger's 'task of destroying the history of ontology' is a project of re-worlding, of asking the question of the temporal 'origin' of the 'categories', a procedure akin to Nietzsche's genealogical destruction of worn-out metaphors, which live by hiding their 'all-too-humble origins.'[xviii] Destruktion seeks to dismantle normalizing conceptualities, which suppress and overpower this phenomenon of existence and its self-expression. At the same time, a project of re-worlding is a cultivating of an originary dimension of self-questioning, which is an exploration of one's existence, 'set free' from the regimentation and imposture of a discipline of a formalist and logical 'reason'.
Construction concerns the self-expression of existence, as a 'forming' of 'concepts' amidst a pre-theoretical and pre-practical λoγoς. Being and Time expresses this fragility of finite knowing, as it shows a sense of the being of one's self amidst its being-toward-death, and a chance to 'seize hold' of this sense of one's being in resolute anticipation, a disclosure which breaks in as unexpected disturbance, which is the occasion for questioning the unexamined interpretations of one's being. But in light of his lectures, this 'hermeneutics of existence' must be seen as a provisional, revisable sense of one's own being, intimating a 'beyond' to cooked interpretations of the 'Anyone' and a return to the raw temporality of a self-interpretation of being-in-the-world which uncovers one's lived temporality. Heidegger evokes a ‘crisis’, in which we are thrown amid the falling of ruination, suppression, erasure, oblivion. He insists that a return to the phenomenon must be a 'counter-ruination', a cultivation of a fragile ground of meaning, self-expression, or as Dilthey sought, an independent ground for the cultivation of philosophy in all of its diversity. Radical phenomenology seeks to overcome an ‘ousiology’ that conjures 'in our minds' an image of a being, of an ontic thing or substance, which produces the world and its attributes from out of itself. Such an ‘ousiology’ suppresses the temporality of being-there, of the intimate playspace of the self and other selves – which is already a condition in which we fathom the existence and the other 'through a glass darkly'. Yet, although we are wed to falsity, illusion, concealment, there is a self-reflexive ‘openness’ to this be-ing of this existence - τoπoς, this place of dis-closure where be-ing shines and is sensed amidst our being-in-the-world and against the background of our own insurmountable finitude.
In Part I, 'The Phenomenon of Original Temporality,' I will lay out a provisional place for that which is referred to as a “reduction” in Basic Problems. This will be a “thematization” of the phenomenon of original temporality as the topoV for a hermeneutics of existence.
In Chapter 1, 'Indications of Original Temporality,' after an initial indication of the sense of “truth” for Heidegger, I will begin a sketch of a hermeneutic situation of 'original temporality', which exists and can be distinguished from a time that is 'ordinary', 'common' or “linear”. The exemplar for this latter “mathematical” interpretation of time is exhibited, for Heidegger, by Husserl, in his lecture course, Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness. This sketch will take place in tandem with a reading of Heidegger's lecture course, Basic Problems of Phenomenology, with respect to the comportment between original temporality and “general” time. Original temporality is a singular temporalization of the self amidst its world. It is not common, ordinary or clock time, but a lived 'phenomenological' temporality which pervades, gives rise to, and is covered up via a homogenized time. In Chapter 2, 'An Indigenous Conceptuality of Dasein', I will set forth Heidegger's destruction of Husserlian phenomenology in its rhetoric and performance of “going to the things themselves”. Amidst this destruktion emerges the possibility of an expression of the “things themselves” which is not burdened with the ontological baggage of other traditional conceptualities. For Heidegger, existence (Dasein) is the topoV where the phenomenon is disclosed in a dedicated submission which “reads off” (listens) indications, existentiale, from the phenomenon. In Chapter 3, 'Temporal Expressions of Being in the World,' I will lay out a prospective “rought sketch” of the conceptuality of temporal existence traced in Heidegger’s History of the Concept of Time, as a 'first approximation' of an understanding-of-being, a 'hermeneutic of existence'. In Chapter 4, 'Ecstatic Temporality and the Meaning of Being,' in a retrocursive answer to the prospective 'rough sketch' of Chapter 3, I will trace this understanding-of-being and its “conceptuality” to its grounding/founding in original temporality. In this way, the existentiale, or characters of being-in-the-world, are disclosed as projections of ecstatic or original[xix] temporality. In Chapter 5, 'Kant's Thesis about Being and Existence,' I will set out a reading of Heidegger's longstanding investigation of 'Kant's thesis about Being'. I will consider the question of concept formation and the limitations of “real” and “ideal” predications. For Heidegger, the implication that arises from Kant's thesis is that being is not susceptible to logical, conceptual, or mathematical predication. In this way, the ontological difference 'necessitates' differing modalities of expression, a 'plurivocity' in which this middle-world of being here-there can find honest expression.
In Part 2, 'The Destruktion of Original Temporality,' I will exhibit Heidegger's phenomenological engagement with Kant through a detailed analysis and explication of his third published work, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, supplemented by specific references to his lecture course, Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1928). In Chapter 6, 'The Retrieval of Original Temporality', I will discuss the possibility of a pre-theoretical and pre-practical topoV of indigenous expression, a place and “conceptuality” of existence, with respect to the ambiguous status of the transcendental imagination in the first two editions of the Critique of Pure Reason. In Chapter 7, 'The Excavation of Original Temporality', I will trace Heidegger's own version of “Kant” in his genealogy of the 'stems' of intuition and concept, each of which is traced to a 'common root' in pure imagination, or, a rooting of thinking in a 'power of imaginative integration'.[xx] In Chapter 8, 'The Articulation of Finite Knowing,' I will set forth Heidegger's 're-writing' of transcendental philosophy, a phantasy he muses upon in Phenomenological Intepretation, in which the transcendental imagination is the 'formative center of ontological knowledge,' a root of the theoretical, practical and aesthetical 'dimensions.' Indeed, at the climax of this lecture, in the last few pages, Heidegger reveals transcendental imagination as reason itself – a pure, sensuous reason. In Chapter 9, I will look at the many parallels between transcendental imagination and ecstatic-horizonal temporality. I will lay out the resemblances between Kant's three syntheses of pure imagination in light of the three ecstases of original temporality, casting into relief striking parallels and a 'translatability' of imagination and temporality with respect to the analogy between temporality as self-affection (KPM) and ecstatic self-projection (BT).
In Part 3, 'The topos of Original Temporality,' I will sketch out the topos for an indigenous expression of intimate phenomenon of temporal existence. In Chapter 10, “The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic”, I will respond to Heidegger's call that a phenomenological logic be grounded in the 'matters themselves', through a reading of his de-construction of Leibnizian monadology. In a discussion which was only hinted at in Being and Time, Heidegger engages in a destruktion of the doctrines of judgment and substance, in which he uncovers logoV and being as distinct comportments of existence, where the latter has priority with respect to the meaning of phenomenology. In Chapter 11, “The “Unity” of Ecstatic Temporality”, continuing my examination of Metaphysical Foundations, I will sketch out, in contrast to Henrich’s “Unity of Reason”, a 'unity' of ecstatic temporality, a topoV for the self-expression of the phenomenon which abides the “recollection” of the temporal horizons of existence. In Chapter 12, 'The Building Site of Care and Temporality', I will lay out the existential of Care, a territory of thrown projection, which is disclosed in the disposition of anxiety (Angst), as indicated in Division One of Being and Time. In Chapter 13, 'Temporality as the Ontological Meaning of Care', I will examine the 'unity' and temporal sense of this being of existence (Dasein) in its ecstatic self-transcendence. I will explore the disclosive characters of conscience, guilt and resoluteness in Division Two of Being and Time. The makeshift, or temporalist, character of this 'moment of vision' (Augenblick), as a temporality of an anticipatory resoluteness, is laid out in tandem with a reading of the Anaximander fragment on temporality and guilt so as to indicate the radical temporality of all characters of be-ing. Ultimately, one listens, one is silent – so as to listen, be – and perhaps, to speak. In closing, in 'The Circle of Finitude', I will reiterate the task of radical phenomenology as an exploration of the ultimate possibilities of a world which one carries amid lived existence. In this light, anticipatory resoluteness, Krell has pointed out, turns into metontology which situates one's own self interpretation within the intimate horizons of those of others. In this way, the topoV for a hermeneutics of existence, is, amidst the horizons of a radical temporalization of thought, broadened to include poetry, art, mythology, et al. as indications of the phenomenon of existence (Dasein). Such a gesture is indicated in Being and Time in the “Myth of Cura”, in which Heidegger intimates the meaning of the being of existence via a pagan myth. One may wish to pass over this myth as a literary curiosity. Yet, this would be to miss the radical significance of phenomenology and of the potential strategies of its “methodology”. The “Myth of Cura” intimates the turn from a fundamental ontology to a metontology. But we must get there first and this entails excavating the genealogy of this fluidity of expression. While not being a mere nominalism, this sketchy patchwork seeks to indicate the radical temporality of existence – or from another perspective, to allow this phenomenon to speak for itself. This sketching is our tenuous attempt to build a makeshift world - in-between - in which we can and do dwell and act for a while.
[i] Schürmann, Reiner. Heidegger, p. 29.
[ii] It is in this context that we must reject Volpi's misleading suggestion that dasein is praxiV. Indeed, Heidegger dismisses this possibility, as both praxiV and qeorein are rooted in original temporality. Yet, this does not eliminate the possibility of an an-archic praxis, as explored by Schürmann.
[iii] Heidegger, contrary to the criticism by Cassirer, does not inject the schematism of the first Critique, of the theoretical understanding, into the domain of the practical. Heidegger points out the 'middle voice,' a structure of spontaneous receptivity and receptive spontaneity in the 'determination' of 'will.' What is significant is not the schematism in the theoretical sense, as a making manifest of concepts, but of the operation of pure, productive imagination in each of the practical and theoretical dimensions. The Typic of Practical Reason, for Heidegger, is not the schematism in disguise, but an unacknowledged (by Kant) modification of pure, productive imagination within the domain of practical reason, a 'schema' of the law itself. The a priori status of the transcendental imagination, despite Kant's revisions of transcendental philosophy in favor of an 'idea of reason', indicates a self-determination of the will.
[iv] Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, p. 33.
[v] It is clear that the many pathways Heidegger allows could be said to be quite compatible with an ethics of respect. Yet, such respect would be articulated in terms of commitments or resolutions.
[vi] Heidegger, The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, 11.
[vii] Kant discusses his own 'sure path of science' as that which takes 'permanent possession' of its territory and domain in the B preface, p. 21-22 in the Critique of Pure Reason.
[viii] Safranski in Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil, p. 317, “face to face with the great philosophers, one’s own wriggling became very unimportant and served merely as a makeshift (BwHJ, 161).” However, this is the insurmountable character of a thinking, which is thrown into the world.
[ix] Cf. Heidegger's reference to a gigantomachia as the 'first war' over the meaning of being, that between Plato and Aristotle.
[x] Safranski, pp. 368-369. ‘As the “undetermined animal” (Nietzsche), as a creature that cannot be objectively fixed but which lives in the plenitude of its relations, and does indeed need moral ties, even though “they may hold together only as a makeshift and only for the present day” (UH,43). These ties, therefore, are really no more than makeshifts; they are something penultimate of which we must not believe that they mark the end of thinking.’ However, while thinking seeks out that which is the truth of being as the durable, even this is comprehensible within the horizon of temporality and is thus ultimately a makeshift. In this way, thinking per se is makeshift and is “only for the present day”.
[xi] In Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, 26, p. 80, Husserl writes, 'Still there will also be many unimportant things in the intuitive anticipation of the future which as makeshifts fill out the concrete images. The latter, however, can in various ways be other than the likeness it offers. It is, from the first, characterized as being open.'
[xii] Indeed, it would be possible to extend this project to
1930 with the lecture course The
Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics given in
[xiii] Heidegger, M. The
Concept of Time,
[xiv] ibid. 280.
[xv] ibid. 307.
[xvi] Basic Problems, p. 23.
[xvii] Kiesel claims that such an 'event' was Heidegger’s witness to the 'rationality of the trenches' in WWI.
[xviii] Such a destruction could also be interpreted in the sense of Nietzsche's untimely question of the use and disadvantages/abuse of 'thought' for life, a text which Heidegger mentions toward the end of Being and Time, as a provisional, dangerous attempt to allow a thought of one's own, to express one's own original temporality, to allow original temporality, as a singular existence. Nietzsche holds a preeminent place in the 1920's radical phenomenology, as is discussed by Taminiaux in his Heidegger and the Project of Fundamental Ontology.
[xix] Schürmann points out in his Heidegger that an "original" temporality, one which 'founds' a world, is to be distinguished from the "originary" temporality of re-leasement, pp. 132ff. I have taken this point in respect to the strategy of reading Heidegger backwards.