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Heidegger and Being

Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger was one of the most important philosophers in the continental tradition. Filippo Casati examines Heidegger’s later work and defends an alternate interpretation of his wrestle with the notion of Being.

In his book, Heidegger and the Contradiction of Being: An Analytic Interpretation of the Late Heidegger, Casati examines the philosopher’s concept of Being. Heidegger reasons that, when we think and speak, we always think and speak about something, that is, an entity.  Moreover, Heidegger posits that Being — what makes any entity being — is not an entity itself. That is the ontological difference, Casati says. We are, thus, surrounded by entities; however, the reason of all these entities is not itself an entity.

“At this point, we should notice a problem” says Casati, assistant professor of philosophy. “Heidegger thinks and speaks about something that is not an entity, but he shouldn't be able to do it. The reason being that, according to Heidegger himself, our thinking and speaking are always about something, that is, an entity. Being is not an entity, though. If so, Heidegger finds himself stuck in this contradiction. On the one hand, he shouldn't be able to think and speak about Being. On the other hand, Heidegger is able to think and speak about Being. This is a well-known problem in analytic philosophy as well. It is usually called the denotational paradox. We should not be able to denote something, but then in doing so, we denote that something as what we should not be able to denote. I start from this analogy and work out a logical theory, which can somehow accommodate this contradiction.”

Casati uncovers the premises that deliver the paradox and defends them both exegetically and philosophically. More importantly, Casati’s book presents a solution to the paradox by focusing on Section 34 of his Contributions to Philosophy.

“I think I was able to successfully, according to others unsuccessfully, defend my own approach to Heidegger’s Contributions, because I focus on a very tiny segment of Heidegger's corpus. It is important to notice that my interpretation does not reflect Heidegger's overall view. Far from being a huge exegetical claim, my research relies and explains a tiny, but crucial, part of his production.”

Spotlight Recipient

Filippo Casati

Assistant Professor

Article By:

Robert Nichols