“The Disunity of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and the Unity of Heidegger’s Being and Time”
Gilad Nir (University of Chicago)
Friday, March 3rd, 1:30-4:20
The paper will be read at the workshop and is available here under the “papers” tab. A discussion will follow.
The central failure of the metaphysical tradition which stems from Aristotle, according to Heidegger, consists in the subordination of general ontology to the account of a special, exemplary entity (theology). But Being and Time itself privileges an exemplary entity, namely human Dasein. It thus opens itself to the charge that its overarching concern with human existence can only lead to a reductive and parochial account of Being. This paper argues for a novel understanding of the methodology of Being and Time and shows that it provides an adequate response to this charge. I first show that Heidegger finds in Aristotle the seeds of resistance to the onto-theological systematization of metaphysics. I then show that he adopts a similar approach in Being and Time. Alongside the method of fundamental ontology, Heidegger develops a method of historical critique called Destruction. The two methods are meant to counterbalance each other, and to prevent the collapse of the ontological difference between Being as such and the Being of Dasein. It is only through an engagement with the historical manifestations of Dasein’s desire for understanding that we learn what understanding it may hope for.