Reading Brandom Reading Heidegger

نویسنده

  • John Haugeland
چکیده

While brilliance and originality surely top the list of qualities shared by Brandom and Heidegger, another commonality is a tendency to treat their predecessors as partial and sometimes confused versions of themselves. Heidegger, therefore, could hardly be indignant on principle if Brandom finds a fair bit of Making it Explicit in the first division of Being and Time. Nevertheless, some details may deserve a closer look. Here I will concentrate on the more recent of the Heidegger essays reprinted in Tales of the Mighty Dead: ‘Dasein, the Being that Thematizes’. The basic premise of the essay is that ‘Being and Time can be understood as propounding a normative pragmatism’ (Brandom 2002: 324). That, in turn, is cashed out as comprising two distinctive commitments. First, that the normative is to be understood as conceptually and explanatorially prior to the factual; and second, that the norms implicit in social practice are similarly prior to those made explicit as rules. While these two commitments will certainly be familiar to any reader of Making it Explicit, extracting them from Being and Time is a more delicate matter. ‘Norm’ is not one of Heidegger’s words, nor particularly is ‘practice’ (though each does occur a few times). That doesn’t mean, of course, that normative pragmatism cannot be read into the text. Indeed, as Brandom justly notes, I was myself, some years ago, one of the originators of such a reading. But, while I still think there’s something to that, it no longer seems to me to shed much light on what Heidegger himself is really up to. In particular, it scarcely connects at all with the principal aim of the work, which is to reawaken the question of the sense of being; nor does it make more than incidental contact with important topics like anxiety, care, truth, death, conscience, authenticity, resoluteness, historicity, and time. Thus, much that is central to Heidegger’s own purposes is entirely missed by this exegetical strategy. Arguably, however, these larger and later issues are irrelevant to the more focussed concerns of ‘Dasein, the Being that Thematizes’. Yet, before turning to specifics, we might be puzzled by that title itself. The most important distinction in early Heidegger is that between being (Sein) and entities (Seienden)—soon to be called ‘the ontological difference’. Macquarrie and Robinson (the translators Brandom mostly relies on) are quite scrupulous in marking this distinction with the above contrasting terms. Yet, in the present conspicuous instance (the title is actually lifted from the text—Heidegger 1927: 363), Brandom departs from their consistent practice, and renders ‘Seiende’ with ‘being’. Why?

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تاریخ انتشار 2005