Heidegger on Kant, Time and the ‘Form’ of Intentionality

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Yale University Library]On: 20 March 2013, At: 15:57Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

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    Heidegger on Kant, Time and theForm of IntentionalitySacha Golob aa University of CambridgeVersion of record first published: 11 Jul 2012.

    To cite this article: Sacha Golob (2012): Heidegger on Kant, Time andthe Form of Intentionality, British Journal for the History of Philosophy,DOI:10.1080/09608788.2012.692662

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  • ARTICLE

    HEIDEGGER ON KANT, TIME AND THE FORM OFINTENTIONALITY

    Sacha Golob

    Between 1927 and 1936, Martin Heidegger devoted almost onethousand pages of close textual commentary to the philosophy ofImmanuel Kant. This article aims to shed new light on the relationship

    between Kant and Heidegger by providing a fresh analysis of twocentral texts: Heideggers 1927/8 lecture course PhenomenologicalInterpretation of Kants Critique of Pure Reason and his 1929

    monograph Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. I argue that tomake sense of Heideggers reading of Kant, one must resolve twoquestions. First, how does Heideggers Kant understand the concept ofthe transcendental? Second, what role does the concept of a horizon play

    in Heideggers reconstruction of the Critique? I answer the rst questionby drawing on Cassams model of a self-directed transcendentalargument (The role of the transcendental within Heideggers Kant),

    and the second by examining the relationship between Kants doctrinethat pure, general logic abstracts from all semantic content andHumes attack on metaphysics (The role of the horizon within

    Heideggers Kant). I close by sketching the implications of my resultsfor Heideggers own thought (From Heideggers Kant to Sein undZeit). Ultimately, I conclude that Heideggers commentary on the

    Critical system is dened, above all, by a single issue: the nature of theform of intentionality.

    KEYWORDS: Kant; Heidegger; transcendental; horizon; intentionality;

    form

    INTRODUCTION

    Between 1927 and 1936, Martin Heidegger devoted almost one thousandpages of close textual commentary to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.1

    Furthermore, the inuence of the Critical system on Heideggers own early

    1I use the following abbreviations for Heideggers texts:

    SZ Sein und Zeit

    Ga3 Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik (6th ed., 1998)

    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 2012: 123, iFirst article

    British Journal for the History of PhilosophyISSN 0960-8788 print/ISSN 1469-3526 online 2012 BSHP

    http://www.tandfonline.com http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2012.692662

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  • thought is pervasive; to take a single example, he credits Kant as the rstand only person who has gone any stretch of the way towards investigatingthe dimension of temporality (SZ 23). This article aims to shed new light onthe relationship between Kant and Heidegger by providing a fresh analysisof two central texts: Heideggers 1927/8 lecture course PhenomenologicalInterpretation of Kants Critique of Pure Reason and his 1929 monographKant and the Problem of Metaphysics. I argue that to make sense ofHeideggers reading of Kant, one must resolve two questions. First, howdoes Heideggers Kant understand the concept of the transcendental?Second, what role does the concept of a horizon play in Heideggersreconstruction of the rst Critique? I answer the rst question by drawingon Cassams model of a self-directed transcendental argument (The roleof the transcendental within Heideggers Kant), and the second byexamining the relationship between Kants doctrine that pure, generallogic abstracts from all semantic content and Humes attack onmetaphysics (The role of the horizon within Heideggers Kant). Asthe two questions indicate, I intend primarily to establish conclusionsregarding Heideggers reading of Kant, or HK for short. In FromHeideggers Kant to Sein und Zeit, however, I sketch the broaderconsequences of my results given the premise that certain assumptionsmade in HK are also present in Heideggers own work. Whilst I regardthat premise as plausible, I do not defend it here. Ultimately, I argue thatHeideggers commentary on the Critical system is dened, above all, by asingle issue: the nature of the form of intentionality.

    Ga9 Wegmarken

    Ga21 Logik (2nd ed., 1995)

    Ga24 Die Grundprobleme der Phanomenologie (3rd ed., 1997)

    Ga25 Phanomenologische Interpretation von Kants Kritik . . . (3rd ed., 1995)

    Ga31 Vom Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (2nd ed., 1994)

    Ga41 Die Frage nach dem Ding

    References are to the Gesamtausgabe edition (Frankfurt: Klostermann) with the exception of

    SZ, where I follow the pagination of the standard German edition (Tubingen: Niemeyer, 1957).

    Ga3, Ga25 and Ga41 are largely, or exclusively, devoted to Kant. Important treatments of Kant

    also appear in Ga21, G31, and in SZ itself. For Kants texts, these abbreviations are used:

    KrV Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Ak., vol. 4)

    Prol Prolegomena . . . (Ak., vol. 4)

    Log Logik (Ak., vol. 9)

    UE Uber eine Entdeckung . . . (Ak., vol. 8)

    References are to Kants gesammelte Schriften, 29 vols, (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1902). In referring

    to KrV, however, I employ the A/B pagination. Whilst guided by the standard translations, I

    have often modied them.

    2 SACHA GOLOB

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  • MOTIVATING THE TWO QUESTIONS

    I want to begin by motivating the two questions raised. To do this, I showthat, whilst the concepts of the transcendental and the horizonal are centralto HK, there are serious diculties in understanding them.The concept of the transcendental underpins Heideggers appropriation

    of the Critical system: this is evident from his equation of it with theontological. Ga25, for example, states that:

    The phrases transcendental aesthetic and transcendental logic mean thesame as ontological aesthetic and ontological logic.

    (Ga25 76)

    The same move is present throughout Heideggers early work; indeed, heclaims that transcendental philosophy denotes nothing but ontology (Ga24180). There is, however, an obvious tension between standard Kantianconceptions of the transcendental and Heideggers approach to Kant.Consider, for example, the idea of a transcendental argument. Transcen-dental arguments, at least in their most familiar form, are a priori claimsintended to establish that if some mode of experience is to be possible, thencertain facts about the world must obtain or, more weakly, must be assumedto obtain.2 Such transcendental arguments typically possess three features.First, they are anti-sceptical in intent: they aim either to validate conclusionsabout the world threatened by some brand of scepticism or, more weakly, toshow that even the sceptic must assume the very beliefs she purports toquestion. The view that Kant is engaged in this type of anti-sceptical projectmeshes neatly with the textbook reading on which the Second Analogy aimsto prove, contra Hume, that every event has a cause (KrV B2324), whilstthe Refutation aims to prove, contra Descartes, that I have experience ofobjects outside me (KrV Bxl). Second, to be eective, such transcendentalarguments must take as their premise a comparatively thin mode ofexperience, one which the putative sceptic accepts or can be brought toaccept. Again, this chimes with Kants own procedure: the Second Analogy,read as a response to Hume, begins from the capacity to perceive events(KrV A192/B237), and the Refutation, read as a response to Descartes,from a bare awareness of my own mental states passing in time (KrV B275).Third, such transcendental arguments usually aim to establish someconnection between necessity and warrant. For example, Kant seeks todemonstrate not only that the possibility of experience necessitates that Ihold certain beliefs about the world but also that those beliefs are therebyjustied as opposed to simply unavoidable. This justicatory issue, the

    2Strawson (1966) is a classic example of a transcendental argument in this sense and one which

    purports to reach conclusions about the world itself. Stroud (1968) is perhaps the most inuential

    modern attempt to show that such arguments can, at best, establish conclusions about our beliefs.

    HEIDEGGER ON KANT 3

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  • famous quid juris, is of particular importance in the Critical context (KrVA84/B116); this is because Kant understands Hume as holding that, whilstwe necessarily employ concepts such as causality, we have no right to do so(Prol 2589).What is striking is that none of these features are present in HKs use of

    the term transcendental. First, HK shows no interest in constructing thistype of transcendental argument as a reply to Descartes or to Hume;Heideggers commentary does not even mention the latter. This parallels SZ,which argues explicitly that transcendental proofs, such as KantsRefutation, are precisely the wrong way to respond to the sceptical threat(SZ 205). Second, whereas Kants Analogies, say, begin from a compara-tively thin premise, namely the capacity to represent basic temporalrelations, and move from that premise to the conclusion that the objectsof experience are causally ordered substances, HK appears to take thisconclusion as its starting point. Thus, at least prima facie, Heideggerpresents Kant as beginning from the assumptions both that the objects ofexperience are present-at-hand and that they are so independent of anyfacts about the human mind (Ga25 63, 19).3 Third, HK denies bluntly thatthe question of justication has any role to play in understanding thetranscendental; indeed, Heidegger dismisses the quid juris as the mostdisastrous segment of Kants teaching (Ga25 309). In short, HKs use oftranscendental cannot be understood in terms of the familiar Kantianmodel of a transcendental argument. The question thus naturally arises:what alternate role does this central concept play within HK?The other aspect of HK to be investigated is the concept of a horizon.

    This concept is central to the phenomenological tradition: Husserl held thatrecognition of the horizon structure belonging to every mode ofintentionality will prescribe methods of a totally new kind from thoseemployed by earlier philosophers.4 Within HK, the importance of thisconcept is again clear. First, Heidegger frequently analyses the mainKantian structures in terms of it; for example, he equates Kants object ingeneral with the horizon of objectivity in general [Horizont derGegenstandlichkeit uberhaupt] (Ga3 119). Second, HK inter-denes theconcept of a horizon with the principal components of Heideggers ownthought: it is ontological knowledge which makes the horizon accessible(Ga3 123). This mirrors SZ, which begins by asking after the possiblehorizon for any understanding of being (SZ 1). Third, Heidegger stressesthe relation between the horizon and those aspects of Kants theory,namely its emphasis on time and on the transcendental, and of Kantstext, namely the Schematism, which he believes connects Kants philosophy

    3The present-at-hand within HK is simply the object as dened by the Kantian categories

    (Ga25 634). Within SZ, the phrase has, in addition to that meaning, several other uses; that

    issue is beyond this paper.4Husserl (1977 x20).

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  • to his own.5 Ga24, for example, identies time as the primary horizon of thetranscendental science of ontology (Ga24 460). But while the importancewhich HK ascribes to the horizon is obvious, its function is far from clear.How does talk of the horizon of the objectivity generate a position anydierent from an orthodox Kantian one? If it does not, why does Heideggerattach such weight to it? If it does, how do the resultant dierences connect,for example, to HKs distinctive claim that all Kantian faculties can bereduced to the imagination (Ga3 138)? I have shown that the two questionswith which I opened this article need answers. I will now attempt to providesome.

    THE ROLE OF THE TRANSCENDENTAL WITHINHEIDEGGERS KANT

    To understand the role of the transcendental within HK, one needs todistinguish the basic framework of a transcendental argument from themore specic, often anti-sceptical, uses to which that framework can be put.By the basic framework, I understand an argument which seeks toestablish, a priori, certain necessary conditions on the possibility of a givenmode of experience (KrV A112/B25, Ga25 106). Now, there is no necessityfor arguments with this basic framework to exhibit any of those features,noted above, which seem at odds with HKs approach. Consider what,following Cassam, I label self-directed transcendental arguments.6 Thelabel is intended to indicate a contrast with the more familiar transcendentalarguments discussed in Motivating the two questions: those more familiararguments are world-directed in the sense that they move from facts aboutexperience to facts about the world or, at least, to facts about the way wemust assume the world to be. In contrast, self-directed transcendentalarguments seek to establish conclusions about the cognitive capacities ofparticular agents. Suppose, for example, that I experience objects asstanding in causal relations. One question which then arises is this: whatintentional capacities must I possess in order to represent objects in thisway? Someone might argue, on a priori grounds, that I must possess theability to represent counter-factual situations; if this argument holds, then,given the original premise, it follows that I do indeed possess such an ability.This pattern of inference exhibits what I called the basic framework of atranscendental argument: it oers an a priori analysis of the conditions ofpossibility for experience. However, it is obviously not anti-scepti...