Studia Philosophica

Volume 64, Issue 1, 2017

Břetislav Horyna
Pages 23-49

Heidegger's Interpretation of Kant's Critical Philosophy in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics

When pondering on Heidegger's attitude to Kant, as it is depicted in the work Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, the most important aspect is not the content, that is, an analysis of what is being written about Kant, but the question why Heidegger was able to employ his specific method and which semantic and pragmatic assumptions he accepted. Soon after the work was published, opinions emerged according to which Kant's texts were always subordinated to the interests and process of Heidegger's reflections of philosophy. According to these opinions, Heidegger treated Kant as a thinker who discovered the idea of the originality of being, but never formulated it adequately. That was a task awaiting Heidegger himself. This paper also defends the claim that Heidegger's book does not bring a unified picture of Kant's method, but only provides the skeleton of Heidegger's exposition of his own philosophy, which lacks any validation by scientific means. The author attempts to answer the question why Heidegger chose Kant, whom he had rejected, and assesses the assumptions that Heidegger accepted in order to continue from his unfinished Being and Time to his primary goal - the metaphysics of human existence. The most significant of these was the assumption of "insufficiently expressed Kant"; Heidegger announced that the Kant of the written texts (especially the Critique of Pure Reason) was not the Kant that could have been expressed, and inferred that he would bring his interpretation of Kant to a successful conclusion. The paper shows the contradictions that emerged in the effort to expound the critical philosophy by Heideggerian distortion according to antecedently accepted goals. A substantial part of the paper deals with the adaptability of Heidegger's thought to the Nazi ideology not only in 1933-1945, but even before the publication of Being and Time and in the decades after the destruction of Hitler's regime. The paper concludes that Heidegger's legacy is merely his "metaphysics of Aryan death", which finds its place in modern philosophy with great difficulty.