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Phenomenology 2010

Volume 3, 2011

Selected Essays from the Euro-Mediterranean Area

Panos Theodorou
Pages 441-468

Heidegger’s Search for a Phenomenological Fundamental Ontology in his 1919 WS, vis-a-vis the Neo-Kantian Philosophy of Values

It has already been remarked that Heidegger’s early Kriegsnotsemester of 1919 plays an important role in the development of his project toward a phenomenological Fundamental Ontology, which would elucidate the meaning of “Being as such.” However, both the reason why this happens and why it eventually fails appear to have been poorly understood. In this paper, I initially present the meaning of Heidegger’s effort, in that ‘semester,’ to build philosophy as a genuinely “primordial science.” Then, I explain the sense in which the neo-Kantian philosophy of values became a crucial constituent of his inspiration. In this direction, Heidegger’s thought experiment with the “African aboriginal” is examined and placed at the right position within his overall search for the “primal some thing” qua critical “formal indication” in the search and phenomenologization of “Being as such.” Finally, I present three serious difficulties that make this early attempt by Heidegger phenomenologically flawed and probably lead him to the new orientations of Being and Time.

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