Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

European Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 15, No. 2, August 2007

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

European Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 15, No. 2, August 2007

Article excerpt

What are the Categories in Sein und Zeit? Brandom on Heidegger on Zuhandenheit, CARLETON B. CHRISTENSEN

Robert Brandom maintains that for Heidegger to be ready-to-hand is to be correctly used to do such and such, a normative property fixed by the habits of evaluative judgement displayed by one's linguistic community. Rather than interpreting, as Brandom does, comparatively short passages drawn from across Heidegger's text, this paper concentrates on the large slab of text (SZ, [section] 15: H 68-69) in which the notion of ready-to-handedness is introduced. In so doing, it makes clear that one can only make sense of this passage if one does not read Heidegger as a social pragmatist. Section I presents Brandom's interpretation. Section II shows how Heidegger's notions of Dasein and its 'Da' entail that the concerns of Sein und Zeit are transcendentally phenomenological rather than pragmatist. Section III then shows how the emphasis on experience entailed by such phenomenological concerns makes it possible to identify and understand, in a way pragmatist readings cannot, a crucial play on words involved in Heidegger's use of the phrase 'um-zu.' This account of the 'um-zu' yields, in Section IV, a much more accurate (and interesting) account of what it is to be ready-to-hand, namely, to be so located relative to a practically engaged subject that the entity has, and can be experienced as having, some positive relevance for this activity. …

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