Academic journal article Philosophy Today

Heidegger's Distinction between Scientific and Philosophical Judgments

Academic journal article Philosophy Today

Heidegger's Distinction between Scientific and Philosophical Judgments

Article excerpt

In §33 of Being and Time, Martin Heidegger shows that judgment is a derivative phenomenon, and it owes its sense to the phenomenon of world. Later sections further root judgment in care and most originally in the self-articulation of timeliness. This could lead to the impression that phenomenology simply outflanks judgments. And yet every page of Being and Time teems with judgments. Each of the careful phenomenological analyses, from space to judgment to anxiety, deploys judgments to articulate the phenomena. Peculiarly, phenomenology uses judgments to situate judgments within a non-judicative context. Is Heidegger here guilty of a gross performative contradiction and methodological naïveté? Does Heidegger use the ladder only to kick it away as Carnap, Habermas, Edwards, and others suppose?1

Being and Time has its tensions and contradictions, but this is not one of them. We know from reading the methodological §7 that judgment or logos of any sort is in service to the self-showing of phenomena. Timeliness, we later discover, introduces an essential bifurcation in the phenomena and thus implicates an essential difference between phenomenological and scientific judgments. Specifically, the horizonal-ecstatic unfolding of timeliness enables two different directions of inquiry. Scientific judgments are the result of turning from the timely openness to entities alone; phenomenological judgments are the result of returning to the timely openness in which such entities are accessible. Timeliness, then, makes the judgments differ in kind. Consequently, there is no contradiction for phenomenological judgments to be used to situate scientific judgments within a prejudicative context.

To clarify the matter further, we could say that these two ways of judging are not univocal but analogical. That is, while what they signify is different, they are proportionately the same: scientific judgments are subordinate to the self-showing of entities as phenomenological judgments are subordinate to the self-showing of the timely horizon in which such entities can show themselves. Both are a way of "letting be seen" (Sehenlassen), but they differ because they manifest two essentially different possibilities of phenomena, the entitative and the timely.2 The latter is the condition for the possibility of the former. In this way we can see that Heidegger affirms the validity of science and its judgments as a legitimate possibility of discourse. He does think it entails a particular way of regarding things that is not the only way or even the most adequate way, but it is still a valid one.3 Contextualing scientific judgments within their ultimate horizon of sense enriches science and does not undermine it.

In registering this difference between the two judgments, we are hampered by the fact that the third division of Being and Time never appeared. In it, Heidegger tells us, he intended to develop the idea of phenomenology he had merely indicated in the methodological §7.4 Assuredly, this would have discussed the logos peculiar to phenomenology. Though Heidegger did not put everything in one place for us, we can still find clues in period lecture courses to present a cogent account of what he had in mind.5

Time's Two Possibilities of Judgment

The "unfolding and ripening" (Zeitigung) of "timeliness" (Zeitlichkeit) provides two basic possibilities for thematization and thus two basic possibilities for scientific discourse.6 On the one hand, entities can be unveiled in the manner of positive science and its apophantic discourse. On the other hand, being itself can be unveiled in the manner of phenomenological science and its timely discourse. Timeliness makes these two directions of unveiling both possible and necessary: "Timeliness is the root and the ground for both the possibility and, properly understood, the factical necessity of the objectification of the given entities and the given being?7 Positive science moves in the everyday direction toward entities, and phenomenological research moves in the counter tendency toward the projection of being in terms of timeliness. …

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