Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Science
HEIDEGGER'S ACCOUNT of science can be concisely expressed by the thesis that modern natural science consists in the mathematical projection of nature. This view is evident as early as 1916 in "Der Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft," where he distinguishes history from natural science on the basis of the projection of the time concept in each. It is explicit in §69 of Being and Time, where his analysis of the theoretical attitude echoes the account he gives of Galileo in 1916 and takes up again in 1935. The end of Heidegger's early view of science is evident in that 1935 text, Die Frage nach dem Ding, as well as in Introduction to Metaphysics. In Die Frage nach dem Ding, Heidegger does not relinquish the idea that science is the mathematical projection of nature, but he has untangled that thesis from a second thesis central to his early view: that metaphysics is itself a science.
Heidegger's philosophy of science from 1916 to the mid-1930s cannot be understood apart from his account of metaphysics as science. Explication of this early view entails laying out his account of the relation between metaphysics and natural science. Heidegger begins by taking metaphysics to ground the sciences. He does not remain satisfied with this view, but rather eventually determines the relation between metaphysics and science as the mathematical. For Heidegger, the mathematical is that which is known beforehand and brought to experience by the understanding. In Being and Time and in Basic Problems of Phenomenology, he begins his inquiry into the question of being with the ontic fact that any understanding of beings entails a prior projection of being. In Basic Problems of Phenomenology, the object of fundamental ontology as Heidegger envisions it is being, and the task is the investigation of being in order to secure the sciences in their regional ontology.