Heidegger: the revealing
and concealing of
Neither the questioning of metaphysics nor the quest for a non-metaphysical theology is peculiar to this century. We have seen the two problematics intersect, first in Pseudo-Dionysius, then in the critical philosophy. Now, though, we must turn to a philosopher whose intervention in twentieth-century ideas has been decisive, a man whose thought has already exerted a considerable force throughout this study: Martin Heidegger. We can resolve this force in two directions. It is the Heideggerian project of the Destruktion of western metaphysics which is the immediate precursor of Derridean deconstruction. And it is Heidegger who, more than any single philosopher this century, has influenced the development of contemporary speculative theology. So if deconstruction is, as we have suggested, a rigorous revision of Destruktion, then surely we should expect it to clarify and extend the theological projects already begun under the aegis of Heidegger.
Yet we do not turn to Heidegger purely for historical reasons, and in passing from the eighteenth to the twentieth century we do not thereby step outside the shadow cast by the critical philosophy. After all, it is Heidegger who submits the critical philosophy to a rigorous and ground-breaking analysis; for unlike most commentators, Heidegger attends partly to Kant's doctrines and arguments and partly to what remains unsaid in Kant's text. Such is the burden of Kant and the problem of metaphysics and What is a thing?1 In this way Heidegger begins his radical questioning of the relation between metaphysics and
1 Heidegger, Kant and the problem of metaphysics, trans. James S. Churchill
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962); What is a thing? trans. W. B.
Barton, Jr. and Vera Deutsch (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1967).