Philosophy 185

Fall 2009

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
185 Heidegger Frede/Kaiser TuTh 11-12:30 110 Wheeler Hall

Since its publication in 1927 Heidegger’s major work Being and Time has been many things to its various recipients. Though the work has made major contributions to existential thought, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism its main concern is a revolution of what Heidegger regarded as the central term of philosophy since antiquity: the concept of being. Because he viewed the traditional understanding of this concept as superficial and misguided, his plan was to work out a new fundamental ontology. Its design was (I) to reveal the true meaning of being on the basis of temporality as its transcendental horizon and (II) to point out the crucial missteps in the tradition (Aristotle, Descartes and Kant) that led to the misconception. Heidegger never finished this ambitious project, but the work’s first part with its extensive analysis of human understanding as the basis of the conception of being was sufficient to make this work a major challenge to friend and foe alike. The course will focus on the connection between the question of being, the analysis of human nature, and the phenomenological method that Heidegger presents as the necessary foundations of his project in Division I of Being and Time.
We will largely confine ourselves to the study of the difficult text itself (we will use the 1962 translation by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson, available as a paperback reprint of 2008 in the Harper Perennial Modern Thought series) but a reader with some additional material and secondary literature will also be prepared. Participants are required to give one class presentation and to submit a research-paper of 15 pages at the end of the semester.

The course will be taught in a seminar format. Enrollment is limited to 25 and is by application only. Although the seminar is open to graduate students preference will be given to junior and senior philosophy majors. To apply to enroll students should write to the instructors ( and by May 24th and very briefly describe their background in philosophy and their interest in the course. Those accepted will be notified and given a course enrollment code via email by the end of June.

Previously taught: FL07, FL05, SP04.