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Chapter Four

Things, Thinking, and the Social Foundations of Logic

© Jeff Kochan, CC BY 4.0 http://dx.doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0129.04

1. Introduction

In Chapter Three, I argued that the doctrine of the independent existence of things, as the basis for a minimal realism, is inextricably bound up with the fact that human knowledge is inherently limited. The idea that things possess an independent existence follows from the recognition that our epistemic capabilities are irremediably finite. Chapter Three was primarily concerned with the independent existence of things. This chapter will be oriented more towards epistemic finitude, or more specifically, the finitude of what I will call ‘thinking.’ Thinking was a fundamental concept for Heidegger, and he meant it in the broadest possible sense to include not just mental activity, conventionally construed, but all practical acts expressing the possession of knowledge. Thinking is thus present not only in deliberative, propositionally structured actions, but also in actions which are non-deliberative and non-propositional in nature. On this account, ‘thinking’ means ‘cognitive activity,’ that is, the activity of knowing. When we say that someone knows how to ride a bicycle in traffic, we need not claim that she possesses propositionally structured knowledge of bike riding, knowledge which she may deliberatively apply in the performance itself. Heidegger’s concept of thinking thus also encompasses skill. In his view, skilled performance entails a mode of thinking which need not be articulable in propositional form. His concept of thinking thus appears similar to philosopher of science Ian Hacking’s concept of reasoning. Hacking also attempts to stretch the term ‘reasoning’ beyond its conventional usage, so as to also include the embodied aspects of practical action, and he explicitly acknowledges the tension which arises with such stretching: ‘Even my word “reasoning” has too much to do with mind and mouth and keyboard; it does not, I regret, sufficiently invoke the manipulative hand and attentive eye.’1 Hacking has more recently rebranded his concept of reasoning as one of ‘thinking and doing’ in an attempt to relieve some of this tension.2 According to Heidegger, thinking is always dependent on doing of some kind, and doing, if it manifests the possession of knowledge, must also always involve thinking. Theory and practice thus go hand in hand, together with mind and body.

This view sits at the core of Heidegger’s phenomenological project of explaining the logical structure of scientific thinking in terms of its existential foundations. As we saw in Chapter Two, Heidegger argued that science, as a coherent body of logically interconnected propositions, derives from a specific mode of existence, namely, the specific ways in which scientists involve themselves with things and one another, and the specific ways in which they come to understand their collective involvement with those things. In fact, Heidegger conceived of human existence as being fundamentally structured by the relationship between things and thinking, with scientific existence exemplifying a special mode of that relation. As we saw in Chapter One, this move provided him with the means by which to deflect scepticism about the existence of an external world. Such scepticism presupposes an image of the subject as contained within a glass bulb, and asserts that thinking will never penetrate the wall of that bulb and thus never achieve epistemic access to the things from which it is separated. Heidegger, argued, in response, that thinking is always already in relation to things, because being-in-the-world is a fundamental structure of human existence. As we will see in this chapter, Heidegger furthermore argued that this fundamental relation between things and thinking is always marked by a directedness of thinking towards things. This just means that thinking is a necessarily intentional phenomenon, that it is always a thinking about.

Heidegger’s attempt to elucidate the existential genesis of science as a body of logically interrelated propositions was an attempt to delineate the way in which the relational phenomenon of intentionality came to be specified as a relation between thinking, construed as the propositionally structured act of a mental substance, and a thing, construed as a property-bearing substance. Heidegger thus described the existential genesis of science as a historical process by which intentionality became increasingly specified according to the model of the proposition.3 According to Heidegger, this was to have a profound influence on the way both things and thinking came to be understood in the philosophical tradition. In particular, thinking itself came to be identified with logic, and all legitimate forms of thinking, including scientific thinking, were then viewed as ultimately grounded in logic. Heidegger noted that this conclusion leads to the circular argument that science, as a logically structured body of knowledge, is itself grounded in logic. Logic grounds logic. Heidegger’s alternative argument that science, and hence also logic, is grounded in the informal, pre-propositional structures of existence was his attempt to soften this circularity.

In this chapter, we will first consider Heidegger’s account of the historical process by which scientific thinking came to be viewed as ultimately governed by self-validating rules of logic, and then link this account to more recent work in the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK). By historicising the prevailing logical picture of scientific thinking, Heidegger sought to loosen up intuitions about its apparent necessity, and thus to prepare readers for his own phenomenological alternative. It must be emphasised that, in doing so, Heidegger was not promoting an irrationalist or anti-logical theory of science. Indeed, Heidegger was instead motivated by a sense of distress at the failure of the orthodox account to provide a foundation for science as a cultural enterprise. In this, he was of one mind with many of his Central European contemporaries during the interwar period. Describing the situation in Weimar Germany, Paul Forman has written that such feelings of distress were ‘widespread among the educated middle classes, but especially oppressive in academia.’ These were unsettling feelings of ‘moral and intellectual crisis, a crisis of culture, a crisis of science and scholarship.’4 Forman argues that Weimar intellectuals felt compelled to address the perceived crisis in order to maintain their own credibility, and this often led them to ‘repudiate the traditional methods and doctrines of [their] discipline.’5

A striking example of this circumstance was Heidegger’s mentor Edmund Husserl. Husserl sought to address what he too called ‘the crisis of science’ through the methods of transcendental phenomenology.6 For him, phenomenology provided the methodological means by which to finally establish philosophy as a ‘rigorous science.’7 This rigorously scientific philosophy was meant to ground all the other sciences, including the scientific philosophy of the mathematical logicians, whose own attempts to ground science in a self-sufficient logic Husserl dismissed as ‘nothing but naïveté.’8 Contrasting his own declaredly more radical phenomenological science to the scientific project of mathematical logicians, Husserl contended that ‘[o]nly when this radical, fundamental science exists can such a logic itself become a science.’9 Science was thus not to be grounded in a self-sufficient logic, but rather in the pre-logical phenomena which Husserl sought to expose through the methods of his transcendental phenomenology.10

It is clear that Heidegger’s ambitions closely tracked those of his former mentor. Indeed, Heidegger too argued that phenomenological research represents ‘nothing less than the more explicit and more radical understanding of the idea of scientific philosophy.’11 Furthermore, Heidegger also described his phenomenological method as a ‘transcendental science.’12 Yet Heidegger’s concept of the transcendental differed profoundly from that of Husserl. As discussed in Chapter Three, Heidegger rejected the Kantian notion of the transcendental subject, replacing it instead with the finitude of human existence as being-in-the-world. Because the subject is already in the world, it does not need to transcend its indigenous condition in order to make contact with that world. Indeed, on Heidegger’s account, transcendence is not transcendence towards things in the world, but instead away from them and towards the existential possibilities which inevitably structure our everyday projective understanding of the things as we typically encounter them. For Heidegger, then, phenomenology as transcendental science meant a scientific investigation of the structures of possibility giving shape to actual acts of thinking. As we will see in this chapter, Heidegger located the conditions of possibility for thinking, including logical thinking, in the finite, historical existence of human beings. Husserl, in contrast, urged a conception of transcendental subjectivity which saw the human being escaping the finite conditions of worldly existence on the basis of an ‘immortal’ human spirit.13 Not only did Heidegger reject the idea of a pure and boundless reason implied in Husserl’s appeal to immortality, he furthermore critiqued this notion as a historical possibility actualised in the early-modern period only because thinking had already begun to view itself in propositional terms. In Heidegger’s view, overcoming both the philosophical doctrine of immortal, or infinite, reason, as well as the propositional model of thinking on which it is partly based, entails a deconstruction of the philosophical orthodoxy back to its origins in Plato. This chapter recounts some of the key moments in Heidegger’s deconstruction of that orthodoxy, framing it as an attempt to ground logic, and thus science in general, in the pre-propositional and ineluctably finite structures of human existence.

Heidegger was careful not to commit the self-defeating error of claiming a transcendental (in the orthodox sense) viewpoint from which to declare the historical contingency of thinking as such. In fact, he openly admitted that the ‘investigation which we are now conducting is determined by its historical situation […] and by the preceding philosophical tradition.’14 However, his reaction to this predicament was not a studied complacency regarding the historical origins of his own basic concepts. Rather, he sought to articulate a historical account of the contingency of those concepts by deconstructing them ‘down to the sources from which they were drawn.’15 By analysing the conventionalised concepts of modern philosophy as the historical actualisation of a tradition construed in terms of possibilities, Heidegger aimed not only to demonstrate the contingency of the basic concepts of modern formalised logic, but also the legitimacy of his own existential phenomenology both as an expression of possibilities latent in the philosophical tradition and as being better equipped than formal logic to provide a defensible foundation for the sciences.

The explicit reflexivity of Heidegger’s method, his recognition that the legitimacy of his own concepts was also historically contingent, strongly resonates with SSK’s reflexivity tenet. This tenet states that SSK’s ‘patterns of explanation would have to be applicable to sociology itself […] otherwise sociology would be a standing refutation of itself.’16 However, as we already well know from earlier chapters, the similarity between the two methods does not end there. Indeed, like Heidegger, SSK practitioners have applied their method extensively in an investigation of the foundations of logic. In the latter part of this chapter, the methods of each will be compared. Both parties embrace a doctrine of finitude, and hence reject the contrary notions of an immortal spirit, an unbounded reason, an infinite faculty of thinking, and the like. Both also grant priority to informal over formalised modes of thinking. The benefits of this comparison run in both directions. On the one hand, Heidegger had little to offer by way of detailed empirical illustrations of the contingency and informal basis of logical thinking. SSK can thus help to fill out Heidegger’s theoretical account with empirical studies. On the other hand, Heidegger’s work can help to untangle some conceptual knots in the sociology of logic. In particular, Heidegger’s phenomenological description of different modes of intentionality can put into SSK practitioners’ hands a non-propositional account of intentionality which is compatible with their own naturalistic and causal account of knowledge. This promises to save SSK practitioners from the difficulties which threaten to follow from their outright rejection of intentionality as a legitimate explanatory resource. Before plunging into this comparative work, however, let us first take an extended tour through Heidegger’s phenomenological history of logic.

2. Heidegger on the Unity of Things and Thinking

Heidegger argues that our concept of the thing as a property-bearing substance is necessarily related to our concept of thinking as possessing a propositional structure. The property-bearing substance, on the one side, and proposition-based thinking, on the other, are ‘mirror images’ of one another, and they share a ‘deeper lying root.’17

As discussed in earlier chapters, for Heidegger the concepts of a property-bearing substance and a proposition-based thinking are not foundational concepts, but derive from the more fundamental existential structures of our subjectivity. In Chapter Two, we reviewed Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis of propositional thinking as arising from an interruption or breakdown in the smooth, unreflective mode of thinking characteristic of our normal, everyday dealings in the world. As we saw, this change-over of thinking from unreflective immersion to propositional reflection was accompanied by a corresponding transition in our experience of things within the world from things ready-to-hand to things present-at-hand, that is, to property-bearing substances, or objects. In Chapter Three, we discussed Heidegger’s interpretation of the way Kant articulated this dialectical relationship between things and thinking. In particular, Heidegger credits Kant with the fundamental insight that human thinking, as a finite faculty, entails the independent existence of the things to which that thinking is directed. Kant called this aspect of thinking, which follows from the fact of human finitude, ‘receptivity.’ Heidegger rephrased this as Befindlichkeit, which I translate as ‘affectivity.’ The receptivity of thinking means that thinking is always a response, in one way or another, to things. In Heidegger’s terminology, thinking is a basic feature of Dasein’s existence, and that existence necessarily takes place in a world of things. There can, in short, be no thinking, much less any knowledge, in the absence of experience. On the other hand, as was argued in Chapter Two, although we are, as thinking beings, necessarily related to things, things do not in turn depend on us for their own existence. Things outstrip our ability to understand them, and so demonstrate our finitude. This insight provides the basis for minimal realism.

Heidegger analyses the relation between things and thinking in terms of four components, with two on each side. The two components on the side of the thing are its existence and its essence, and the two components on the side of thinking are its receptivity and its constructivity. In the case of the first component of each, the relation runs from the thing, as existent, to thinking, as receptive. In the case of the second component of each, the relation runs in the opposite direction, from thinking as constructive, to the thing as possessed of determinate properties, as having an essence. As we have seen, Heidegger describes this second relation as one of ‘projection.’ The idea is that, while the thing itself can exist independently of thinking, its essence, articulated in terms of its properties, cannot. The thing has no properties in the absence of projective thinking.

We are now in a better position to understand what Heidegger means when he says that our concept of the thing as a property-bearing substance is necessarily related to our concept of thinking as possessing a propositional structure. His argument is that the constructive component of thinking must first be brought into a propositional form before we can begin to speak intelligibly about things as substances with properties. In Chapter Two, we examined the stages Heidegger identified in his phenomenological analysis of how thinking takes on propositional form in the act of thematising a ready-to-hand thing as a present-at-hand object. The two crucial points we may draw from this analysis, for present purposes, are that thinking is not fundamentally propositional in form, and that logic, as the science of thinking, provides us with an only derivative account of what thinking is. In other words, the formal, propositional structure of thinking is not a fundamental structure discovered through logical enquiry. It is rather a derivative structure which we construct in the course of thematising thinking as an object of investigation. One important implication of this is that truth — as correspondence between a proposition and the independently existing property of a substance — is a derivative form of truth. Truth, as correspondence, depends on a thematising project which simultaneously constructs thinking as a propositional act, on the one hand, and the thing, towards which that act is directed, as a property-bearing substance, on the other.

Heidegger argues that the orthodox attitude in philosophy, which takes formal logic as the foundation of thinking and substance ontology as revealing the fundamental structure of things, is not absolutely valid, but instead based on historically contingent presuppositions. We will give more detailed attention to Heidegger’s historical argument in the following sections. Note for the time being, however, that Heidegger calls the basic constructive relation of thinking to things, the inherent directedness of the former to the latter, ‘intentionality.’18 Hence, the phenomenological study of constructivity may be viewed more generally as the study of intentionality. The basic phenomenological feature of intentionality is its directedness towards something. An intentional act is a directed act. Heidegger often describes intentionality as the way in which the subject ‘comports’ itself towards things. In his view, the orthodox attitude in philosophy takes for granted, and relies on, a historically specific mode of intentionality. In Kant’s philosophy, this historical mode was conceptualised in terms of constructivity. Heidegger also refers to it as ‘productive comportment.’19

Much of Heidegger’s philosophy may be viewed as an exploration of the limits and the latent possibilities in the subject’s productive comportment towards things, or, put another way, an exploration of the limits and possibilities of a philosophical tradition which understands intentionality by analogy to production. He argues that productive comportment, as a fundamental but often unacknowledged concept in the philosophical tradition, is the source of the distinction between existence and essence.20 The concept of production entails the prior existence of material: ‘If we bring to mind productive comportment in the scope of its full structure we see that it always makes use of what we call material, for instance, material for building a house.’21 Furthermore, given the intimate relation between the existence and essence of things, on the one hand, and the receptivity and constructivity of thinking, on the other, we can conclude that productive comportment also provides a conceptual root for the relatedness of receptivity and constructivity, and thus for the relation between things and thinking in general. This, then, provides the background for Heidegger’s more narrow argument that the property-bearing substance and proposition-based thinking are mirror images, sharing with one another an underlying root. Intentionality provides that underlying root. It serves to unify things and thinking, and has been traditionally construed by philosophers on the model of production.

The key point here is that intentionality, as productive comportment, plays a unifying role in Heidegger’s explanation of the relation between things and thinking. Another point is that the analogy to production specifies the meaning of intentionality as more than mere directedness. On this construal, intentionality is directedness guided by a pre-existing standard. As Heidegger writes, ‘[a]ll forming of shaped products is effected by using an image, in the sense of a model, as guide and standard.’22 Putting these two points together, Heidegger’s overall claim is that the philosophical tradition interprets the phenomenon of intentionality as the experience of being guided by a pre-existing standard, or image, such that one’s thinking will come into proper relationship with the things. As we will see in the next four sections, Heidegger traces the historical course of this model of intentionality from Plato’s doctrine of the good, through Aristotle’s categorial analysis of the proposition and Descartes’s emphasis on the propositionally structured subject ‘I,’ to Kant’s phenomenological investigation of the imagination. This history of the concept of intentionality will, in turn, prepare the way for a detailed consideration, in Chapters Five and Six, of the emergence of early-modern mathematical and experimental science. But for now, let us take a look at Heidegger’s phenomenological history of thinking as logic.23

3. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Plato

Heidegger addresses the question of the historical relation between things and thinking in the context of the development of logic as the scientific study of thinking. By taking this approach, he aims to challenge the orthodox view of logic as a free-floating and ultimate form of thinking, one which provides the grounds for all of the other sciences. For Heidegger, then, the attempt to unearth the foundations of logic is simultaneously an attempt to expose the fundamental historical presuppositions of science as such. He argues that the essence of thinking, of ‘judgement,’ has been determined by logic, and more specifically by the proposition, since ancient times.24 By excavating logic down to its foundations, Heidegger seeks to challenge the perceived self-evidence of this determination, to expose to the light of critical reflection what ancient philosophers had themselves found continually disturbing and obscure.25

Heidegger’s historical analysis is scattered across a number of works. Here, I will only gather together the highlights, which should suffice to capture the overall trajectory of his considerations. Heidegger organises his history of thinking into three chapters: first, the recognition of a mutual relation between the thing and the propositionally structured thought, the latter guiding the categorial determinations of the former; second, the mathematical interpretation of the proposition, which in turn provided the basic principles of pure thinking; and third, the emergence of a critique of pure thinking, which follows from things having been determined on the basis of a propositionally structured thinking.26 Heidegger elaborates these three chapters of history through discussions of the philosophies of Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant, respectively. The prologue to this history, however, belongs to Plato.

Recall that Heidegger focuses his attention on the way in which intentionality unifies things and thinking. It does this, he says, in accordance with a pre-existing standard of some kind. Heidegger’s historical analysis traces the ways in which this pre-existing, unifying standard, as an implicit and inherent feature of subjectivity, has been recognised and articulated over the course of the philosophical tradition, beginning with Plato. With Plato, argues Heidegger, this standard was conceptualised as an image or model, the ‘look’ a thing has in the imagination of its producer before it is produced. This look underpins the philosophical meaning of Plato’s concept of the idea: ‘It is this anticipated look of the thing, sighted beforehand, that the Greeks mean ontologically by eidos, idea.’27

This ancient analogy between looking and thinking carries with it a connotation of illumination, for looking entails the presence of light — above all, the sun. Plato thus drew a comparison between visible things and thinkable things, arguing that sunlight is to vision what the idea of the good is to scientific thinking.28 According to Heidegger, Plato believed that the good provides an illumination by which to distinguish between ‘a shadow’ and ‘the real.’29 The idea of the good thus provides the guidance we need in order to bring our thinking into proper contact with the real. It is what prevents us from wandering aimlessly among the shadows, without hope of ever discovering truth. The key point is that achieving such knowledge is not simply a matter of observing an enormous number of things, as a naive empiricism might suggest. One must also be able to distinguish the epistemically good things from the epistemically bad ones, that is, the things which contribute to knowledge from those which do not.30 The good provides the standard by which such distinctions are made. Plato’s idea of the good thus represents the condition of possibility for scientific thinking. It is the a priori element in cognition which makes scientific knowledge, as such, possible.

On Heidegger’s reading, Plato’s account of the good, as a unifying standard combining things and thinking in the experience of knowing, is modelled on an account of production. Clearly, then, the idea of the good is not just one idea among many, but rather the first, or primary, idea. It serves to organise all the secondary ideas, the categories or concepts which give specific content to our understanding, into a unified whole. The idea of the good, writes Heidegger, lies beyond all other ideas, giving them the ‘form of wholeness,’ or ‘communality.’31 He suggests that, because it plays this fundamental organising role, of productively forming all other ideas into a unified whole, the idea of the good ‘is nothing but the demiourgos, the producer pure and simple.’32 This suggests that Plato’s account of knowledge should be read as a causal one. Just as the craftsperson forms matter and ideas into artefacts, so the idea of the good forms things and thinking into knowledge.

According to Heidegger, Plato’s importance lies in the fact that his conceptualisation of thinking on the model of production has provided the basis for all subsequent philosophical enquiry. However, the philosophical nature of this analogy remains obscure in his work. Heidegger describes Plato’s account as having a ‘mythic’ quality in which the philosophical point fails to fully present itself.33 The claim that genuine philosophical, or more generally scientific, insight may arise from mythical imagery would seem to challenge the orthodox view that science and mythology are diametrically opposed to one another. Indeed, Heidegger insists that mythology, like science, ‘has its basis in specific experiences and is anything but pure fiction or invention.’34 The important point here is that Heidegger viewed Plato’s mythical account of the foundations of knowledge as a proto-scientific account from out of which a more precisely determined philosophical theory could then be developed. According to Heidegger, it was Aristotle who would take the first significant step along this path.

4. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Aristotle

On more than one occasion, Heidegger calls Aristotle ‘the father of logic.’35 However, the fact that Aristotle has gained a pre-eminently authoritative place in the philosophical canon did not, writes Heidegger, happen as a matter of course but ‘only after arduous struggles and controversies’ which finally concluded in the thirteenth century.36 Remarkably, medieval Christian theology and ancient Greek ontology shared a common interpretation of creation in terms of production, but the former understood creation as production from out of nothing, while the latter understood it as production from ‘out of a material that is already found on hand.’37 Whereas for medieval theologians both the that-being and the what-being of a thing are produced, for ancient philosophers only the what-being is produced. For the Greeks, in other words, existence itself was not subject to creation. Consequently, with its assimilation into medieval theology, ancient ontology became reformulated in a way which obscured its original problematic, a circumstance which began to find correction only in the eighteenth century.38

According to Heidegger, Aristotle’s signal achievement was the introduction of a more precise formulation of the whatness of the thing.39 In developing this doctrine, Aristotle used as his guideline the Greek concept of logos.40 Heidegger writes that logos has been variously interpreted to mean ‘reason,’ ‘judgement,’ ‘concept,’ ‘definition,’ ‘ground,’ and ‘relationship.’41 He notes, however, that the word logos is derived from the same root as legein, which means ‘to talk’ or ‘to hold discourse.’42 He thus suggests as a basic signification of logos the German word Rede, which may be translated as ‘speech.’43 The connection to thinking is clear. Speech is one central way in which thoughts are expressed or communicated. Heidegger argues that legein, discourse, or Rede ‘is the clue for arriving at those structures of Being which belong to the entities we encounter in addressing ourselves to anything or speaking about it.’44

One important connotation of logos, as speech, is that it functions to ‘let something be seen,’ which means that it points something out to the listener.45 Another important connotation of logos is that of ‘relation’ or ‘relationship.’46 Plato’s mythological image of the good as demiurge, or producer, is thus an example of logos in that it points out the createdness of the thing, as well as the relation of unity between things and thinking. In contrast to Plato, however, Aristotle focussed on logos as ‘statement’ or ‘proposition.’ The crucial move here is from a conception of thinking as a collection of images to a conception of thinking as a collection of propositions, as speech. Heidegger describes this move as ‘decisive’: ‘Thinking is here conceived in the sense of talking and speaking.’47 Moreover, speaking is further specified in terms of propositions: ‘Aristotle is the first to give the clearer metaphysical interpretation of the logos in the sense of the propositional statement.’48 In his attempt to treat the thing by analogy to the proposition, Aristotle thus takes a dramatic step beyond Plato. Nevertheless, it should be emphasised that Aristotle still adopts, without question, Plato’s image of the thing on the model of the product, or artefact. The proposition provided Aristotle with a useful model by which to more precisely determine and formalise the ontological structure of the thing conceived in this way.

It is because Aristotle undertook a systematic analysis of the proposition that Heidegger names him the father of logic. Logic, in this sense, is the ‘science of logos,’ the formal analysis of speech, reason, or thinking made possible through the instrument of the proposition.49 Logos, as proposition, does not just point something out — as in ‘Look, a bird!’ — it points something out about something — as in ‘The bird flies.’ Logos as proposition is, in other words, a composite; it combines two or more things. Heidegger argues that the proposition, as a determination of something as something, is an expression of thinking. Hence, logic, as the science of logos, is also the science of thinking.50 Furthermore, a proposition combines things in a particular way: ‘Flies bird the’ is not a proposition, not logos. Logic thus originates in the attempt to make explicit whatever it is that governs the intelligibility of combinations of terms within a proposition. According to Heidegger, Aristotle recognised that the implicit organiser in the proposition was being, which is rendered explicit in the term ‘to be’ as well as its cognate ‘is.’51 In order to be properly analysed, then, the implicit presence of being in the proposition ‘The bird flies’ must be made explicit, by reformulating the proposition as ‘The bird is flying.’ The general form of the proposition thus becomes ‘S is P,’ where the ‘is’ combines two distinct terms. However, Heidegger writes that Aristotle furthermore observed that the ‘is’ separates as well combines. We cannot understand the combination of S and P unless we have first understood them as each signifying ontologically distinct, but potentially combinable, things.52 The proposition ‘The bird is flying’ points out that two distinct things, one material and the other motive, are combined in a single intelligible event.

The term ‘is’ does not signify a distinct thing in the way that the terms ‘bird’ and ‘flying’ do. Heidegger interprets Aristotle as arguing that the ‘is’ signifies nothing, that is, no distinct thing. Rather, it consignifies a relation between things, ‘a certain combining, which cannot be thought unless what is already combined or combinable has been or is being thought.’53 The ‘is’ does not point to a thing existing among other things, but instead to an aspect of thinking: ‘the being-combined of what is thought in thinking.’54 If we think of the ‘is’ as pointing out a relation, then we immediately see that it presupposes the existence of two or more relata, or things related. On the account Heidegger attributes to Aristotle, these relata are not mutually distinct and separate things existing beyond thinking, but rather the significations in thinking of those things. The ‘is’ in the proposition ‘The bird is flying’ does not combine the bird and the motion of flying. It combines the concept ‘bird’ and the concept ‘flying.’ Hence, Heidegger writes that in Aristotle ‘logos is conceived as a connecting of notions, as a conjoining of meanings, as a binding together of concepts.’55 From this, he concludes that the starting point of Aristotle’s science of logos is a clarification of the precise concepts from out of which composite logoi of the form ‘S is P’ come to be organised. The starting point, in other words, is the definition of concepts. Aristotle’s doctrine of the concept, including its definition, must therefore precede his doctrine of logos as proposition.56

Aristotle thus sets about differentiating and defining types of concepts in order to prepare the ground for a study of the ways in which those concepts may be combined in a proposition. In order to give a precise account of the proposition, he recognised that one must first give a precise specification of the concepts it includes. Recall that for the ancient Greeks thinking is grounded in experience. Hence, for Aristotle the definition of a concept was closely linked to a clarification of the nature of the experienced thing which that concept is meant to signify. A more precise determination of the concept thus went hand in hand with a more precise determination of the whatness of the thing. Ontology proceeds from grammar. The science of logos provides an entry point for a science of being.

Aristotle’s key philosophical contribution was to narrow the focus of enquiry down to one particular kind of logos, the proposition. As a result, the subsequent course taken by ontology was powerfully conditioned by the range of possibilities made available by the composite linguistic form ‘S is P.’ Consider one consequence of this. In the Categories, Aristotle observes that one particular kind of concept could be represented only in the subject position of the proposition, never in the predicate position. This is the kind of concept signifying concrete individuals. Aristotle called such individuals ‘primary substances.’57 By further studying the constraints imposed by the proposition, Aristotle then identified another kind of concept which could, unlike the concept of primary substance, also be represented in the predicate position of the proposition. One example of a proposition in which these two kinds of concept are represented is ‘The shirt is white.’ Aristotle wrote that the predicate ‘white’ represents the category of ‘quality,’ in this case, the shirt’s quality of being white.58 In saying of the shirt that it is white, the proposition signifies the fact that a particular whiteness is present in the shirt, or, more generally, that a particular quality is present in a particular substance. Aristotle emphasised that by ‘present in’ he does not mean that the whiteness is in the shirt as a part is in a whole. He means rather that this particular whiteness could not exist independently of this particular shirt.59 More generally, although a particular quality is ontologically distinct from the concrete substance in which it is present, it would not exist if it were not present in that substance.

To us, Aristotle’s point may seem rather trivial. He is simply telling us that the thing is a substance with qualities, or, put more broadly, with properties. The point Heidegger wants to make, however, is that our self-evident understanding of the thing as a property-bearing substance was the outcome of considerable intellectual effort and philosophical ingenuity. It is not obvious that the thing is best understood by analogy to the proposition. When we see a white shirt we do not see a shirt, on the one hand, and its being white, on the other. We see a white shirt. Separating the shirt into substance and property may strike one, after all, as a rather odd thing to do.

By analysing the thing through the composite logos of the proposition, Aristotle determined that the thing too is composite in its structure, and, more specifically, that it is a substance with distinct properties. Just as the ‘is’ of the proposition separates, so as to then intelligibly combine, concepts in accordance with specific grammatical principles, so too are the thing and its properties distinguished and then combined in accordance with specific ontological principles. In his systematic analysis of logos as proposition, Aristotle not only laid the foundations for the subsequent field of logic, he also rendered a more precise formulation of Plato’s obscure and largely informal notion of a unifying standard which serves to organise things and thinking into knowledge. The mythical image of the demiurge was thus replaced by the more systematically tractable logic of the proposition.

5. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Descartes

The second chapter in Heidegger’s history of things and thinking begins with the emergence of modern natural science.60 With the arrival of the early-modern period, Aristotle’s narrow focus on logos as proposition not only continues to guide formal enquiry into the nature of the thing, the philosophical consequences of this orientation are further strengthened and become radicalised in a profound way. Heidegger argues that the fundamental foundation distinguishing modern science from its predecessors can be located in that which ‘rules and determines’ the basic activities of science.61 This foundation is twofold. First comes what he describes as the ‘work experiences’ of modern science. This designates, above all, the modern scientist’s distinctive ‘direction and mode of mastering and using what is,’ or, put more prosaically, the scientist’s ‘manner of working with the things.’62 It is important to emphasise that Heidegger is here offering a phenomenological description. He seeks to pick out the distinctive and fundamental features of the way the modern natural scientist experiences her work with things. The second aspect of the foundation of modern science is the range of possibilities within which the scientist may meaningfully understand her experience of working with things. As was discussed in Chapter Three, the study of these possibilities in distinction from their concrete actualisation as the whatness of things is what Heidegger means by the term ‘metaphysics.’ When we transcend the things which normally preoccupy us, and reflect instead on the existential conditions determining the whatness of those things, then we are doing metaphysics in Heidegger’s sense. Hence, Heidegger calls this second aspect the ‘metaphysical projection of the thingness of things.’63 The idea is that, with this projection, the scientist’s experience of her work with things is guided by a metaphysical thinking which determines the thingness of those things, that is, the specific kind of whatness rendering them amenable to scientific understanding.

In the last section, we considered the way in which Aristotle’s focus on the proposition facilitated a specific metaphysical projection of the thingness of things as property-bearing substances. This was the first chapter in Heidegger’s phenomenological history of logical thinking. The second chapter addresses how, with the rise of modern natural science, the proposition becomes mathematically interpreted in a way which then establishes the basic principles of pure thinking, or pure reason. For Heidegger, a key early-modern figure exemplifying this next stage is René Descartes. Descartes uncritically accepted Aristotle’s articulation of the thing as substance, but then proceeded to radicalise it. He took Aristotle’s claim that substance exists independently of all else, that it is autonomous, and argued that God is the only substance which truly meets this criterion. Indeed, drawing from the medieval Christian notion of God as an uncreated creator who produces the cosmos from nothing, Descartes argued in Principles of Philosophy that God is the basis for all other entities: ‘We perceive that all other things can exist only by the help of the concourse of God.’64 Hence, the notion of production lying behind Aristotle’s ontological treatment of the proposition is transformed in Descartes from creation out of material already on hand to creation from out of nothing. The guiding principle which unifies things and thinking, represented by Plato with the mythic image of the demiurge, and by Aristotle in the ‘is’ of the proposition, is transplanted by Descartes into the subject position of the proposition, where it comes to signify the most perfect substance and ultimate ground of all other things. With this move, argues Heidegger, the conditions determining the thingness of the thing, and, more immediately, the substantiality of the substance, get buried beneath the dogmatic assumption that substance provides the only and ultimate basis for any knowledge of things.65 The nature of substance can thus no longer be clarified in terms of its substantiality, because questions of substantiality are now immediately referred back to substance. An ontology of substance, an enquiry into the conditions determining substance in its fundamental whatness, thus passes outside the scope of analysis. As a consequence, the nature of a substance can, for Descartes, become known only indirectly through the study of its most enduring properties: ‘there is always one principal property of substance which constitutes its nature and essence, and on which all the others depend.’66 On the other hand, because substance can still provide an absolute basis for knowledge, it supplies Descartes with a secure means by which to build up an account of knowledge in terms of certainty.

In a parenthetical comment, Heidegger suggests that the priority given by Descartes to certainty had its historical roots in the Christian doctrine of salvation, especially as regards the security of the individual.67 According to this doctrine, among created things humans are distinctive because their ‘eternal salvation is in question.’68 However, Heidegger is more concerned with the ascendency of mathematics immediately before and during Descartes’s lifetime. He argues that mathematics presented an ideal tool for those hoping to fulfill a growing cultural desire for certain, or absolute, knowledge.69 In particular, mathematics provided a template for philosophers seeking to ground knowledge in indubitable first principles and axioms. For example, in Rules for the Direction of the Mind, likely his first philosophical work, Descartes wrote that ‘in our search for the direct road towards truth we should busy ourselves with no object about which we cannot attain a certitude equal to that of the demonstrations of Arithmetic and Geometry.’70

Drawing from the philosophical tradition, Descartes set out to discover axiomatic certainty, of the kind exemplified in mathematics, through an analysis of the proposition. His goal was to construct unimpeachable axioms on the secure bedrock of absolute substance. For Descartes, God, being neither created nor sustained by anything beyond itself, was the first, ‘absolutely perfect,’ substance.71 However, he furthermore contended that there exist two kinds of created substance, which each exist independently of any other kind of created substance, and which may themselves provide a solid basis for indubitable, axiomatic knowledge of God’s creation.72 Descartes called these two kinds of substance res extensa and res cogitans, the ‘extended thing’ and the ‘thinking thing,’ or what are more commonly known as ‘body’ and ‘mind.’ These two attributes, ‘extendedness’ and ‘thinking,’ are, according to Descartes, the principal properties constituting the nature of body and mind, respectively, and on which all other possible attributes of body and mind are themselves dependent. There was, for Descartes, an especially close relationship between the human mind and God, because both, in his view, are examples of a thinking substance.73 He was, however, careful to maintain a strict qualitative difference between the two.74

Taking thinking substance as the foundational principle in his architectonic of certainty, Descartes determined that the fundamental axiom of a secure system of knowledge was the proposition ‘I think.’ As is well known, Descartes claimed that the indubitable truth of the proposition ‘I think’ entails the truth of the further proposition ‘I am.’ He argued that the proposition ‘I am’ is already present, implicitly, in the assertion ‘I think.’ According to Heidegger, an absolute mathematical principle must exclude anything which may have been given beforehand; it cannot have anything in front of it.75 Taking mathematics as his model, Descartes thus sought a proposition which refers only to itself, excluding all possible traces of prior experience. This absolute proposition turned out to be the proposition in general, as such, the pure positing of a thinking which asserts.76 Just as the perfectly general proposition posits only itself, so thinking in general, construed as absolutely mathematical, takes note only of what it already has. What Descartes discovered, argues Heidegger, is that pure thinking of this kind is always an ‘I think,’ ego cogito. Wherever pure thinking posits only itself, it must encounter the ego, the ‘I.’ Thus, in Heidegger’s words, Descartes concludes that ‘[i]n “I posit” the “I” as the positer is co- and pre-posited as that which is already present, as what is. The being of what is determined out of the “I am” as the certainty of the positing.’77 The subject of the most fundamental proposition — the ‘I’ of the ‘I think’ — thus becomes the absolute substance which must ‘stand under’ everything else. With Descartes, argues Heidegger, the individual ‘I’ becomes the foundational subject, ‘that with regard to which all the remaining things first determine themselves as such.’78 These things, which stand in relation to and are determined by the individual subject, become ‘objects.’ Through Descartes’s intervention, the grammatical and logical distinction between subject and object thus becomes interpreted as a metaphysical distinction between mind and body. This is, argues Heidegger, a radical change in the way thinking, and subjectivity more generally, is understood to relate to things. The whatness of things now becomes illuminated on the basis of a mathematical impulse towards absolute first principles, which have themselves been grounded in the thinking subject construed as the foundational and individual ‘I.’

With Descartes, the ‘I’ principle thus becomes the fundamental axiom of all knowledge.79 Although he adopted without criticism Aristotle’s focus on the proposition, as well as his account of the thing as a property-bearing substance, Descartes displaced the organising principle in the proposition from the ‘is’ to the subject position. The ontological guideline distinguishing and combining the categories in general thus gets buried in the ultimate category of substance, where it no longer presents itself for investigation. Hence, with Descartes, the conditions determining the substantiality of substance, the thingness of the thing, get concealed behind a dogmatic appeal to the ultimacy of substance. As the absolute ground of all enquiry, the ‘I’ resists any further explication. It becomes self-grounding. However, Heidegger argues that the ‘I’ principle, while fundamental, is not the only fundamental axiom of knowledge which emerges from Descartes’s intervention. Indeed, because every propositional assertion necessarily implicates the ‘I’ principle, such assertions must always posit only what lies in the ‘I’ as the original subject. Hence, what is posited in the predicate must not speak against the subject. From this, Heidegger concludes that every proposition co-posits, along with the ‘I’ principle, an equally fundamental principle of non-contradiction.80 The idea is that the content of the ‘I’ as the foundational subject must be perfectly consistent with itself. As a consequence, reason in Descartes becomes formulated in terms of purity. The ‘I think’ provides the basis for reason, and non-contradiction ensures the purity, in the sense of logical consistency, of that reason. The fundamental mathematical axioms of the ‘I’ principle and the principle of non-contradiction thus combine to determine thinking as pure reason. This, in turn, provides the standard governing all determinations of the thingness of things: ‘The question about the thing is now anchored in pure reason, i.e., in the mathematical unfolding of its principles.’81 The Cartesian notion of ‘pure reason’ thus traces its roots back to Aristotle’s narrow construal of logos in terms of the proposition. However, the purity in the notion results more immediately from Descartes’s appropriation of mathematical techniques in order to establish the indubitable certainty of knowledge.

Descartes conceptualised thinking by analogy to mathematical practice, so as to then initiate a radically new formulation of the thingness, or whatness, of the thing as determined by the ‘I’ principle and the principle of non-contradiction. This move exemplifies what Heidegger identifies as the twofold foundation of modern science, namely, the experience of working with the things, and the generalisation on the basis of those experiences of an all-encompassing metaphysical projection of the thingness of things. Heidegger’s historical attention weighs more on the second aspect, but he does briefly consider ways in which Descartes’ philosophical initiatives related to the scientific work of his period. These considerations touch on the work of Galileo and Newton, as well as on the nature of the early-modern experiment, and they will be discussed further in Chapter Six. For present purposes, the next step in Heidegger’s history focusses on Kant’s response to Descartes’s introduction of pure reason as the basis for thinking and knowledge.

6. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Kant

In the evolving historical dialectic between thinking and things, Descartes represents for Heidegger a key moment in the early-modern determination of the whatness of the thing on the basis of a mathematically construed, pure reason. The next stage in Heidegger’s history, then, comes with Immanuel Kant’s critique of pure reason. The counter-concept arising from this critique is Kant’s notion of the thing-in-itself, to which we gave detailed attention in Chapter Three. As we saw there, Kant conceived of the thing-in-itself as a property-bearing substance. This marks a strong continuity between Descartes and Kant, despite the latter’s criticism of the former. Indeed, Heidegger argues that, on the basis of this shared commitment to substance ontology, Kant likewise reproduced the Cartesian position that thinking is an attribute of substance.82 According to Heidegger, then, Kant’s critique of pure reason, while departing from Descartes in important ways, nevertheless left unquestioned Aristotle’s original introduction of the proposition as a model by which to formalise accounts of thinking and things, an introduction from out of which the ontological concept of substance first grew. Furthermore, Heidegger alleges that Kant uncritically adopted from Descartes a concept of the ‘I’ as an isolated, individual subject.83 Although he submitted the ‘thinking’ of the ‘I think’ to ontological critique, he left the ontology of the ‘I’ largely unexamined. The point where Kant radically departed from Descartes was with his move to submit the ‘I’ to phenomenological investigation. He begins to unpack the phenomenal content of the ‘I think,’ of the reasoning or judging individual, in a way which Descartes did not. The consequences of this move were, in Heidegger’s view, of far-reaching philosophical importance.

Recall that, according to Heidegger, one crucial influence in the transformation of the notions of thing and thinking from the ancient to the early-modern period was the rise of Christianity. In particular, productive subjectivity was reconceptualised as the creation of things from out of nothing rather than from out of pre-existing material. This shift is powerfully represented in Descartes’s philosophy. Heidegger argues that, as a result, a distinctly hierarchical order was introduced into the way things are conceived.84 Among all that is, the highest and most real is the creative source of everything else. This is God, the uncreated creator, the ens increatum. Every other being is created, an ens creatum. Among created beings, the individual human being is most distinctive because its eternal salvation is in question. This is Descartes’s res cogitans. What remains of created beings constitutes the world, Descartes’s res extensa. The hierarchical ordering, in descending order of reality and perfection, is thus God, human beings, and world.

It is important to recognise what Heidegger is not arguing. He is not arguing that Cartesian philosophy is simply a transposition of Christian doctrine into a philosophical idiom. Indeed, Heidegger emphasises that the relation of early-modern philosophy to Church dogma can be ‘very loose, even broken.’85 His point is, rather, that the profound intellectual transformations of the early-modern period, to which Descartes made a key contribution, took place within a cultural context deeply suffused with orthodox Christian belief. We should thus not find it surprising that Descartes’s philosophical views were consequentially influenced by the specificities of the social and material environment in which he worked. The underlying assumption of Heidegger’s analysis is that philosophers are not individual and autonomous agents, whose singular ideas spring free from the social and historical soil in which they germinated but from which they no longer need to draw nourishment. This assumption is strongly at odds with the Cartesian view, and one may view its persuasiveness as bound together, in part, with the subsequent decline in influence of Christian notions of personal salvation on the intellectual milieu in which philosophers necessarily articulate and seek credibility for their work.

As we have seen, Heidegger argues that Descartes’s position was influenced not just by Christianity, but also by the growing importance of mathematics in his period. On the one hand, the predominance of the Christian doctrine of personal salvation helps to explain why Descartes relocated the guiding principle, which unifies things and thinking, from the ‘is’ of the proposition to the ‘I,’ the foundational subject, of the proposition. On the other hand, the growing authority of mathematical techniques helps to explain why Descartes then formulated the epistemic security of the ‘I’ by analogy to the axiomatic certainty of mathematics. The doctrine of salvation suggests that the individual, by overcoming the burden of sin, may slip free from the finitude and impurity of mortal existence and find eternal existence in God. Axiomatic knowledge, by comparison, provides the individual with a means by which to overcome the threat of error and falsehood, and hence to achieve an absolute certainty uncorrupted by the contingent constraints of finite physical existence. The pure reason of the res cogitans, the ‘soul’ or ‘mind,’ provided Descartes with an ultimate ground for knowledge, a ground which could be internally validated, independently of the worldly, and thus imperfect, influence of the res extensa, the ‘external world.’ The ‘I’ principle places the ground of reason in the individual thinking substance. The principle of non-contradiction ensures the internal purity of that individual substance.

On Heidegger’s reading, Kant’s critique of pure reason questions the alleged internal purity of the individual knower by challenging the idea that an individual can know anything at all in isolation from the ‘external world.’ Implicit in this challenge is a rejection of the idea that an individual may escape the finite constraints of physical existence and secure knowledge of a potentially infinite scope. In Chapter Three, we reviewed Kant’s notion of finitude, and the doctrine of humility which it grounds. We can now see how finitude and humility arose for Kant in his response to the problem introduced by Descartes’s location of the conditions determining the thingness of things in the pure reason of the thinking ‘I.’ By placing the ‘I think’ at the foundation of knowledge, Descartes gives urgency to the question ‘What am I?’ or, more generally, ‘What is the human being?’ The ‘I’ is not just one domain among others, but precisely that domain to which knowledge of all other domains must be traced back.86 The question ‘What is the thing?’ thus leads back inevitably to the question ‘What is the human being?’ Because Kant accepts Descartes’s account of the human being as a thinking substance, the question about the human being becomes for him a question about thinking. According to Heidegger, Kant’s primary question is thus the question of what an individual human being must be like in order to think. Descartes had already provided one clue: namely, that the individual, as a thinking substance, is bound by the law of non-contradiction. According to Heidegger, Kant picks up on this clue and develops it into an investigation of what the ‘I’ must be like in order to be bound by laws. In other words, Kant’s critique of pure reason seeks after the conditions of possibility for law- or rule-governed thinking as such. Heidegger calls the articulation of these conditions ‘a basic problem for logic.’87 The search for a solution to this problem is a search for a ‘philosophical logic, or better, the metaphysical foundations of logic.’88

On Heidegger’s reading, then, Kant’s enquiry into the law-governedness of thinking was a metaphysical enquiry into the ontological conditions which make scientific knowledge as such possible. He claims that this enquiry is prior to, and more fundamental than, the investigations typical of psychology, anthropology, ethics, or sociology.89 Whereas these latter domains of enquiry, in Heidegger’s view, take for granted the specific projection of the thingness of things which determines their particular subject matter, a more general ontological enquiry must address the conditions which make such determinations possible. Furthermore, Heidegger argues that ‘[o]nly as phenomenology is ontology possible.’90 Hence, an enquiry into the existential conditions determining the possibility of logic is, for Heidegger, a phenomenological enquiry into the foundations of science. For him, logic is a particular kind of science, the ‘science of the rules of thought.’91 Accordingly, he argues that one signal achievement of Kant’s critique of pure reason was to open up the ‘thinking’ of Descartes’s ‘I think’ to phenomenological investigation. In particular, Heidegger reads Kant as exploring the ontological basis for a subject’s ability to follow the laws structuring scientific thinking, chief among them being the law of non-contradiction. With this move, the law of non-contradiction, which had been treated by Descartes as the highest principle of all knowledge, is ‘removed from its position of dominance.’92 What now dominates are those objective features of subjectivity which allow the ‘I’ to submit itself to the rules governing thinking.

By opening thinking up to phenomenological investigation, Kant reopens a question that was explicitly addressed by Plato and Aristotle but then closed off by Descartes: namely, the question of logos as that which functions to meaningfully combine concepts. As we saw earlier, Plato locates this phenomenon in the idea of the good, conceptualised by analogy to the demiurge, the producer pure and simple. Aristotle, in contrast, conceptualised it by analogy to the ‘is’ of the proposition, thereby characterising it not as a thing but rather as that according to which things are combined. Descartes, by relocating the phenomenon of ontological combination from the ‘is’ to the subject of the proposition, then came to treat it as a thing the nature of which resists further analysis. Kant, by investigating this phenomenon as an active, non-thinglike feature of the subjectivity of the thinking subject, began to shed phenomenological light on what Descartes had formerly cloaked in darkness.

According to Heidegger, Kant located the phenomenon of ontological combination in the individual subject’s power of imagination [Einbildungskraft].93 For Kant, imagination is a ‘faculty of forming.’94 This harkens back to Plato’s conceptualisation of the relation between things and thinking by analogy to production. Just as a craftsperson, or demiurge, forms disparate materials into a complete and unified whole, so too does the imagination of the subject form the jumble of brute sensation into an ordered and intelligible experience. Imagination thus makes intelligible experience possible. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant argued that ‘[t]he conditions of the possibility of experience in general are at the same time conditions of the possibility of the objects of experience.’95 Heidegger argues that this passage reflects a ‘fundamental posture’ in human history, one which it is impossible for us to avoid.96 Both an intelligible experience and the things which meaningfully present themselves in that experience — that is, both thinking and the things thought — are dependent on the faculty of imagination. We saw in Chapter Three that, for Kant, an intelligible experience involves the structured unity of two distinct faculties: spontaneity and receptivity, or what we have also discussed as constructivity and affectivity. According to Heidegger, Kant’s notion of imagination describes the common root from out of which the distinct stems of spontaneity and receptivity both grow.97 The power of imagination is, he writes, the ‘original unity’ of the two.98 Chapter Three focussed on receptivity, especially as it relates to the issues of human finitude and epistemic humility. In this chapter, our concern lies more with the constructive faculty which lends order and intelligibility to experience, thereby allowing us to make sense of the things around us.

Kant described the constructive aspect of imagination in terms of a ‘faculty of rules.’99 Furthermore, he argued that rules, insofar as they are objective, may also be called ‘laws.’100 The power of imagination, then, and especially its constructive aspect, provides the conditions of possibility for following, among the other fundamental rules of logic, the law of non-contradiction. Logic thus finds its phenomenological, which is to say its ontological, origins in the imagination of the individual subject. However, Heidegger emphasises that, for Kant, the subjectivity of the individual subject is not constitutive of the law. Rather, the law is that towards which the subject directs herself, and it is through such directedness that the individual first realises the possibilities for action open to her as a unique person.101 Strictly speaking, then, the law is not a purely spontaneous construction of the individual subject. But neither, strictly speaking, is it purely an object of the sensibility, or receptivity, of the individual. The law, writes Heidegger, is nothing empirical.102 It is not a thing awaiting discovery in the world. It is, rather, a structure found in reason. In this sense, then, the individual subject discovers the law within herself as something she is ultimately free to either follow or disregard, but which she nevertheless encounters as an obligation. Heidegger thus interprets Kant as arguing that reason is a ‘receptive spontaneity’ wherein the rules governing it are not freely constructed by the individual subject but rather encountered by her as the necessary constraints making reason, as such, possible. To accept these constraints, then, means to submit oneself to a ‘self-given necessity.’103 Heidegger writes that, for Kant, in submitting to the law, ‘I submit to myself.’104 We thus experience the rules of reason as self-validating. We come to recognise them through the obligation we feel towards them, and we likewise experience them as the source of that obligation. According to Heidegger, it is because the subject’s relation to rules is marked by both constructivity and receptivity that Kant located rules in the power of imagination, a power which provides a common root for both.

It is a matter of logical necessity that a thing cannot be, for example, both a bird and not a bird. If S is P, then S cannot at the same time be not-P. This would be a logical impossibility, a contradiction. If we want to reason logically, then we must follow the principle, or law, of non-contradiction. This law sits at the foundation of logic. It puts an a priori constraint on thinking as Aristotle construed it on the model of the proposition. The necessity of the law is thus conjoined with the necessity of thinking in strictly propositional terms. We are obliged to follow the law of non-contradiction only so long as we also feel obliged to express ourselves in a logically sound manner. A poet, for example, may describe a thing in a way which is ambiguous between its being and not being a bird. Poetic thinking need not be logical thinking. We are thus free to ignore the law of non-contradiction to the extent that we feel free to think in ways not determined by the logic of the proposition. Logical rules may compel us to think in certain strictly determined ways, but the compulsion itself is not a determination. We may, after all, choose to act otherwise, whatever the cost may be.

Heidegger draws this insight from Kant’s discussion of the role of rules in theoretical reasoning, finding there the idea that ‘[f]reedom already lies in the essence of pure understanding, i.e., of pure theoretical reason, insofar as this means placing oneself under a self-given necessity.’105 Furthermore, because freedom is a question of action, theoretical reason is importantly tied to practical reason. Hence, Kant writes in the Critique of Pure Reason: ‘Everything is practical that is possible through freedom.’106 Heidegger thus reads Kant as undertaking to explain theory in terms of action by giving priority to practical over theoretical reason. In his view, however, this undertaking remained ambiguous, as Kant presupposed an either/or of receptivity and spontaneity, of passivity and activity, thus failing in the end to fully realise the task of tracing both back to a common source in the power of imagination.107 Heidegger writes that Kant, in unveiling the receptive spontaneity of our relation to rules, ‘saw the unknown,’ and ‘had to shrink back.’108 Kant’s retreat is evinced in his shift of focus between the A and B editions of the Critique of Pure Reason. In the first edition, rule-governed thinking springs from the unified and irreducible receptive spontaneity of the imagination. In the second edition, Kant moved away from this unified stance, and instead assimilated rule-governedness, and imagination in general, to pure spontaneity.109 With this, Kant backed away from his original insight that logic stems from the synthetic unity of our non-empirical constructive power, on the one hand, and our existence as finite creatures necessarily affected by things and persons, on the other. Heidegger argues that, subsequent to Kant’s important insight in the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, ‘pure reason as reason drew him increasingly under its spell’: ‘Kant awoke to the problem of now searching for finitude precisely in the pure, rational creature itself, and not first in the fact that it is determined through “sensibility.”’110

Kant thus managed to momentarily lift the ontological principle unifying things and thinking from out of the substance-subject where Descartes had buried it. In doing so, he exposed the phenomenological character of this unifying source as the receptive spontaneity of imagination, but he then allowed this insight to collapse back into the Cartesian subject. Consequently, imagination, as the ground for logical reason, gets reentrenched as the purified property of an individual and autonomous thinking substance. This means that the world towards which thinking, as pure reason, directs itself is likewise conceptualised in terms of pure substance, as an independent property-bearing object standing opposite a thinking subject. Sceptical doubts about the existence of a world construed in this way, which we considered in Chapter One, then emerge to make no end of philosophical mischief.

Thus, although Kant failed to grasp the implications of his insight into the phenomenology of rule-following, he broke new ground and provided the hints on which Heidegger was then able to build. Heidegger located one important such hint in Kant’s remarks on the phenomenology of ‘respect’ [Achtung].111 Kant approached respect as the ‘feeling of my existence’ or as a ‘moral feeling’ which one experiences in response to the laws governing moral action.112 In my own terms, respect is an instance of the affectivity of the subject, and thus has an elementally emotional structure. Through this existential feeling of respect for the law one comes not only to recognise the law as law, one also comes to understand oneself as a person who can be guided by such laws. To be guided by a law or rule is to be affected by it. Guidability thus entails affectivity. The feeling that one’s existence is rule-governed is thus a sign of one’s finitude. I do not freely create the conditions governing my judgements or actions. On the contrary, in judging or acting I am constantly affected by existential pressures which are not solely of my own autonomous creation. On Heidegger’s reading, Kant argues that the law offers one a resource by which to repel those impulses or inclinations which threaten to disrupt moral action. Hence, the law may play a negative role, for example, by disabling the immediate sensible feelings of pleasure or pain which threaten to interfere with sound judgement. However, Heidegger points out that, for Kant, the disabling force exercised by the law against immediate, sensible feelings is itself also a feeling, an emotion. Indeed, he identifies this view, which he also ascribes to Spinoza, with the claim that ‘an emotion can be overcome only by an emotion.’113 In phenomenological terms, the repulsion of sensible feelings in the pursuit of rule-governed, or principled, action is itself motivated by a feeling. For Kant, this feeling is one of respect for the law, and it differs from sensible feelings like pleasure and pain in that it has an intellectual rather than somatic ground. Heidegger interprets Kant as arguing that respect for the law is produced by reason alone, that we possess it independently of, and prior to, sensible experience: ‘Reason, as free, gives this law to itself.’114 Furthermore, Heidegger emphasises Kant’s claim that respect for the law, as a non-empirical feeling, is not directed towards things but rather towards persons. He quotes Kant’s statement in the Critique of Practical Reason that ‘[r]espect always goes to persons alone, never to things.’115 Heidegger paraphrases this statement as: ‘Respect as respect for the law relates also, in its specific revelation, to the person.’116 More specifically, he interprets Kant as arguing that the person to whom respect for the law relates is ‘myself.’ Respect for the law is, on this reading, a ‘self-subjection’: ‘In subjecting myself to the law, I subject myself to myself as pure reason.’117

There is, however, an interpretive anomaly here. Kant writes that respect for the law is a feeling directed toward persons. Heidegger paraphrases this as the claim that respect for the law is a feeling directed toward the person, namely, oneself. Where Kant used the plural, Heidegger transposes the singular. On the basis of this misinterpretation, Heidegger then accuses Kant of failing to overcome Descartes’s burial of the rules binding things and thinking in the individual ‘I.’ Yet, immediately following the passage Heidegger cites from the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant writes that the example of a virtuous person ‘holds a law before me,’ that this person ‘provides me with a standard.’118 On Kant’s account, it is towards another person, a virtuous person, that respect is felt. The behaviour of that person, in exemplifying the law, commands my respect for the law. Respect for the law is thus really respect for a person whose actions are seen to exemplify the law. Put in a nutshell, there is a distinctly intersubjective element in Kant’s phenomenological account of respect. Only by considering the way in which we are affected by the behaviour of others can we begin to understand the compulsive respect for the rules which motivate and guide our own behaviour.

A more felicitous reading of Kant’s critique of Descartes’s pure reason should thus attribute to him two important insights. First, as Heidegger observes, Kant opened up the Cartesian ‘I’ to phenomenological enquiry, revealing the receptivity at the core of thinking. For Kant, this receptivity was especially manifest in a feeling of respect towards rules or the law. Second, Kant furthermore challenged the autonomy of the Cartesian ‘I’ by recognising that respect for the law is constituted by respect towards other persons. Heidegger obscures this second insight by interpreting Kant’s respect for persons as a respect for oneself, thereby foisting onto Kant a Cartesian construal of the ‘I’ as an isolated, self-referring individual. On this basis, Heidegger then argues that the ‘I’ should not be understood in terms of isolation, but rather in terms of community, or being-with-others, a point which will be considered in more detail later in this chapter. In making this argument, however, Heidegger is developing a point already present, if only in germinal form, in Kant’s own account. Where Heidegger more clearly departs from Kant is in his rejection of the substance ontology which the latter took over from Descartes. Whereas Kant conceived of the ‘I’ as a substance, or thing, Heidegger describes it in terms of existence. For Heidegger, thinking is not the attribute of a substance-subject, but rather of a form of existence, an intentional act which is necessarily directed towards things and other persons, and which can therefore never be understood independently of those things and other persons.

This brings us to the end of Heidegger’s history of the thematisation of thinking and its formalisation as logic. To recap, Plato and Aristotle had conceived of intentionality as the unifying principle which binds together things and thinking. For Plato it was the mythical demiurge, while for Aristotle it was the ‘is’ of the logos, construed narrowly as the proposition. Descartes shifted attention from the ‘is’ to the subject position of the proposition, thereby closing intentionality up in the pure reason of an isolated ‘I’ and thus supressing the essential link between thinking and things. Kant opened the ‘I’ back up, arguing that the rules which govern thinking entail the receptivity of the thinking ‘I’ towards other persons. Heidegger, for his part, builds on Kant’s insights. As we saw in Chapter Three, he more fully opens up the affectivity of the ‘I’ to include things as well as persons. Later in this chapter, we will see how Heidegger also elaborated on the affective receptivity of the individual ‘I’ towards other persons through the methods of existential phenomenology. We will also consider some of the limitations of that method and examine the ways in which SSK can help to overcome them. In particular, SSK can help lead Heidegger towards a more fully developed account of the social foundations of logic. For the time being, let us directly address Heidegger’s phenomenological account of the existential foundations of logic.

7. ‘The Argument Lives and Feeds on Something’

According to Heidegger, Kant’s critique of pure reason focussed on the question ‘What is the human being?’ and sought to answer this question by uncovering the conditions of possibility for rule-governed thinking as such. The articulation of these conditions is, for Heidegger, a basic problem for philosophical logic, a problem which can be solved only through metaphysical enquiry. As a metaphysical task, this enquiry refuses to take for granted the ancient Aristotelian projection of thinking as structured by the proposition. Heidegger thus understands logic as grounded in metaphysics, a position which puts him at odds with the prevailing view concerning the grounds of logic, a view he describes as self-evident, as ‘immediately intelligible on the level of common sense.’119

This prevailing, common-sense argument views logic as a ‘free-floating’ and ‘ultimate’ form of thinking, one which holds primacy over all the sciences, broadly construed.120 By classifying metaphysics as a science, proponents of this argument claim that logic also holds primacy over metaphysics. All knowledge, including metaphysical knowledge, is necessarily grounded in logic. Metaphysical thinking presupposes logic, because without logic it could never be justified or carried out.121 Yet, Heidegger observes that, for the sake of consistency, this argument must also be applied to logic itself, as the science of thinking, thus yielding the discomforting conclusion that logic too presupposes logic.122 It thus becomes difficult to see how logic could be justified without falling into a vicious circle. Heidegger seeks to soften this circle with the counter-argument that logic is grounded in metaphysics, and that metaphysics holds primacy over logic. He thus attempts to turn the prevailing view that metaphysics presupposes logic on its head. Indeed, at one point he even makes the provocative suggestion that logic is only contingently related to philosophy: ‘Logic originated in the ambit of the administration of the Platonic-Aristotelian schools. Logic is an invention of schoolteachers, not of philosophers.’123

Heidegger’s response to the common-sense argument for the ultimacy of logic is a diagnostic one. Indeed, he cautions against attempts to directly attack the argument by means of a formal refutation.124 The problem with such attempts is that they implicitly presuppose that thinking is, at its base, necessarily governed by the formal rules of logic. Hence, in their very method, these attempts surrender to the prevailing account the very ground they had hoped to contest. Yet, although Heidegger refuses to cede this ground, he does accept as inevitable the circularity of any argument which seeks to probe the foundations of thinking as such.125 This inescapable circle is not, however, a formal circle, not a circle of logic, but a hermeneutic circle, a circle of interpretation. It is, moreover, an inherent feature of thinking. Heidegger argues that attempts to overcome the hermeneutic circle fail ‘from the ground up’ to grasp the way in which thinking actually works.126

Heidegger’s considerations are driven by the insight that all acts of thinking are acts of interpretation. This is just another way of recognising that thinking is necessarily constructive. To make sense of an experienced thing means to determine its whatness. An act of sense-making is an interpretive act which implicates certain presuppositions about the thingness of the thing experienced. As we saw above, Heidegger describes the presuppositions guiding interpretation in terms of the metaphysical projection of the thingness of things. Metaphysics concerns the range of possibilities available for intelligibly determining the whatness of things experienced. Those possibilities may be viewed as the range of presuppositions on the basis of which one can make sense of one’s experience in the world. The hermeneutic circle springs from the fact that interpretation necessitates the prior existence of understanding. In order to achieve a determinate understanding of something through an act of interpretation, one must already possess some understanding relevant to that thing. For example, in order to achieve a determinate understanding of a word in a sentence, one must already possess some understanding of the overall meaning of the sentence. It thus appears that understanding presupposes understanding, that thinking presupposes thinking.

If we then introduce into this circle the further claim that thinking is necessarily governed by formal logic, we end up with the assertion that logic presupposes logic, that logic grounds logic, which is just to say that logic needs only itself in order to be what it is. Here, then, we have the nub of the common-sense argument that logic is ‘free-floating’ and ‘ultimate.’ Logic is both the ground for all other forms of thinking, as well as the ground for itself. The primacy of logic is, in this way, self-evident. Heidegger’s diagnostic response to this argument is to deny the claim that thinking is necessarily grounded in logic. This leaves in place the interpretive circle essential to thinking, but resists its further determination as a circle of logic. Indeed, Heidegger argues that the thinking presupposed in an act of interpretation ‘has nothing to do with laying down an axiom from which a sequence of propositions is deductively derived.’127 Thinking is not, at its base, structured by axioms, and thus interpretation cannot, at its base, be an act of inference from axioms, or first principles. Interpretation is not, in other words, inferential, but constructive or projective. Heidegger argues that when thinking turns to the interpretation of itself, when it thematises itself as an object of attention, it ‘put[s] itself into words for the very first time, so that it may decide of its own accord whether, as the thing which it is, it has that state of Being for which it has been disclosed in the projection with regard to its formal aspects.’128 What Heidegger is describing here is a process of self-interpretation by which thinking comes to exploit the possibility for articulating itself in formal or axiomatic terms, that is, in terms of logic. To treat thinking as fundamentally structured by axioms is to overlook this process of interpretation, and hence to confuse the end product of the interpretation — logic, as the science of thinking — for the thing being interpreted — thinking itself. In fact, according to Heidegger, logic is but one possible way in which thinking may come to understand itself. Only when the contingency of this particular self-articulation is acknowledged can thinking ‘decide of its own accord’ whether this articulation is an adequate representation of itself. Concealing this contingency, by erasing the interpretive processes which underlie it, risks forcing on thinking a representation of itself which it lacks the resources to question. Under such circumstances, it becomes a matter of common sense to view thinking in terms of logic, and logic as something free-floating and ultimate.

Heidegger’s proposed diagnostic refutation to the common-sense argument for the ultimacy of logic is meant to demonstrate two points: first, why the argument is necessary under certain presuppositions; second, why the argument is at all possible.129 On the first point, we can now see that the argument becomes necessary once one presupposes both that thinking is necessarily grounded in fundamental axioms, as well as that the articulation of the formal propositional structure of thinking is not a constructive act of interpretation, but rather one of deductive derivation from those fundamental axioms. On the second point, the argument becomes possible only once these two presuppositions have been formally articulated and rendered credible. Heidegger’s history of the evolving relationship between things and thinking, recounted above, is meant to describe this process of articulation. It was Aristotle’s narrow interpretation of logos in terms of the proposition which founded logic as the formal study of propositionally structured speech acts. Descartes uncritically adopted this foundation, and was furthermore guided by mathematics, and perhaps also by the Christian doctrine of salvation, to shift the unifying locus of the proposition from the ‘is’ to the subject position, which, on the basis of the presumed axiomatic truth of the statement ‘I think,’ he narrowly construed in terms of the ego, the ‘I.’ This history is meant to suggest that the two presuppositions underpinning the common-sense argument did not, as it were, jump fully formed from the brow of Zeus, but instead emerged through a complex, protracted and controversy-laden historical process.

Heidegger claims that his diagnostic argument offers a ‘refutation’ of the common-sense argument, but this is not true.130 It is, after all, not impossible for the existence of a presupposition to be a matter of historical contingency while its justifiedness remains a matter of necessity. However, although Heidegger has not conclusively proven that the presuppositions of the common-sense argument are only contingently justified, he has, I think, succeeded in loosening up intuitions about their presumed necessity. In light of Heidegger’s historical analysis, concerns about the vicious circularity of the common-sense argument are thus less likely to be assuaged by pointing to the conviction that the argument must, in any case, be accepted because there is no other alternative. Indeed, Heidegger’s analysis opens the field for a consideration of his own hermeneutic approach, which seeks to soften the circle by grounding logic in metaphysics. He writes that the common-sense argument for the ultimacy of a free-floating logic ‘lives and feeds on something, something which the argument itself not only cannot produce but which it even believes it must deny.’131 This ‘something’ is, in his view, the existential foundation of logic, a foundation which he seeks to disclose through phenomenological analysis. The common-sense argument cannot produce these extra-logical foundations because its mode of thinking is restricted to the domain of logic. And it furthermore denies the existence of such foundations because it contends that all other modes of thinking must ultimately reduce to logic. Heidegger’s existential-phenomenological account of thinking disputes this lattermost claim.

These considerations, focussing on logic as the science of thinking, find their place within Heidegger’s broader existential conception of science. This broader conception was given detailed attention in Chapter Two. Recall from there that Heidegger draws a distinction between logical and existential conceptions of science. The logical conception views science, in ideal terms, as a coherent body of true propositions, a conceptual scheme. It is important to emphasise, once again, that Heidegger does not reject the logical conception of science, but instead seeks to elucidate how it could have become at all possible, that is, to illuminate the grounds for its existence. He does this through a phenomenological enquiry into the existential conditions which enable the emergence of the propositional stance presupposed by the logical conception. Heidegger described this process in terms of a change-over from immersed involvement in a work-world, where things are taken up non-deliberatively as ready-to-hand, to a theoretical knowing which disengages from and objectifies things as present-at-hand within-the-world, thus determining them as a subject matter for propositional knowledge claims. In this chapter, we have seen how the change-over in the way one understands the thingness of things also profoundly relates to the way thinking itself is understood. As things come to be understood as property-bearing substances, or objects, thinking correspondingly comes to understand itself as a specific kind of object, one structured by propositions and formal rules. Logic, as the science of thinking, thus comes to understand itself logically, as being necessarily grounded in logic. In so doing, it loses sight of the historical change-over from which it emerged, thus closing itself off from an understanding of its own existential grounds. As a consequence, the science of thinking comes to misunderstand itself as a necessary and exclusive interpretation of thinking rather than as but one possible and contingent way in which thinking may be thematised.

Heidegger accepts Kant’s claim that thinking must be fundamentally understood in terms of a faculty of rules, arguing that rule-following is an inevitable part of the thinking process.132 On this basis, he defines logic, as the science of thinking, more narrowly as the ‘science of the rules of thought,’ and observes that one may follow rules without having a scientific understanding of them: ‘the inescapability of rule usage does not in itself immediately imply the inescapability of logic.’133 Heidegger thus draws a clear line between rules, on the one hand, and logic, on the other. The latter arises through the scientific study of the former, but a science is neither presupposed nor entailed by the existence of its object of study. Indeed, Heidegger argues that rules, in the act of thinking, ‘are not grasped as something at hand “in consciousness.”’134 While one is immersed in the act of thinking, the rules guiding that act are understood unreflectively in their readiness-to-hand; they are not thematised as objects of deliberative attention. Because thinking, as rule-following, may proceed in the absence of logic, thinking does not necessarily presuppose logic. Thus the vicious circularity of the common-sense argument — that logic presupposes logic — is softened with the phenomenological argument that logic presupposes rules, but rules do not entail logic. It follows, therefore, that logic is not ultimate, and hence that metaphysics, as a form of thinking, need not presuppose logic. Indeed, Heidegger claims that his phenomenological investigation into the existential grounds of possibility for logic reveals the metaphysical foundations of logic. It is logic which depends on metaphysics, not the other way around.

The common-sense argument thus ‘lives and feeds’ on the prior existence of unthematised and inescapable rules for thinking. Attention to these unthematised rules, however, provides only a description of what thinking fundamentally is, but not an explanation of how it could at all be possible. Such rules, on their own, encompass neither the metaphysical foundations of logic, in particular, nor of thinking, in general. As we saw in the previous section, according to Heidegger, one of Kant’s principal achievements was that he pointed the way forward for such an explanation. Kant sought the conditions of possibility for thinking as such, consequentially locating them in the affectivity of the subject, that is, in the phenomenon of respect before the law. The phenomenology of respect is meant to explain the normative force attributable to the laws governing thinking. Let us now consider Heidegger’s attempts to build on Kant’s insight.

8. Time and Tradition at the Existential Root of Logic

Heidegger’s historical account of the relation between things and thinking began with his remarks on Plato’s mythical image of the demiurge. According to Heidegger, Plato’s demiurge represents the idea of the good, that is, the fundamental standard which guides thinking into proper contact with things. The good allows us to distinguish between the epistemically good and bad, between things which contribute to knowledge and those which do not. In this way, the good stands as the indispensable a priori element in thinking, one making scientific knowledge, as such, possible. The condition of possibility for scientific knowledge is thus the grasp of the a priori element which binds thinking together with things in the production of knowledge. On this basis, Heidegger declares Plato ‘the discoverer of the a priori.’135 However, as discussed earlier, he furthermore observes that Plato’s conception of the a priori, expressed with the image of the demiurge, possesses a ‘mythical quality’ through which the philosophical significance of the a priori fails to properly present itself. Heidegger’s own account of the metaphysical foundations of logic may thus be viewed as an attempt to more fully articulate the philosophical significance of the a priori against the historical backdrop of its original presentation in the ancient myth of the cosmic demiurge.

As noted earlier, Plato expresses the normative contribution made by the good to acts of cognitive discernment by drawing an analogy with the light contributed by the sun to acts of visual discernment. Only in the light of day can we reliably distinguish the real from mere shadows. Likewise, only in the ‘illumination’ of the good can we reliably distinguish epistemically valuable phenomena from irrelevant or deceptive ones. Successful acts of discrimination require the prior existence of illumination, whether of a sensory or intellectual kind: ‘What sunlight is for sensuous vision the idea tou agathon, the idea of the good, is for scientific thinking, and in particular for philosophical knowledge.’136 In Plato’s work, then, the a priori was introduced as that which provides the illumination, or enlightenment, necessary for proper acts of epistemic discernment, and hence for knowledge in general. The productive acts of the demiurge are not random acts of creation, but display an order and coherence — an inherent and compelling intelligibility — a logos — which directly expresses the fundamental contours of the good. As logos, the mythical image of the demiurge points out, and so lets us see, the relations of significance, or meaning, which bring unity and purpose to acts of production. It manifests the highest guiding principle of such action. The demiurge thus stands for the a priori principle without which productive action, including the production of scientific knowledge, would not be possible.

When Aristotle replaced the demiurge with the proposition, he narrowed down and rendered more conceptually precise the content of this guiding principle, and hence initiated a historical process in which the a priori was progressively demythologised. According to Heidegger, this was the foundational moment of logic as the science of thinking. Later in his life, Heidegger would remark that science demythologises myth in much the same way one might drain a marshland, leaving only ‘dry’ ground behind.137 In the earlier works from which the present discussion draws, however, Heidegger’s mood is less glum. The young(ish) Heidegger sees himself as carrying forward a torch which had passed through the hands of, among others, Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant, thus bringing the sharp light of scientific philosophy into ever remoter corners of Plato’s inexhaustibly polysemous image of the a priori as cosmic demiurge.

Heidegger’s intervention was enabled by Kant’s critique of Descartes’s doctrine of pure reason, including the a priori rules governing such reason. Kant sought to disclose the conditions making it possible for the subject to follow rules, locating those conditions in the spontaneous receptivity of the subject’s imagination. We saw earlier how Heidegger criticised Kant’s dependency on the Cartesian concept of the subject, arguing that the imagination is not the extant property of a thinking substance, but instead a basic structure of the subject construed as existence. In this section, we will focus on another aspect of Heidegger’s critique of Kant’s concept of imagination: the aspect of time. By attending to the temporality of the imagination, Heidegger sought to further explicate the normativity of rule-following as first broached by Kant in his phenomenology of respect.

According to Heidegger, Kant argued that the spontaneity (or constructivity) and receptivity (or affectivity) which are unified in thinking share a common root in the subject’s imagination. Heidegger takes this argument one step further, urging that this common root is itself rooted in the existential soil of ‘original time.’138 Original time makes imagination, and hence thinking, possible. It is the existential condition of possibility for imagination, conceived as the faculty of rules, and for thinking, conceived as rule-following. On Heidegger’s account, we are able to follow rules only because we exist in original time. Original time thus replaces Plato’s demiurge as the normative standard providing a necessary guide for thinking.

Heidegger’s conceptualisation of thinking in terms of temporality is a natural consequence of his move from treating science as a body of concepts and formalised rules to treating it as a form of existence. Science is not a static framework, but a dynamic activity of thinking and doing, a way of productively comporting oneself towards nature. Once scientific thinking has been construed dynamically, as something characterised by motion or change, it is a small and natural step to view thinking as also involving a temporal aspect. Indeed, Heidegger points out that the a priori, by its very name, demonstrates the temporality of thinking. The a priori is what ‘comes before’ sensory experience in the thinking process. It helps us to bring coherence and meaning to that experience by allowing us to discriminate between information which is salient and information which is not salient to the task at hand. The temporality of scientific practice is evinced by the necessary relation between a priori rules and sensory information, both of which combine in the production of natural knowledge. Thinking thus presupposes time. Heidegger writes that ‘[t]ime is the way in which the mind lets itself be given anything at all.’139 His urge to understand the conditions of possibility for scientific thinking, as such, therefore pushes him towards a phenomenological investigation of the way time is experienced in the existential act of thinking. This is an experience of what Heidegger calls ‘original time.’

Before turning to an explication of Heidegger’s concept of original time, it will be helpful to first examine the common understanding of time to which he contrasts it. According to Heidegger, this common understanding was expressed in the first instance by Aristotle in his remarks, first, that ‘time is not movement, but only movement in so far as it admits of enumeration,’ second, that ‘we discriminate […] more or less movement by time,’ and, third, that time is therefore ‘a kind of number’ or something ‘countable.’ Aristotle furthermore observed that time, insofar as it involves the ‘before and after,’ is measured in terms of the ‘now.’ Conceived of as motion enumerated in terms of the ‘now,’ time thus comes to be understood as a ‘perpetual succession’ of nows.140 During a 1927 lecture, Heidegger demonstrated the plausibility of Aristotle’s definition by pulling his watch out of his vest pocket. ‘I take my watch out of my pocket and follow the change of place of the second hand, and I read off one, two, three, four seconds or minutes. This little rod, hurrying on, shows me the time, points to time for me, for which reason we call it a pointer, a hand. I read off time from the motion of the rod.’141 Yet, Heidegger also observes that this common understanding of time does not tell us what time is, but only how we may point to it, or read it off. Aristotle’s definition is, he says, an ‘access definition’ or ‘access characterisation’; it tells us only how time may become accessible.142 Indeed, returning his watch into his pocket, Heidegger asks: ‘Where then is this time? Somewhere inside the works, perhaps, so that if I put the watch into my pocket again I have time in my vest pocket? Naturally not.’ He will raise the same puzzle again in a 1935 lecture: ‘This clock is set according to the German Observatory in Hamburg. If we were to travel there and ask the people where they have the time, we would be just as wise as before our journey.’143 The use of a watch, clock, or observatory only provides us with a means by which to precisely measure time in terms of the now. An understanding of time as a perpetual succession of nows is already presupposed in these acts of measurement. Moreover, Aristotle defines the unit of measure by which time becomes accessible — the now — in terms of the ‘before and after.’ Responding to this, Heidegger observes that ‘the experience of the before and after intrinsically presupposes, in a certain way, the experience of time, the earlier and the later.’144 Hence, the common understanding of time presupposes time. Aristotle’s definition thus appears circular: ‘[t]ime is time.’145

This circularity is roughly homologous with the circularity of the argument addressed in the previous section, that logic presupposes logic. There we saw how Heidegger softened the circle by differentiating between logic, as the science of rules, and the rules themselves. A science of rules entails the prior existence of rules. A thematic, formal understanding of rules presupposes a non-thematic, existential understanding of rules. The difference is between rules present-at-hand, taken up as objects of study, and rules ready-to-hand, taken up as ‘equipment’ in the act of thinking. In similar fashion, Heidegger distinguishes the common time expressed in clock usage from the original time presupposed by such usage. Common time is original time thematised and rendered countable in terms of the now. The common understanding of time as a perpetual succession of nows thus ‘lives and feeds’ on a prior existential understanding of original time. Just as Aristotle narrowed thinking down to what can be explicitly expressed in the proposition, so too did he narrow time experience down to what can be explicitly expressed as part of a succession of countable nows.

These remarks on rules and time merge in the case of an a priori rule. In its very name, as what ‘comes before,’ an a priori rule would seem to possess an inherently temporal aspect. Yet, when the temporality of the a priori is understood in terms of common time, difficulties arise. Under this common understanding, we seem forced to posit the a priori as the first, or earliest, now in a perpetual succession of extant nows. But the a priori is not properly characterised by its being the first in a series of such events, but rather by its being the condition of possibility for such events. The a priori is not a countable now, but something which must come before all countable nows. Indeed, the extant events of common time presuppose the original temporality of the a priori. Hence, when time experience is narrowed down to what can only be expressed explicitly in terms of a succession of countable nows, the a priori must be viewed as somehow existing beyond this perpetual string of extant temporal moments. Seen from the perspective of common time, then, the a priori must exist beyond time — it must be timeless. Hence, Heidegger writes that, when orienting ourselves towards the common concept of time, it becomes ‘consistent to deny dogmatically that the a priori has anything to do with time.’146 Furthermore, seen from the perspective of common time, thinking, insofar as it is grounded in a priori rules, must itself also be viewed as a consequentially timeless phenomenon. On such an account, it also becomes consistent to dogmatically deny that thinking, at its innermost, rule-governed core, has anything to do with time. This would appear to give grounds for asserting that scientific thinking draws its ultimate justification from a realm of rules which somehow exists beyond time.

The momentum behind such dogmatism loses its strength, however, once one recognises a role for original time in addition to, and as distinct from, common time. This recognition comes with the awareness that, just as there is a non-thematic way of experiencing rules, so too is there a non-thematic way of experiencing time. Experienced non-thematically, a priori rules need not appear to be uprooted from the soil of time. We discover the original temporality of a priori rules in our use of them as ‘equipment’ in the task of thinking, rather than in our thematisation, or foregrounding, of them as distinct and determinate objects of thinking.

Viewed phenomenologically, original time is experienced in the course of our immersed involvement in a work-world. As we saw in Chapter Two, a work-world is structured by the equipmental relations in which the significance, or meaning, of a particular task is manifest. When we are immersed in a task, our attention is focussed not on the equipment we are manipulating or otherwise using, but on the work towards which we employ the equipment. In the midst of our undisturbed immersion in an equipmental context, we understand the things we use as ready-to-hand rather than present-at-hand within-the-world. Heidegger observes that ‘[a]t the basis of this undisturbed imperturbability of our commerce with things, there lies a peculiar temporality which makes it possible to take a handy equipmental contexture in such a way that we lose ourselves in it.’147 With this, he draws our attention to the familiar experience of losing track of time while being immersed in a task. His point is that time does not disappear when we lose track of it. Our actions do not, in other words, suddenly become timeless. Rather, time is still there in the way we experience our actions, but we do not experience it numerically as a countable succession of nows, or as any kind of present-at-hand thing which is ‘passing by,’ but instead in a ‘peculiar’ way, as the temporality of what is ready-to-hand in our productive acts of thinking and doing. Heidegger thus argues that temporality is the ‘condition of the possibility of all understanding.’148 Hence, we do not experience original time as an aspect or feature of the equipment we use in the course of work. Original time is, rather, that which makes our equipmental dealings, our basic understanding of things ready-to-hand, possible as a basic mode of existence. Heidegger characterises the way in which original time becomes intelligible to us in the course of such equipmental dealings in terms of two kinds of relation: the ‘in-order-to’ (Um-zu) and the ‘for-the-sake-of-which’ (Worumwillen).149 Each relation picks out a central aspect of a ready-to-hand thing, for example, a pen. The ‘in-order-to’ of the pen is its purpose: the task of writing. Yet the pen is not the sole piece of equipment which contributes to this task. Heidegger writes that ‘[e]quipment is in terms of [aus] its belonging to other equipment: ink-stand, pen, ink, paper, blotting pad, table, lamp, furniture, windows, doors, rooms.’150 Before an individual piece of equipment can ‘show itself’ in this arrangement, ‘a totality of equipment has already been discovered.’151 The work-world in which the task of writing becomes practically intelligible is thus a relational manifold of ready-to-hand things the totality of which facilitates the task of writing. Heidegger argues that the ‘whatness’ of a ready-to-hand thing is constituted by the multiple relations in which the thing is able to show its use, its handiness. The whatness of a piece of equipment is constituted by its ‘assignedness’ [Bewandtnis] within an overall equipmental context.152

The in-order-to relation, however, only describes the assignedness of equipment; it does not explain whence that assignedness comes. This is where the ‘for-the-sake-of-which’ relation comes into play. Heidegger writes that ‘[o]nly so far as the for-the-sake-of a can-be is understood can something like an in-order-to (a relation of assignedness) be unveiled.’153 The assignedness relation of the pen can show itself only if one has already understood the for-the-sake-of-which relation which makes possible the practical intelligibility of the pen as equipment for writing. Only after one has understood this relation can one be in a position to ‘let’ the pen be used as a pen. Heidegger writes that ‘[l]etting-be-assigned [Bewendenlassen], as understanding of assignedness, is that projection which first of all gives to the Dasein the light in whose luminosity things of the nature of equipment are encountered.’154

Heidegger’s use of the metaphor of illumination in this passage was surely deliberate. The whatness, or what-being, of equipment is projected as an illumination in which things may be ‘seen’ in their assignedness. Seeing, in this context, does not mean observing, but using. For Heidegger, the using and manipulating of equipment ‘has its own kind of sight, by which our manipulation is guided.’155 He calls this sight ‘circumspection,’ and argues that circumspection ‘dwells’ in the multiple relations of an equipmental totality.156 Furthermore, Heidegger identifies the for-the-sake-of-which with the source of light which lets equipment be seen in its assignedness. He thus intended the for-the-sake-of-which to be a critical reinterpretation of Plato’s idea of the good, which Plato had introduced by drawing an analogy to the sun. Heidegger writes that ‘the idea tou agathon [i.e., the idea of the good] is the for-the-sake-of-which,’ and that ‘the for-the-sake-of-which excels the ideas, but, in excelling them, it determines and gives them the form of wholeness, koinonia, communality.’157 Like Plato’s idea of the good, Heidegger’s notion of the for-the-sake-of-which refers to a unifying principle, one which grants coherence to our experience by guiding us in discriminating cognitively valuable from irrelevant or deceptive phenomena. Just as the productive acts of Plato’s demiurge display an order and coherence — an inherent and compelling intelligibility — so too do constructive acts of thinking, guided by the for-the-sake-of-which, express an order and coherence, whether of a practical or theoretical kind. Like Plato’s mythical image of the demiurge, the for-the-sake-of-which stands for the a priori element binding together things and thinking in the production of knowledge.

Through this critical reinterpretation of the demiurge, Heidegger attempts to further spell out, in phenomenological terms, the philosophical significance of Plato’s mythical image. Unfortunately, he seems not to have got very far in realising this attempt, certainly not as far as he may have thought he had. Recall from earlier that Heidegger credits Kant with taking an important step forward on this path by locating the conditions of possibility for rule-following, as such, in the feeling of respect. We are able to follow rules because we are capable of being compelled by those rules, of being affected by them. In this way, the rules of thinking help us to make sense of our experience, including our experience of ourselves. According to Heidegger, Kant argued that respect is specifically a feeling of respect for oneself, that is, for the self as Cartesian ‘I.’ However, as we saw, Kant actually claimed that respect is a feeling felt towards another person, a virtuous person whose actions exemplify the law or rule in question. Heidegger’s own emphasis on the intersubjective nature of our faculty of rules is thus not an innovative step beyond Kant, but rather a further elaboration of Kant’s own original insight. On this account, then, the aprioricity of rules for thinking depends on the ontological priority of social relations over relations that ‘I’ have with myself. One can understand oneself as an ‘I,’ as an individual thinking substance, only because one is already immersed in interpersonal relations which enable one to thematise and articulate one’s subjectivity in this way. Heidegger writes that ‘Being with Others belongs to the Being of Dasein […] [A]s Being-with, Dasein “is” essentially for the sake of Others. This must be understood as an existential statement as to its essence.’158

The for-the-sake-of-which, as the a priori phenomenon binding together things and thinking in knowledge production, is thus a fundamentally social phenomenon. Its temporality is expressed non-thematically as the original time we experience in the course of our non-deliberative immersion in a work-world. This fundamental mode of existence is the a priori social and historical condition for any and all possible acts of knowing, both practical and theoretical. Heidegger holds that we experience these conditions as ‘tradition’ [Überlieferung]. Tradition, he writes, is the ‘innermost character of our historicity,’ and we come to know it as the manifest ‘lore’ [Kunde] of the historical world in which we find and understand ourselves.159 The lore in which tradition is manifest ‘carries and leads the historical being of the era’ in which we live.160 Thus, on Heidegger’s account, it is tradition which turns out to provide the a priori unifying phenomenon which bind together things and thinking, thus providing the basic conditions of possibility for the production of knowledge in its broadest possible sense. The soil in which Plato’s demiurge, Kant’s imagination, and Heidegger’s for-the-sake-of-which are finally rooted, that soil from which the existential rules governing thinking draw their sustenance, is the soil of tradition. Hence logic, through its reliance on existential rules, turns out to itself be ultimately grounded in tradition. According to Heidegger, then, tradition provides the existential foundation for logic. As a consequence, the origins and essence of scientific thinking must lie not in an abstract and timeless realm of a priori logical rules, but in the rich social and historical fabric of our shared and largely unthematised co-existence as finite human beings. ‘[O]ur spiritual history,’ writes Heidegger — using an adjective (geistig) which might just as well be translated as ‘intellectual’ or ‘mental’ — ‘is bound 2000 years back.’161

Plato’s discovery of the a priori was a discovery of the way in which tradition guides and gives shape to thinking, hence making possible its intelligible combination with the things of experience. The a priori provides the light in which thinking lets things be experienced as what they are. It is, furthermore, the source of the semantic, syntactic, and practical rules which make language use possible as a form of intelligible behaviour.162 Or, to take a non-linguistic artefact, the a priori is the basis in tradition through which a pen may become what it is as an instrument for writing.

Having employed the methods of phenomenological history to trace the ontological origins of science back to tradition, Heidegger seems to have slowly lost any further interest in this project. Perhaps this reveals the limitations of his existential-phenomenological method, with its focus on an archaeological investigation into the subject’s interior layers of historically sedimented understanding. Such a method would seem not especially well-suited for a more detailed exploration of the social and historical dimensions of science conceived as tradition. Once he had excavated the scientific subject down to its existential base in the bedrock of tradition, Heidegger’s interests shifted increasingly towards those possibilities latent in the tradition but excluded by Aristotle’s narrowing of the logos down to what can only be expressed within the formal structure of the proposition. He thus turned his attention more and more to non-scientific modes of subjectivity. Rather than further attending to the language of science, as determined by the proposition, Heidegger would instead declare in 1934 that the ‘original language is the language of poetry.’163 Many of his subsequent reflections on science would focus more negatively on scientific thinking as a historically contingent constraint imposed on the original scope and power of poetry as an essential expression of human experience. Hence, for the remainder of this chapter, we will trade the methods of phenomenology for those of sociology in order to more fully elaborate some of the positive implications of Heidegger’s conclusion that logic is rooted in the social soil of tradition.

9. From the Phenomenology of Thinking to the Sociology of Knowledge

In a 1928 lecture, Heidegger argued that a fundamental philosophical study of subjectivity ‘remains prior to every psychology, anthropology, and characterology, but also prior to all ethics and sociology.’164 He seems to have held that the human and social sciences would remain unclear or in error until the object of their study — human being, whether taken individually or collectively — had been properly clarified in its fundamental structure. This clarification was the task Heidegger took up in Being and Time, which had appeared in 1927. Indeed, not only was the bulk of that book concerned with a phenomenological description of human subjectivity, the fourth chapter specifically addressed ‘being-with’ (Mitsein), that is, the essential relation between the subject’s being-in-the-world with its equally fundamental existential state of being-with-others.

Section 27 of that chapter focussed on the ‘they,’ which badly translates the German neologism das Man. The concept of the ‘they’ is meant to pick out the way in which one uncritically blends in with one’s fellows in the course of everyday life: ‘In utilizing public means of transport and in making use of information services such as the newspaper, every Other is like the next.’165 The point seems a bit overstated, but the idea is sound: those who live together in a common society are continuously, and often imperceptibly, pushed into the same settled and uniform patterns of behaviour. Furthermore, these social conditions directly affect, and thus serve to organise, our intellectual and emotional lives: ‘We take pleasure and enjoy ourselves as they [man] take pleasure; we read, see, and judge about literature and art as they see and judge; likewise we shrink back from the “great mass” as they shrink back; we find “shocking” what they find shocking.’166 Heidegger goes on to observe that a person, by critically reflecting on her embeddedness in the ‘they,’ may discover less everyday possibilities for thinking and acting in the world, possibilities which may then enable her to express her personhood in a more unique or individualised manner. The distinguishing features of a unique individual are thus not to be taken as a sign of her separateness from the group, but of her success at exploiting the less well-trodden possibilities made available by her participation in a shared tradition. Heidegger’s discussion is sometimes read as suggesting that the achievement of such individuality is a rare feat, performed only by an elite few, but this is neither here nor there. The interesting theoretical observation is that individuality derives from sociality, that individualism is enabled and maintained by and in an irreducibly social existence.

In a 1947 essay, Heidegger reflected back on his earlier discussion of the ‘they’ (das Man), writing that ‘[w]hat has been said in Sein und Zeit [Being and Time], §§27 and 35, about the word “man” (the impersonal one) is not simply meant to furnish, in passing, a contribution to sociology [soll keineswegs nur einen beiläufigen Beitrag zur Soziologie liefern].’167 Section 35 is a narrower application of the argument from §27 to the specific case of everyday versus unconventional forms of speech, and need not delay us here. Heidegger’s 1947 comment affirms that §27 of Being and Time was meant to make a fundamental, rather than an incidental, contribution to sociology.168 There is thus no clear evidence that Heidegger harboured an animosity toward sociology. Indeed, in a 1934 lecture, when addressing the definition of das Volk, or ‘the people,’ he suggested that ‘[w]e could for this purpose follow a new science, sociology, that is, the doctrine of the forms of society and community.’169 He declines to go this route, however, alleging that sociology’s search for definitions presupposes that das Volk is a present-at-hand thing, a substance with fixed and timeless properties, a thing without a history. In sum, Heidegger does not reject sociology, but rather criticises it for allegedly failing to recognise that the existential conditions governing social relations, including the relations governing knowledge production, are historically contingent conditions, that is, conditions rooted in a tradition.

Heidegger thus meant for his existential phenomenology to, among other things, provide sociology with a more defensible account of the existential conditions of possibility governing its core subject matter. We will set aside the question of whether Heidegger’s criticism offers a fair portrayal of the sociology of his time. What seems clear, however, is that it does not find much traction against the more recent sociology of knowledge — SSK in particular — which recognises the historical and social contingency of the conditions determining its own scientific method. Here, then, Heidegger’s scientific philosophy does resonate with the more recent scientific sociology. Both methods regard science as a finite, social and historical practice, and both methods attempt to reflexively style themselves in accordance with this model of science. The underlying assumption in both cases is that science provides the most reliable and authoritative basis for knowledge. David Bloor has been especially clear on this point: ‘I am more than happy to see sociology resting on the same foundations and assumptions as other sciences. […] For that foundation is our culture. Science is our form of knowledge.’170 Furthermore, both Barry Barnes and Harry Collins have noted the important influence of phenomenological methods on the way sociology of knowledge has developed since Heidegger’s time.171 There is, then, a methodological thread running consequentially from Heidegger’s phenomenology of thinking to the more recent sociology of knowledge.

As was mentioned at the end of the last section, Heidegger would eventually lose his enthusiasm for scientific philosophy, and begin following other fundamental threads in the tradition of thinking. Nevertheless, his phenomenological study of logic, construed as the science of thinking, constitutes his own reflexive attempt to lay hold of the conditions of possibility governing his own particular form of scientific philosophy. This affords us a conceptual bridge over which to now cross from the phenomenology of logic to the sociology of logic.

10. The Social Foundations of Logic

The sociology of logic challenges the view that the basic principles of logical thinking are resistant to sociological explanation. The key assumption which must be cast into doubt is that such principles enjoy an absolute ground impervious to the vagaries of historical and social life. This chapter has attempted to reconstruct Heidegger’s account of how this assumption came into being, and how it has subsequently fallen into doubt.

In the first instance, Descartes applied a mathematical interpretation to the proposition, which may have been motivated in part by the Christian doctrine of salvation, in order to establish thinking on a pure and absolute ground. He furthermore argued that the pure and absolute core of thinking, the individual ‘I,’ must act in accordance with an unrestricted law of non-contradiction. In the second instance, Kant addressed the question of what the ‘I’ must be like in order to be bound by rules like the law of non-contradiction. This question, observed Heidegger, is the basic problem of logic. By asking it, Kant effectively removed the law of non-contradiction from its position of dominance, instead explaining laws in terms of the faculty of imagination. Heidegger subsequently rooted the imagination in the soil of tradition, which is manifest, and hence made available for deliberate transmission, as an accumulated body of lore. It is through our participation in a historical tradition that the world becomes intelligible for us, and tradition does this by enabling us to properly follow the rules which give structure to thinking. Tradition allows us to make sense of things, to let things be what they are, by supplying us with the informal existential rules we need to bring our thinking into proper contact with things. These existential rules are historically manifest as lore, and may be subsequently formalised as logic.

There are striking similarities between Heidegger’s account of logic and the one afforded by SSK practitioners. Indeed, Barnes and Bloor have characterised logic as a ‘body of conventions and esoteric traditions,’ as well as a ‘learned body of scholarly lore.’172 Barnes has also written, more generally, that the teacher of science is concerned primarily with ‘transmitting lore.’173 Furthermore, like Heidegger, Barnes and Bloor distinguish between the ‘varied systems of logic as they are developed by logicians,’ on the one hand, and the ‘informal intuitions upon which they all depend for their operation,’ on the other.174 Bloor has elaborated an account of this distinction as one holding between formal and informal kinds of knowledge, and emphasised ‘the priority of the informal over the formal.’175 This appears similar to Heidegger’s distinction between thematised and unthematised forms of thinking, as well the existential priority he gives to the latter over the former.

Bloor’s central claims are that the formal rules of reasoning are always the instruments of informal reasoning, and hence that any particular application of a formal rule is always a potential subject for informal social negotiation.176 In some cases, the application of a formal rule is not actually subject to negotiation because it is embedded in a highly standardised but informal context of shared practice. As Barnes and Bloor observe, in such cases everyone, or nearly everyone, just accepts the application of the rule without question. The application appears self-evidently appropriate, and thus requires no reasoned justification.177 As one example of a rule which enjoys this kind of status, Bloor identifies the law of non-contradiction.

Bloor begins his discussion of the law of non-contradiction by turning to Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard’s classic study of witchcraft among the Azande of Central Africa. According to Evans-Pritchard, the Azande treat witchcraft as an inherited physical trait, passed on from fathers to sons or from mothers to daughters.178 He comments that ‘[t]o our minds it appears evident that if a man is proven a witch the whole of his clan are ipso facto witches, since the Zande clan is a group of persons related biologically to one another through the male line.’179 Yet, the Azande do not see things this way. They recognised the theoretical sense of Evans-Pritchard’s argument, but in practice they only consider the close paternal kinsmen of a known witch to be witches. Their practice would thus seem to contradict the theoretical implications of their beliefs about the inter-generational transmission of witchcraft substance. Evans-Pritchard concludes from this that practical negotiations of belief ‘free Azande from having to admit what appear to us to be the logical consequences of belief in biological transmission of witchcraft.’180 For example, the Azande reason that even if a man is the son of a witch, and so has inherited witch-substance, that substance may remain ‘cool’ throughout his life. If his witchcraft is never activated, then he can hardly be considered a witch.181 Hence, Evans-Pritchard observes that ‘Azande do not perceive the contradiction as we perceive it because they have no theoretical interest in the subject, and those situations in which they express their beliefs in witchcraft do not force the problem on them.’182

Bloor’s response to this has a positive and a negative side. On the negative side, he argues that Evans-Pritchard’s analysis involves two central ideas: first, that there really is a contradiction in Zande views whether the Azande see it or not; and second, that if the Azande were to recognise the contradiction, one of their major social institutions would be untenable. The first idea has to do with the uniqueness of logic, and the second with the authority of logic.183 Bloor rejects both ideas. In the first instance, he argues that there is no contradiction in Zande beliefs about witchcraft because the Azande may be seen to use a different logic. Hence, Evans-Pritchard’s premise of uniqueness must be rejected.184 There is a standard Zande logic and a standard Western logic. In the second instance, Bloor argues that both logics exercise little authority over the practical negotiations of those who invoke them.185 With the Azande, logic does not threaten their institution of witchcraft because one piece of logic can always be used against another, and even this is only necessary when logic is used by someone to pose a threat. But then it is the person, not the logic, who threatens.186 In such cases, informal reasoning, or practical negotiation, takes priority over formal reasoning. Hence, Bloor alleges that Evans-Pritchard was also wrong to think that logical contradictions, where they exist, must necessarily threaten social stability if they are allowed explicit articulation.

As observations about the nature of logic and its relationship to informal reasoning, both of these points seem convincing. However, they do not work as a negative assessment of Evans-Pritchard’s own views. As can be seen from the passages just quoted, Evans-Pritchard emphasised that the Zande doctrine of witchcraft contains ‘what appears to us’ to be a logical contradiction; he writes that ‘to our minds’ there is a contradiction in Zande beliefs. Elsewhere, he has argued that ‘[w]hat appear to be hopeless contradictions when translated into English may not appear so in the native language.’187 Furthermore, in an appreciation of Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Evans-Pritchard writes that ‘primitive mystical thought is organized into a coherent system with a logic of its own.’188 This is no assertion of uniqueness. As Mary Douglas has observed, Evans-Pritchard in fact strongly opposed the idea that those peoples who fail to employ standard Western logic are ‘illogical,’ or ‘non-logical,’ or ‘pre-logical.’189 Furthermore, Douglas argues that Evans-Pritchard also rejected the idea that formal logic should be granted authority over informal practical negotiation. She writes that ‘[w]ell before phenomenology’s claim that sociological understanding must start from the negotiating activities of conscious, intelligent agents, Evans-Pritchard had seized the problem, developed a method and shown what progress can be made.’190 Thus there is, in fact, a strong doctrinal continuity between Bloor and Evans-Pritchard. They are friends, not foes.191 It must be noted, however, that Douglas’s attempt to grant Evans-Pritchard precedence over phenomenology fails to acknowledge that Heidegger’s argument in Being and Time for the existential priority of practice over theory, as well his description of the ‘they’ as the existential condition of possibility for social negotiation as such, pre-date Evans-Pritchard’s earliest publications by several years. But there is no evidence that Evans-Pritchard had read Heidegger, nor is there any attempt in Being and Time to elaborate a sociological notion of negotiation. It would be better here to speak of synchronicity, rather than of priority.

Let us move on, then, to the positive side of Bloor’s analysis. Like Evans-Pritchard, Bloor blocks the parochial and paternalistic charge that the Azande are guilty of ignoring a contradiction in their reasoning. The problem arises because we are insensitive to the specific existential conditions which give shape to Zande social life: ‘The fact that we can imagine extending the witchcraft accusation to the whole of the clan is simply because we do not really feel the pressure against this conclusion.’192 Furthermore, if we did feel the absurdity of the conclusion, we could easily give reasons to reject it, if this were deemed necessary. The Azande, for example, drew from their well-established notion of ‘cool’ witches in response to Evans-Pritchard’s theoretical queries. And, Bloor argues, we make precisely the same kinds of moves in our own Western scientific culture: ‘the Azande think very much as we do.’193

Bloor argues that the process of intellectual elaboration, where reasons are introduced to deflect unwanted conclusions, is a pervasive feature of our science. He gives two historical examples.194 The first concerns the phlogiston theory of combustion, a chemical theory which dominated in the eighteenth century and which has since been rejected. Proponents of this theory held that a metal is comprised of phlogiston and calx, or what we now call oxide. It was thought that when a metal is burned, the phlogiston is removed from it, leaving only calx behind. It was, however, discovered that the calx was heavier than the original metal, which raised the question of how the weight of a substance could be increased by taking something away from it. Some historians have argued that these circumstances logically imply that phlogiston must have a negative weight, an absurd conclusion which therefore doomed the theory. Yet, Bloor writes, most of those who adhered to phlogiston theory did not draw this conclusion. They instead reasoned that when phlogiston leaves the metal another, heavier, substance must take its place. The best candidate for this replacement was thought to be water. Hence, the conclusion that phlogiston must have a negative weight was deflected. It now only became necessary to hold that phlogiston was much lighter than water. The logic of subtraction — the removal of phlogiston from the metal through combustion — was thus traded for a logic of replacement — water substitutes for phlogiston during the combustion of the metal. Advocates of phlogiston theory were not contradicting a tacitly held logic of subtraction; they were using another sort of logic altogether.

The second of Bloor’s examples comes from the atomic theory of chemistry. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac discovered a regularity in the way gases combine. One volume of gas always combines with some small whole number of volumes of another gas, where volume measurements are controlled for temperature and pressure. Thus, two volumes of hydrogen combine with one volume of oxygen to produce one volume of gaseous water. Because John Dalton’s atomic theory explained chemical combinations by the direct combination of atoms, Gay-Lussac’s results suggested that two hydrogen atoms must combine with one atom of oxygen to produce one compound atom of water. Each volume of gas therefore contains the same number of atoms. The trouble with this hypothesis, however, was that one volume of nitrogen could combine with one volume of oxygen to produce two volumes of nitric oxide. This suggested that one volume of nitric oxide contained only half the number of atoms of the original volumes of nitrogen and oxygen. The idea that volumes contained the same number of atoms could now only be maintained if one assumed that atoms could be split in half. But Dalton resisted this conclusion, as he was not prepared to give up the doctrine of the indivisibility of the atom. There was a contradiction between this doctrine and the alleged regularity discovered by Gay-Lussac. Perhaps Gay-Lussac was wrong?

As Bloor observes, the conclusion that atoms are divisible is easily avoided without rejecting Gay-Lussac’s results. One need only assume that each atom of gas is really a particle composed of two atoms. When nitrogen and oxygen combine, they swap atoms. The combination is not the result of addition, as when hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water, but rather of substitution. We now know this solution as Avagadro’s hypothesis. This was a simple elaboration which supplanted the earlier logic of addition with a logic of substitution, thus allowing for a negotiation around a potential contradiction without giving up either Gay-Lussac’s useful empirical results or the doctrine of atomic indivisibility.

Bloor argues that this negotiation is of a piece with both eighteenth-century negotiations around alleged contradictions in phlogiston theory and twentieth-century negotiations around alleged contradictions in Zande beliefs about witchcraft. He emphasises that the Azande and Western scientists think in the same general way, writing that ‘they have the same psychology […] but radically different institutions.’195 An institution is, on Bloor’s definition, ‘a collective pattern of self-referring activity.’196 A rule, or a group of rules, a logic, is an institution in this sense. To say that a logic is self-referring is to recognise that its validity is internal to the collective patterns of activity in which the logic becomes manifest. So, when we accuse the Azande of contradiction, our statement in fact refers, not to Zande logic, but to our own. We treat the Azande as if they were a part of our own community. Because the accusation carries force only within our own community, it is not surprising that it left the Azande unmoved. By the same token, the accusation that Gay-Lussac’s discovery contradicts the doctrine of atomic indivisibility presupposes a kind of chemical thinking in which gas particles are composed of only one atom. But this way of thinking was renegotiated with the introduction of Avagadro’s hypothesis. Hence the accusation carries force only in reference to a kind of chemical thinking which, through a process of negotiation, has now become obsolete.

The circular validity of self-referring logical domains is captured in Heidegger’s observation that logic, when treated as the ultimate ground for all thinking, must also ground itself. As discussed earlier, Heidegger characterised this as the argument that logic is ‘free-floating’ and ‘ultimate,’ that it grounds all other forms of thinking without requiring a further ground of its own. Heidegger challenged this argument by differentiating logic, as a system of formal rules, from informal, existential rules. The former is grounded in the latter. He furthermore conceptualises existential rules in terms of original time, which is manifest in two types of relation: in-order-to relations and for-the-sake-of-which relations. This distinction between relations plays a role similar to the distinction Bloor makes between a self-referring practice and what ‘primes’ that practice. It is, he writes, a characteristic of self-referring practices that a separate account must be given of their origin, of how they get going, and this account must be presented in terms lying outside the domain of the practice itself.197 In other words, the priming element must exist prior to the practice; it is the a priori element which makes the practice possible.

Bloor’s self-referring practices, his institutions, recall Heidegger’s description of the multiple relations of the in-order-to. The assignedness of a work-world is manifest in the in-order-to relations making up that world. These relations represent the significance, or meaning, of a work-world. The for-the-sake-of-which relation, on the other hand, provides the origins of that assignedness. In-order-to relations thus depend for their own existence on the prior existence of the for-the-sake-of-which. The latter provides the conditions of possibility for being assigned, for significance, as such. This looks a lot like Bloor’s priming element, which works to get the self-referring practice going. As discussed earlier, Heidegger’s notion of the for-the-sake-of-which is a phenomenological reinterpretation of Plato’s idea of the good. It serves as the fundamental feature of thinking enabling us to discriminate between epistemically relevant and irrelevant phenomena, and hence to connect thinking with things in a coherent and meaningful way. The for-the-sake-of-which serves, in other words, as the normative principle guiding thinking.

Bloor writes that ‘the mystery of logical compulsion is […] the mystery of normativity.’198 Normativity emerges as individuals fall into regularised patterns of self-referential activity. Only as participants embedded in such patterns of regularised activity will individuals feel compelled to follow those patterns. The Azande interviewed by Evans-Pritchard in the 1930s, for example, were not embedded in the patterned activities constitutive of Western logic, and so they did not feel the force of the contradiction alleged by Evans-Pritchard to exist within their doctrine of witchcraft. They could see the sense of it, but it did not move them, did not affect them. Normativity thus provides a necessary basis for logic as an institution, but the specific norms governing a particular logic will carry force only within the finite bounds of the specific social and historical setting in which that logic is sustained as a form of thinking. According to Heidegger, Kant cracked open the problem of normativity by asking what the human being must be like in order to be compelled by a rule. He suggested that human beings must be such that they are affected by the law, that they feel respect before the law as it is manifest in the actions of others. This claim resonates with Bloor’s own statement that ‘[w]e are compelled by rules in so far as we, collectively, compel one another.’199 Bloor furthermore specifies that ‘the compelling character of rules resides merely in the habit or tradition that some models be used rather than others.’200 This invites comparison with Heidegger’s claim that the for-the-sake-of-which, as the normative element in thinking, is itself rooted in the soil of tradition. Both Bloor and Heidegger seek to dispel the mystery of normativity by tracing its origin back to tradition. For both, what primes an informal domain of logic, what compels its users into regularised patterns of common activity, is the tradition into which those users have been socialised.

As mentioned earlier, Heidegger’s analysis of logic comes to an end at this point. He identified the source of normativity in logic, but did not ply deeper into its structure. Bloor has, on the other hand, done just that. He emphasises that the socialisation process, because it is the source of normativity, cannot itself be described in normative terms.201 The logic student is not guided by her own dispositions when learning to draw the correct inference, she is guided by her teacher. Indeed, only through such training does the student acquire the specific dispositions necessary for carrying on alone in proper logical fashion. By becoming habituated to a particular tradition of thinking, the student learns to act instinctively in response to certain kinds of stimuli. She will feel repelled by actions violating the rules to which she has become habituated, and attracted by actions which accord with them. She will feel herself compelled to act in accordance with those rules, and will have thus now also acquired the competence to socialise others into her tradition by transmitting to them the practical and theoretical lore she has made her own.202

So much agrees with, and also serves to extend, Heidegger’s account. However, Bloor’s sociological explanation of logical compulsion also includes a move which appears to conflict with Heidegger’s account. Bloor argues that we need to explain how ‘non-intentional, non-normative responses’ can give rise to the regularised pattern of an informal self-referring practice.203 The conflict arises because, for Heidegger, there can be no non-intentional responses. At the root of the conflict lie differing conceptions of intentionality. Bloor seems to understand intentionality as being inextricably tied up with semantic content. Hence, because ‘we always encounter the dependence of semantic content on a more basic, non-semantic level,’ Bloor concludes that the more basic non-semantic level must be free from ‘intentional elements.’204 We must, he cautions, resist the temptation to assume that our automatic responses are already endowed with ‘propositional and logical content.’205 Bloor thus seems to view intentionality as propositional content belonging to a substance-subject. To be sure, Bloor has noted that groups, rather than individuals, may be the bearers of intentions. He has written that ‘[o]n the institutional theory intentionality, plural and singular, is not in the head.’206 Combined with the conviction that intentions must include propositional content, this would seem to push Bloor into viewing the group likewise as a substance-subject bearing propositional content, content which is not ‘in the head’ but, strange as it may seem, somewhere else. All the difficulties faced at the individual level thus threaten to reappear at the group level. Bloor is, of course, not insensitive to these difficulties, and thus he attempts to resolve them by furthermore arguing that intentions must be explained reductively in non-intentional terms.

Heidegger, in contrast, viewed intentionality in terms of our existential relation to things and persons in the world. Because one basis of human existence is being-in-the-world, we necessarily find ourselves always already among the other entities also inhabiting the world. As noted earlier, Heidegger viewed intentionality as the ‘directedness’ of our relation to these other entities. It is thus not a propositional content belonging to a substance-subject, whether individual or group, but a directional relation belonging to our existence as being-in-the-world. On this view, a basic feature of our existence is that ‘there is always an entity and an interconnection with an entity already somehow unveiled, without its being expressly made into an object.’207 The key points here are that, for Heidegger, our being in the world entails intentionality, and intentionality need not have an object. This departs from more standard theories of intentionality, but we have already discussed the conceptual background which drives this move. In Heidegger’s view, perceiving a thing as an object is a derivative, theoretical way of understanding the whatness of that thing. A more fundamental mode of understanding is one in which the thing is encountered non-thematically as a piece of equipment taken up in the course of a practical task performed in a work-world. In this latter case, we are directed towards the equipment, because we use it, but the intentionality of the relation includes no propositional content. Only when the intentional relation also takes on the character of a thematising do we then come to perceive that thing as an object, that is, as a property-bearing substance. This is not a transition from a non-intentional to an intentional state, but from one mode of intentionality to another.

It is difficult to see that Bloor would lose anything crucial by adopting Heidegger’s account of intentionality.208 On the other hand, the benefits are clear. Bloor writes: ‘I certainly want to see the links between the intentional level and its non-intentional basis made stronger.’209 An explanation of this link may be strengthened in two ways. First, Bloor could shift his definition of intentionality in the way just mentioned. Second, he could adopt Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis of the change-over in the way we experience and understand things. This is a change-over in intentionality. Recall that the transformation is from the way things are practically experienced during immersed involvement in a work-world to the way things are theoretically experienced as objects, and as the subject matter for propositional statements. A detailed account of the change-over was given in Chapter Two. As a rough recap, Heidegger analyses the change-over in terms of four stages. First, after an interruption in our immersed involvement with things, we step back and just look at them. This pure looking then becomes a thematising in which things now become experienced as the distinct objects of a disengaged form of perception. Third, we then begin to deliberate over these distinct objects so as to determine their properties. Finally, these determinate objects then become the subject matter for propositional assertions, that is, for the statements of theory and logic.

This stepwise description provides a more nuanced analytical tool than does Bloor’s bipartite distinction between informal and formal knowledge. It thus allows us to better understand how non-deliberative, non-propositional thinking shifts into deliberative, propositionally structured thinking. This shift can take place quickly and on an individual level, as was discussed in Chapter Two. However, as the present chapter has argued, a shift on the individual level is itself enabled by a collective history of the way the relation between things and thinking has come to be thematised, and so theoretically understood, over the course of centuries. The way an individual makes sense of her relation to things can be explained by reference to the tradition which structures the way she thinks about those things, and, more concretely, to the processes by which she becomes socialised into that tradition. The explanation thus has both historical and social components.

Bloor argues that explaining the links between intentional phenomena and their non-intentional base is a difficult and complex task, and he compares it with attempts to explain the links between the phenomenal qualities of water and their molecular base in hydrogen and oxygen.210 His point is that chemists are not normally criticised for attempting such an explanation. He thus suggests that sociologists, in turn, ‘may reasonably ask that what is granted to the chemists be granted to them as well.’211

Maintaining the analogy to chemistry, it will be useful to compare Bloor’s hypothesis to the hypothesis of Gay-Lussac, discussed earlier in this section. On the basis of experimental findings, Gay-Lussac proposed that every fixed volume of gas included the same number of atoms. As we saw, this hypothesis directly contradicted the established doctrine of the indivisibility of the atom. Was Gay-Lussac’s hypothesis thus rejected in order to protect this doctrine? No. As Bloor argued, a negotiation occurred which swapped a logic of addition for a logic of substitution.

Move now to Bloor’s hypothesis that intentional phenomena may be explained in terms of non-intentional phenomena, the latter of which may also include ‘ordinary human interactions.’212 This hypothesis directly contradicts, and so threatens, the doctrine that human action must include an irreducibly intentional element. Should this doctrine be rejected in order to preserve Bloor’s hypothesis? Bloor evidently thinks so. But Heidegger’s account of intentionality allows for a simple negotiation which would preserve both this doctrine and Bloor’s hypothesis. Consider that Bloor’s hypothesis employs a logic of addition. Non-intentional phenomena combine to produce intentional phenomena much as hydrogen and oxygen combine to produce water. One assumption of this logic is the identification of intentionality with propositional content. As just argued, we can replace this assumption with Heidegger’s claim that intentionality may either include or not include propositional content. By doing so, we trade Bloor’s logic of addition for a logic of substitution — whereby one mode of intentionality is substituted for another — thus preserving both his hypothesis as well as the doctrine that human actions are irreducibly intentional.213 The key move in this negotiation is the redefinition of intentionality from being a property of a mental substance to its being a structure of existence. Seen against the backdrop of the history sketched out in this chapter, this frees the concept of intentionality from the glass-bulb model of an internally organised mental substance, where it had been shielded from philosophical scrutiny by Descartes in the seventeenth century. Intentional acts are not necessarily mental acts, sealed up in a purified propositional space, and trying desperately to somehow break out and connect with the elusive things of an external world. They are existential acts which necessarily take place in a world shared with other persons and populated by all manner of things ceaselessly stimulating us into ever recurrent and reconfigurable patterns of thought.

11. Conclusion

The cumulative effect of this and the preceding chapters should have been to convince readers of the benefits of comparing and combining the tools and insights of SSK with those of Heidegger’s existential phenomenology. As we have seen, there are many striking similarities between Heidegger’s earlier concerns and the more recent concerns of SSK practitioners, as well as many ways in which their respective methods may be fruitfully combined. We have now explored a few of these. Absent from our considerations thus far, however, has been an explicit focus on issues relevant to the history of the natural sciences. This wrinkle will be smoothed out in Chapters Five and Six. As will have already become clear in the present chapter, Heidegger was himself deeply engaged in historical research. The phenomenological history of logical thinking presented in this chapter represents just one thread running through the tapestry of Heidegger’s life-long engagement with the history of philosophy. Furthermore, as is evident from the preceding discussion, this engagement was no mere antiquarian interest in the past, but was instead driven by Heidegger’s desire to resolve perceived confusions in the present by excavating and developing the unrealised possibilities of the past. His longing after a new method by which to build a more stable foundation for the sciences, bounded as it was by a commitment to the irremediable finitude of human being, pushed Heidegger into ever deeper historical reflection. For him, the reservoir from which to draw insight lay not in a timeless and immaterial realm of distinct ideas or formalised propositional structures, but rather in the untapped possibilities latent in his own rich and variegated historical tradition.214

A key moment in Heidegger’s phenomenological history of logic was the early-modern mathematical interpretation of Aristotle’s construal of thinking in terms of the proposition. Heidegger broadly located this moment in the early seventeenth century, taking Descartes as his exemplar. In his view, the mathematicisation of the science of thinking, that is, of logic, coincided with the emergence of modern natural science. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, Heidegger discussed Descartes’s innovations together with the equally decisive work of Galileo and Newton. Heidegger’s remarks about Galileo and Newton will be considered in Chapter Six. In that chapter, as well as the one immediately ahead of us, we will pick up the second part of Heidegger’s two-part description of the existential foundations of modern science, a part left largely unaddressed in this chapter. Recall that Heidegger distinguished modern science from its predecessors by pointing to what ‘rules and determines’ the basic activities of the former in contrast to the latter. The first part of this determination was the distinctive way in which early-modern scientists came to experience their work with things. The second part was what Heidegger described as early-modern scientists’ metaphysical projection of the thingness of things. This description concerned the ways in which scientists’ productive comportment towards things served to determine, a priori, the whatness of those things. As we will see, these two parts feed into one another: the way a scientist experiences her work with things is shaped by her a priori projection of the thingness of those things, and her a priori projection of the thingness of things is likewise influenced by her past experience of working with those things. This interplay is possible because, as was argued in this chapter, the a priori does not derive its authority from a rarefied realm lying outside the everyday work-world, but is instead firmly rooted in the tradition which both enables and is sustained by that work-world.

In this chapter, the focus has been on the second part of Heidegger’s two-part description of the foundations of modern science. Indeed, this is where Heidegger placed almost all of his own attention. He thus never managed to give a full account of the interplay which he himself had identified and placed at the centre of his phenomenological account of science. Missing in Heidegger’s work is a more thoroughgoing exploration of the way in which the everyday work-world becomes thoroughly implicated in the metaphysical deliberations of scientists. This is another place where the empirical work definitive of SSK can help to fill out and strengthen Heidegger’s abstract reflections with detailed historical studies of concrete scientific work. We will see, in turn, that attention to Heidegger’s broader theoretical reflections can help protect historians of science from the methodologically induced parochialism which may threaten any specialised intellectual practice occupying itself so much with the trees that it comes to neglect certain important features of the forest.


1 Ian Hacking (1992), ‘“Style” for Historians and Philosophers,’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 23, 1–20 (p. 3).

2 Ian Hacking (2012), ‘“Language, Truth and Reason” 30 Years Later,’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43(4), 599–609 (p. 601).

3 In an interpretation otherwise quite different from my own, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger also emphasises the deeply historical nature of Heidegger’s account of science, with particular attention to Heidegger’s preoccupation with the material aspect of modern science (Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (2010b), On Historicizing Epistemology: An Essay (Stanford: Stanford University Press)). This material aspect will take centre stage in Chapter Six.

4 Paul Forman (1971), ‘Weimar Culture, Causality, and Quantum Theory, 1918–1927: Adaptation by German Physicists and Mathematicians to a Hostile Intellectual Environment,’ Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 3, 1–115 (p. 26).

5 Forman (1971), ‘Weimar Culture, Causality, and Quantum Theory,’ p. 28.

6 Edmund Husserl (1970), The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, trans. by David Carr (Evanston: Northwestern University Press), p. 3.

7 Edmund Husserl (1965), ‘Philosophy as Rigorous Science,’ trans. by Quentin Lauer, in Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy, by Edmund Husserl (New York: HarperCollins), pp. 71–147.

8 Husserl (1970), Crisis of European Sciences, p. 141.

9 Husserl (1970), Crisis of European Sciences, p. 141.

10 For discussions of Husserl’s philosophy of science see: Patrick Heelan (1987), ‘Husserl’s Later Philosophy of Natural Science,’ Philosophy of Science 54 (3), 368–90; David Hyder and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, eds. (2010), Science and the Life-World: Essays on Husserl’s Crisis of European Sciences (Stanford: University of Stanford Press); Jeff Kochan (2011b), ‘Husserl and the Phenomenology of Science,’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (3), 467–71; Joseph Rouse (1987b), ‘Husserlian Phenomenology and Scientific Realism,’ Philosophy of Science 54 (2), 222–32; Robert Sokolowski (1979), ‘Exact Science and the World in which We Live,’ in Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft in der Philosophie Edmund Husserls, ed. by Elisabeth Ströker (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann), pp. 92–106; and Elisabeth Ströker (1997), The Husserlian Foundations of Science (Dordecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers). For a brief, and only partial, introduction to phenomenological philosophy of science, spotlighting the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Patrick Heelan, and Joseph J. Kockelmans, see: Jeff Kochan and Hans Bernhard Schmid (2011), ‘Philosophy of Science,’ in The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology, ed. by Sebastian Luft and Søren Overgaard (London: Routledge), pp. 461–72.

11 Martin Heidegger (1982a [1975]), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, trans. by Albert Hofstadter (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 3.

12 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 17.

13 Husserl (1970), Crisis of European Sciences, p. 299.

14 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 22.

15 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 23.

16 David Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, 2nd edn (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), p. 7.

17 Martin Heidegger (1967 [1962]), What Is a Thing?, trans. by William B. Barton, Jr., and Vera Deutsch (Chicago: Henry Regnery), p. 47.

18 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 58.

19 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 105.

20 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 105.

21 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 115.

22 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 106.

23 For work addressing Heidegger’s views on logic in the context of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century developments, see: Albert Borgmann (1978), ‘Heidegger and Symbolic Logic,’ in Heidegger and Modern Philosophy, ed. by Michael Murray (New Haven: Yale University Press), pp. 3–22; Steven Galt Crowell (1992), ‘Lask, Heidegger, and the Homelessness of Logic,’ Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 23(3), 222–39; Steven Galt Crowell (1994), ‘Making Logic Philosophical Again (1912–1916),’ in Reading Heidegger from the Start: Essays in his Early Thought, ed. by Theodore Kisiel and John van Buren (Albany: SUNY Press), pp. 55–72; Thomas A. Fay (1977), Heidegger: The Critique of Logic (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff); Stephan Käufer (2001), ‘On Heidegger on Logic,’ Continental Philosophy Review 34(4), 455–76; Stephan Käufer (2005), ‘Logic,’ in A Companion to Heidegger, ed. by Hubert L Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 141–55; Jitendranath Mohanty (1988), ‘Heidegger on Logic,’ Journal of the History of Philosophy 26(1), 107–35; Greg Shirley (2010), Heidegger and Logic: The Place of Lógos in Being and Time (London: Continuum).

24 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 149.

25 Martin Heidegger (1962a [1927]), Being and Time, trans. by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (Oxford: Blackwell), p. 21 [2]. (Following scholarly convention, page numbers in square brackets refer to the original 1927 German edition of Being and Time.)

26 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 108.

27 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 106.

28 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 283.

29 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 285.

30 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 285.

31 Martin Heidegger (1984a [1978]), The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, trans. by Michael Heim (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 184.

32 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 286.

33 Heidegger (1984a), The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 184.

34 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 234.

35 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 179; Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 257 [214]; cf. Martin Heidegger (2009 [1998]), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, trans. by Wanda Torres Gregory and Yvonne Unna (Albany: SUNY Press), p. 5.

36 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 118.

37 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 118

38 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 118

39 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 85.

40 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 106.

41 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 55 [32].

42 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 47 [25]; see translator’s note 3, p. 47.

43 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 55 [32]; cf. Heidegger (1984a), The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 1.

44 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 47 [25].

45 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 56 [32].

46 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 58 [34].

47 Heidegger (2009), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, p. 17.

48 Martin Heidegger (2000 [1953]), Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (New Haven: Yale University Press), p. 61.

49 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 22.

50 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 1.

51 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 180.

52 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 182.

53 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 181: cf. Aristotle (1941a), De Interpretatione, trans. by E. M. Edghill, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. by Richard KcKeon (New York: Random House), pp. 38–61 (p. 41 [lines 16b19–25]).

54 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 182.

55 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 23.

56 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 23

57 Aristotle (1941b), Categoriae, trans. by E. M. Edghill, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. by Richard KcKeon (New York: Random House), pp. 3–37 (p. 9 [lines 2a11–13]).

58 Aristotle (1941b), Categoriae, p. 9 (line 1b29).

59 Aristotle (1941b), Categoriae, p. 7 (lines 1a23–24).

60 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 65.

61 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 68.

62 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, pp. 66, 68.

63 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 68.

64 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 125 [92]; René Descartes (1969a), The Principles of Philosophy, trans. by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross, in The Philosophical Works of Descartes, vol. 1, by René Descartes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 201–302 (p. 239 [Principle LI]).

65 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 127 [94]; Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 124.

66 Descartes (1969a), Principles of Philosophy, p. 240 (Principle LIII).

67 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 99.

68 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 109.

69 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 100.

70 René Descartes (1969b), Rules for the Direction of the Mind, trans. by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross, in Philosophical Works of Descartes, vol. 1, by René Descartes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 1–77 (p. 5 [Rule II]).

71 Descartes (1969a), Principles of Philosophy, p. 241 (Principle LIV).

72 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, pp. 125–26 [92].

73 Descartes (1969a), Principles of Philosophy, p. 241 (Principle LIV).

74 Descartes (1969a), Principles of Philosophy, p. 239–40 (Principle LI).

75 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 104.

76 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 104.

77 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 104.

78 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 105.

79 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 107.

80 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 107.

81 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 108.

82 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, pp. 366 [318–19].

83 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, pp. 367 [320].

84 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 109.

85 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 109.

86 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 110.

87 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 20.

88 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 21.

89 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 17.

90 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 60 [35].

91 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 104.

92 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 184–85.

93 Martin Heidegger (1997 [1929]), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, 5th edn, enlarged, trans. by Richard Taft (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 90.

94 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 91.

95 Immanuel Kant (1998), Critique of Pure Reason, ed. and trans. by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 283 (line A158/B197).

96 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 183.

97 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 97.

98 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 107. This reading of Kant has been strongly criticised. Michael Friedman, for example, argues that Heidegger, in this passage, is ‘turning Kant’s original problematic entirely on its head’ (Michael Friedman (2000), A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger (Chicago: Open Court), p. 61). In his preface to the second edition, Heidegger notes that
‘[r]eaders have taken constant offense at the violence of my interpretations’ (Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. xx). On the other hand, the book’s translator, Richard Taft, comments that ‘[o]ver the years, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics has emerged as the cornerstone of an important and original (if controversial) direction in Kant interpretation that continues to assert an influence today’ (in Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. xii). Whatever the case, I am here less concerned with the ‘accuracy’ of Heidegger’s interpretation of Kant, than with the role played by that interpretation in the development of Heidegger’s own account of logic.

99 Kant (1998), Critique of Pure Reason, p. 242 (line A126); cf. Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 105.

100 Kant (1998), Critique of Pure Reason, p. 242 (line A126).

101 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, pp. 135, 138; Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 111.

102 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 135.

103 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 109.

104 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 111.

105 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 109.

106 Kant (1998), Critique of Pure Reason, 674 (A800/B828); cf. Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 109.

107 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 184.

108 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 118.

109 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 114.

110 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 118. In a lecture one year later, Heidegger would add that ‘Kant himself, as the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason reveals, helped to prepare the turn away from an uncomprehending finitude toward a comforting infinitude’ (Martin Heidegger (1995a [1983]), The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. by William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), pp. 208–09).

111 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 133.

112 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 133.

113 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 134. Cf. Heidegger’s statement in Being and Time: ‘when we master a mood, we do so by way of a counter-mood; we are never free of moods’ (Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 175 [136]). Note, too, this statement by scientist-philosopher Ludwik Fleck, written in the early 1930s: ‘The concept of absolutely emotionless thinking is meaningless. There is no emotionless state as such nor pure rationality as such. […] There is only agreement or difference between feelings, and the uniform agreement in the emotions of society is, in its context, called freedom from emotions’ (Ludwik Fleck (1979), Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, trans. by Fred Bradley and Thaddeus J. Trenn, ed. by Thaddeus J. Trenn and Robert K. Merton (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), p. 49). Note, furthermore, this more recent statement from feminist epistemologist Alison Jagger: ‘emotional attitudes are involved on a deep level […] in the intersubjectively verified and so supposedly dispassionate observations of science’ (Alison M. Jagger (1989), ‘Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology,’ in Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Epistemology, ed. by Ann Garry & Marilyn Pearsall (Boston: Unwin Hyman), pp. 129–55 (p. 138)).

114 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 135.

115 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 135.

116 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 135.

117 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 135.

118 Immanuel Kant (1956), Critique of Practical Reason, trans. by Lewis White Beck (New York: Macmillan), pp. 79–80.

119 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 103.

120 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 103.

121 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 104.

122 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 104.

123 Heidegger (2000), Introduction to Metaphysics, p. 128.

124 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 106.

125 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 27 [7].

126 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, pp. 194 [153], 363 [315].

127 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 28 [8].

128 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 362 [315].

129 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 106.

130 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 106.

131 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 106.

132 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 104.

133 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 104.

134 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 108.

135 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 326.

136 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 283.

137 Martin Heidegger (1996 [1984]), Hölderlin’s Hymn ‘The Ister, trans. by William McNeill and Julia Davis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 111.

138 Heidegger (1997), Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, p. 137.

139 Martin Heidegger (2010a [1976]), Logic: The Question of Truth, trans. by Thomas Sheehan (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 280.

140 Aristotle (1941c), Physica, trans. by R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. by Richard KcKeon (New York: Random House), pp. 213–394 (p. 291 [lines 219a3–12]); cf. Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, pp. 238–39.

141 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 240.

142 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, pp. 256–57.

143 Heidegger (1967), What Is a Thing?, p. 22.

144 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 247.

145 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 241.

146 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 325.

147 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 309.

148 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 274.

149 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 271.

150 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 97 [68].

151 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 98 [69].

152 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, pp. 292–93. In this context, I have chosen to translate Bewandtnis as ‘assignedness,’ in preference to Hofstadter’s translation, ‘functionality.’ ‘Assignedness’ better captures the connotation of ‘directedness’ present in Bewandtnis, emphasised in Heidegger’s close comparison of Bewandtnis with Verweisen, ‘assignment’ or ‘reference’ (Martin Heidegger (1927), Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag), pp. 83–84; cf. Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 115 [84], where Bewandtnis is translated as ‘involvement’). ‘Assignedness’ also blocks unhelpful connotations of functionalism, which may be suggested by Hofstadter’s choice. I further address this delicate translation issue in Chapter Five, where I introduce and defend a context-specific translation of Bewandtnis as ‘end-directedness.’

153 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 295; translation modified.

154 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 293; translation modified.

155 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 98 [69].

156 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, pp. 98 [69], 122 [88].

157 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, pp. 184–85.

158 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 160 [123].

159 Heidegger (2009), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, p. 98.

160 Heidegger (2009), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, p. 78. For this reason, James McGuire and Barbara Tuchanska err in writing that ‘Heidegger does not squarely consider history as a succession of generations, a process within which the handing down and inheriting of cultural heritage from predecessors occurs’ (James E. McGuire and Barbara Tuchanska (2000), Science Unfettered: A Philosophical Study in Sociohistorical Ontology (Athens OH: Ohio University Press), p. 74). ‘Handing down’ is just what Überlieferung means. They also fail to appreciate Heidegger’s claim that being-with-others is elemental for the subject: ‘If the only ontological ground for cognition lies in the existential structures of Dasein, cognition remains an individual activity’ (p. 80). Hence, they falsely conclude that, for Heidegger, ‘science is a way of being of Dasein, not of communities’ (p. 81), missing the fact that Heidegger’s subject is an essentially social entity, ‘essentially for the sake of Others.’

161 Heidegger (2009), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, p. 7.

162 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 120 [87].

163 Heidegger (2009), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, p. 141.

164 Heidegger (1984a), Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, p. 17.

165 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 164 [126].

166 Heidegger (1962a), Being and Time, p. 164 [126–27].

167 Martin Heidegger (1962b [1949]), ‘Letter on Humanism,’ trans. by Edgar Lohner, in Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, vol. 3, ed. by William Barrett and Henry D. Aiken (New York: Random House), pp. 271–302 (p. 273); my brackets, taken from Martin Heidegger (1949), Über den Humanismus (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann), pp. 9–10.

168 This point gets somewhat lost in the more widely available translation, by Frank A. Capuzzi and J. Glenn Gray, of the 1947 passage: ‘What is said in Being and Time (1927), sections 27 and 35, about the “they” in no way means to furnish an incidental contribution to sociology’ (Martin Heidegger (1993b [1947]), ‘Letter on Humanism,’ trans. by Frank A. Capuzzi and J. Glenn Gray, in Basic Writings, revised and expanded edn, ed. by David Farrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins), pp. 217–65 (p. 221)).

169 Heidegger (2009), Logic as the Question Concerning the Essence of Language, p. 59.

170 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, pp. 160–61.

171 Barry Barnes (1974), Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), pp. vii, 43; Harry M. Collins (1992), Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice, with a new forward (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 15, 25 n. 12.

172 Barry Barnes and David Bloor (1982), ‘Relativism, Rationalism and the Sociology of Knowledge,’ in Rationality and Relativism, ed. by Martin Hollis and Steve Lukes (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 21–47 (p. 45).

173 Barnes (1974), Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory, p. 64.

174 Barnes and Bloor (1982), ‘Relativism, Rationalism and the Sociology of Knowledge,’ p. 44.

175 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 133.

176 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 133.

177 Barnes and Bloor (1982), ‘Relativism, Rationalism and the Sociology of Knowledge,’ p. 46.

178 Edward E. Evans-Pritchard (1937), Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande (Oxford: Clarendon), p. 23.

179 Evans-Pritchard (1937), Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic, p. 24.

180 Evans-Pritchard (1937), Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic, p. 24.

181 Evans-Pritchard (1937), Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic, p. 25.

182 Evans-Pritchard (1937), Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic, p. 25.

183 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 139.

184 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 139.

185 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 140.

186 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 141.

187 Edward E. Evans-Pritchard (1965), Theories of Primitive Religion (Oxford: Clarendon), p. 89.

188 Edward E. Evans-Pritchard (1970), ‘Lévy-Bruhl’s Theory of Primitive Mentality,’ Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 1(2), 39–60 (p. 57).

189 Mary Douglas (1980), Evans-Pritchard (Sussex: Harvester Press), p. 34.

190 Douglas (1980), Evans-Pritchard, p. 86.

191 In fact, both also share a legacy stretching back to the experimental psychologist Frederick Bartlett. On the one hand, Bloor recognises Bartlett as ‘a prototype sociologist of scientific knowledge’ (David Bloor (2000), ‘Whatever Happened to “Social Constructiveness”?,’ in Bartlett, Culture & Cognition, ed. by Akiko Saito (London: Psychology Press), pp. 194–215 (p. 196); see also David Bloor (1997a), ‘Remember the Strong Program?,’ Science, Technology, & Human Values 22(3), 373–85). On the other hand, as Douglas observes, Evans-Pritchard adopted heavily from Bartlett, his own work thus displaying a ‘continuous relationship’ with Bartlett’s earlier studies of conventionalisation in perception (Douglas (1980), Evans-Pritchard, p. 26).

192 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 142.

193 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 145.

194 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, pp. 143–45.

195 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 145.

196 Bloor (1997b), Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions (London: Routledge), p. 33.

197 Bloor (1997b), Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions, p. 32. Bloor adopts this notion of priming from Barry Barnes (1983), ‘Social Life as Bootstrapped Induction,’ Sociology 17(4), 524–45 (p. 529).

198 Bloor (1997b), Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions, p. 2.

199 Bloor (1997b), Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions, p. 22.

200 Bloor (1991), Knowledge and Social Imagery, p. 138.

201 David Bloor (2004b), ‘Institutions and Rule-Scepticism: A Reply to Martin Kusch,’ Social Studies of Science 34(4), 593–601 (p. 595).

202 The emotional dynamics which help keep epistemic groups together will receive slightly more systematic attention in Chapter Seven.

203 Bloor (1997b), Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions, p. 135.

204 Bloor (2004b), ‘Institutions and Rule-Scepticism,’ p. 597.

205 Bloor (2004b), ‘Institutions and Rule-Scepticism,’ p. 598.

206 David Bloor (1996), ‘Idealism and the Sociology of Knowledge,’ Social Studies of Science 26(4), 839–56 (p. 850).

207 Heidegger (1982a), Basic Problems of Phenomenology, p. 157; translation modified.

208 Bloor might worry that Heidegger’s account of intentionality threatens his own commitment to causal explanation. But Barnes has nicely demonstrated how the sociologist can incorporate intentional phenomena into a counterfactual account of causation (Barnes (1974), Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory, pp. 71–78). Of course, such accounts are far from uncontroversial, but I make no claim that the proposed negotiation will be easy to achieve in pragmatic terms.

209 Bloor (2004b), ‘Institutions and Rule-Scepticism,’ p. 600.

210 Bloor (2004b), ‘Institutions and Rule-Scepticism,’ p. 600.

211 Bloor (2004b), ‘Institutions and Rule-Scepticism,’ p. 600 n. 3.

212 Bloor (1997b), Wittgenstein, Rules and Institutions, p. 133.

213 The proposed negotiation is consistent with Martin Kusch’s observation that ‘Bloor only succeeds in reducing one intentional phenomenon to another’ (Martin Kusch (2004a), ‘Reply to My Critics,’ Social Studies of Science 34(4), 615–20 (p. 618)). However, Kusch appears to also identify intentionality exclusively with propositional content: ‘an intentional fact involves concepts like beliefs and desire’ (Martin Kusch (2004b), ‘Rule-Scepticism and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: The Bloor-Lynch Debate Revisited,’ Social Studies of Science 34(4), 571–91 (pp. 579–80)).

214 As Reinhard May has demonstrated, Heidegger’s European tradition also included a long-standing, transcultural engagement with East Asian thought (Reinhard May (1996), Heidegger’s Hidden Sources: East Asian Influence on His Work, trans. by Graham Parkes (London: Routledge)).