Getting Heidegger off the west coast

Inquiry 41 (1):65 – 87 (1998)
According to Hubert L. Dreyfus, Heidegger's central innovation is his rejection of the idea that intentional activity and directedness is always and only a matter of having representational mental states. This paper examines the central passages to which Dreyfus appeals in order to motivate this claim. It shows that Dreyfus misconstrues these passages significantly and that he has no grounds for reading Heidegger as anticipating contemporary anti-representationalism in the philosophy of mind. The misunderstanding derives from lack of sensitivity to Heidegger's own intellectual context. The otherwise laudable strategy of reading Heidegger as a philosopher of mind becomes an exercise in finding a niche for Heidegger in Dreyfus's own unquestioned present. Heidegger is thereby mapped on to an intellectual context which, given its naturalistic commitments, is foreign to him. The paper concludes by indicating the direction in which a more historically sensitive, and thus accurate, interpretation of Heidegger must move.
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DOI 10.1080/002017498321931
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