What does (the young) Heidegger Mean by the Seinsfrage?

Inquiry 42 (3 & 4):411 – 437 (1999)
Abstract
Heidegger's central concern is the question of being (Seinsfrage). The paper reconstructs this question at least for the young (pre- Kehre) Heidegger in the light of two interconnected hypotheses: (1) the substantial content of the question of being can be identified by seeing it as a response to (Marburg) neo-Kantianism; and (2) this content centres around the claim that, pace the neo-Kantians, 'epistemological' concerns are grounded in 'ontological' ones, for which reason 'ontology' must precede 'epistemology' as a form of philosophical inquiry. In section I the general position of (Marburg) neo-Kantianism is sketched. In section II the implications of the neo-Kantian position for the concepts of truth and reality, reason, and experience, are outlined; significant similarities to Sellars, Davidson, and Brandom are revealed. Finally, in section III Heidegger's analysis of everydayness is shown to yield a distinct critique of the neo-Kantian relativization of the concept of the real to the theoretically knowable. From this critique it emerges why Heidegger thinks that 'ontology' precedes 'epistemology'. The project of fundamental ontology marked by the question of being thus shows itself to be at least in part a response to the aporia of Marburg neo-Kantianism.
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