Heidegger la Wittgenstein or 'coping' with professor Dreyfus

Inquiry 37 (1):45 – 64 (1994)
Abstract
This is a critique of the interpretation of Heidegger's Being and Time that has been proposed by Hubert Dreyfus. Through an assimilation of much of Heidegger's thought to that of Wittgenstein, Dreyfus treats human being (Dasein) as being principally defined by its embeddedness in ?shared social practices? and claims that the mode of comportment he calls ?coping? is the source of the intelligibility of our world which he also identifies with being as such. Against this, I argue that unless it is brought into much closer contact with Heidegger's ontological account of the kind of entity Dasein is, ?coping? remains an ontic concept that cannot perform the function Dreyfus assigns to it. The thesis that Dasein is distinguished by the fact that it is self?interpreting is also examined and found wanting for much the same reasons; and Dreyfus's conception of the larger design of Being and Time is shown to be seriously flawed by his failure to do justice to Heidegger's central theme ?being as presence. In a final section, Heidegger's account of Das Man is reviewed as is Dreyfus's thesis that this anonymous modality of social existence is the master concept for understanding Dasein. This paradoxical magnification of the role of Das Man within human being is shown to fail because it does not distinguish between skills and social norms, and misses the fact that Das Man is a deformation of our social being (Mitsein), not its highest achievement as Dreyfus apparently supposed it to be
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