Heidegger, Lafont and the necessity of the transcendental

Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (5):557-574 (2008)
Abstract
Cristina Lafont's recent reading of Heidegger offers a powerful formulation of the widespread view that once one recognizes our `facticity' and the role of language in shaping it, there is no room left to talk about transcendental structures of meaning or experience. In this article I challenge this view. I argue that Lafont inaccurately conflates what Heidegger calls our `understanding of being' with that which language discloses. In order to show that the philosophical motivation for this conflation is unsound, I also argue that Lafont's own positive theory of meaning itself tacitly assumes a distinction between factical and transcendental, and so rests on exactly what she finds problematic in Heidegger. This still leaves a puzzle as to how factical individuals are actually able to grasp anything transcendental, so I conclude by sketching Heidegger's method of `formal indication', which is meant to show precisely how this can be done. Key Words: facticity • Martin Heidegger • language • transcendental philosophy.
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