Heidegger's "Destruction" of the History of Ontology in Relation to His Interpretation of Descartes' "Cogito Sum"

Dissertation, Duquesne University (1993)

The thesis of this dissertation is that the ability of Heidegger's method of retrieving ontological concepts entails their relativity. That is to say, no ontological system can claim absolute status. The argument that neither Heidegger's method nor the ontological concepts it criticizes has absolute status, means that none of these constitutes a full consideration of "True Being". Therefore, Being has been said in many ways, but none of them has an absolute status. Heidegger's critique of Descartes' "Cogito" is interpreted as the best example of what Heidegger seeks to destroy in traditional understanding of Being. Heidegger's critique of Descartes' understanding of Being as "Cogito" and "Extensa" shows that Descartes' Being represents only entities of nature within-the-world, but not the full consideration of "True Being" itself. ;It is discussed that Dasein as Being-in-the-world based on its primordial ontological context is an advancement beyond Descartes' "Cogito". The aim of Heidegger's existential analytic of Dasein as Being-in-the-world is to show that temporality, as the transcendental horizon for the question of Being, is the meaning of Being. We call this analysis of Dasein a partial manifestation of True Being, because Heidegger sees Being only in terms of an existential analysis of the Being of Dasein. We have also shown that Heidegger's destruction of the history of ontology, his critique of Descartes' "Cogito Sum", and his analytic of Dasein can be justified in terms of the characteristics of Dasein and also in some contemporary approaches to the question of Being. We have discussed certain contemporary thinkers' critique of Heidegger's position in order to show that Heidegger's answer to the question of Being has a relative status and is only a possible manifestation of True Being. Concluding our discussion, philosophy likes to reinterpret and always keeps the question of Being alive, and Heidegger's analytic of Dasein gives a new dimension to ontology in the sense of re-asking and re-interpreting the question of the meaning of Being that is free from tradition, although Heidegger's answer is not the final one
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