Review of Metaphysics 10 (1):35 - 56 (1956)

Heidegger is noted for his concern with the nothing, das Nichts, and this may be partially due to the way in which his ideas were first introduced. Whereas the positivists regarded his writings as nonsense, employing his references to nothingness to prove them so, other of his interpreters took his thought seriously but regarded it as fundamentally nihilistic. He was pictured as an irrationalist philosopher, preoccupied with death and negativity. It is this representation of Heidegger which still prevails to a large extent among philosophers in this country. Unlike the positivists, they accept what he says as meaningful and important but as having consequences which must be rejected not only as mistaken but, perhaps, as immoral. That this appraisal requires careful examination is indicated by the fact that not a few theologians have borrowed heavily from Heidegger and found in his writings important positive suggestions. The impression that Heidegger is a nihilist or even an irrationalist is mistaken from the ground up; it is difficult to understand how it could be sustained by anyone who had struggled through any one of Heidegger's essays.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph195610173
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