Meaning, categories and subjectivity in the early Heidegger

Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (1):21-35 (2005)
It has been suggested recently that Heidegger’s philosophy entails a linguistic idealism because it is committed to the thesis that meaning determines reference. I argue that a careful consideration of the relationship between meaning and signification in Heidegger’s work does not support the strong sense of determination required by this thesis. By examining Heidegger’s development of Husserl’s phenomenology, I show that discourse involves a logic that articulates meaning into significations. Further analysis of Heidegger’s phenomenological method at work shows that while meaning serves as a condition of possibility of signification in the sense that all possibilities for a term’s signification are latent in the meaning of that term, meaning under-determines signification and hence reference. Key Words: discourse • language • linguistic idealism • logic • meaning • phenomenology • signification.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453705048317
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