Seinsverständnis and meaning in Heidegger

South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):149-162 (2013)
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This essay presents a defence of the hermeneutical and existential standpoint of Being and Time against Cristina Lafont’s historicist and relativist reading. I show that there are substantive and textual difficulties with the Kantian reading of the understanding of being she endorses, which leads her to ignore the existential and hermeneutical aspects of Heidegger’s theory of meaning. The first section shows that the understanding of being is neither an unrevisable synthetic apriori nor a historically contingent conceptual scheme but that it originates from care and that its articulation depends on the disclosure of a world . The second section turns to Heidegger’s theory of meaning qua worldhood. In the first place, I demonstrate that the relativity of meaning to Dasein doesn’t entail the kind of relativism Lafont ascribes to Heidegger and, in the second, how it avoids the supposed tension Lafont identifies in Being and Time between the claim that Dasein constitutes the world and the claim that it depends on a historically and linguistically constituted world. I conclude with some remarks on what is novel about Heidegger’s existential and hermeneutical outlook on meaning



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Rafael Winkler
University of Johannesburg

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Sein und Zeit.Martin Heidegger - 1928 - Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 7:161-161.
Reason, Truth and History.Michael Devitt - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (2):274.

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