Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala on subjects interpreting their finitude.
[A]lready in Kant the human subject was not considered a tabula rasa but rather said to encounter the world perceiving things within a priori frames: categories of space, time, and the intellect. According to Kant, man only knows phenomena, that is, what appears within those a priori schemes that constitute his own reason. In knowledge there is not only the object but also, and most of all, the subject. But Kant never called knowledge “interpretation,” because he still thought that those a priori schemes with which the human being is equipped are fixed and identical at all times and for all men. Against Kant, we must observe that this character of stability belongs to phenomenal objects but cannot be attributed to the structure of the human subject. Between Kant and Heidegger there is also Kierkegaard and cultural anthropology, that is, the awareness of the inevitable finitude of human existence (which is not pure reason but involved interest, passion, and history) and the knowledge of different cultures. In sum, “thrown project” means for Heidegger that human existence is in the world not as pure reason but as an individual with interests, expectations, and cognitive instruments that he inherits from a world, culture, and language. He is an interpreter: someone who looks at things with interest. Only in this way will he avoid the appearance of things as an indistinct stack and instead frame them in a comprehensible order, that is, in a world and without falling into subjectivism. But just as his world is not distinct from the subject, neither is he, as a subject, distinct from the world that would be his “object.” This transobjective dimension, which can still seem imperfect and dubious in Being and Time, is developed further in Heidegger’s later writings, starting from his Letter on Humanism, Contributions to Philosophy, and other texts.

Pp. 92-3
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