Richard Capobianco's latest book, Heidegger's Way of Being
, reemphasizes the case for the most influential understanding of Heidegger in English. That presented by William Richardson in Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought
. Some of the most influential American Heideggerians studied with Father Richardson.
In the other corner is Thomas Sheehan, representing the "new paradigm" that for Heidegger, being meant: the meaning of things as intelligible and significant within the world of human concerns. Sheehan's book explaining the new paradigm, will be published on Sunday
. Many of his papers exploring various facets of the new paradigm are available on the excellent Heidegger at Stanford
The debate between Sheehan and Capobianco is a gigantomachia in contemporary Heidegger studies. At the beginning of his book Capobianco sums up the case for the old paradigm best.
What was the "it" that Heidegger -- for a whole lifetime -- had his eyes upon? This "it" (es) that "gives" (gibt) so richly and inexhaustibly is Being itself (Sein selbst) as the temporal-spatial emerging and shining-forth of beings in their beingness as gathered in the ensemble. Being as "manifestness" or "manifestation" (Offenbarkeit), this is the matter itself (die Sein selbst) of Heidegger's thought -- which, remarkably enough, is at risk of being "forgotten" all over again. A Seinsvergessenheit is settling in anew -- and in Heidegger studies of all places. Over the last decade there has been a trend in the Heidegger scholarship towards understanding Being as reducible to "meaning" ("sense"), that is, towards understanding Being only in terms of Dasein's constitutive meaning-making activity. Yet die Sache: not principally Dasein, but Sein qua manifestation -- what Heidegger came to call "the truth of Being" -- in relation to Dasein.