Saturday, February 07, 2015
In NDPR, Tim Hyde reviews Tom Sparrow's The End of Phenomenology: Metaphysics and the New Realism.
Sparrow's analysis of Heidegger displays the problem of defining phenomenology so narrowly. On the one hand, having defined phenomenology as the anti-realist transcendental phenomenology of Husserl -- assuming for the moment that it is such -- much, in fact most, of Heidegger is, of course, not phenomenology. So while one can admit that one can find in later Heidegger many resources for realism (39), it can't be produced as evidence that phenomenology has a streak of realism. On the other hand, Sparrow wants to include all of Heidegger under the umbrella of phenomenology so as to oppose him to speculative realism, which is effectively an umbrella term for post-phenomenological realisms. The correct conclusion, of course, should, rather, be that Heidegger, by that definition, is a speculative realist. But that would take the wind out of the sails of the new kids on the block. If it doesn't make sense to call Heidegger a speculative realist, and it makes some sense as Harman proves, it is because it makes no sense to suggest that nine-tenths of Heidegger is not phenomenological.
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