In NDPR, Edward Baring reviews
Jean Wahl's Human Existence and Transcendence
, translated by William Hackett.
In response to Wahl's 1937 lecture, Levinas had written a letter criticizing Wahl's reading of Heidegger. For Levinas, the debate over whether transcendence required an end depended upon an "ontic" reading of Heidegger's thought, that is, one that presented his work as an analysis of entities. And yet this is what Heidegger had denied; for him, transcendence was ontological, allowing Dasein to move from an entity to its Being, from a chair to what a chair is. The ontological understanding of transcendence, for Heidegger, preceded and was indifferent to the ambiguity between transascendence and transdescendence, or between a religious and a secular transcendence. Wahl responded by arguing that Heidegger's ontology was always informed by the ontic, and thus that the indeterminacy of transascendence/ transdescendence was at work even there.