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Title: The relationship between metaphysics and nihilism in the work of Martin Heidegger from 1927-1940
Author: Blond, P. L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The thesis inquires into Heidegger’s attempt to overcome philosophical theories that rely upon metaphysical conditions, that is, transcendent and transcendental conditions of truth and ground. According to Heidegger, a reliance upon transcendent/transcendental conditions forces philosophy into a metaphysical structure that prioritises reason above other modes of thinking. Reason requires matter or content on which to think.  In order to think logically reason necessarily focuses on things or ‘beings.’ Heidegger’s claim is that the methodology adopted by philosophy has a preordained outcome that focuses on beings and the knowledge of those beings. Once rational knowledge is conceded as the principal means of thought the subjectivity of human beings dominates all modes of analysis and leads philosophy into subject-object dualism that it cannot escape from. Heidegger argues that metaphysics demonstrates a necessary logic that begins with Platonic ‘ideas’ and ends with Nietzschean subjectivism as the self-determining condition of life. Heidegger argues that this state of affairs is nihilistic in that human beings can no longer gain access to what provides the ground for beings and existence. According to Heidegger’s reading what is ‘forgotten’ in the philosophical tradition is the question of being. My thesis hopes to demonstrate the logic of Heidegger’s critique and identify the problems that the question of being addresses. One of the major obstacles that Heidegger’s work confronts is the status of traditional conceptions of truth and authority. In an era proclaimed by Nietzsche as the age of nihilism, religious and philosophical truths appear to have suffered a collapse and are no longer trusted to provide ground for meaningful judgements on life. I hope to show that Heidegger’s question of being is an attempt to rescue meaning by way of inquiring into the ground of beings. Central to my argument is a description of the methodology that Heidegger employs. Following Nietzsche, Heidegger demonstrates that metaphysical thinking is responsible for bringing about a disintegration of its own discipline. If metaphysics contains a necessary relationship with nihilism, then Heidegger’s task is to dismantle metaphysics and search for a new expression of truth and meaning. His task is obliged to restructure the methodology of metaphysics and replace it with something that does not exhibit the same internal logic. The search for meaning requires ‘conditions’ or ‘grounds’ on which to establish meaning. I explore the transformation of transcendental conditions that occurs in Heidegger’s work and the effect this has on philosophical and theological ground.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available