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Title: Summoning the courage for philosophising : a new reading of Heidegger's 'The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics'
Author: Cykowski, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 7029
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis provides an original reading of Heidegger's 1929-30 lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Currently, the notoriety of FCM stems from controversy surrounding its description of human beings as 'world-forming,' and of animals as comparatively 'poor in world.' These propositions are interpreted within the secondary literature as a reinforcement of ontotheological and humanistic metaphysics. However, this standard interpretation misses the more complex and subtle significance of this material in the broader context of the lectures. I argue that Heidegger's 'comparative examination' forms part of a wider metaphysical project of interrogating a contemporary 'delusion,' a metaphysical division drawn between 'life' and 'spirit' engendered by an 'anthropological' worldview which pictures man as a composite of those two elements. Heidegger traces the manifestations of this delusion in Kulturphilosophie and biology, before attempting to recover a more genuinely metaphysical attitude, one founded not on anthropocentric 'worldviews' but on a direct, courageous 'confrontation' with ourselves. Heidegger argues that this confrontation must take its orientation from Greek thought, in which man is interpreted as that part of physis that apprehends physis as a whole. For Heidegger, this notion of the human as a kind of 'meta-physical' being enables us to grasp the coextensive essence of the human and of metaphysics. I argue that Heidegger's position can be extended and enriched if we consider it in conjunction with what he presents in the lecture course as one of its great adversaries; for the German tradition of philosophical anthropology, rather than being a straightforward articulation of the life-spirit divide that Heidegger wishes to eschew, actually harmonises with and deepens Heidegger's reflections in FCM concerning the nature of the human as a meta-physical being.
Supervisor: Mulhall, Stephen Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Metaphysics ; Philosophical anthropology ; Animals (Philosophy)