Heidegger and the philosophy of life : Kantian and post-Kantian thinking in the work of the early Heidegger as the foundation for a new Lebensphilosophie

Peckitt, Michael Gillan

Humanities; Philosophy
March 2009

Thesis or dissertation

© 2009 Michael Gillan Peckitt. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The publication of Sein und Zeit in 1927 by the very young Martin Heidegger, a mere thirty-eight at the time, radically changed philosophy in a fashion that made returning to the ways of doing philosophy prior to Sein und Zeit impossible. Heidegger's new way of understanding Being was through understanding the ways humans exist, as worldly beings. Any future philosophy would have to repudiate, argue in favour or against Heidegger's analysis, but on whichever side a particular philosophy fell with regard to Heidegger they would have to acknowledge the importance of his work. Like many philosophy students I was intrigued by Heidegger, but felt that something was lacking in his analysis. This 'lack' I could only call a 'sense of Life', that in the insistence on the worldly and on death something equally fundamental had been lost, that human beings have life and are living. Where in Heidegger is the notion of human beings as living animals? As I read Heidegger's early lectures and those given just after the publication of Sein und Zeit, Heidegger shows himself to be quite concerned with the issue. His early lectures are replete with reference to 'Life' and his lecture courses after its publication often make references to the issue of animality, as if he were trying to correct an issue left unresolved in Sein und Zeit.In this thesis I shall argue not only that those thinkers Heidegger took himself for the most part to be disagreeing with: Descartes, Kant and Husserl, could have helped him answer the issue of Life; but that there is in Sein und Zeit itself a chance to reintroduce the notion of Life, a chance to which the early Heidegger was either blind or simply ignored. In the final chapters I will show how phenomenology may develop without rejecting Heidegger's thinking, so the concept of Life can return to phenomenological philosophy.

Department of Humanities, The University of Hull
Lennon, Kathleen
Sponsor (Organisation)
Arts & Humanities Research Council (Great Britain)
Qualification level
Qualification name
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