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Heideggerian philosophy of science

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Q043-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Heidegger’s importance in the philosophy of science stems less from his scattered remarks about science than from the larger conception of intentionality and ontology that informs them. Heidegger’s earliest major work, Being and Time (1927), displayed everyday practical purposive activity as the most fundamental setting for the disclosure of things in the world. Heidegger claimed that the traditional epistemological conception of a subject who represents objects was derivative from and dependent upon such ongoing everyday practical engagement with one’s surroundings. Science was then supposed to be the practice that allows things to show themselves shorn of their significance within the ’in-order-to-for-the-sake-of’ structure of everyday activity; nevertheless, the sense of scientific claims remained dependent upon the everyday interactions from which they were abstracted.

Shortly after writing Being and Time, Heidegger revised his project in ways that also transformed his account of science. His overall project shifted from describing the transcendental structure of the meaning of being, to interpreting the ’history of being’. Science was reinterpreted as an activity (’research’) closely allied with machine technology, and oriented towards more extensive and intensive manipulation and ordering of things. Understood as such, science for Heidegger was an essential manifestation of the modern age. Whereas, earlier, he thought that science presupposed a philosophical ontology, he eventually portrayed science and technology as the conclusion of the philosophical tradition. While philosophical metaphysics and epistemology were thus naturalized, Heidegger was concerned with the possibility of a way of thinking outside this convergence of scientific and philosophical metaphysics.

Citing this article:
Rouse, Joseph. Heideggerian philosophy of science, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Q043-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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