Heidegger and the Contradiction of Being
An Analytic Interpretation of the Late Heidegger
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This book offers a clear, analytic, and innovative interpretation of Heidegger’s late work. This period of Heidegger’s philosophy remains largely unexplored by analytic philosophers, who consider it filled with inconsistencies and paradoxical ideas, particularly concerning the notions of Being and nothingness.
This book takes seriously the claim that the late Heidegger endorses dialetheism – namely the position according to which some contradictions are true – and shows that the idea that Being is both an entity and not an entity is neither incoherent nor logically trivial. The author achieves this by presenting and defending the idea that reality has an inconsistent structure. In doing so, he takes one of the most discussed topics in current analytic metaphysics, grounding theory, into a completely unexplored area. Additionally, in order to make sense of Heidegger’s concept of nothingness, the author introduces an original axiomatic mereological system that, having a paraconsistent logic as a base logic, can tolerate inconsistencies without falling into logical triviality.
This is the first book to set forth a complete and detailed discussion of the late Heidegger in the framework of analytic metaphysics. It will be of interest to Heidegger scholars and analytic philosophers working on theories of grounding, mereology, dialetheism, and paraconsistent logic.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A New Way to Navigate the Heideggerian Archipelago
1. On Being and Entities
2. On The Difference Between Being and Entities
3. On a Very Destitute Matter
4. On Beyng
5. On Beyng and the Nothing
6. On the Abyss
Conclusion: An Unaddressed Issue
Filippo Casati is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lehigh University (USA). His areas of specialization are Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, with a passionate interest in Meinong. He has published in such venues as The British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Synthese, Logic et Analyse, Philosophical Topics and Philosophy Compass. With Daniel Dahlstrom, he has edited a forthcoming volume on Heidegger on Logic.
"This provocative and challenging work by one of the foremost dialetheic readers of Heidegger exposes failed attempts by contemporary scholars to salvage Heidegger’s paradoxical claims about being (e.g., ‘being is not a being’) and it makes a powerful case for the need and possibility of countenancing the contradictions entailed by those claims. The clarity and forthrightness of its arguments make Heidegger and the Contradiction of Being an important and timely work that no scholar grappling with Heideggerian paradox today can afford to ignore." – Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Boston University, USA.
"In this wonderfully wide-ranging book, Filippo Casati explores certain paradoxes in Heidegger’s thinking about Being and argues that Heidegger can tolerate these paradoxes by acceding to the possibility of true contradictions. This argument has both an exegetical dimension, in that Casati argues that Heidegger does in fact reject the Principle of Non-Contradiction, and a philosophical dimension, in that Casati argues that we can make due logical sense of his doing so. The book is lively, provocative, and beautifully written. It will be of great value to students of Heidegger and to anyone interested in the most fundamental questions about the logical character of reality." – Adrian W. Moore, University of Oxford, UK.
"Filippo Casati’s intriguing book argues that a paradox concerning the nature of being drove Martin Heidegger to reject commitments that have been seen as fundamental – indeed even unquestionable –throughout most of the history of Western philosophy. While other commentators have argued that such paradoxes may lurk in Heidegger’s work, Casati’s striking reading distinctively claims that Heidegger not only encountered these paradoxes but eventually came to embrace them. In doing so, argues Casati, Heidegger recognized the radical move that this would require, namely, questioning what is for most philosophers the most fundamental ‘law of thought’ – the law of non-contradiction." – Denis McManus, University of Southampton, UK.
"The appearance of Casati’s Heidegger and the Contradiction of Being is a major event in Heidegger studies. With impeccable scholarship, uncommon clarity, and deploying state of the art tools of contemporary logic, Casati presents and defends a radically new interpretation of this major thinker. His book is set to become a classic in the area." – Graham Priest, CUNY Graduate Center, USA.
"Casati’s book interprets Heidegger’s question of Being, in connection with his idea of ontological difference, as demonstrating the actuality and potential truth of a fundamentally contradictory structure of reality. Clearly written and accessible, the book will be sought out by all those with an interest in the logical, ontological, and metaphysical implications of Heidegger’s thought, as well as those interested, more broadly, in contemporary discussions of being, fundamentality, negation, and the logical or ontological structure of the world." – Paul Livingston, University of New Mexico, USA
"In this richly argued monograph, Filippo Casati focuses on the central issues of Heidegger’s philosophy: the question of the meaning of Being and the problems inherent in trying to answer it. Casati proceeds systematically, first unpacking Heidegger’s accounts of Being and of entities, then explaining and justifying Heidegger’s insistence that Being must not be confused with any entity, and finally showing how trying to philosophize about Being while respecting the difference between Being and entities ineluctably generates paradoxes. Then, through perceptive readings of several of Heidegger’s later works, Casati shows that Heidegger responds to these paradoxes by adopting dialetheism about Being. In other words, Heidegger holds that, as regards Being, some contradictions are true: Being is an entity and Being is not an entity; Being has Being and Being does not have Being. For those inclined to object that such a position is hardly a solution to the paradoxes inherent in philosophizing about Being, Casati provides compelling arguments to show not only that this is Heidegger’s stance in his later work, but also that it is philosophically viable.
This is a remarkable achievement. Casati’s interpretation draws on a wide array of Heidegger’s works, while remaining sensitive to each work’s place in the arc of Heidegger’s career. Displaying an impressive command of the secondary literature, Casati carefully locates his major claims in relation to the work of other readers. His argument that Heidegger embraces dialetheism is one that anyone interested in Heidegger now has to take seriously. This book pushes its readers to think about why Being cannot be an entity and why it must be, why Being is and why it is not. This makes the book relevant to all metaphysicians, whether or not they have previously engaged with Heidegger’s thought. The appearance of this monograph is an event that constitutes a signal contribution to philosophy." – Edward Witherspoon, Colgate University, USA.
"In recent years, a number of authors have tried to make sense of Heidegger’s famous investigation into ‘Being’ by appeal to dialetheism, allowing true contradictions, backed by paraconsistent logics. Yet few have done it with the grace and precision of Casati who meshes painstaking exegetical work with razor-sharp formulations to deliver a new and fascinating picture of Heidegger’s lifelong study of Being, from the early 1920s through to 1966’s Heraclitus Seminar." – Sacha Golob, King's College London, UK.