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Summary

In 1929, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) published his remarkable book Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. The Kantbuch, as Heidegger often called it, is regarded by many as a vital supplement to the unfinished second part of Heidegger’s most influential work, Being and Time, which was published two years earlier in 1927. 

Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics is seen both as a landmark in the evolution of Heidegger’s own thinking and as a notable contribution to Kantian scholarship, even though Heidegger would later modify his position considerably on some of the questions raised. 

Its genesis is attributed to an encounter between Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer, the German philosopher trained in the Neo-Kantian Marburg school, a meeting which took place at the second Davos Hochschulkurs, or philosophy conference in Switzerland. The two men discussed and debated Kant’s work in depth and the encounter led to Heidegger adapting his interpretation of Kant’s ideas, focusing principally on the schematism of the categories. 

While his phenomenological interpretation of the ideas expressed in the Critique of Pure Reason is at times tendentious and controversial, and did not convince Cassirer, the dialectical interplay the that can be gleaned between these three great minds is fascinating. From his phenomenological existential standpoint Heidegger analyses Kant’s thinking and organises his work into four sections, subdivided into 45 subsections. 

The first two sections consider the laying of the foundations of metaphysics and how this intellectual undertaking was carried out. The topics under consideration are mind-bendingly varied, and some are notoriously challenging and difficult to grasp. 

They range from: the foundations of ontology to the elucidation of space and time as pure intuitions; ontological synthesis; the problems of categories and the role of transcendental logic; the transcendence of finite reasoning as the basic purpose of the transcendental deduction; and the importance of image, schema and schema-image, schematism and subsumption. 

Section three focuses on the transcendental imagination as the formative centre of ontological knowledge and its relation to intuition and reason. It also considers the inherently temporal character of the transcendental imagination and the temporal character of the self. 

Section four goes on to explore the foundations of metaphysics in philosophical anthropology, the problem of finitude in man and the metaphysics of Dasein as fundamental ontology, its goals and how the idea of fundamental ontology relates to the Critique of Pure Reason

Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics is read with clarity and precision by Martyn Swain for Ukemi Audiobooks. Translation by James S. Churchill.

Public Domain (P)2020 Ukemi Productions Ltd

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Unengaging

I am half way through and will continue to the end, However I know that I am getting very little from this title. Understandably it's an old text and I am sure that it speaks to specialists in the field, but I found the tone to be monotonous and the technical terms not explained or introduced clearly. These terms are subsequently repeated often throughout and leave me confused. I guess I should have sought out a commentary on the author and the subject as opposed to this first hand reading of the text. My review can be summarised as inaccessible (to a beginner).