Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Philosophy

Major Professor

Charles Guignon, Ph.D.

Keywords

Practice, Dreyfus, Phenomenology, Aesthetics, Aletheia

Abstract

In this work I present both a historical and philosophical argument. First, I use Martin Heidegger's early interest in the argument that concepts are furnished to the mind directly by experience, as found in Edmund Husserl's categorial intuition and Emil Lask's principle of the material determination of form, to build an interpretation of "Being and Time" and "The Origin of the Work of Art" which provides a unified understanding of Heidegger's consistent underlying position throughout his career as one of realist historicism. My interpretation of Heidegger as a realist historicist rejects the reading of "Being and Time" as a transcendental project and the claim that Heidegger, like Kant, has an abstractionist view of concept formation. Rather, for the realist historicist, our modes of relating to things, even the supposedly conceptual, have the form of engaged historical practices. These practices are understood as arising from the things they concern rather than being subjectively abstracted from, or imposed upon, them. This view furnishes us with an understanding of art as a key type of historical event through which practices arise or are changed. This position necessitates, however, a rejection of any a-historical universal knowledge and reveals the substantialist assumptions that underlie such claims to knowledge. I then apply this new reading of Heidegger to the debate between Hubert Dreyfus and John McDowell concerning the nature of skillful coping. I show that Dreyfus' embodied non-conceptual understanding of skill acquisition fails to take seriously the centrality of membership in a historical community while McDowell's position fails to appreciate that practices and not concepts are primary.

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