chapter  V
24 Pages

Martin Heidegger

HEIDEGGER’S main systematic work, Sein und Zeit (1927), made an impression and roused expectations, for it disclosed not only his originality and professional accomplishment but also the ambitious scope of his thought, which, reckoning with Kant and avoiding the illusory standpoint of Hegel, aimed at building a metaphysic of Being on the scale of Plato and Aristotle, and which showed that it had already assimilated and brought into its focus the thought of the most original thinkers of the age, such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Bergson, Dilthey, Husserl, Scheler, and Simmel. The plan of his work has not yet been carried out, and it is perhaps unlikely now that it will be. Critics have confidently said that his first volume digs away the ground on which he proposes to build his metaphysic of Being, and for that reason the work is not likely to be proceeded with. Nevertheless, the fragments of later work which have been published show plainly enough what the present trend of his thought is and that it is consistent with his original aim: it may be said that the programme is being carried out, although not systematically in treatment. Heidegger insistently dissociates himself from existential philosophy, for, he says, he is concerned with the problem of Being, not with personal existence and its ethical interests, the human condition as such. For all that, he is inescapably put amongst the

existentialists because he is one of them in his themes and ideas and in his treatment of them and in the language he uses, as well as in his debt to Kierkegaard and in his influence upon the others, especially upon Sartre.