The Hermeneutic Nature of Analytic Philosophy: A Study of Ernst Tugendhat

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Columbia University Press, Aug 14, 2012 - Philosophy - 224 pages
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Contemporary philosophers& mdash;analytic as well as continental& mdash;tend to feel uneasy about Ernst Tugendhat, who, though he positions himself in the analytic field, poses questions in the Heideggerian style. Tugendhat was one of Martin Heidegger's last pupils and his least obedient, pursuing a new and controversial critical technique. Tugendhat took Heidegger's destruction of Being as presence and developed it in analytic philosophy, more specifically in semantics. Only formal semantics, according to Tugendhat, could answer the questions left open by Heidegger.

Yet in doing this, Tugendhat discovered the latent "hermeneutic nature of analytic philosophy"& mdash;its post-metaphysical dimension& mdash;in which "there are no facts, but only true propositions." What Tugendhat seeks to answer is this: What is the meaning of thought following the linguistic turn? Because of the rift between analytic and continental philosophers, very few studies have been written on Tugendhat, and he has been omitted altogether from several histories of philosophy. Now that these two schools have begun to reconcile, Tugendhat has become an example of a philosopher who, in the words of Richard Rorty, "built bridges between continents and between centuries."

Tugendhat is known more for his philosophical turn than for his phenomenological studies or for his position within analytic philosophy, and this creates some confusion regarding his philosophical propensities. Is Tugendhat analytic or continental? Is he a follower of Wittgenstein or Heidegger? Does he belong in the culture of analysis or in that of tradition? Santiago Zabala presents Tugendhat as an example of merged horizons, promoting a philosophical historiography that is concerned more with dialogue and less with classification. In doing so, he places us squarely within a dialogic culture of the future and proves that any such labels impoverish philosophical research.


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one overcoming husserl
two correcting heidegger
three semantizing ontology
four philosophizing analytically

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About the author (2012)

Santiago Zabala is Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Potsdam University Institute of Philosophy. He is the author of The Remains of Being (forthcoming), and editor of Art's Claim to Truth, Weakening Philosophy, Nihilism and Emancipation, and The Future of Religion.

Michael Haskell is a writer and editor living in New York City.

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