Was Heidegger an externalist?

Cristina Lafont*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

To address the question posed in the title, I focus on Heidegger's conception of linguistic communication developed in the sections on Rede and Gerede of Being and Time. On the basis of a detailed analysis of these sections I argue that Heidegger was a social externalist but semantic internalist. To make this claim, however, I first need to clarify some key points that have led critics to assume Heidegger's commitment to social externalism automatically commits him to semantic externalism regarding concept use. I begin by explaining the independence of those positions, arguing that social externalism answers the question of whose concepts in a linguistic community are properly individuated, whereas semantic externalism makes a claim about what it takes for concepts to be properly individuated. Once these issues are distinguished, it is possible to see that Heidegger's intersubjectivist conception of language commits him to social externalism, while his conception of the ontological difference commits him to semantic internalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-532
Number of pages26
JournalInquiry
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

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