Philosophy and Its Objects from Kant to Heidegger

This seminar will focus on Martin Heidegger’s thinking about history and about objects. This body of work represents an attempt to grapple with, and even answer, a series of problems posed most acutely by Friedrich Nietzsche and Wilhelm Dilthey. While Heidegger began from the historian’s problems he developed his answers to them into the core of his major philosophical intervention, Being and Time (1927). Moreover, of the major Western philosophers, Heidegger took objects and the material mis-en-scène of life most seriously, both in his work on ontology as well as in his many writings about art. Our approach in this course will be to understand Heidegger well enough in order to be able to appropriate his acute thinking about historical practice and historical meaning for our own work as historians, and especially historians of material culture. “Heidegger as Hilfswissenschaft for Historians” could be another way of titling this course. 3 Credits.