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362 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY are hated by plump flunkies." Seckler's treatment of Veblen is more gentile and more judicious. Here we get a portrait of the man and his time, of his successors and their collective influence on American social science. But, most important, we get an object lesson on the interdependence of social science and social philosophy. Veblen understood the connection, however awkwardly he developed it. By ruling out of consideration the philosophical bases of its own assumptions, contemporary social science wanders in a maze of empirical relations without grasp of the thread that would lead back to questions of value that, presumably, initiate inquiry. The social sciences, for example, give considerable attention to the question of inequality--its measurement, distribution, and correlates--yet steadfastly resist critical examination of what constitutes equality. As Seckler notes in closing, "scientism is destroying science in contemporary theory" (p. 138). Laments about how Veblen's work has been ignored are not uncommon and, when they stop with that observation, carry a hollow ring. Seckler's book indicates at least one important avenue for restoring humanity to institutions and their analysis. JOHN WALTON Northwestern University Heidegger e lafine dellafilosofia. By Pietro de Vitiis. Universita degli studi di Parma. Publicazioni della Facolta di Magisteri, vol. 1. (Firenze: La ]Nuova Italia, 1974. Pp. 257) The title of the book suggests a lecture Heidegger delivered in 1964--The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking. It was published five years later in a volume entitled In Matters of Thinking. The subject of the book under review concerns both Heidegger's views of metaphysics (he identifies it with philosophy) and his "new" beginning. His critics have often maintained that Heidegger condemns all of Western philosophy (metaphysics) from Plato to Nietzsche. Such a judgment needs to be qualified. Why did Heidegger study the philosophers of the past in great detail and over a long period of time (in the case of Nietzsche, ten years) if they had not been a source of inspiration for him? It is true, on the other hand, that the metaphysical tradition gave him an insight that brought him to his own path of thinking . It concerned the concept of Being: Heidegger discovered that in identifying Being with beingness (Seiendes) metaphysics concealed the true nature of Being. De Vitiis traces the history of metaphysics as the history of Being as Heidegger interprets it. The Platonic idea becomes the model for any future understanding of Being. Idea :is the universal and, as such, the originator of entities. Moreover, the Platonic concept of two worlds, the one "real," the other "apparent," transmits to later thinkers the distinction between essence (idea, truth) and existence (entity as presence). Aristotle, rejecting the idea, transfers Being to the individual entity: the isness of the object is defined as ousia, the enduring presence. Whereas the Presocratic thinkers (e.g., Heraclitus) still had a sense of Being as unconcealment, that is, Being that lets beings be, this thought gave way to Being as the cause of entities present-at-hand. From here it is a short leap to Aquinas's concept of a summum bonum, God, the creator (cause) of the world. For Heidegger, the modern metaphysical stance begins with Descartes and Kant, to whom De Vitiis devotes a few enlightening pages. With Descartes the entity no longer "shows" itself; rather, it is an object, standing opposite to and re-presented by the ego cogito. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason takes a similar position. Although the object affects the subject, it is "real" only insofar as it is posited by the synthesis of the judgment. Whereas for Descartes and Kant the finite subject is the ground for our knowledge of objects, for Hegel this task is assigned to the Absolute Subject. Heidegger sees in this development the beginning of the end of metaphysics. De Vitiis calls our attention to the fact BOOK REVIEWS 363 that Heidegger, in interpreting Hegel, applies his own distinction between ontic, preontological , and ontological understanding. The author bases his discussion on Heidegger's essay "Hegel's Concept of Experience," published in Holzwege. Experience, for Hegel, has two roots: it is "natural" consciousness and as such ontic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 362-363
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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