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THE PROBLEM OF BEING IN HEIDEGGER AND THE SCHOLASTICS IN HIS RECENTLY PUBLISHED lecture course at Marburg (1927) entitled The Fundamental Problems of Phenomenology , Martin Heidegger makes the following observation : 1 They have said that my philosophical work is a Catholic phenomenology . Presumably because I am of the opinion that thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus have understood something about philosophy. (GPdP, 28) Heidegger goes on to say that there is no such thing as a Catholic phenomenology, no more than there is a "Protestant mathematics." 2 Yet it is remarkable nonetheless to us today that Heidegger would have been popularly thought of as a Catholic. He was afterwards taken to be an atheist and nowadays we are not sure what to think of the place of God in his thought. The importance of Heidegger's observation is that it underlines for us the Catholic scholastic origins of his thought. Consider these remarkable facts. He was born and educated 1 I will use the following abbreviations for the works of Heidegger: GPdP: Gesamtausgabe, B. 24: Die Grundprobleme der Phiinomenologie (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1975). (This work is referred to in the body of the article under the English translation of its title.) SZ: Sein und Zeit, 10. Aull (Tiibingen: Niemeyer, 1963). English translation Being and Time, translated Macquarrie and Robinson (New York: Harper &Row, 1962). N. II: Nietzsche, B. 2 (Pfullingen: Neske, 1961). English translation in The End of Philosophy, translated Joan Stambaugh (New York: Harper & Row, 1973). ID: Identity and Difference. Translated with the German text by Joan Stambaugh (New York: Harper & Row, 1969). We will cite the German pagination followed by a slash and the English pagination. 2 Cf. the remark in An Introduction to Metaphysics, translated R. Mannheim (Garden City, Doubleday, 1961), p. 6, that a Christian philosophy is a square circle. This is apparently an Husserlian attitude, for whom philosophy is strenge Wissenschaft . HEIDEGGER AND THE SCHOLASTlCS in Catholicism and had studied for a while for the Catholic priesthood. He was presented for the Ph.D. at Freiburg in 1914, not by Rickert, under whom he did his major work, but by Schneider, because the latter was also Catholic.3 He wrote his Habilitationsschrift in 1916 on Duns Scotus (on the pseudoScotistic de modis significandi) .4 His thought was inspired by the work of an ex-priest-Brentano-on Aristotle's Metaphysics -a figure who had also introduced the scholastic idea of intentionality into modern thought. Brentano's book had been given to him by Conrad Grober, who was to become Archbishop of Freiburg. From 1919-1927 Heidegger lectured on such topics as: the philosophical foundations of medieval mysticism (he would have a life-long interest in Meister Eckhart), the philosophy of religion, Augustine and Neoplatonism, Aristotle 's De Anima, Physics, Nicomachean Ethics and Rhetoric, Aristotle and the High Scholastics, and medieval ontology.5 Heidegger's beginnings are steeped in the Catholic-Aristotelian -scholastic tradition, and any understanding of his thought must take into account his relationship with the scholastics. The purpose of the present study is to discuss the relation between Heidegger's understanding of Being and scholastic metaphysics. This task will be carried out by studying the critique which Heidegger makes of the scholastic theory of essence and existence. This critique is contained in a lengthy section of The Fundamental Problems of Phenomenology (GPdP, §§ 10-12), a discussion which greatly expands and facilitates our understanding of the somewhat more 3 Paul Hiihnerfeld, In Sachen Heidegger (Miinchen: Paul List Verlag, 1962), p. 42. •For a study of Heidegger's Duns Scotus book see my "Phenomenology, Mysticism and the Grammatica Speculativa: A Study of Heidegger's Habilitationsschrift ," The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 5, no. 2 (May, 1974), 101-17. 5 For Heidegger's lectures from 1915 to 1958 see W. Richardson, Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought (The Hague: M. Nijhofl', 1962), pp. 663 ff. For a study of Heidegger and Eckhart see my " Meister Eckhart and the Later Heidegger" in two parts in The Journal of the History of Philosophy XII, 4 (October. 1974), 479-94 and xxiii, 1 (January, 1975), 61-80. 64 jQHN D. CAPUTO cryptic presentation which Heidegger makes of the .same subject...


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