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Thursday Night Philosophy Workshop: Aaron James Wendland on “'Authenticity, Truth, and Cultural Transformation: A Critical Reading of John Haugeland's Heidegger"

Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Wolff Conference Room, Room D1103, Albert and Vera List Academic Center 6 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, Room D1103

Title: 'Authenticity, Truth, and Cultural Transformation: A Critical Reading of John Haugeland's Heidegger'

Abstract: On the standard reading, Heidegger’s account of authenticity in Being and Time amounts to an existentialist theory of human freedom. Against this interpretation, John Haugeland reads Heidegger’s account of authenticity as a crucial feature of Heidegger’s fundamental ontology: i.e., Heidegger’s attempt to determine the meaning of being via an analysis of human beings. Haugeland’s argument is based on the notion that taking responsibility for our existence entails getting the being of entities right. Specifically, Haugeland says that our ability to choose allows us to question and test the disclosure of being through which entities are intelligible to us against the entities themselves, and he adds that taking responsibility for our existence involves transforming our disclosure of being when it fails to meet the truth test. Although I agree that Heidegger’s existentialism is a crucial feature of his fundamental ontology, I argue that the details of Haugeland’s interpretation are inconsistent. My objection is that if, as Haugeland claims, entities are only intelligible via disclosures of being, then it is incoherent for Haugeland to say that entities themselves can serve as intelligible standard against which disclosures can be truth-tested or transformed. Finally, I offer an alternative to Haugeland’s truth-based take on authenticity and cultural transformation via an ends-based onto-methodological interpretation of Heidegger and Kuhn. Here I argue that the ends pursed by a specific community determine both the meaning of being and the movement of human history.

Bio: Aaron James Wendland completed his PhD at Somerville College, Oxford and he is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the HSE's Center for Advanced Studies in Moscow. Aaron is the co-editor of Wittgenstein and Heidegger (Routledge, 2013) and Heidegger on Technology (Routledge, 2018), and he has written scholarly articles on Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, and Kuhn. Aaron has also published several pieces of popular philosophy in The New York TimesPublic Seminar, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He currently serves as an art critic for The Moscow Times and Dialogue of Arts. And as of January 2019, Aaron will be the Director of the Center for Philosophy and Visual Arts at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

Presented by The New School for Social Research (NSSR) Philosophy Department

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


The New School for Social Research




Free; No Registration required

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