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Demythologizing Heidegger (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) [Paperback]

By John D. Caputo (Author)
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Item description for Demythologizing Heidegger (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) by John D. Caputo...

"Caputo offers a compelling plea for a reinterpretation of Heidegger that will make us more humane, and more attuned to the call of justice and mercy than to the call of Being." --Christian Century

"There is no other book that focuses on the religious significance of the many 'turnings' in Heidegger's thought, nor that addresses the question of Heidegger's politics textually rather than autobiographically." --Merold Westphal

A readable chronological consideration of Heidegger's texts that assesses his achievement as a thinker, while pointing to the sources of his political and ethical failure. Caputo addresses the religious significance of Heidegger's thought.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Indiana University Press
Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.25" Width: 6.16" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 22, 1993
Publisher   Indiana University Press
ISBN  0253208386  
ISBN13  9780253208385  

Availability  103 units.
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More About John D. Caputo

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John D. Caputo is the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and is editor of Fordham University Press' Perspectives in Continental Philosophy Series.

John D. Caputo has an academic affiliation as follows - Villanova University.

John D. Caputo has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Church and Postmodern Culture
  2. Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion (Paperback)
  3. Perspectives in Continental Philosophy (Paperback)
  4. Studies in Continental Thought (Paperback)
  5. Thinking in Action

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern

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Reviews - What do customers think about Demythologizing Heidegger (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)?

Don't read Heidegger until you've read this book!  Jul 20, 2009
It wouldn't be too much to say that this book has forever changed the way I think about Heidegger and his work. And it's made me take him even more seriously than I ever have before. I'm convinced that it's possible to understand any great thinker better than he/she understands (or understood) himself/herself. And Caputo surely does understand Heidegger in this way. The magnitude of his achievement is even better appreciated when one realizes that it's hard enough to understand Heidegger at all (even if you read German, because he has a way of playing with the language that would elude anyone but a native speaker of the language).

And if you take philosophy seriously, you MUST make an attempt to understand Heidegger. He has changed the way we in the West think about philosophy, what it is, and what it does (and what it shouldn't try to do). To get into Heidegger, I would recommend you buy, in addition to Caputo's book, the following books (two of which are available at significant discounts on this site):
(1) Heidegger, "Being and Time." (There are two English translations, I use the Macquarrie/'Robinson.)
(2) Hubert Dreyfus, "Being in the World:A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I."
(3) Heidegger, "Supplements: From the Earliest Essays to Being and Time and Beyond." (Ed., John Van Buren.)

(3) may be harder to find. But it's worth the effort. You may want to directly contact the State University of New York Press, Albany.

Now, start with the Dreyfus book, and refer to "Being and Time" as necessary. Dreyfus provides all the citations you need. But whatever you do, DON'T try to do "Being and Time" cold turkey. Unless you're a product of the European education system with a major in philosophy, you won't understand it. I've found that the essays in "Supplements" are much more readable than "Being and Time." But what's most important is that they give us an insight into Heidegger's early work and intellectual development. And this is precisely the work on which Caputo's book focuses. The only other source of Heidegger's work is the multi-volume Gesamtausgabe, which you won't find at Barnes or Borders. In fact, our university library doesn't even have it, even though it has a very respectable collection of books on philosophy. And even if you find it, unless you read German, it won't help you. I'm personally very grateful to the translators of "Supplements" for making these early works by Heidegger available.

What Caputo does is to focus on this early, youthful work of Heidegger, and show how it can take the serious thinker in a direction very much different from that taken by Heidegger himself. And this is the true value of Heidegger. If he had died after publishing "Being and Time," no one would be talking about his unfortunate association with the Nazi party. So the question is this: does his later work, whatever its inspiration or political associations, vitiate his early work? I think not. Over time, Heidegger developed what one might call a "mythology of Being," which is not present in his earliest work. (Although it's Caputo's opinion that it's also present, in nascent form, in "Being and Time.") In the early work, Heidegger focuses on the hermeneutics of facticity, which, in my view, is a dimension of the human reality which one simply doesn't find in the discipline which most interests me, philosophical theology. Theologians, traditional and contemporary, view man as an object, like any other natural object. Beholden to their modernist legacy, and true to their quest for apodictic certainty, they want to construct a theology that looks like science. The result: a proliferation of "Christian worldviews," which tell us a lot about the people who construct them, but very little about God or man. As another peerless scholar, Merold Westphal, has observed, what they're doing is not theology, but onto-theology. (I would also recommend a book by Westphal, "Overcoming Onto-theology," also available at this site.)

Caputo's great contribution is that he understands that we don't need a single, totalizing myth to understand the human reality. The problem with the later Heidegger is that he gives us just such a myth. So do the Christian-worldview theologians. If we study Heidegger's early work carefully, and read Caputo (who, by the way, has written many other books, all of which are well worth reading, especially "Radical Hermeneutics"), we begin to see a way to deconstructing traditional theology, and to building a theology based on an understanding of man rooted in factical life. Unless Christian theologians get a grip on facticity and transcendence, and few of them do (I don't know any), they will continue doing what they have been doing, and building sand-castle worldviews, which may make them feel that they've made the world safe for the gospel, but which don't really convince anyone except people who already believe, and thus, don't need them.

Pick up any contemporary work on Christian theology, and you'll look in vain for anything resembling an in-depth discussion of Heidegger. Some authors mention him in passing, but reveal that they have little more than a Philosophy-101 understanding of him. And this is true of even the more intellectually-competent authors like Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen, and others. Nowadays, "post-modernism" is a four-letter word in the pulpit, but even among the serious theologians, who should know better. Post-modernism is not the enemy of biblical faith: modernism is. It is the Cartesian legacy, after all, which informs most if not all contemporary theology. And this is fatal to theology, because it posits man as intellectually and spiritually self-sufficient, thus negating the proposition that man is wholly dependent on God. Whatever any theologian may say, it simply isn't possible to to accept Scripture as the sole source of revelation and at the same time embrace the epistemology of modernism, let alone its ethos.

This is what I've learned from reading Caputo's work, and Heidegger in the light of it. Caputo may think I've gone too far. But then again, it IS possible to understand a great thinker better than he understands himself. And he wouldn't want it any other way.

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