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Episteme

Abstract

Alan Donagan criticizes Heidegger for falling into what Collingwood calls the “corrupt consciousness,” but this author explains that Donagan misunderstands Heidegger’s design. The paper opens with Donagan’s philosophy that ties ethics to rationality. Donagan’s fundamental principle of rationality requires each person to respect each other’s rationality, and Donagan’s Thomistic and Kantian theory of conscience determines the permissibility of actions. He believes that existentialism, including Heidegger’s, which does not agree to the principle of rationality, engenders a false consciousness, which thereby corrupts the conscience. But, the author contends, Heidegger’s phenomenology does not actually amount to this. Authenticity is not recognizing mortality and thereby neglecting ethics, but rather of being in the world; it is a phenomenological descriptive awareness, not evaluative. The author looks at Being in Time to show that Heidegger is not giving an ethics but only that which makes an ethics possible: primordial guilt and a summons to avoid falling prey to the “they-self”.

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