Love and Death
Love and Death
This paper explicates and connects two of Haugeland’s most controversial philosophical claims: his puzzling claim that the characteristic form of intentionality and human understanding is love, and his revisionist interpretation of Heidegger’s account of “existential death” in Being and Time. The former claim responds to Haugeland’s implicit classification and telling criticisms of the predominant alternative conceptions of intentionality. Haugeland argues that these alternatives actually fit different phenomena (“ersatz” or “lapsed” intentionality) that fall short of even the most ordinary human comportments. The latter claim treats “death” as concerned not with human mortality, but with the objective accountability of entire domains of human activity and understanding. Heidegger thereby has a deeper, more adequate account of intentionality and understanding directly complementing Haugeland’s re-conception of intentionality as a form of love. This reading also brings Being and Time into closer critical engagement with Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. This juxtaposition further illuminates Heidegger’s Kantian emphasis upon the finitude of human understanding, and brings out the political significance of Being and Time in constructively revealing ways despite Heidegger’s own later disastrous political involvement.
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