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Giving a DamnEssays in Dialogue with John Haugeland$
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Zed Adams and Jacob Browning

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035248

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035248.001.0001

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Truth, Objectivity, and Emotional Caring: Filling In the Gaps of Haugeland’s Existentialist Ontology

Truth, Objectivity, and Emotional Caring: Filling In the Gaps of Haugeland’s Existentialist Ontology

Chapter:
(p.213) 7 Truth, Objectivity, and Emotional Caring: Filling In the Gaps of Haugeland’s Existentialist Ontology
Source:
Giving a Damn
Author(s):

Bennett W. Helm

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035248.003.0008

In a remarkable series of papers, Haugeland lays out what is both a striking interpretation of Heidegger and a compelling account of objectivity and truth. Central to his account is a notion of existential commitment, which insists on the independence of the phenomena from our understanding. This requires the potential for us to change or give up on our understanding of the world in the face of apparently impossible phenomena. Although Haugeland never gives a clear account of existential commitment, he claims that it is fundamentally an individual matter. This, I argue, is a mistake that fails to make sense of the public, shared nature of the objective world. Instead, I offer an initial account of existential commitment as one we undertake jointly, and I analyze it (and the corresponding responsibility) in terms of interpersonal rational patterns of reactive attitudes: emotions like resentment, gratitude, indignation, approbation, guilt, and trust. The upshot is that our existential commitment is not only to a shared, objective world but also to each other such that our ability individually to take responsibility for our understanding of the world is intelligible only in terms of others' being able to hold us responsible for it.

Keywords:   John Haugeland, Truth, Objectivity, Respect, Reactive Attitudes, Responsibility, Existential Commitment

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