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A Peculiar Fate: The Unity of Human Life in Kant and Heidegger



It is commonly held that nature is knowable in itself and that death has no explanatory priority in knowing nature. I reject both claims as they undermine an account of the unity of human life, failing, respectively, to thematize the limitations of finite understanding and to acknowledge what’s most certain about finite existence. I use Kant’s idea of the thing in itself and Heidegger’s idea of death to solve two structurally analogous antinomies these failures leave intact. I conclude that to think these ideas is to represent the telos that unifies our living as, respectively, finite knowers and finite beings.

On tient souvent que la nature est connaissable en soi, et que la mort n’a aucune primauté explicative pour connaître la nature. Je rejette ces prétentions parce qu’elles compromettent une explication unitaire de la vie humaine, à défaut, respectivement, de thématiser les limites de la compréhension finie et d’aborder ce qu’il y a de plus certain à propos de l’existence finie. J’emploie l’idée kantienne de la chose en soi et l’idée heideggerienne de la mort afin de résoudre deux antinomies analogues, que les deux prétentions rejetées laissent irrésolues. Je démontre que penser ces idées consiste à représenter le telos unifiant de nos vies en tant que connaisseurs finis et en tant qu’êtres finis.



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