Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time offers a sustained critique of the Western philosophical tradition. Specifically, Heidegger describes his project as a “deconstruction” of prior ontological systems, whose goal is a positive recuperation and reformulation of the “question of being.” This question, Heidegger suggests, has been obscured and distorted by prior metaphysics. In Division One of Being and Time, Heidegger explicates his own ontology in a critical mode, positioning himself against various canonical figures while forging his own, novel conception of the “being of beings.” This paper offers a focused exposition of Being and Time’s first Division, tracing the contours of Heidegger’s critical project while shedding light on his reading of the history of Western metaphysics. Centering on Heidegger’s critical intervention in ontology, the paper shows how Heidegger’s unique vision emerged through a complex engagement with Aristotelian and Cartesian thought.

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