Is Heidegger’s “Turn” a Realist Project?


In this essay I consider the relationship between Heidegger’s famous “turn” (Kehre) and realism. I begin with Heidegger’s critique of the problem of an external world, and I describe how this critique anticipates New Realism. I then provide a reconstruction of Heidegger’s self-critique of Being and Time, showing how this work (written before the turn) exhibits a higher-order antirealism. Next, I show how Heidegger’s turn is motivated by the inadequacy of this earlier anti-realism. In his philosophy of the event he moves towards a realist ontology by developing concepts such as “destiny” (Geschick), which he understands to be independent of human attitudes. Nevertheless, Heidegger ultimately falls back into an anti-realism, because Being still remains dependent upon the involvement of human beings. I therefore conclude this essay by briefly arguing for my own version of New Realism, according to which objects are meaningful in a way that is independent of our attitudes towards them.

Keywords: Heidegger, New Realism, turn, realism, anti-realism, objects, fields of sense

[Full Article PDF]