, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 545-568
Date: 04 Nov 2010

Metontology, moral particularism, and the “art of existing:” a dialogue between Heidegger, Aristotle, and Bernard Williams

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Abstract

An important shift occurs in Martin Heidegger’s thinking one year after the publication of Being and Time, in the Appendix to the Metaphysical Foundations of Logic. The shift is from his project of fundamental ontology—which provides an existential analysis of human existence on an ontological level—to metontology. Metontology is a neologism that refers to the ontic sphere of human experience and to the regional ontologies that were excluded from Being and Time. It is within metontology, Heidegger states, that “the question of ethics may be raised for the first time.” This paper makes explicit both Heidegger’s argument for metontology, and the relation between metontology and ethics. In examining what he means by “the art of existing,” the paper argues that there is an ethical dimension to Heidegger’s thinking that corresponds to a moderate form of moral particularism. In order to justify this position, a comparative analysis is made between Heidegger, Aristotle, and Bernard Williams.