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Subject Philosophy

People Heidegger, Martin

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631190950.1999.x


In Greek a horos was a ‘boundary, limit, frontier, border; landmark; definition [of a word]’. It gaves rise to horizein , ‘to divide or separate as a boundary; to mark out boundaries, limit; to appoint, settle, define, etc.’ Ho horizōn (kuklos) , ‘the separating (circle)’, was ‘the horizon’, a term used not only in optics and astronomy, but also for the boundary of human knowledge. This boundary is finite at any given time, but it can be extended indefinitely, since we can always conceive of a standpoint enabling us to transcend the current boundary of our knowledge. Husserl speaks of (der) Horizont in his account of perception. We do not perceive a solid object all at once, only an aspect of it. The potential perceptions of all the aspects of the object constitute its ‘inner horizon’. An object is related to other objects, and these to further objects. This is the object's ‘outer horizon’, which is indefinitely extendible and embraces the whole ōrld. In Heidegger, a horizon is dissociated from sense-perception (XXVI, 269). It is usually a vantage point from which one can view certain matters, ask and answer appropriate questions about them. If we want to ask about the distinction between nature and history, or between the the natural and the social sciences, we cannot adopt the ‘horizon’ of the natural sciences or that of the social sciences. We must find a vantage point ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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