Arquivo para June 15th, 2021

What humanism are we talking about

15 Jun

It is common to establish a connection between ontology studies and the question of existence, the philosopher Paul Sartre did, but neither the ontological tradition of scholasticism nor Heidegger make this connection, the latter emphasized: “The main statement of existentialism has nothing in common with that statement of Being and time” (HEIDEGGER, 1996, p. 329).

In his 1947 Letter on Humanism, Heidegger states that what distinguishes man is his relationship with being and the way in which he protects being, and not insofar as he is defined as a being endowed with reason, he himself criticizes humanism, for him what there is is a forgetting of being, which is diagnosed in every western philosophical tradition, starting with Plato and extending to Nietzsche.

The theme of being characterized in Western thought, which has incipient roots in the pre-Socratics, since it predates “episteme”, is again taken up from Heidegger as a “fundamental ontology”, that is, with the possibility of questioning the be, and like this questioning, the humanism of every man.

It is necessary, while discussing ontology, to understand that Dasein, Heidegger’s being-there, is concerned with examining how the first, the original understanding of man in his very essence, takes place, even before the moment of formulating a theory or of having consciousness, theory arrives at a later time and consciousness gives after man’s opening to Being.

To understand what Heidegger characterizes as existence, one can read: What is metaphysics? (1929), which reads: “The word existence designates a way of being and, without a doubt, of the being of that being that is open to the opening of being, in which it is located, while sustaining it” (Heidegger, 1989, p .59).

Thus, the objective of the fundamental ontology of Being and Time is the being who is placed as a privileged being and who is able to question the being, who has an understanding of being [Seinsverständni], and this being is man, and from him what thought humanism.

It is true that there is a criticism of Peter Sloterdijk in “Rules for the human park: a response to letters about humanism”, which questions anthropocentrism, our relationship with nature.


Heidegger, M. (1989). Ser e Tempo Translation by Márcia de Sá Cavalcanti. Petropolis: Voices.

______. (1989) What is metaphysics? Translation by Ernildo Stein. São Paulo: Abril Cultural. (Os Pensadores collection).