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Heidegger, Misch, and the Origins of Philosophy


ERIC S. NELSON, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Specialties: Chinese philosophy, European philosophy. E-mail:


I explore how Heidegger and his successors interpret philosophy as an Occidental enterprise based on a particular understanding of history. In contrast to the dominant monistic paradigm, I return to the plural thinking of Dilthey and Misch, who interpret philosophy as a European and a global phenomenon. This reflects Dilthey's pluralistic understanding of historical life. Misch developed Dilthey's insight by demonstrating the multiple origins of philosophy as critical life-reflection in its Greek context and in the historical matrices of ancient India and China. Misch's approach to Confucius and Zhuangzi reveals a historically informed, interculturally sensitive, and critically oriented life-philosophy.