and in such a way that the scientific character of philosophy becomes perspicuous. In the course of his negotiation of this demand, as I shall now argue, Heidegger works out an amalgamation of phenomenological reflection and interpretation that he denotes “hermeneutic intuition.”
Unprejudiced phenomenological description of what there is discovers tables, chairs, and books, not colors, shapes, and tones. Though this initial description of “the environmental” (das Umweltliche) shows no reliance upon a specifically reflective stance, Heidegger does not limit himself to such picture-book phenomenology. He goes on to identify an eidetic feature of the environmental—its “moment of significance” (GA 56/57:72)—that can be noted as such only if, while attending to what presents itself, I simultaneously attend to the way it presents itself. As Husserl would say, significance pertains to the mode of givenness of environmental things and becomes perspicuous as such only in reflection upon the experiencing of the experienced. Heidegger does not emphasize this reflection contained in his own description, however, for his interest is in the distinctive way significant things are “there”: “Living in an environing world [Umwelt], it is everywhere and always significant for me, all is worldly, it worlds [es weltet]” (GA 56/57:73). Heidegger’s neologism “es weltet” is meant to preserve the phenomenological primacy of significance in the face of the scientific—psychological and historical— approach to the Erlebnisse in which an interest in what is “really there” predominates, such that “the character of world is extinguished” (GA 56/57:73).10 This “theoretical” interest is what he warned against as the abyss or nothingness of “absolute Sachlichkeit.” In contrast, if phenomenological method is to fulfill its mission of providing access to the genuinely pregiven material, “this privilege of the theoretical must be broken—not, however, by proclaiming the primacy of the practical . . . but because the theoretical itself and as such refers back to something pretheoretical” (GA 56/57:59). Thus, the first methodological task is to clarify “the essence and meaning genesis of the theoretical” without falling victim to an unphilosophical pragmatism (GA 56/57:88).
This means that phenomenology cannot approach the environing world as something given, for “a given environing world is already conceived theoretically,” its lived texture is extinguished, reconceived as something that “stands before me.” The idea of givenness already involves “a quiet, barely apparent, yet certainly genuine theoretical reflection,” an objectifying categorial elaboration of the environing world, a product of the theoretical attitude (GA 56/57:88, 89). From here it is but a short step to the full-blown “de-worlding” (Ent-weltlichung) of the environing world that reduces it to a real thing. Primordial science can be concerned