295 §48. Objections and Answers

other hand, have been held to entail necessary and universal obligation inasmuch as every rational agent found himself bound by them through his natural constitution—in whatever way this may have been construed. Whether philosophers located their source in a divine intellect or in practical reason, these were the norms capable of 'in-forming' human conduct and of guaranteeing virtue. If, now, by 'formal' one wishes to address such an imprint of an intelligible ought on sensible matter, these norms depend again on the epochal principles: not on this or that particular one of them, bu t upon their trail from Plato onward, since they are what has brought us such distinctions as those between sensible and intelligible, matter and form. But if by 'formal' one wishes merely to address the set of traits according to which men have in fact acted—traits which are generalizable beyond the epochs toward a possible transition—then these traits have their source not in the original, but in the originary. They are born from the self-differentiation of presencing, which is to say that they are no longer norms but rules.

Practical anarchy, then, requires n o other method than the one that has produced the categohes of presencing. Their identity results from the Parmenidean formulations in Heidegger according to which 'thinking' and 'presencing'—noein and phuein (einai)—are one and the same event. The formal identity of traits for thinking and norms for acting is also in keeping with what has been said above of moral evil: "If there is anything in thinking that can prevent men from doing evil, it must be some property inherent in the activity itself."21 It follows that the categorization of Ereignis indicates at least the contours of a possible deduction of rules for action. What would the status of these practical categories be—categories which, for lack of any basis in Heidegger, I will refrain from hypothesizing? Their status would be exactly the same as that of the categories of presencing: read phenomenologically as an ensemble of regulating features that structure Western history. Their formalization would make it possible to escape moral relativism without, however, fantasizing yet again a human nature, a reason occupied by invariable laws with which to govern sensibility and instincts, and an "irrevocable morality" imposing itself on everything—as the anarchist Saurin put it," following Kant—through logic alone. The unity in the 'destiny of presencing' makes it impossible for action to follow paths significantly deviant from the fundamental prospective, retrospective and transitional traits. In this unity of transcendental formalization we hold with Kant for whom the moral law did not require a special deduction since in his Critique of Practical Reason he could presuppose the general structure of transcendental arguments.23 Furthermore, the practical incidence of the categories--0f which Heidegger (against Kant, this time) says nothing, be it only to avoid any new dichotomy between theory and practice—confirms that anarchy means absence of rule, but not absence of rules .

Nor do the anarchic displacements spelled out above amount to deriving once more a praxology from an ontology. If the traits that determine action


Reiner Schürmann - Heidegger On Being and Acting