Sources of Rationality - Heidegger on Freedom and Normative Constraint

October 21, 2015
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Tokyo

Komaba Campus


  • Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science


Wenjing Cai
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Morten S. Thaning
Copenhagen Busineness School


Kohji Ishihara
The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy
Rasmus Thybo Jensen
University of Tokyo

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Tokyo Workshop:

Sources of Rationality –

Heidegger on Freedom and Normative Constraint

Date: 21th of October 2015.

Place: University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus. Room to be announced.

Organizers: Dr. Rasmus Thybo Jensen and Dr. Kohji Ishihara.                               

(Department of History and Philosophy of Science)

In recent years a number of authors have engaged with Heidegger’s philosophy by placing it in the context of a broader, ongoing discussion concerning the nature of reasons (for judgement and for action) and the fundamental sources of normativity and rationality. In this workshop we focus on two texts by Heidegger that are particularly apt for bringing his thinking in contact with such ongoing discussions. The purpose of the workshop is to engage in detailed discussion of the issues at stake in these texts through a close reading of them. The contemporary debates will serve as a background for our discussion but our main focus will be on a critical engagement with the analyses, arguments and concepts present in the texts under scrutiny.

The two presenters

Dr. Wenjing Cai, Lecturer at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Philosophy, Philosophy.


Dr. Morten S. Thaning, Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy.



The two texts

  1. Heidegger, M., Being and Time, [Sein und Zeit], §§ 54-60. The chapter on conscience (Gewissen). Trans. Macquarrie and Robinson, Blackwell 1962.
  2. Heidegger, M., On the Essence of Human Freedom: An Introduction to Philosophy [Vom Wesen des menschlichen Freiheit. Einleitung in die Philosophie, Gesamtausgabe, Band 31],§§ 26-30. Trans. Ted Sadler, Continuum 2002

Some relevant background literature

Braver, Lee, 2012, Groundless Grounds – A Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, MIT Press.

Golob, Sacha, 2014, Heidegger on Concepts, Freedom and Normativity

Crowell, Steven, 2013, Normativity and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger, Cambridge University Press.

Schear, Joseph K. (ed.), 2013, Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World: The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate, Routledge.

Sebastian Rödl, 2007, Chap. 4 in Self-Consciousness, Harvard Uni. Press.

McDowell, John 2009, ‘Self-Determining Subjectivity and External Constraint’. In Having the World in View, Harvard University Press.

Korsgaard, Christine M., 1996, The Sources of Normativity, Cambridge University Press.


Practical information

The discussion will be based on the English translations of the two texts though if relevant some references to the original German version may occur. All participants will be given access to the texts prior to the workshop and it is expected that all have read the texts. Each session will begin with a short presentation by the invited speaker after which we will open up the discussion.

The workshop is open for all, but MA students, PhD students and Postdocs will be given priority if there is shortage of seats.

To sign up for the workshop please send an email to Rasmus Thybo Jensen before the ([email protected]) before the 13th of October, 2015. Please indicate whether you would like to participate in the workshop dinner and any dietary requirements.


Program (may be subject to changes)


10:30-12:30 Presenter: Morten S. Thaning (Copenhagen Business School).        Text: M. Heidegger, Being and Time [Sein und Zeit], §§ 54-60.

12:30-14.00 Lunch break

14:00-16.00 Presenter: Wenjing Cai (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

Text: M. Heidegger, On the Essence of Human Freedom: An Introduction to Philosophy [Vom Wesen des menschlichen Freiheit. Einleitung in die Philosophie,], §§ 26-30.

16.00-16.30 Break

16.30-18.00 Joint Discussion

19.00 Dinner


This workshop is (in part) supported by JSPS KAKENHI 26-04747

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October 11, 2015, 8:00pm JST

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