Recently I’ve been prompted to reflect upon my dual specialization in the Continental and American philosophical traditions, e.g. “Euro-American” philosophy, given some research projects I’ve just completed. In that line of thought and given the topics I was researching I came to consider my 2009 dissertation on C.S. Peirce, F.W.J. Schelling, and Martin Heidegger, and how it sent me on a comparative trajectory – specifically in looking at possibility’s concept and mode – as well as possibility’s importance in attaining lines of religious insight as afforded by experiences of beauty within the natural world.
When I mention that my dissertation included a comparison of Heidegger and Peirce, usually I am met with puzzled looks. However, if it weren’t for the dissertation written by David Jerimiah Higgins, “Possibility in Peirce and Heidegger: A Propaedeutic for Synthesis” (1969), I don’t think I would have thought to reap the benefits of such a comparison. I certainly wouldn’t have been sent down the road of process-theology or panentheistic philosophy of religion and nature, in particular by way of Schelling, given how important Schelling was for both Heidegger and Peirce.
Higgin’s dissertation was such a crucial document for me. At the time, the faculty who I wished to be my dissertation director was more or less “hit or miss,” sometimes in his office and sometimes not – sometimes informative and sometimes not, sometimes helpful and sometimes not, and so on. By chance I had taken a seminar on C.S. Peirce and came to be interested in the Peirce-Schelling connection (German idealism being very much influential for Peirce as well as for American Transcendentalism and pragmatism generally) and thus I came to find a new prospect for my dissertation director. Had I stuck with my original choice for dissertation director I don't think I would have ever finished the Ph.D.
Over twelve years later from time to time I still contemplate Schelling's massive importance for both C.S. Peirce and Martin Heidegger, and still do believe Schelling is the "key" in comprehensively grasping a panentheistic metaphysics of nature - especially when the aesthetic is taken to be its crowning achievement.
If you have an interest in Heidegger and have any interest in C.S. Peirce at all (or perhaps even the American pragmatists) then by all means do check out this dissertation. It’s informative and provocative, and like I said – it was of crucial importance for me and my own intellectual development. It contains some supremely excellent insights into a very rare comparison of two first rate philosophers, and may be of some help to something related you may be working on in your own research. Link HERE.