Being and Time (Heidegger)

In one sentence:  Being is always being-there. Heidegger is examining the question of the meaning of Being.  If we ask “What is Being?” we have already presumed some understanding of the meaning of being by our use of the word is in the question.  Heidegger lists three common answers:

Heidegger uses Husserl’s category of “intentionality.”  We are always intending-towards or -about something.  We don’t simply “think.” We think about something.  Consciousness is consciousness about something.  

There are different modes of intentionality.  We don’t simply “think.”  We are “involved” (what Heidegger called “care”). Heidegger shifted the discussion from the cognitive to the sub-cognitive level, from the head to the kardia.

Dasein manifests itself in falling, thrownness, and projection (329ff). Care–my being-in-the-world is wrapped up/alongside with others’ being-in-the-world.  I exist in the world within an already-existing-network-of-relations. (2) Thrownness: my Dasein in the world is already-in-a-definite-world.  This world has facticity.  Its boundaries are fluid. (3) Projection: we can only understand Dasein in terms of the world. You can’t transcend yourself to understand yourself.  You are finite. (4) Being-as-falling: this is the threat to being. Dasein has to face flux, uprootedness, and anxiety.

Death and Time

“Ahead-of-itself” = in Dasein there is always something still out-standing which has not yet become actual (279).  Death reveals this limit of Dasein.  Death is the end to which Dasein is thrown.  The possibility of death releases us from the illusions of the “they” (311).

Death reveals the contingency and flux of all that is.  Death manifests finitude.  Grasping this finitude “snatches one back from the endless multiplicity of possibilities…and brings Dasein into the simplicity of its fate” (435).

In the second section Heidegger revisits many of his main points in his analytic of Being (care, mood, falling, etc), but now he situates them within temporality.  If being is always a being-there, then it is always a being-there-in-time.  Temporality establishes our horizon.

In conclusion Heidegger is important because he shows how the truth found in Plato’s forms is manifested in everyday experience.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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