CONTEMPORARY PH?LOSOPY FINAL ASSIGNMENT HEIDEGGER ON BEING AND TEMPORALITY (CHANGE) 1).
For Heidegger, phenomenology becomes a method for addressing the most important question or the most forgotten question; which is the question of Being. Heidegger is heavily influenced by a classical reading of Greek philosophy as we see in Being and Time consistently referring back to the Greek philosophy especially about metaphysics. Heidegger is not writing a book on phenomenology. He is interested in the most important question for him; which is the question of Being and of course we know that the philosophy is concerned with lots of things but at the core philosophy is concerned with ‘what is’, ‘what it means to exist’ and ‘what it means for us to understand things in existence’. All of this ruminates around this concept of Being. I want to write a passage which is from before the introduction and I think it is sort of heart the text: ”For manifestly you have been aware of what you mean when you use the expression ‘being’. We, however, who used to think we understood it have now become perplexed. Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word ‘being’? Not at all.
So is it fitting that we should raise and do the question of the meaning of Being. But we but are we nowadays even perplexed at our inability to understand the expression ‘Being’? Not at all.” (BT 20) So we can see here he says that on the one hand we do not even understand the question of Being, what we mean by this term ‘Being’, but on the other hand we don’t even care. ”Our aim in the following treatise is to work out the question of the meaning of being and to do so concretely. Our provisional aim is the interpretation of time as the possible horizon for any understanding whatsoever of being. But the reasons for making this my aim, the investigations which such a purpose requires, and the path to its achievement, call for some introductory remarks.” (BT 20) So we can see that Heidegger was interested in the question of what being is and he doesn’t even think we even understand what being means or we even know how to ask the question of Being.
Really Being and Time is less about being and it’s about what it means to ask the question of the meaning of Being itself. The introduction begins with paragraph one which is ”the necessity for explicitly restating the question of Being” that just means question of being read being questioned and what he wants to say is that the question of Being is a forgotten question. Heidegger starts off by saying that the question of being is what is stimulating this ancient Greek research of Plato and Aristotle.
And at the core of both Plato and Aristotle is the question of what it means to be. The meaning of being is the question of what it means to be is the core of ancient Greek philosophy. But things are either worse than we realize for Heidegger because the original contribution of Greek philosophy he argues has actually sanctioned the neglect of the question of Being.
Everyone seems to use this term and they seem to understand what being means or as Heidegger would say. So it would seem we do not really know what we’re talking about though we have some sort of general intuition. We have some sort of provisional obscure average understanding but it is insufficient philosophically.
In section 2, Heidegger says ”In this way, that which the ancient philosophers found continually disturbing as something obscure and hidden has taken on a sort of clarity and self-evidence such that if anyone continues to ask about it he’s charged with an error of method.” (BT 21) So we sort of think that we know we have a handle on what existence in being means to the pointed. For instance, if you ask a philosopher they can rattle off a series of arguments. When we think about the use of existence and the use of being in that discussion in which it’s taken as self-evident what it means for things to exist, we see that philosophers are not really thinking about this question. All we really have is a ”clue” to the question of Being.
In the introduction of Being and Time Heidegger begins by sort of signifying we have this clue about what the question of Being is but let’s lay out what our prejudices regarding Being are. The first prejudice is the universal nature of Being. The first thing here is that Heidegger emphasizes that being is not a universal genus. When we lay out the distinction between genus and species, we see that the genius is always a higher category that subsumes particular individual categories. However, the idea here is that we say that Being is universal we do not mean that Being as a universal genus. We’re not talking about a category at all and this is the difficulty here.
For instance, Heidegger mentions that the Medievals refer to Being and they use the term ‘transcendence’. Of course to transcend is to go beyond and it’s important here to recognize that the Being goes beyond categorization itself. so being is not a categorical intuition as suc . In section number two the second major prejudice the Heidegger identifies is the indefinability of being.
It’s important to recognize that being is not an entity and this will become an important thing for us. When we talk about the existence of something the being of something, being in and of itself is not a something at all because every something is as something only in virtue of its having being or participating in being or are in some way being infused as a being. So, the being itself is not an entity so we’re not talking about a thing at all. Being is on the one hand, it’s not derived from some higher concept because it’s the most universal but analogically. Then on the second way, being is not presented through these lower concepts either, which means that we can’t uncover our concept of being by looking at some conceptual relations. So, a taxonomy of concepts or for instance a logical analysis of conceptual relations in terms will never give us insight into this problem of being. There is no definition of being in the ontical sense. The idea here is that when we talk about the indefinability of being, indefinability demands actually a thorough examination of being because what is a philosopher to do when a philosopher doesn’t understand something, it means that they should examine it even closer.
The third prejudice that Heidegger lays out regarding our inability to think about Being regards the self-evident nature of Being. When we talk about in our experience about things having actuality, it just seems that it’s self-evident. What’s important here is that the way in which we can comport ourselves towards Being. Think about the copula. A copula is a logical category which is the category for being. For the example ‘the sky is blue’ is the copula is a demarcation of being. The compartment towards entities always uses the concept of being and this presents us with what Heidegger calls an ”a priori enigma” that is enigma that comes before our experience itself. (BT 23) Paragraph 2 of the introduction concerns the formal structure of the question of Being.
Heidegger says is that ”every inquiry is a seeking (Suchen)” (BT 24). Every seeking is always guided by what is sought. That means that the question of being whatever it is , it’s a seeking after Being and it has to be guided by Being itself. Inquiry to inquire itself is a particular manner of Being for a Being that inquires. What we do know about Being is that Being determines the entities as entities so anything can be an entity everything. All of this is Being and we know that Being is what determines an entity as an entity so you can’t be an entity if you don’t have Being. There in an important concept of Heidegger’s the concept ”Dasein” which is an explicit reference of us. Heidegger writes ” This entity which each of us is is himself and which includes inquiring as one of the possibilities of Being, we shall denote by the term ‘Dasein’ ”.
What is ”Dasein” is the being for whom being is an issue, that means that all human beings who can ask the question of being and who can recognize our Dasein. So he’s talking about us Dasein is his term for the human. On the other hand, even though we’re nearest to Dasein because we’re Dasein we’re farthest from it ontologically because we’re comparing ourselves to the world, but we can use that as a way to understand the ontology of Dasein. He thinks the time temporality is the horizon is the condition of possibility by which Dasein is a being in the world. He says that ”time needs to be explicated primordiaIy as the horizon for the understanding of Being, and in terms of temporality as the Being of Dasein which understands Being.
” (BT 38) Being Dasein is the being for whom Being is an issue and that being of Dasein’s being at issue is time. So the structures of Dasein’s average everydayness will ultimately have to be contrasted against time. Dasein finds its meaning in temporality and temporality makes historicality possible. We are we grow up in a history.
We’re historical being which means that we’re thrown into the world and this is what is on the one hand organizing ourselves but we’re organizing ourselves in it as well.