I’ve been reading Martin Heidegger since 2010. I am not a Heideggerian. I am closer to Husserl. Still, I think a handout on what Heidegger said can help those who are trying to get into his works. I’m also going to end with some criticisms of where Heidegger went wrong.
Being-There, not just Being
Trying to figure out what Heidegger meant by “being” is a nightmare. An easier angle is what he replaced it with. That might help us see some of his criticisms of “being.” Heidegger reads Heraclitus and Aristotle as saying that Logos = Being = Unity (49). Heidegger wants to challenge the idea that Being is the foundation of beings. The Tradition, which Heidegger will ultimately attack, says “Being” is the common property of “beings.”
It’s like this. I am a being. That seems fairly straightforward. You are a being. What we have in common is also “being.” What does that mean?
I am not going to say whether he was right or wrong. Okay, I think he is mistaken. I do think, though, this explains why he replaced Aristotle’s categories of Being with the “Existentials.” To dangerously oversimplify, I suggest that Heidegger isn’t interested in traditional discussions of being. Those are dead-ends. Rather, how would he reframe the discussion around “existence?”
- Care (i.e., being is being-with)
In authentic existence, on the other hand, is characterized by “anxiety” and “falling” and “fear.” I disagree with his rejection of traditional metaphysics, but he is quite perceptive here.
- Chatter. If “speech” is a good existential, then chatter is bad. I agree.
- Everyday Man (Das Man)
This is all quite fascinating. It’s inadequate, though. Missing, as Dallas Willard points out, is any discussion of consciousness or how consciousness relates to external objects. Some difficulties:
- How does Dasein actually work?
- Can you ultimately escape categorical thinking? Even Heidegger’s disciples like Dugin still refer to the “predicates” of Dasein’s existentials (Dugin 328).
- Where is consciousness? I’ve read and reread Being and Time. I might have missed where he discussed it.
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