Being and Time (German: Sein und Zeit) is the 1927 magnum opus of German philosopher Martin Heidegger and a key document of existentialism. Being and Time is among the most influential texts of 20th century philosophy. It had a notable impact on subsequent philosophy, literary theory and many other fields. Though controversial, its stature in intellectual history has been compared with works by Kant and Hegel. The book attempts to revive ontology through an analysis of Dasein, or "being-in-the-world." It is also noted for an array of neologisms and complex language, as well as an extended treatment of "authenticity" as a means to grasp and confront the unique and finite possibilities of the individual.

Being and Time
Cover of the first edition
AuthorMartin Heidegger
Original titleSein und Zeit
Translator1962: John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson
1996: Joan Stambaugh
Published1927 (in German)
1962: SCM Press
1996: State University of New York Press
2008: Harper Perennial Modern Thought
Pages589 (Macquarrie and Robinson translation)
482 (Stambaugh translation)
ISBN0-631-19770-2 (Blackwell edition)
978-1-4384-3276-2 (State University of New York Press edition)
Followed byKant and the Problem of Metaphysics 

Background edit

Richard Wolin notes that the work "implicitly adopted the critique of mass society” epitomized earlier by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.[1] "Elitist complaints about the "dictatorship of public opinion" were common currency to the German mandarins of the twenties," according to J. Habermas (1989).[2] Wolin writes that Being and Time is "suffused by a sensibility derived from secularized Protestantism” and its stress on original sin. The human condition is portrayed as "essentially a curse.”[1] Wolin cites the work's extended emphasis on “emotionally laden concepts” like guilt, conscience, angst and death.

The book is likened to a secularized version of Martin Luther's project, which aimed to turn Christian theology back to an earlier and more “original” phase. Taking this view, John D. Caputo notes that Heidegger made a systematic study of Luther in the 1920s after training for 10 years as a Catholic theologian.[3] Similarly, Hubert Dreyfus likens Division II of the volume to a secularized version of Kierkegaard's Christianity.[4] Almost all central concepts of Being and Time are derived from Augustine, Luther, and Kierkegaard, according to Christian Lotz.[5]

The critic George Steiner argues that Being and Time is a product of the crisis of German culture following Germany's defeat in World War I. In this respect Steiner compared it to Ernst Bloch's The Spirit of Utopia (1918), Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West (1918), Franz Rosenzweig's The Star of Redemption (1921), Karl Barth's The Epistle to the Romans (1922), and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (1925).[6]

In terms of structure, Being and Time consists of the lengthy two-part introduction, followed by Division One, the "Preparatory Fundamental Analysis of Dasein," and Division Two, "Dasein and Temporality.” Heidegger originally planned to write a separate, second volume but quickly abandoned the project. The unwritten “second half” was to include a critique of Western philosophy.[7]

Summary edit

Dasein edit

Being and Time explicitly rejects Descartes' notion of the human being as a subjective spectator of objects, according to Marcella Horrigan-Kelly (et al.).[8] The book instead holds that both subject and object are inseparable. In presenting the subject, "being" as inseparable from the objective "world," Heidegger introduced the term “Dasein” (literally being there), intended to embody a ‘‘living being’’ through their activity of ‘’being there” and “being in the world” (Horrigan-Kelly).[8] Understood as a unitary phenomenon rather than a contingent, additive combination, being-in-the-world is an essential characteristic of Dasein, according to Michael Wheeler (2011).[9]

Heidegger's account of Dasein passes through an analysis of Angst, "the Nothing" and mortality, and of the structure of "Care" as such. He then defines "authenticity," as a means to grasp and confront the finite possibilities of Dasein. Moreover, Dasein is "the being that will give access to the question of the meaning of Being," according to Heidegger.[10]

Being edit

The work claims that ordinary and even mundane "being-in-the-world" provides "access to the meaning, or 'sense of being.' [Sinn des Seins]." This access via Dasein is also that "in terms of which something becomes intelligible as something."[11] This meaning would then elucidate ordinary "prescientific" understanding, which precedes abstract ways of knowing, such as logic or theory.[12]

Heidegger's concept of Being is metaphorical, according to Richard Rorty, who agrees with Heidegger that there is no "hidden power" called Being. Heidegger emphasizes that no particular understanding of Being (nor of Dasein) is to be valued over another, according to an account of Rorty's analysis by Edward Grippe.[13] This supposed "non-linguistic, pre-cognitive access" to the meaning of Being didn't underscore any particular, preferred narrative.

Thomas Sheehan and Mark Wrathall each separately assert that commentators' emphasis on the term "Being" is misplaced, and that Heidegger's central focus was never on "Being" as such. Wrathall wrote (2011) that Heidegger's elaborate concept of "unconcealment" was his central, life-long focus, while Sheehan (2015) proposed that the philosopher's prime focus was on that which "brings about being as a givenness of entities.")[14][15] Being and Time actually offers "no sense of how we might answer the question of being as such," writes Simon Critchley in a nine-part blog commentary on the work for The Guardian (2009). The book instead provides "an answer to the question of what it means to be human" (Critchley).[16] Nonetheless, Heidegger does present the concept: "'Being' is not something like a being but is rather "what determines beings as beings."[17]

Time edit

Heidegger believes that time finds its meaning in death, according to Michael Kelley. That is, time is understood only from a finite or mortal vantage. Dasein's fundamental characteristic and mode of "being-in-the-world" is temporal: Having been "thrown" into a world implies a "pastness" in its being. "The present is the nodal moment which makes past and future intelligible," writes Lilian Alweiss.[18] Dasein occupies itself with the present tasks required by goals it has projected on the future.[19]

Dasein as an intertwined subject/object cannot be separated from its objective "historicality," a concept Heidegger credits in the text to Wilhelm Dilthey. Dasein is "stretched along" temporally between birth and death, and thrown into its world; into its future possibilities which Dasein is charged with assuming. Dasein's access to this world and these possibilities is always via a history and a tradition—or "world historicality".

Methodologies edit

Phenomenology edit

Heidegger's mentor Edmund Husserl developed a method of analysis called "phenomenological reduction" or "bracketing," that emphasized primordial experience as its key element. Husserl used this method to define the structures of consciousness and show how they are directed at both real and ideal objects within the world.[20]

Being and Time employs this method but purportedly modifies Husserl's subjectivist tendencies. Whereas Husserl conceived humans as constituted by consciousness, Heidegger countered that consciousness is peripheral to Dasein, which cannot be reduced to consciousness. Consciousness is thus an "effect" rather than a determinant of existence. By shifting the priority from consciousness (psychology) to existence (ontology), Heidegger altered the subsequent direction of phenomenology.

But Being and Time misrepresented its phenomenology as a departure from methods established earlier by Husserl, according to Daniel O. Dahlstrom.[21] In this vein, Robert J. Dostal asserts that "if we do not see how much it is the case that Husserlian phenomenology provides the framework for Heidegger's approach," then it's impossible to exactly understand Being and Time.[22]

On publication in 1927, Being and Time bore a dedication to Husserl, who beginning a decade earlier, championed Heidegger's work, and helped him secure the retiring Husserl's chair in Philosophy at the University of Freiburg in 1928.[23][24] Because Husserl was Jewish, in 1941 Heidegger, then a member of the Nazi Party, agreed to remove the dedication from Being and Time (restored in 1953 edition).[25]: 253–258 

Hermeneutics edit

Being and Time employed the "hermeneutic circle" as a method of analysis or structure for ideas. According to Susann M. Laverty (2003), Heidegger's circle moves from the parts of experience to the whole of experience and back and forth again and again to increase the depth of engagement and understanding. Laverty writes (Kvale 1996), "This spiraling through a hermeneutic circle ends when one has reached a place of sensible meaning, free of inner contradictions, for the moment."[26]

The hermeneutic circle and certain theories concerning history in Being and Time are acknowledged within the text to rely on the writings of Wilhelm Dilthey.[27] The technique was later employed in the writings of Jürgen Habermas, per "Influence and reception" below.

Destructuring edit

In Being and Time Heidegger briefly refutes the philosophy of René Descartes (in an exercise he called "destructuring"), but the second volume, intended as a Destruktion of Western philosophy, was never written. Heidegger sought to explain how theoretical knowledge came to be seen, incorrectly in his view, as fundamental to being. This explanation takes the form of a destructuring (Destruktion) of the philosophical tradition, an interpretative strategy that reveals the fundamental experience of being hidden within the theoretical attitude of the metaphysics of presence.[28]: 11–13 

In later works, while becoming less systematic and more obscure than in Being and Time, Heidegger turns to the exegesis of historical texts, especially those of Presocratic philosophers, but also of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Plato, Nietzsche, and Hölderlin, among others.[29]: 24 

Influence and reception edit

Upon its publication, reviewers credited Heidegger with "brilliance" and "genius".[30] The book was later seen as the "most influential version of existential philosophy."[31] Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism (of 1943) has been described as merely "a version of Being and Time".[32] The work also influenced other philosophers of Sartre's generation,[33] and exerted a notable influence on French philosophy.[34]

Heidegger's work influenced the output of the Frankfurt School including Jürgen Habermas's hermeneutics and Herbert Marcuse's early and abortive attempt to develop "Heideggerian Marxism."[35][36] Theodore Adorno, in his 1964 book The Jargon of Authenticity, was critical of Heidegger's popularity in post-war Western Europe. Adorno accused Heidegger of evading ethical judgment by disingenuously presenting "authenticity" as a value-free, technical term—rather than a positive doctrine of the good life.[37] Heidegger influenced psychoanalysis through Jacques Lacan as well as Medard Boss and others.[38] Paul Celan, in his essays on poetic theory, incorporated some of Heidegger's ideas.[39] Being and Time also separately influenced Alain Badiou's work Being and Event (1988),[33] and also separately the enactivist approach to cognition theory.[40][41]

Bertrand Russell was dismissive of Being and Time ("One cannot help suspecting that language is here running riot"), and the analytic philosopher A. J. Ayer outright called Heidegger a charlatan. But the American philosopher Richard Rorty ranked Heidegger among the important philosophers of the twentieth century, including John Dewey and Ludwig Wittgenstein.[42] The conservative British writer Roger Scruton called (2002) Being and Time a "description of a private spiritual journey" rather than genuine philosophy.[43] But Stephen Houlgate (1999) compares Heidegger's achievements in Being and Time to those of Kant and Hegel.[44] Simon Critchley (2009) writes that it is impossible to understand developments in continental philosophy after Heidegger without understanding Being and Time.[45]

Related work edit

Being and Time is the major achievement of Heidegger's early career, but he produced other important works during this period:

  • The publication in 1992 of the early lecture course, Platon: Sophistes (Plato's Sophist, 1924), made clear the way in which Heidegger's reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics was crucial to the formulation of the thought expressed in Being and Time.
  • The lecture course, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs (History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena, 1925), was something like an early version of Being and Time.[46]
  • The lecture courses immediately following the publication of Being and Time, such as Die Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie (The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, 1927), and Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik (Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, 1929), elaborated some elements of the destruction of metaphysics which Heidegger intended to pursue in the unwritten second part of Being and Time.

Although Heidegger did not complete the project outlined in Being and Time, later works explicitly addressed the themes and concepts of Being and Time. Most important among the works which do so are the following:

  • Heidegger's inaugural lecture upon his return to Freiburg, "Was ist Metaphysik?" (What Is Metaphysics?, 1929), was an important and influential clarification of what Heidegger meant by being, non-being, and nothingness.
  • Einführung in die Metaphysik (An Introduction to Metaphysics), a lecture course delivered in 1935, is identified by Heidegger, in his preface to the seventh German edition of Being and Time, as relevant to the concerns which the second half of the book would have addressed.
  • Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (Contributions to Philosophy [From Enowning], composed 1936–38, published 1989), a sustained attempt at reckoning with the legacy of Being and Time.
  • Zeit und Sein (Time and Being),[47][48] a lecture delivered at the University of Freiburg on January 31, 1962. This was Heidegger's most direct confrontation with Being and Time. It was followed by a seminar on the lecture, which took place at Todtnauberg on September 11–13, 1962, a summary of which was written by Alfred Guzzoni.[n 1] Both the lecture and the summary of the seminar are included in Zur Sache des Denkens (1969; translated as On Time and Being [New York: Harper & Row, 1972]).

See also edit

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "There is put to the thinking of Being the task of thinking Being in such a way that oblivion essentially belongs to it."—Alfred Guzzoni, 1972, p. 29

Citations edit

  1. ^ a b Wolin, R., "Martin Heidegger—German philosopher", Encyclopædia Britannica, November 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Habermas, Jürgen, and John McCumber. “Work and Weltanschauung: The Heidegger Controversy from a German Perspective.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 15, no. 2, The University of Chicago Press, 1989, pp. 431–56
  3. ^ Caputo, John D. (1978). The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought, Ohio University Press
  4. ^ Dreyfus, H. L. (1991). Being-in-the-world: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, División I, MIT Press
  5. ^ Luther’s influence on Heidegger. Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation, ed. Mark A. Lamport and George Thomas Kurian, London: Rowman & Littlefield 2017
  6. ^ Steiner, George (1991). Martin Heidegger. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. vii–viii. ISBN 0-226-77232-2.
  7. ^ Sein und Zeit, pp. 39–40.
  8. ^ a b Understanding the Key Tenets of Heidegger’s Philosophy for Interpretive Phenomenological Research Marcella Horrigan-Kelly , Michelle Millar , and Maura Dowling, International Journal of Qualitative Methods January–December 2016: 1–8
  9. ^ Wheeler, Michael (12 October 2011). "Martin Heidegger".
  10. ^ Glendinning, S., ed., The Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), p. 154.
  11. ^ "aus dem her etwas als etwas verständlich wird," Sein und Zeit, p. 151.
  12. ^ Sein und Zeit, p. 12.
  13. ^ Grippe, Edward, Richard Rorty (1931—2007) Internet Encyclopedia
  14. ^ Wrathall, Mark: Heidegger and Unconcealment: Truth, Language, and History, Cambridge University Press, 2011
  15. ^ see also, Sheehan, "Making sense of Heidegger. A paradigm shift." New Heidegger Research. London (England) 2015.
  16. ^ Critchley, S., "Heidegger's Being and Time, part 8: Temporality", The Guardian, July 27, 2009.
  17. ^ "...das Sein, das, was Seiendes als Seiendes bestimmt, das, woraufhin Seiendes, mag es wie immer erörtert werden, je schon verstanden ist,"Sein und Zeit, p. 6.
  18. ^ Alweiss, L., "Heidegger and 'the concept of time'", History of the Human Sciences, Vol. 15, Nr. 3, 2002.
  19. ^ Kelley, M., "Phenomenology and Time-Consciousness", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  20. ^ On the Logical Investigations, see Zahavi, Dan; Stjernfelt, Frederik, eds. (2002), One Hundred Years of Phenomenology (Husserl's Logical Investigations Revisited), Dordrecht / Boston / London: Kluwer; and Mohanty, Jitendra Nath, ed. (1977), Readings on Edmund Husserl's Logical Investigations, Den Haag: Nijhoff
  21. ^ Daniel O. Dahlstrom, "Heidegger's Critique of Husserl", in Theodore Kisiel & John van Buren (eds.), Reading Heidegger from the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), p. 244.
  22. ^ Robert J. Dostal, "Time and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger", in Charles Guignon (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 142.
  23. ^ Seyla Benhabib, The Reluctant Modernism Of Hannah Arendt (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003, p. 120.)
  24. ^ "Martin Heidegger Essay ⋆ Criminal Justice Essay Examples ⋆ EssayEmpire". EssayEmpire. 2017-05-29. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  25. ^ Rüdiger Safranski, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil (Cambridge, Mass., & London: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp. 253–258.
  26. ^ Laverty, Susann M. (2003). "Hermeneutic Phenomenology and Phenomenology: A Comparison of Historical and Methodological Considerations". International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 2 (3): 21–35. doi:10.1177/160940690300200303. S2CID 145728698.
  27. ^ Scharff, Robert C. (January 1997). "Heidegger's "Appropriation" of Dilthey before Being and Time". Journal of the History of Philosophy. 35 (1). Johns Hopkins University Press: 105–128. doi:10.1353/hph.1997.0021. S2CID 96473379. Retrieved September 19, 2020. In a word, I think the record shows that the Dilthey appropriation taught the young Heidegger how to philosophize.[127]
  28. ^ Diefenbach, K., Farris, S. R., Kirn, G., & Thomas, P., eds., Encountering Althusser: Politics and Materialism in Contemporary Radical Thought (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 11–13.
  29. ^ Korab-Karpowicz, W. J., The Presocratics in the Thought of Martin Heidegger (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Edition, 2017), p. 24.
  30. ^ Schmidt, Dennis J.; Heidegger, Martin (2010). Being and Time. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. xv, xviii. ISBN 978-1-4384-3276-2.
  31. ^ Wagner, Helmut R. (1983). Phenomenology of Consciousness and Sociology of the Life-world: An Introductory Study. Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press. p. 214. ISBN 0-88864-032-3.
  32. ^ Steiner, George (1991). Martin Heidegger. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-226-77232-2.
  33. ^ a b Scruton, Roger (2016). Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left. London: Bloomsbury. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-4729-3595-3.
  34. ^ Scruton, Roger (2016). Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left. London: Bloomsbury. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-4729-3595-3.
  35. ^ Lafont, Cristina (2018). "Heidegger and the Frankfurt School". The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School. pp. 282–294. doi:10.4324/9780429443374-20. ISBN 9780429443374. S2CID 186944412.
  36. ^ Benhabib, Seyla; Marcuse, Herbert (1987). Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. xxxii, x, xl. ISBN 0-262-13221-4.
  37. ^ Gerry Stahl boundary 2 Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter, 1975), pp. 489-498 (10 pages)
  38. ^ Lacan, Jacques (2006) [1953]. Fink, Bruce (ed.). "The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis". Ecrits: The First Complete Edition in English. New York: W. W. Norton & Company: 262, 792.
  39. ^ Anderson, Mark M. (1991). "The "Impossibility of Poetry": Celan and Heidegger in France". New German Critique (53): 3–18. doi:10.2307/488241. JSTOR 488241.
  40. ^ Ward, Dave & Stapleton, Mog (2012). Es are good. Cognition as enacted, embodied, embedded, affective and extended. In Fabio Paglieri (ed.), Consciousness in Interaction: The role of the natural and social context in shaping consciousness.
  41. ^ Stendera, Marilyn (2015). Being-in-the-world, Temporality and Autopoiesis. _Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy_ 24:261–284.
  42. ^ Watts, Michael (2012). "Preface". The Philosophy of Heidegger. pp. vii–ix. doi:10.1017/UPO9781844652655.001. ISBN 9781844652655.
  43. ^ Scruton, Roger (2002). A Short History of Modern Philosophy. London: Routledge. pp. 269–271, 274. ISBN 0-415-26763-3.
  44. ^ Houlgate, Stephen (1999). The Hegel Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. p. ix. ISBN 0-631-20347-8.
  45. ^ Critchley, Simon (8 June 2009). "Being and Time, part 1: Why Heidegger Matters". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  46. ^ Kisiel, T., The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1995), p. 568.
  47. ^ Heidegger, Martin (2002). "Time and Being". On Time and Being. Translated by Joan Stambaugh. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-32375-7.
  48. ^ Næss, Arne D. E. "Martin Heidegger's Later philosophy". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 28, 2013.

Bibliography edit

Primary literature
Secondary literature

External links edit