• Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    The aim of this thread is to discuss the contents of the book only and not to engage in conversation about the controversial nature of its author, Heidegger. If you are not reading the book, then please refrain from commenting here about how you think its a waste of time and either post it on this thread:
    -> Book club suggestion.. Being and Time; should we read it?
    or create a new thread altogether if you prefer.

    I will keep this first page updated with the reading aim for each week as it progresses and also try to keep it updated with a summary and a contents page so anyone who wishes to find discussion on a particular part in the thread may do so with more ease.

    However, I do understand that this may be difficult to maintain if people are commenting on older posts from previous weeks. So I must ask that if you wish to comment on an older post please make an effort to refer to which pages you are discussing at the top of the comment in bold, and keep this in mind when viewing the summary and contents below that I won't be able to take into account these rouge comments that may appear beyond the pages in the thread I suggest for each week.

    Otherwise, keep it civil and on point. And if possible keep the discussion specifically to the weeks targeted reading.

    *Important note*
    As there are probably many different versions of this book, I will not organise it by page number of the particular book I am reading, but rather by section title of the book and the Heidegger page reference which is usually found in the margin of the pages being read. This will hopefully overcome any issue with different books having different page numbers for each section, so please keep this in mind when referring to the summary and contents.

    Summary & contents:

    1. Week commencing 18th June -
    Introduction, Exposition of the Question of the Meaning of Being.
    I. The Necessity, Structure, and Priority of the Question of Being.
    (pp. H.2 - H.15) ~ [ thread pp. 1-# ]

    2. W/C 25th June -
    II. The Twofold Task in Working Out the Question of Being. Method and Design of Our Investigation.
    (pp. H.15 - H.40) ~ [ thread pp. #-# ]
  • Arne
    295
    Heidegger stuff
    Attachments
    Kelly - Order of lectures (75K)
    Kelly - Second paper topics (28K)
    Kelly - Supplementary Readings (25K)
    Kelly - Syllabus (38K)
    Kelly- Final paper topics (28K)
    Kelly - First paper topics (27K)
    Dreyfus Handout - Structural Elements of Being-In (34K)
    Dreyfus Handout - Stuff (41K)
    Dreyfus Handout - Transcendence (52K)
    Dreyfus Lecture Schedule (42K)
    Dreyfus Paper Topics I (67K)
    Dreyfus Paper Topics II (59K)
    Dreyfus Supplementary Reading (34K)
    Dreyfus Handout - 2 (51K)
    Dreyfus Handout - Formal Indication (52K)
    Dreyfus Handout - Modes of Being of Entities Other than Dasein (48K)
  • Arne
    295
    Assigned Reading
    Summary & contents:
    1. Week commencing 18th June -
    Introduction, Exposition of the Question of the Meaning of Being.
    I. The Necessity, Structure, and Priority of the Question of Being.

    M.Heidegger (1962). Being and Time, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK. (Tanslated by J.Macquarrie and E.Robinson). 590 p.

    Please note: there is no consensus regarding the capitalization of “Being” within the text of Being and Time. I capitalize it because the translators of my preferred edition do likewise and for their own reasons. FN1, p.20. It is best my citations conform to the edition I am using.

    Heidegger claims there has been no serious “investigation” into Being since Aristotle and philosophy “discourages” such investigations because (1) Being is resistant to definition, (2) everybody already understands what Being means anyways, and (3) continuing to ask about Being is simply a method of error. At p. 21. Heidegger sets out three numbered counter arguments corresponding to the above numbered claims and argues them with varying degrees of success. At 22-23. However, Heidegger ends each argument with a general claim and when all three general claims are considered together, such consideration explains in large part the enduring and mysterious draw of Being and Time.

    Being is resistant to definition. Essentially, Heidegger concedes that being is resistant to definition for the reasons generally advanced since Aristotle, i.e., “[t]he 'universality' of Being 'transcends' any universality of genus.” At 22. However, Heidegger concludes (without argument) by claiming that because Being is the most universal concept, this does not mean “that it is the one which is clearest or that it needs no further discussion. It is rather the darkest of all.” At 23. Emphasis added.

    Being as indefinable. Heidegger concedes the indefinability of Being within the accepted logical/ontological paradigm. Ibid. But he points out for reasons unstated the paradigm’s method of defining entities is “quite justifiable” within “certain limits.” Ibid. However, Heidegger concludes (without argument) that “the indefinability of Being does not eliminate the question of its meaning”. At 23. Emphasis added. Clearly, Heidegger does not consider definition to be a synonym for meaning.

    Being as self-evident. Heidegger concedes the self-evident nature of Being. “Whenever one cognizes anything or makes an assertion . . . some use is made of 'Being'; and this expression is held to be intelligible 'without further ado'”. Ibid. However, Heidegger characterizes this intelligibility as “an average kind of intelligibility” that still leaves a deeper understanding of Being “veiled in darkness” but that this average intelligibility does establish that “we already live in an understanding of Being.” Ibid. Emphasis added.

    Considered together, the above claims suggest that Heidegger is in pursuit of the meaning of the darkest of concepts and that the understanding of such concept is a place in which we already reside.

    Welcome to Being and Time.

    That is all for now.
  • waarala
    11


    Dasein is human b e i n g somewhere, sometime?
  • bloodninja
    268
    Dasein is the unique being that characterizes human beings existentially. By contrast, how we are characterised in a present at hand way (Kant, Descartes, for example) would be as subjects. Heidegger is not interested in this latter level of being since he sees "present at hand" as basically derived from a more primordial level (being), the level (being) of existentiality, in other words the level of dasein (being). I think the whole of Being and Time is an analysis of what it means to be Dasein, so we cannot really know what it is without first reading the book. However I think he formally indicates what he means somewhere in the intros. Crucially important to his analysis of dasein is the aspect of mineness. From this he develops his concepts of authenticity (or anticipatory resoluteness) and its opposite the they or the one.
  • unenlightened
    2.6k
    Dasein is the unique being that characterizes human beings existentially.bloodninja

    The kind of thing that thinks it is the kind of thing it thinks it is?
  • Arne
    295
    you are an instance of Dasein. In contrast to philosophy before him, Heidegger identifies three modes of being (1) present to hand, (2) ready to hand, and (3) existence. Dasein is the name Heidegger gives to that being whose mode of being is "existence."
  • frank
    1.4k
    And what is the special meaning of "existence" here?
  • Ole'T
    10
    @bloodninja@unenlightened@René Descartes@frank@Arne

    Another way to approach Dasein is to think about Heidegger's technical language, 'Formal Indication'. It references the fact that Dasein has mere indications of what things are disclosed to it (Truth is a-lethia, it is first closed off and the primary act of Dasein is disclosing being).

    Heidegger calls us Da-sein, Being-Here, to escape the philosophical baggage of the subject or human and say what we are in the most cautious way. It's best not to over think it beyond that at this point.
  • bloodninja
    268
    Good question. Exist has the meaning of a thrown projection for Heidegger. It is rather complicated what is involved in a thrown projection, however. I think another way to say it is to say that dasein, through its thrown projection, is an act or event of sense making, perhaps. I think what I'm here calling sense making is what Heidegger describes as a disclosure of being.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    W/C 18th June:
    Introduction, Exposition of the Question of the Meaning of Being.
    I.The Necessity, Structure, and Priority of the Question of Being.

    Reference: M. Heidegger, Being & Time, Trans. By J.Macquarrie, & E. Robinson, (Oxford: Blackwells Pub., 1962), pp. 21 - 35

    ----------------------------------------------------------------


    ¶1. The Necessity for Explicitly Restating the Question of Being

    • The question of being is fundamental and contributed to motiving ancient greek enquiry
    • It was once confronted with great seriousness and has since been trivialised.
    • 'Being' is considered undefinable and said to be understood through common sense.
    • Attempts to understand the concept are said to be superfluous and unnecessary, it was therefore neglected
    • The assumptions that lead to such conclusions are not at first obvious (but does say they have ancient ontological roots).

      _________
    • Three presuppositions about the meaning of Being:
      1. ---v
    • 'Being' is the 'most universal' concept. The understanding is said to be given intuitively with the experience of entities (things with being).
    • It is not a simple case of categorisation such as genus or class but is somewhat transcendental in relation to them, existing 'beyond' the traditional method of categorisation of entities.
    • An understanding of this concept has been left in darkness and neglected.
      2. ---v
    • As a result of the concept 'Being' having a universality to its nature, this leads to it being referred to justifiably as indefinable.
    • 'Being' should not be thought of as an entity itself.
    • This still presents a problem as it means we cannot rely on traditional logic or ontology to understand its meaning through a standard definition (a great observation pointed out by @Arne above: Heidegger doesn't appear to see 'meaning' and 'definition' as synonymous to one another),
    • However, we must still attempt to understand that elusive meaning by confronting the question itself ,which is what may give rise to the problem in the first place.
      3. ---v
    • 'Being' is said to be given as self evident or as obvious when it is experienced; in the same manner that it is experienced as obvious that 'the sky is blue'.
    • However, this only goes to shows this understanding as unintelligible.
    • The fact we are somewhat 'born into' an understanding of the concept, and yet its meaning is still hidden from us, is reason enough to suggest that this requires further enquiry.
      _________

    • Simply saying that the meaning is self-evident should be considered a suspect resolution to the problem.
    • Not only is the question of 'Being' unanswered, but the question itself is unclear and is in need of enquiry. In other words, we must question the question and better formulate it before we can explore any possibility of its answers


    ¶2. The Formal Structure of the Question of Being

    • If the question is to be considered fundamental, it must be set out in a clear manner.
    • So first, we must explain what makes a question a question, from which we can show how, when applied to an attempt at understanding the notion of 'Being', this is to be considered a unique inquiry.
    • inquiry is the behaviour of an entity (the one asking the question) and this process can be broken into parts: a) that which is asked about; b) that which is interrogated; c) within part.(a) there is also that which is to be found out by the asking.
    • When formulating the question of 'Being', we need to take into account these parts (or 'structural items' as Heidegger puts it) with relation to this particular question, in order to achieve the desired clarity (transparency).
    • When searching for something, the search itself is guided by that which is being searched for. (if you are looking for something that flies you will look up; if you look for cutlery you will open draws; etc) from this he concludes that the meaning of 'Being' must somehow be available to us.
    • The phenomena of the fluctuating and unclear nature of the meaning of being is something which is itself an experience; one which sits at the end of the tongue while it is present and defies being put into words. This phenomenal experience is itself something which needs to be clarified.
    • The obscurity of the current and average understanding of 'Being' may be caused by underlying historical beliefs about the nature of 'Being' which have been inherited and become peripheral.
    • He puts emphasis on the fact that the 'Being' of entities is not an entity itself. This lends to the idea that it needs to be seen as something unique. Completely other than anything considered an entity.
    • This requires that any method used to approach an understanding of it must also be unique, and not the same as approach towards entities.
    • With regards to the above mentioned parts of an inquiry Heidegger briefly points out the following:
      a. that which is asked about - is 'Being' itself (which is the Being of entities)
      b. that which is interrogated - are the entities themselves
    • regarding (b), there are many things which are considered entities (or things which have 'Being') and in many different senses, as it lies in the fact that something is. For example: 'what we are is being; and so is how we are'.
    • MH asks: Which entity (if any in particular) should take priority in the search for the meaning of
      'Being'? Where should we look in particular to find our answers?
    • Makes his first reference to "Dasein. Translates to "Being-there" and is namely the "entity which each of us is himself and which includes inquiring as one of the possibilities of its Being".
    • There appears to be a circularity in wanting to formulate the question of Being when one has to define it 'in its Being' first; but Heidegger denies this is a problem, as "One can determine the nature of entities in their Being without necessarily having the explicit concept of the meaning of Being at one's disposal." **His justification for this (which follows from end of H.7 to the end of ¶2, is quite confusing and not very clear**
    • Announces the possible primacy of Dasein as the Being which must first be explored in order to tackle this inquiry.

    ¶3 will follow as a separate comment.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966


    Sweet little summary of ¶1. great first contribution to the thread :D



    Dasein is directly translated as 'There-Being'. And he says, mid way through H.7 (or p.27 in the book referenced in my above summary comment) the following:
    That it is the"entity which each of us is himself and which includes inquiring as one of the possibilities of its Being".

    So it seems to be linked to "The Being" which is able to question its Being. This appears to be reasonable ground to set it aside from all other things which have Being. And so to point out the unique nature of this particular entity, he gives it it's own signification as Dasein.

    Can anyone confirm if I have that right or not?

    @frank, I think the special meaning of 'existence' is as i've explained in the sentences before this one in my reply to René.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    Ok so this is directed to anyone and everyone.

    Can we discuss the problem of potential circularity? Which begins at the end of H.7 and continues towards the end of ¶2. I find this the hardest part to get my head around.

    its from the pages of the following reference:
    M. Heidegger, Being & Time, Trans. By J.Macquarrie, & E. Robinson, (Oxford: Blackwells Pub., 1962), pp. 27-28

    He say's, I quote:

    Is there not, however, a manifest circularity in such an undertaking? If we must first define an entity in its Being, and if we want to formulate the question of Being only on this basis, what is this but going in a circle? In working out our question, have we not 'presupposed' something which only the answer can bring? Formal objections such as the argument about 'circular reasoning', which can easily be cited at any time in the study of first principles, are always sterile when one is considering concrete ways of investigating. When it comes to understanding the matter at hand, they carry no weight and keep us from penetrating into the field of study.

    What does he mean by this? and by what follows in the paragraphs which come after this?

    is anyone able to offer a better summary of this which might make it clearer than how Heidegger explains the problem of circularity not being a problem?

    @fdrake, @Arne, @tim wood, and everyone else that might be willing to help here?
  • waarala
    11


    Heidegger thinks that it is something like logical or formal pedantry to see here "circular reasoning"? Here where "presupposing" means something entirely different than in axiomatic deductive reasoning.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966

    what is "logical or formal pedantry"?

    Here where "presupposing" means something entirely different than in axiomatic deductive reasoning.waarala

    what does it mean if not that then?

    thanks for responding.
  • fdrake
    1.3k


    Have you ever sat down and tried to express your understanding of an idea? Like 'freedom' or 'justice', 'democracy', 'infinity' or something like that. I've tried it a few times. What usually happens is that I end up reacting to what I write initially, developing the idea through exegesis of what I've already written.

    What I write in this exploratory style usually ends up considering things in a different way, highlighting different things and finding new relevant themes at the same time as discarding irrelevancies and remedying confusions.

    This is quite similar to Heidegger's method. He sets a goal for himself - the question of the meaning of being - and attempts to answer it with a recursive exegesis.

    One important thing to remember about how Heidegger sees what he's doing is to ask the right questions, questions that allow what he's studying to show itself as itself. Perhaps this is unclear, so a demonstrative example like 'democracy' might work.

    Imagine we start with the framing that 'democracy' is the form of political organisation where people are afforded political control in proportion to their spending power. This correlates quite well with how democracy works in much of the world. And we could look at the conceptual and real relations of political ideas and political actors to see how this plays out; like analysing lobbying, neoliberalism, the invisible hand and the 'free-market-place of ideas'.

    Unfortunately though, that would start off in confusion. If democracy is posited as political control in proportion to spending power then all the analysis of democracy of an idea falls short of its usual conception; the thing shared by 'one person one vote' and 'the common ownership and benefit of the commons' and 'no taxation without representation' and things like that. If I started off with the analysis of those maxims rather than looking at spending power I'd've ended up with a much better answer even while following the same method.

    The trick here is to keep your nose pointed in the direction of the phenomena, not just on how you're thinking of the phenomena. To see stuff as it reveals its nature.

    Heidegger's not really producing formal logical arguments with his method, it's really an exploration of ideas and real stuff and ways of framing them.

    Presupposition works like framing an issue in order to ask questions about it, rather than 'assume that P=>Q, now what if P?'.

    If you pay close attention to how people actually write arguments and present philosophical ideas, you'll probably see that they're actually much closer to Heidegger style methods than the usual framing of what 'rational argument' actually is.
  • fdrake
    1.3k
    Another way of putting it is that Heidegger is trying to render the connections between things intelligible, so we can see them for ourselves. If this doesn't sound like a particularly well developed philosophical method - it shouldn't, it doesn't have the trappings of syllogism and proposition. It's really just a narrative that's attentive to the details of the studied topic (hence all the manoeuvring around the idea of 'taking ... as a theme'.).

    If you think of it as primarily exegetical/expository/exploratory and the implications of the exposition give the narrative its argumentative/demonstrative components, that gets at the rough idea outside of the initially debilitating vocabulary.

    You can also think of his introduction of technical terms without prior definition as part of this. He's indicating that he's going to be expositing a certain structure by giving it a suggestive name and situating it (framing the issues!) in a milieu (of phenomena) he sees as natural.

    He also has technical terms for aspects of the milieu, like existentiell (the pre-theoretic self understanding we have), existentialia (intrinsic components of Dasein) and categories (intrinsic components of objects). And has overarching technical terms which orient his thinking - like the distinction between the ontic (regarding entities) and the ontological (regarding being).

    The weird way he uses existence is an another example, only Dasein exists; this isn't solipsistic, of course there's more than just us here, it's really there to guide the formation of a distinction between humans and other entities that exhibits the real distinction between them.

    So, a lot of the work in the introductions is setting things up so he can talk about it later, expositing the meanings of the terms he enlists. If you read on and read back it gets clearer. Use post it notes.

    Another fun exercise is to think of whether and how Heidegger's framing is leaving relevant things out...
  • Corvus
    83
    Ok so this is directed to anyone and everyone.

    Can we discuss the problem of potential circularity? Which begins at the end of H.7 and continues towards the end of ¶2. I find this the hardest part to get my head around.

    its from the pages of the following reference:
    M. Heidegger, Being & Time, Trans. By J.Macquarrie, & E. Robinson, (Oxford: Blackwells Pub., 1962), pp. 27-28

    He say's, I quote:

    Is there not, however, a manifest circularity in such an undertaking? If we must first define an entity in its Being, and if we want to formulate the question of Being only on this basis, what is this but going in a circle? In working out our question, have we not 'presupposed' something which only the answer can bring? Formal objections such as the argument about 'circular reasoning', which can easily be cited at any time in the study of first principles, are always sterile when one is considering concrete ways of investigating. When it comes to understanding the matter at hand, they carry no weight and keep us from penetrating into the field of study.


    What does he mean by this? and by what follows in the paragraphs which come after this?

    is anyone able to offer a better summary of this which might make it clearer than how Heidegger explains the problem of circularity not being a problem?
    Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I was thinking that he could mean that human are the only beings who look into his own self. So he reflects his life, destiny and death. Circular reason sounds like the reason which looks within, reasoning about the reasoning itself.
  • tim wood
    1.1k
    Circular reason sounds like the reason which looks within, reasoning about the reasoning itself.Corvus

    "Circular" is an illusion of viewpoint. More accurate is the notion of hermeneutic spiral. You know something, or think you know something, about something. You work with what you've got, and return to the problem with a renewed and improved understanding, and again, and again. Hermeneutics originally referred to a "taking counsel with." Spiral, as compared with circle, is an accurate image in the sense that circular is not.
  • frank
    1.4k
    Circular reason sounds like the reason which looks within, reasoning about the reasoning itself.Corvus

    I was looking at this quote:

    "Such ‘presupposing’ has nothing to do with laying down an axiom from which a sequence of propositions is deductively derived. It is quite impossible for there to be any ‘circular argument’ in formulating the question about the meaning of Being; for in answering this question, the issue is not one of grounding something by such a derivation; it is rather one of laying bare the grounds for it and exhibiting them.(2) In the question of the meaning of Being there is no ‘circular reasoning’ but rather a remarkable ‘relatedness backward or forward’ which what we are asking about (Being) bears to the inquiry itself as a mode of Being of an entity."

    So since we're asking about ourselves, we have the answers already. We just need to bring those answers into the light of day.

    The back and forth is that we propose an answer and then check to see if that really rings true and then repeat.

    Is that right?
  • Corvus
    83
    "Circular" is an illusion of viewpoint. More accurate is the notion of hermeneutic spiral. You know something, or think you know something, about something. You work with what you've got, and return to the problem with a renewed and improved understanding, and again, and again. Hermeneutics originally referred to a "taking counsel with." Spiral, as compared with circle, is an accurate image in the sense that circular is not.tim wood

    I will read about the notion of hermeneutic spiral, ponder about it, and get back to you.
  • Corvus
    83
    So since we're asking about ourselves, we have the answers already. We just need to bring those answers into the light of day.

    The back and forth is that we propose an answer and then check to see if that really rings true and then repeat.

    Is that right?
    frank

    I am not sure, if we have the answers already. Do we? For instance, do we know about our origin, fate, and our death even if no matter how many times we repeat asking about these questions?

    I don't think Being in here is just about physical extension of us in space and time. We are talking about being as Dasein, which looks into inwards. The answers are not really clear if not totally unavailable.
  • frank
    1.4k
    I don't think Dasein is about looking inward exactly. It implies unity between subject and environment. You never make an entrance into the world. You're just always there.

    I think Witt claimed that the topic is beyond language. H forges ahead anyway.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966


    I think you’re right-ish. He is moving forward from the foundation of Husserl to a large degree and so he is taking a phenomenalogical approach. I think In order to reach his conception of Dasein he will have enacted the epoché, and the phenomenological reduction, in order to reach the state of mind required to grasp the conception.

    It’s a disregarding of any question on how things exist, so a neglect of ontological debate, and then to focus on the pure stream of phenomenal experience. Once one has ‘hacked’ into the Husserlian phenomenological perspective, one is then to describe the experiences rather than explain them. This is then supposed to open up the structure of consciousness for philosophical exploration. Dasein seems to me to be a result of this adopting of a particular mindset introduced to Heidegger by his teacher Husserl, the founder of Phenomenology.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    For more information on Husserl’s method read this article:

    https://www.iep.utm.edu/phen-red/

    I especially recommend it if you haven’t already been exposed to Husserl’s work before.

    If you don’t have time to read it all, just skip to section 5.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966


    The Hermanautical spiral sounds very interesting, and possibly a solution to a few other problems i’ve been struggling with. Thanks for mentioning it. I’ll check it out.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966


    Thank you for the detailed response! I’m gonna read through it soon and will respond if I have any further questions.

    You’re a legend.
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