Monday, February 18, 2008

Winter, Week 5 Meeting - Part III

Authenticity and Inauthenticity (§38)

We know that both authentic and inauthentic cases of dasein fall, and that authentic dasein is not outside of or above everydayness. To help us understand this, Jim likened fallen everydayness to a basketball game. Any human life whatsoever happens on the court; to stop playing would be, according to this metaphor, to cease to exist (to be dasein) entirely. So both authentic and inauthentic cases of dasein are playing basketball (fall into everydayness), and the difference between them will consist in how they do so (authenticity as an existentiell modification of everydayness). We suggested that inauthentic dasein might be thought of as playing basketball without knowing or caring about what it takes to win, while authentic dasein would be playing to win.

Heidegger will discuss authenticity (but not authentic falling) in more detail in the opening chapters of Division II. By way of anticipation, we suggested that authenticity involves some kind of struggling against das Man-ish ways of disclosing. But since this struggle cannot culminate in stepping outside of das Man and everydayness, it must rather result in something like taking responsibility for the ways in which one discloses. Heidegger will further elaborate this in terms of crisis moments in which we confront our finitude: Angst, death, and conscience.

In contrast, inauthenticity involves an unquestioning absorption in entities and going along with das Man and its disclosedness (idle talk, curiosity, ambiguity). But we noted that this need not look like an unreflective or passive life – as Heidegger says, falling drives dasein to “exaggerated ‘self-dissection’” (SZ178). Thus inauthenticity can include even the philosopher who spends his/her life writing and thinking about human nature.

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