Monday, March 3, 2008

Winter, Week 8 Meeting - Part I

Care (§39, §41, §42)

In the first hour of the meeting, we put together all of the concepts that Heidegger has used to illuminate dasein’s being throughout Division I of BT. We began with an overview of Division I thus far: Heidegger aims to reawaken the question of the meaning of being (Introduction), and proceeds through an analysis of dasein’s being (the existential analytic) because dasein is the entity that understands being (I.1). Since dasein’s basic constitution of being is being-in-the-world (I.2), Heidegger analyses world (I.3), the ‘who’ (I.4) and being-in as such (I.5). Now, in I.6, the task is grasp the unity of dasein’s being, which Heidegger calls ‘care.

To demonstrate and understand this unity, we produced the following chart, which collects most of the major concepts that Heidegger has introduced (click the chart to see it full-size):

We noted the following thing about Heidegger’s (ridiculously) hyphenated version of ‘care’ (“ahead-of-itself-being-already-in(-the-world) as being-amidst (encountering, intraworldly entities))”: The ‘as’ in that formulation signifies that dasein’s being—its disclosedness, its being the ‘there,’ its understanding of being, its existence, its being-in-the-world—must happen through its dealings with particular entities, that is, through its everyday, fallen being-in (in the same way that a basketball game must happen through particular plays, players and equipment). This parallels something we noted in describing the structure of dasein’s disclosedness, following Haugeland, as a coin, with ‘being-in’ being the metal of which ‘the who’ and ‘the world’ are sides: To be dasein is to be-in, to be-amidst, to be-with, to relate to entities; and being a self and having a world are not separate entities or events from this being-in, they are rather two aspects of it, two ways of bringing it into view.
We also recalled that dasein’s comportment toward entities as entities involves both (1) comporting toward (or discovering) entities as entities, having entities encounter it or show up to it in their being, which is ontic-ontological, and (2) disclosing being, which happens on the ontological level. Accordingly, the second and third columns of the chart reflect the ontological level of dasein’s disclosedness and of care, while the right-most column reflects the ontic-ontological level, and being-in-the-world as a whole happens through these two basic structural aspects together.

We also noticed that it is relatively easy to see how these three dimensions will map onto time, although Heidegger will be appealing to a conception of time radically unlike our ordinary one.

We wondered why Heidegger calls this structure ‘care’ – particularly given that he rejects many of the ordinary connotations of ‘care’ as inappropriate. We suggested that ‘care’ refers to something like ‘taking life seriously.’ Even if a case of dasein leads an ironic life or is a carefree slacker, they still take their ironic or slacker lifestyle seriously. The slacker is invested in being a slacker, and guides his life in terms of slacker-values. So ‘care’ is supposed to capture the fact that human life always occurs as immersed and invested, and is never first of all a matter of a neutral subject confronting an objective world.


kate said...

Hey guys,
Note that this post (particularly the chart), may undergo some minor modification in the near future. Nate and I are currently disputing whether to characterise the far right column, or Dasein's being-amidst-entities, as ontic or as ontico-ontological. As you may suspect, this is a relatively high-order discussion. Since it is very interesting and important to us to get it right, we're going to take our time sorting it out. So the chart and the explanation are a little in flux, but don't worry: nothing will change all that dramatically.

nikhil said...

If it isn't too much to ask, and if the time is available and all of that, would you consider putting the substance/results of that discussion into the comments?

kate said...

That's a great idea! We'll write up a summary of our discussion and post it sometime during the break.