Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring, Week 1 Meeting -- Part II

Others and Dasein

We first recalled the analysis of 'others' in I.4. The idea was to prepare to understand what it would be for dasein to die by contrasting this with something more familiar, but distinct: what it is for others to die. Others, Prof. Haugeland argued, are intraworldly entities, just like equipment – and indeed, the discussion of others in I.4 can be seen to have a structure that is neatly parallel to the discussion of the ready-to-hand in I.3. Since others, like equipment, are entities that show up within the world 'cleared' or 'opened' by dasein's disclosedness, others are not dasein. Furthermore, Prof. Haugeland argued, we should not read ‘others’ [die Anderen] as ‘every other person but me,’ since the role of ‘another’ is one that, in each case, I myself can play (particularly when my existence is public). When I call someone on the telephone, for example, my use of the phone and my ways of greeting and conversing are for the most part the same as others’ – I dial the string of numbers, I begin with “Hello,” etc. ‘Others,’ then, are people (myself included). If others are people and others are not dasein, then dasein is neither identical to, nor coextensive with, people. Thus, the death of others – the death of people – is not the death of dasein. To understand what it is for dasein to die, we need to look at phenomena different than those associated with the demise of persons (more about ‘demise’ in the next section). And this makes sense, given what we know so far of Prof. Haugeland’s understanding of ‘dasein’ – if dasein is a way of life that embodies or incorporates an understanding of being, then the death of a way of life or an understanding of being tout court would seem to be something different than the demise of some one case of dasein who understands being.

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