Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spring, Week 7 Meeting -- Part I

Where Are We?

We started out again by looking back over Being and Time as a whole, this time in order to situate Heidegger’s discussion of temporality within the context of his overarching philosophical project. We recalled that the goal of the book is to reawaken the question of the sense of being, and we pointed out that it’s debatable whether Heidegger’s ultimate intention is to answer that question or simply to explain how the question is intelligible and important to ask, whatever its answer turns out to be.

To achieve his goal, Heidegger first has to do fundamental ontology, and his discussion of temporality is the culmination of this intermittent step in the overarching argument. Fundamental ontology shows how any ontology (any understanding and meaningfulness of being) is possible at all, by explaining the origin of this possibility in terms of the being of dasein, the entity that understands being. It consists in an existential analytic of dasein, which is an interpretation of that entity’s being in terms of the articulated and unified ontological structure which makes it intelligible as the entity it is. This interpretation is phenomenological, which is to say it looks at our everyday, pre-thematic and pre-ontological understanding of being from a certain point of view, the view provided by the two ‘guiding clues’ or ‘formal indications’ Heidegger gives at the beginning of his treatise (in I.1): (1) the essence of dasein is its existence and (2) dasein’s being, which is always an issue for it, is in-each-case-mine [jemeinig]. These clues orient the phenomenological interpretation of being-in-the-world in terms of the ‘who’ of dasein, dasein’s world, and being-in (I.2-I.5), and Heidegger’s discussion of those structural moments bring dasein’s being into the fore-structure for the existential analytic’s phenomenological interpretation, as the structure of care (I.6). Heidegger finishes fleshing out the fore-structure by explaining how dasein is a whole and exists authentically in anticipatory resoluteness (II.1-II.3). This, however, is so far just the preparation for the interpretation, not the interpretation itself. Nate summed up this first part of Heidegger’s project by suggesting that the everyday understanding of being, the starting point for the existential analytic, already situates dasein’s being within the interpretation’s ‘fore-having,’ the formal indications provide the guiding point of view, or ‘fore-sight’ for the interpretation, and finally the care-structure—‘(who)-being-in-the-world’ construed as ‘ahead-of-itself–already-being-in (a world) as being-amidst (intraworldly entities)’—provides the articulated and unified structural phenomenon, or ‘fore-conception’ to be explained and grounded in the interpretation.

Fundamental ontology’s phenomenological interpretation culminates in the temporal interpretation of dasein’s being, which was our topic to read and discuss this week (II.3-II.4). Heidegger finishes preparing to reawaken the question of the sense of being by explaining how the care structure makes sense, in its articulation and its unity, in terms of time—not just any time, but what Heidegger calls ‘originary’ temporality. Heidegger’s discussion of temporality not only explains the structure of dasein’s being in terms of some peculiar temporal phenomenon, but also explains how our ordinary conception of time, as well as the time that structures our everyday existence in the world, arise as derivatives or modifications of this more primordial sense of temporality.

Finally, looking ahead, we saw that the temporal interpretation of dasein’s being would, in turn, somehow provide the basis for reawakening the question of the sense of being (II.5-(the unpublished) Division III), by explaining that upon which [das Woraufhin] dasein always projects and understands being (being, itself; being as such; being, in general).

No comments: