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Being and Time
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Heidegger > What does Heidegger mean by “being ”?

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message 1: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
being is not itself something that exists: it is neither one entity among others, nor the totality of entities ( das Seiende ), nor a property of entities. The difference between being and entities is what Heidegger, soon after writing Being and Time , calls the “ontological difference ” (GA 24: 22) -Taylor Carman


message 2: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
What H is NOT investigating

since being is not an entity, Heidegger is not primarily interested in the central question of traditional ontology : what is there? Are there forms and universals or only particulars? Does God exist? Is there such a thing as substance or are there only properties? Is the mind physical? Do we have free will? Are we and everything else ultimately will to power? These are metaphysical questions; they are questions about entities, not about being.


message 3: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
NOT metaphysics either

Heidegger also distinguishes the question of being from what he later calls “the fundamental question of metaphysics,” namely, why is there something rather than nothing? (GA 40: ch. 1)


message 4: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
The closest Heidegger comes to a definition is to say that being is that in virtue of which entities are entities; it is what makes (in a noncausal sense of “makes”) entities entities.


message 5: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Being is neither an entity nor the totality of entities nor a property of entities. It is simply what we understand in our understanding of being, what we know when we know – however tacitly and obscurely – that entities are, and (more or less) what they are. In Heidegger’s words, being is “that which defines entities as entities, that on the basis of which entities . . . are in each case already understood”

*Sigh.*


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments So is he saying that an example of an entity would be our body, while being is that nearly ungraspable stuff that we alternately call consciousness or mind?


message 7: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "So is he saying that an example of an entity would be our body, while being is that nearly ungraspable stuff that we alternately call consciousness or mind?"

I think you’re right. A body is an entity, and so is a rock.

But being is ... what *is.* Like something Stephen Dedalus’s Latin-speaking hat would say: “Bah! It is because it is. Woman’s reason. Jewgreek is greekjew.”

I don’t know if Joyce read Heidegger (they are contemporaries), maybe it’s something in the air, but it turns out Heidegger studied Plato/ Aristotle to “uncover” three “meanings” of “being” — Greek, Christian, and modern. It is as though Joyce and Heidegger were working on the same set, but Joyce in novel form. (I think Joyce was also uncovering something older than Catholicism in order to bring Ulysses “home.”)

Anyway, it turns out, the meaning of “meaning” is probably the emphasized part of the question. Being human is not like being a rock, because humans are self-aware, understand their existence, and take care of stuff (self, each other, business.) And how they understand what it means to *be* human itself is the meaning of being, Aristotle writing out Nicomachean Ethics is case in point:

According to Aristotle, being human means to have logos . While he has logos, his primal way of being is to behold (noein ). As beholding living beings, humans collect entities in their being and discover the sense and meaning of being . This beholding unfolds itself into 5 different ways that each experience senses in different ways and thus opens up different regions of being :

nous (pure beholding),
sophia (authentic inspective understanding ),
phronesis (solicitous circumspection ),
techne (productive working procedure),
episteme (inspectional demonstrative determination).

Now we can take a step back. Greek, Christian, and modern ways of life are all possible ways of being human (Dasein ).



message 8: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Jul 21, 2018 04:27PM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments So:

Would nous be something like understanding there is an entity in front of you;

and Sophia understanding that that entity is a chair;

and phronesis understanding the comfort that such a chair might provide:

and techne the understanding how to find or make something to sit on;

and episteme imparting this knowledge to someone else?

I'm just playing along. If it's annoying, let me know.


message 9: by Lia (last edited Jul 22, 2018 09:18AM) (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
You can be my favorite gadfly, Bryan :p

0695916_C_44_F2_4_F3_E_B312_EECDD5550959

Please stay and play :-)

We’re only dealing with self-understanding here. And Aristotle’s entry requirement seems to be movement. Since chairs can’t move themselves, can’t apprehend their “chairhood,” we’ll probably have to start with humans.

The rest is complicated. Heidegger puts a gloss on Aristotle’s divisions, his interpretation of some intellectual virtues also seems to come with an ethical dimension that’s not implied in Aristotle’s, and some of that interpretive twists seem significant — such as Heidegger’s concept of techne, which seems to have implication on how he sees human experience in modern society as amplifying the tool-aspect, the know-how, the mindless repetition, the focus on efficiency etc. I don’t understand/ haven’t read enough to really discuss that yet, I hope you’ll stick around to talk me through this.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments Lia wrote: "You can be my favorite gadfly, Bryan :p





Please stay and play :-)

We’re only dealing with self-understanding here. And Aristotle’s entry requirement seems to be movement. Since chairs can’t ..."


Well, I'm just playing devil's advocate--you're doing all the heavy lifting with the readings you've picked out. I have trouble making sense of the Wikipedia article on Heidegger, let alone the unadulterated stuff. Though you do make me interested. The first time I run across Being and Time at library sale for 50 cents, I won't even think twice. Pop! in the cart.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments Okay, so I did a miniscule amount of research on your terms, and I see where I was way off.

Nous is more like understanding you are capable of understanding, right?

Sophia: A fire will keep you warm if you are cold

Phronesis--build a fire if you are cold

Techne--how to build a fire

Episteme--the thing inside us that realizes the connection between the action of building the fire and getting warmth

is that closer? Or am I still way off?


message 12: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
I like this. I feel like we got lost in one of Plato’s dialogues and we’re about to become ridiculous. Keep in mind I’m just as blind and lost here.

So, to clarify, recall Aristotle is revealing proper human functions and virtues in a treatise that is ostensibly about how to build a “good” human (well, Greek citizen.)

Clearly we are talking about human capacities, human modes of experiencing, so you’re not wrong to think up examples of how humans get through life, by using tools, chairs, fire etc. Heidegger certainly talks about various modes of interacting with objects already in the world. But the actual focus here is human “apprehending” human — seeing, envisioning, perceiving, understanding — what it means to be a good human, not what to do with fire. It’s this extraordinary capacity for “SELF” understanding that makes us Dasein, a special kind of being unlike rocks and chair and fire. Note this “self” is not self-enclosed, it’s inherently also an understanding of being a human in the world that interacts with other humans, the city, and objects, and strangers etc.

Nicomachean Ethics in great complexity describes how different parts of intellectual virtues coordinate with other non-intellectual virtues (aka character virtues) to strike some kind of balance with some kind of “target” in mind (to move us to act etc). Heidegger is specifically working with Aristotle’s understanding of human “virtues” (closer to “function” than anything moralizing in Aristotle’s usage.) And how that Greek self-understanding “covered up” the original Christian self-understanding. At any rate, we the modern are completely buried by scientific mode of thinking, so then it requires great labour to uncover, to reveal, other modes of existence.

Back to Heidegger interpreting Aristotle’s 5 divisions — Some examples of what we are looking at: “All human beings by nature desire to know," Says Aristotle in Metaphysics. But Heidegger translates “knowing” as “seeing,” and holding that vision in one’s mind seems to be his idea of “nous”. But I might be confused, that might be techne>.

So Homer was able to envision society and the whole world in war and in peace on Achilles’ shield; but he said god made the shield and he only let the shield reveal itself to him, he’s not figuring it out, he’s beholding, seeing what’s already out there, already inherently part of the world.

Odysseus took risks just to satisfy his needs to “see” evilium (Penelope’s accusation,) to see the Cyclopes for himself, or to see (well, hear) the Sirens. I THINK that is techne (which makes Odysseus a poet), not because he’s crafty in his meters, but because he held the vision of Cyclopes and Hades and what not in his mind when he made his poems, just like a builder is a builder not because he’s good with a hammer, but because he holds the specific knowledge of what a house should look like and he’s moving around with that vision in mind.

I’m still very confused myself, I’ll post some text to clarify as I read them.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments Well, if nothing else, I'm giving you a chance to practice your explanation skills.

I did read Nicomachean Ethics, though I doubt I got anything more than a superficial understanding of them. I understood what he was saying, but maybe not so much his fundamental reason for advancing this particular set of ethics.


message 14: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Cheeses cries, Heidegger, WUT?!?!

Dasein is a being that does not simply occur among other beings. Rather it is ontically distinguished by the fact that in its being this being is concerned about its very being. Thus it is constitutive of the being of Dasein to have, in its very being, a relation of being to this being.



message 15: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "Well, if nothing else, I'm giving you a chance to practice your explanation skills.

You are, thank you.

BTW, you’ve got another book loitering on your shelf, History of Sexuality, that’s a relative of Heidegger’s B&T. Why wait for the next library sale when you can start with what you have now...


message 16: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Jul 23, 2018 06:08PM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments Lia wrote: "Thus it is constitutive of the being of Dasein to have, in its very being, a relation of being to this being. ..."

Besides the fact that this can look a little ridiculous, I think H was trying to get across the idea that some people are self aware enough to recognized their relationship with their being. Some people aren't.

Or maybe that people are the only things capable of having Dasein. Although I work with a lot of folks for whom I would question that.

That's my take on it.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments Lia wrote: "Why wait for the next library sale when you can start with what you have now... ..."

Ha! My wife says that all the time.


message 18: by Lia (last edited Jul 23, 2018 06:15PM) (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "think H was trying to get across the idea that some people are self aware enough to recognized their relationship with their being. Some people aren't. "

I think you’re right about self-awareness, we are an anxious lot that are aware of social norms and aware when we deviate and aware what possibilities we have in this kind of community, etc etc, and we take care of our relationship with ourselves, our identity, our tools, our community, our world.

It seems Heidegger thinks we (humans, or at least, Dasein) are all like that: being rational doesn’t make us essentially human, being political doesn’t make us essentially human, being made in god’s image doesn’t make us uniquely human — we constantly self-interpret our individual essence and that makes us Dasein. (One wonders what Heidegger would say about people with mental disabilities that are incapable of that kind of social awareness. Are they not Dasein?)

At least that’s what I think he’s saying, but I’m also thinking maybe he’s trolling.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 50 comments Lia wrote: "but I’m also thinking maybe he’s trolling..."

That's true--he could have putting us all on, and then sitting back and watching us all scurrying around trying to figure out the being of the being's being. Kind of like a Marx Brothers' routine..."The party of the first part..."


message 20: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
“Every living being, insofar as it lives, has a world, which is not true of non-living beings. Every living being is oriented toward something that it directs itself toward, that it avoids, and so forth; in an indeterminate manner, certainly. Thus we can grasp protozoa and living beings in general only indirectly, by analogy, proceeding from ourselves. But through the fact that it uncovers a world, the being of this being is itself uncovered. It knows about itself, if only in the most dulled and broadest sense. With the uncoveredness of the world, it itself is uncovered to itself.”

Heidegger GA22 summer semester of 1926


message 21: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
H transformed the question of Being as “truthing,” i.e., as the temporal opening of all beings.

Capobianco follows Heidegger’s reading of the history of philosophy and the development of his own thought until the early 1970s to show how Heidegger then understood Being itself as the clearing, as the event, and how he invites his readers to think about the truth of Being—or Being as truth—in a new and still largely underappreciated way. HQOB Heidegger's Question of Being: Daesin, Truth, and History


message 22: by Lia (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
According to Heidegger, the difference between being and beings is the most essential difference of all...

in the course of his work, he rethinks this difference fundamentally, recognizing its at times ambivalent sense and even insisting on the need to abandon various versions of it... this rethinking plays a crucial role in his attempts to clarify what he dubs the basic question (Grundfrage), a question that calls for a different, non-metaphysical sort of thinking.
Daniel Dahlstrom


message 23: by Lia (last edited Jul 24, 2018 03:07PM) (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
The Question: what it means to say that something, indeed, anything exists (and what’s wrong with traditional / ancient ontology)

In the 1920s Heidegger saw this question as the basic question of ontology. Thus, in Being and Time he defines ontology as the science of the being of beings. However, he faults ontologies for being “naïve and lacking transparency” if they fail to address the question of the sense of being in general. Without mentioning the ontological difference by name, Heidegger invokes the difference between being and beings in an effort to motivate his fundamental ontology, aimed at determining the sense of being. Since being, far from being something free-floating or existing by itself, is always the being of some entity, some particular being, it is necessary to begin with the investigation of the manner of being of one particular sort of entity.

source: Rethinking Difference, Daniel Dahlstrom


message 24: by Lia (last edited Jul 24, 2018 05:10PM) (new) - added it

Lia | 522 comments Mod
Being with a capital B, what is THAT about?

The word being, when it stands for the substantive das Sein, may sometimes have to be distinguished from a gerund or a present participle that belongs to the sentence construction. English is exceptional in that it does not have a noun form of the infinitive to be, a peculiarity that can lead to confusion and obscurity when the to be is the main theme of the inquiry. Many philosophical works try to overcome this difficulty by spelling the gerund with a capital letter: Being. This practice, unfortunately, can lead to another confusion: the mere sight of the word Being suggests the divine Being, when what is meant is simply the humble to be. - A Guide to Heidegger’s Being and Time by Magda King,


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