DATA INSPIRED

[Classic] #11. Martin Heidegger’s “Being and Time”

Martin Heidegger’s “Being and Time” is a philosophical masterpiece exploring the essence of human existence. Heidegger raises the question of being and analyzes the structure of Dasein as being-in-the-world. He explains Dasein’s authentic potentiality through temporality, defining the span between birth and death as vitality. This work deeply examines the relationship between being and time, presenting significant themes in modern philosophy

1. Introduction to the Author

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) was born in Messkirch, Baden, in southern Germany, and became a prominent philosopher. Known as one of the most influential figures in 20th-century philosophy, he worked as an assistant to Husserl at the University of Freiburg, where he developed his philosophical thinking. Heidegger is renowned for his research on ontology and phenomenology, with his major work “Being and Time” exploring the essence of human existence【61†source】 .

2. Background of the Work

“Being and Time” was published in 1927, although writing began around 1923. The book emerged in the context of post-World War I intellectual turmoil and questioned the traditional ontology of Western philosophy. Heidegger was concerned not only with the benefits of science and technology for humanity but also with their adverse effects. He believed that Western philosophy’s focus on humans and reason was misguided and sought to pose new questions about being【61†source】 .

3. Summary of the Work

3.1 Introduction: The Need and Methodology of the Question of Being Heidegger argues that the question of being has been the most fundamental and central question from the beginning of philosophy to the present day. However, the concept of “being” has been used so universally that it has become obscure and needs to be redefined. To do this, he employs phenomenology as a methodology. Heidegger’s phenomenology aims to interpret the essence of thought itself through the analysis of Dasein (being-there)【61†source】.

3.2 Part 1: The Preliminary Analysis of Dasein Heidegger analyzes Dasein as a preliminary step to elucidate the meaning of being. Dasein has the structure of being-in-the-world, which means how humans exist within the world. He explores the concepts of the world, the relationship with others, and the self to examine the essence of Dasein. Specifically, he defines the fundamental structure of Dasein as “care” (Sorge)【61†source】.

3.3 Part 2: Dasein and Temporality Heidegger investigates how the existence of Dasein is connected to temporality. He explains the authentic potentiality of Dasein’s existence through temporality and defines the span between birth and death as “life connection” or “vitality.” Temporality is the fundamental element that makes Dasein’s existence possible, and through this, he analyzes the authenticity and inauthenticity of Dasein. Heidegger differentiates between ordinary time and primordial time【61†source】 .

4. Key Concepts

4.1 Dasein Heidegger defines humans as ‘Dasein,’ which means beings who can question their own existence. Dasein exists in the world and constantly moves towards its possibilities, consisting of thrownness (Geworfenheit), facticity (Faktizität), and existence (Existenz)【61†source】 .

4.2 Care (Sorge) Care is the fundamental structure of Dasein, indicating how Dasein exists in the world in relation to other beings. Care manifests as concern, consideration, and solicitude. Dasein is always ahead of itself, already being in the world and constantly moving towards the future【61†source】 .

4.3 Temporality (Temporalität) Temporality is the foundational element that makes Dasein’s existence possible. Heidegger explains Dasein’s authentic potentiality through temporality, which appears in three modes: future, existence, and present. This represents how Dasein realizes its possibilities【61†source】 .

4.4 Being-towards-death (Sein zum Tode) Heidegger considers death essential for understanding Dasein’s entire existence. Death is the moment when Dasein faces its most unique possibility, fully comprehending its existence. Being-towards-death is how Dasein authentically understands its existence【61†source】 .

4.5 Authenticity and Inauthenticity (Eigentlichkeit und Uneigentlichkeit) Authenticity is when Dasein understands and chooses its existence on its own terms, whereas inauthenticity is when Dasein is defined by others. Heidegger argues that Dasein must overcome inauthenticity to understand its existence authentically【61†source】 .

5. Stages of Temporality

5.1 Anticipatory Resoluteness (Zukunft) Heidegger describes how Dasein moves towards its future possibilities through anticipatory resoluteness. This is the process where Dasein decides to realize its possibilities【61†source】 .

5.2 Ecstatic Temporality (Ekstatische Zeitlichkeit) Dasein’s temporality is ecstatic, meaning it understands its existence within the framework of space and time. Ecstatic temporality represents how Dasein understands and realizes its existence in time【61†source】 .

5.3 Historicity (Geschichtlichkeit) Heidegger explains the continuity and change of human existence through Dasein’s historicity. Historicity is how Dasein understands its entire existence, including its past and future【61†source】 .

5.4 Vulgar Time (Vulgäre Zeit) Vulgar time is how Dasein inauthentically understands temporality, aligning with the common concept of time. Heidegger emphasizes the importance of overcoming vulgar time to understand primordial time authentically【61†source】 .

6. Reflections

Heidegger’s “Being and Time” is a profound philosophical work that delves into the relationship between being and time. Although initially difficult to understand, it offers new perspectives on the essence of human existence through deep thought and reflection. The concepts of Dasein and temporality discussed in the work are crucial topics in modern philosophy【61†source】 .

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