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Unformatted text preview: (from: Being and Time , by Martin Heidegger, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Harper & Row, 1962) The Ontical Priority of the Question of Being Science in general may be defined as the totality established through an interconnection of true propositions. This definition is not complete, nor does it reach the meaning of science. As ways in which man behaves, sciences have the manner of Being which this entity—man himself— possesses. This entity we denote by the term “Dasein”. Scientific research is not the only manner of Being which this entity can have, nor is it the one which lies closest. Moreover, Dasein itself has a special distinctiveness as compared with other entities, and it is worth our while to bring this to view in a provisional way. Here our discussion must anticipate later analyses, in which our results will be authentically exhibited for the first time. Dasein is an entity which does not just occur among other entities. Rather it is ontically distinguished by the fact that, in its very Being, that Being is an issue for it. But in that case, this is a constitutive state of Dasein’s Being, and this implies that Dasein, in its Being, has a relationship towards that Being—a relationship which itself is one of Being. And this means further that there is some way in which Dasein understands itself in its Being, and that to some degree it does so explicitly. It is peculiar to this entity that with and through its Being, this Being is disclosed to it. Understanding of Being is itself a definite characteristic of Dasein’s Being. Dasein is ontically distinctive in that it is ontological. Here “Being-ontological” is not yet tantamount to “developing an ontology”. So if we should reserve the term “ontology” for that theoretical inquiry which is explicitly devoted to the meaning of entities, then what we have had in mind in speaking of Dasein’s “Being-ontological” is to be designated as something “pre-ontological”. It does not signify simply “being-ontical”, however, but rather “being in such a way that one has an understanding of Being”. That kind of Being towards which Dasein can comport itself in one way or another, and always does comport itself somehow, we call “existence” [ Existenz ]. And because we cannot define Dasein’s essence by citing a “what” of the kind that pertains to a subject- matter, and because its essence lies rather in the fact that in each case it has its Being to be, and has it as its own, we have chosen to designate this entity as “Dasein”, a term which is purely an expression of its Being. Dasein always understands itself in terms of its existence—in terms of a possibility of itself: to be itself or not itself. Dasein has either chosen these possibilities itself, or got itself into them, or grown up in them already. Only the particular Dasein decides its existence, whether it does so by taking hold or by neglecting. The question of existence never gets straightened out except through existing itself. never gets straightened out except through existing itself....
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This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 101 taught by Professor Simonoswitch during the Spring '10 term at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
- Spring '10