Analysis

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Being and Time is arguably Martin Heidegger's seminal work. It concerns itself with two primary questions: the question of what it means to "be," and the question of whether there is a formal method that might allow one to improve his conception of "being."

To answer the first question, Heidegger...

(The entire section contains 5529 words.)

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Being and Time is arguably Martin Heidegger's seminal work. It concerns itself with two primary questions: the question of what it means to "be," and the question of whether there is a formal method that might allow one to improve his conception of "being."

To answer the first question, Heidegger conceives of "being" as a condition of an organism that is both constructed and contingent. He grounds this thesis in an argument about the fundamental difference between the "existential," or humanistic, structure and the "category," which is merely a product of conceptual definition. This analysis provides the theoretical backbone for his method.

To answer the second question, Heidegger outlines a method called phenomenology, which attempts to analyze moments of being at their most concrete and immediate level. He then synthesizes both questions to provide his perspective on being (which he colloquially terms "Dasein"). For example, "freedom" is an existential because it is a structure that lays out some of the ontological parameters within which an individual can exist and act. In contrast, "hardness" is merely a category, defining some measurable quality that extends beyond questions of human epistemology.

Context

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The primary philosophical problem for Martin Heidegger is the problem of Being. His major philosophical treatise, Being and Time, constitutes an attempt at a formulation of the basic questions and forms of analysis that are to lead to a clarification of the meaning and structures of Being. The form of analysis that peculiarly characterizes Being and Time is what Heidegger calls Daseinsanalytik (analysis of human being). This form of analysis is adopted because it is believed that humankind is the portal to the deeper levels of reality and that only through a disciplined analysis and description of human being can the path be opened for an apprehension of Being itself.

Phenomenological Ontology

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In his analysis and description of human being or presence (Dasein), Heidegger makes use of the phenomenological method. Philosophy thus becomes “phenomenological ontology.” The ontological content of philosophy is Being, and the method that is used to clarify and explicate the meaning of Being is phenomenology. Heidegger was a student of the philosopher Edmund Husserl and, at least in part, took over Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology and its program of a return “to the data themselves.” Adherence to this formula, argues Heidegger, will preclude abstract constructions and formulations, sterile concepts, and the adoption of pseudoquestions that tend to conceal the phenomena or the data rather than reveal them. In the use of the phenomenological method Heidegger seeks to get back to the data of immediate experience and to describe these data as they “show themselves” in their primitive disclosure.

The word “phenomenon” has a Greek etymological root phainomenon, derived from the Greek verb phainesthai, which means “that which shows itself or that which reveals itself.” The original Greek meaning of logos, the second constitutive etymological element in the word “phenomenology,” is discourse, which “opens to sight” or “lets something be seen.” Thus, phenomenology, properly understood as the “logos of the phenomenon,” is the disciplined attempt to open to sight that which shows itself and to let it be seen as it is. In using the phenomenological method, one must therefore discard all preconceived logical and epistemological constructions and seek to examine and describe the phenomena as they show themselves.

The application of the phenomenological method in the analysis of human being, or Dasein, discloses first of all the foundational experience of being-in-the-world. People emerge in a world of going concerns and initially discover themselves in their engagement and involvement in practical and personal projects. Heidegger’s phenomenological and existentialist concept of the world should not be confused with any objective conceptualization of the world as a substance or an abstract continuum of points. It is Heidegger’s persistent argument that René Descartes’s conceptualization of the world as a res extensa (material substance) entailed a phenomenological falsification of the world as a datum of immediate experience. The world is not an extended substance or an objective spatial container into which people are placed. The world, existentially understood, is a field or region of human concern that is never disclosed independent of this concern. There is no world without humanity.

Thus, to say that humanity’s being is a being-in-the-world is to describe human reality in terms of a self-world correlation that underlies all concrete participation and engagement. Humanity is in the world in the sense of being in a profession, being in the army, being in politics, being in love, and the like. The relationship between human beings and the world is not that of a coinherence of substances or objects, but rather the relationship of existential participation and involvement. Dasein is in the world in the sense of “being preoccupied, producing, ordering, fostering, applying, sacrificing, undertaking, following through, inquiring, questioning, observing, talking over, or agreeing.” The phenomenon of “being-in” denotes the intimacy and familiarity of “being-with” as distinct from the objective spatial proximity of “being-besides.”

As the phenomenon of world is falsified when understood as a substance or objectivized entity, so also human being or Dasein is distorted when interpreted as a substantial self or a self-identical subject. Again, the error of Descartes’s isolation of the thinking substance (res cogitans) is disclosed, and the spurious character of the epistemological quandaries that such a view entails is made apparent. The human being is not an isolated epistemological subject who first apprehends his or her own existence and then seeks proof for an objective external world. In his or her primordial experience, the human being already has his or her world given in his or her immediate concerns and preoccupations. The world is constitutive of his or her being. It is in this way that Heidegger’s phenomenology undercuts the subject-object dichotomy, bequeathed by the Cartesian tradition to contemporary epistemological theory, and liberates the self from its lonely, worldless isolation.

A phenomenological description of our being-in-the-world shows that the world is structurally differentiated into various regions or existential modalities. There is the region of the Umwelt (environment), initially disclosed through the utensils that Dasein uses in practical concerns. My world is disclosed in one of its modifications as an instrumental world in which utensils are accessible for the realization of my various undertakings. The German word Zuhandensein, which can be translated as “at-handness,” designates this accessibility of utensils that constitutes an integral part of my world. Utensils are “at hand” for one’s use and application. However, my Umwelt is also disclosed in the mode of Vorhandensein (“on-handness”). This modality lacks the existential proximity of at-handness and is epistemologically secondary and derivative. Heidegger’s favorite illustration of these two modifications of the Umwelt is his example of the hammer and the act of hammering. In our primitive experience of our world, the hammer is an instrument with which we hammer. The hammer is revealed as a utensil or instrument through the act of hammering. On this level of experience, knowledge and action, or understanding and doing, are in an inseparable unity. Action is already a form of knowledge, and knowledge involves action. One can, however, objectivize one’s environmental world and view one’s hammer as a physical object in abstraction from its instrumental value. When a hammer becomes a mere object or thing, we can speak of it only as being “on hand” as contrasted with being “at hand.” The hammer in the mode of on-handness becomes the object of a theoretical, scientific construction and is defined in terms of the qualities of weight, composition, size, and shape that constitute it as a material substance. When we say that the hammer as utensil is heavy, we mean that it will render more difficult the act of hammering. When we say the hammer as object is heavy, we mean that it has such and such a scientifically determined weight. The mode of at-handness is thus our existentially primitive mode—the mode through which Dasein first encounters the world in practical concerns. The world as “on hand” is a later construction.

Humanity’s being-in-the-world thus includes a relatedness to an environmental region—in the mode either of at-handness or of on-handness. However, humanity’s environment does not exhaust the world. Coupled with humanity’s relatedness to an environmental region is humanity’s relatedness to a communal region. The Dasein-world correlation encompasses a Mitwelt as well as an Umwelt. Our world is a world that we share with others. Human being is essentially communal (“Dasein ist wesenhaft Mitsein”). The communality of human being is a pervasive phenomenon that shows itself in our experience of aloneness as assuredly as in our experience of being-with-others. Aloneness is itself a deficient mode of being-with. We experience aloneness only as a privation of an original communal relatedness. Thus Dasein possesses an indelible communal character. In society and in solitude, human beings are structurally communal creatures. Now, for the most part, human beings exist in the unauthentic communal mode of the “anonymous one.” To exist in the mode of the anonymous one is to exist in one’s communal world in such a way that one’s unique selfness is depersonalized and reduced to the status of an on-hand being. In short, the human being transforms itself and another self into an object or a thing, thus depriving both of their unique existential freedom that alone makes authentic communication possible.

The movements of the Mitwelt are conceptualized in terms of the categories and relations that obtain in the Umwelt, and the human being becomes a tool or utensil that can be used by another, or a mere object or thing. The anonymous one, thus depersonalized, moves in the realm of the customs, habits, and conventions of everyday life, succumbing to what Heidegger calls the everydayness of existence. The human being simply takes on the mechanical habits, the established customs, and the accepted conventions of everyday life. The anonymous one is further characterized by an “averageness,” in which the average becomes the measure of a person’s potentialities and the final standard for his or her creativity. That person lives by a spurious “golden mean” in which social behavior is calculated on the basis of socially binding “laws of averages,” which leads to a leveling process in which all superiority is flattened and all originality trivialized. Publicity is another existential quality of the anonymous one. That person “opens” himself or herself to the public, conforms to its demands and opinions, accepts its standards, and thus retreats from personal commitment and responsible decision. Das Man is the term Heidegger uses to designate that leveled and reduced self that thinks what the public thinks, feels what the public feels, and does what the public does.

In the various projects of his being-in-the-world, Dasein is disclosed to himself as a creature of care or concern. His existential relation to his environmental world is a relation of practical concern, and his relation to his communal world is one of personal concern. The human being’s engagement or involvement in practical and personal projects discloses Dasein as that being whose movements are peculiarly characterized by the existential quality of concern. Concern is the ground determinant of the being of Dasein. Concern permeates every modality of his being-in-the-world. Heidegger finds it to be significant that this existential self-understanding of human being as concern was already expressed in an old Latin myth attributed to Gaius Julius Hyginus, the compiler of Greek mythology:As Concern was going across a river she saw some clay. Thoughtfully she took a piece of it and began to form it. As she was contemplating that which she had made, Jupiter appeared. Concern begged Jupiter to bestow spirit upon that which she had formed. This wish Jupiter happily granted her. However, when Concern wished to give her name to that which she had made, Jupiter protested and demanded that his name be used. While Concern and Jupiter were disputing over the name, Earth arose and demanded that her name be used as it was she who had offered a piece of her body. The disputing parties sought out Saturn as judge, and he submitted the following decision: “You, Jupiter, as you have given the spirit, shall take the spirit at death. You, Earth, as you have given the body, you shall then again receive the body. However, Concern, since she has first formed this creature, may possess it as long as it lives. And as there is a dispute concerning the name, so let it be called “homo” as it has been made out of earth (humus).

The fable clearly expresses the point that human beings have their source in concern, and concern will permeate their being as long as they live. Humanity’s being-in-the-world has the indelible stamp of concern. Also, the fable is explicit in showing that it is Saturn (time) who submits the final decision relative to the nature of humankind, making it clear that temporality provides the ontological ground and inner meaning of this creature that has been formed by concern.

Features of Dasein

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The peculiar task of Heidegger’s phenomenological ontology is that of a delineation of the constitutive features of Dasein, who has been defined as Concern. The three foundational features of Dasein, all of which have attached to them a temporal significance, are factuality, existentiality, and fallenness.

The factuality of Dasein characterizes humanity’s naked “thereness”—humanity’s abandonment or “thrownness.” As human beings disclose themselves in the various concerns of their being-in-the-world, they find that they have been thrown into a world without consultation and abandoned to the chance factors that have already constituted them. They discover themselves as already brought into being, a fact among facts, part of a going concern, involved in situations that they have not created and in which they must remain as long as they are. In Heidegger’s analysis of factuality, people can anticipate the significance of temporality as the final ontological meaning of concern. Factuality expresses primarily the directionality of pastness. Dasein reveals himself as already being-in-the-world. Dasein is already begun and has a past through which he has been defined and shaped. His factuality is his destiny.

The second constitutive structure of Dasein is existentiality. This structure points to humanity’s disclosure of itself as a project and a possibility. Humanity is that which it has been but also that which it can become. People find themselves thrown into the world but also experience freedom and responsibility to transform the world and redefine themselves in their concerns with it. This involves an apprehension of human being in terms of possibilities. Dasein as possibility is projected into the future. Thus, existentiality is temporally rooted in futurity as factuality is rooted in the past. In a sense, existentiality and factuality are polar elements of human being. By virtue of their factuality, human beings are always already thrown into a situation; by virtue of their existentiality, they exist as possibility and understand themselves as moving into a future.

The third structural element in the ontological constitution of Dasein is fallenness. Fallenness points to the universal tendency of the human being to lose himself or herself in his or her present preoccupations and concerns, alienating himself from his unique and personal future possibilities. Fallen man exists as mere presence, retreating from his genuine self, which always involves his past and his future. He thus becomes a reduced self. The fallenness of human being receives its most trenchant expression in the movements of gossip, curiosity, and ambiguity. Gossip is an unauthentic modification of speech that simply repeats the accepted, everyday, conventional, and shallow interpretations of the public. No decisive content is communicated, because gossip is concerned only with a reiteration of the clichés that reflect the present and restricted world horizons of the anonymous one. Curiosity, which is always allied with gossip, indicates the insatiable human desire to explore everything in the present environment simply for the sake of discovering novelty—not for the purpose of authentic understanding but simply to engage in pursuits that will provide momentary distraction. Ambiguity is the lack of comprehension and singleness of purpose that results when the self has forfeited its unique possibilities in its preoccupation with the present. Thus, factuality, existentiality, and fallenness constitute the three basic ontological structures of human being. These structures are correspondingly rooted in the three modes of temporality—past, future, and present. Factuality qualifies Dasein as already-in-the-world, having arrived from a past; existentiality qualifies him as purposive or as existing in-advance-of-himself; and fallenness qualifies him as present with the world in everyday concerns.

Anxiety

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A phenomenological description that seeks to penetrate to the immediate experience of being-in-the-world will need to give disciplined attention to the phenomenon of anxiety. Anxiety is described by Heidegger as a ground-determinant of the human situation. Anxiety is the basic mood that discloses the threatening character of the world by confronting the human beings with their irremovable finitude. Anxiety, first of all, should not be confused with fear. Fear has a definite object that can be specified within the region of either the environmental world or the communal world. A utensil, an object, or a person constitutes the source of fear. However, the source of anxiety remains indeterminate. That which threatens cannot be localized or specified. It remains indefinable. The source of anxiety is nothingness. Through anxiety people encounter the nothingness that is constitutive of their finitude. Anxiety, properly understood, is an intentional disclosure. It is an instance of pretheoretical intentionality, pointing to and revealing a most vital aspect of one’s being-in-the-world. The theoretical intentionality of pure thought can never disclose nothingness, because thought is always directed to an object, but nothingness can never be objectivized or conceptualized. It can be experienced only on a pretheoretical and preobjective level. The interior of human being remains opaque to purely theoretical analysis. It can be penetrated only through preobjective elucidation and description.

This accounts for Heidegger’s emphasis on the phenomenological importance of humanity’s “preconceptual understanding of Being.” The nothingness, preobjectively disclosed through anxiety, brings Dasein face to face with his radical finitude. The accentuation of the principle of finitude is a theme that runs throughout the whole of Heidegger’s philosophy. His Daseinsanalytik is in its central intention a philosophy of human finitude. In this disclosure of nothingness and finitude anxiety also reveals the contingency of human existence and the threat of meaninglessness. Anxiety breaks down the superficial, surface realities that conceal humanity’s true predicament and reveals the world as something strange and uncanny. The trusted world of everyday and mediocre concerns collapses. What was previously a refuge of security and contentment now becomes strange and puzzling. The world has nothing more to offer. Its former significance is reduced to insignificance. All protections and supports vanish. Nothing remains.

Death

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As anxiety discloses humanity’s finitude, so also it discloses its indelible transitoriness—its “being-unto-death.” The death that is examined in Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis is not the death of the “death-bed” (that is, death understood as the biological termination of empirical reality). Such a view of death is an objectivized view that can be understood only by the one observing, never by the one who has to die. The being-unto-death of which Heidegger speaks is an experience of death that interpenetrates one’s subjectivity. It is a death that one understands and appropriates in one’s existential concerns. It is a mode of existence that Dasein takes over as soon as he is.

Death is a phenomenon that embraces the whole of life and entails a responsibility for life. In anticipating his final and irrevocable limit of being-in-the-world, Dasein appraises himself in the light of the finite possibilities that precede his end, shoulders his responsibility for these possibilities, and authentically chooses himself as a whole. As had already been taught by Søren Kierkegaard, death makes a difference for life. The anticipation of death infuses every choice with existential urgency. Our possibilities are limited by our final end—which is always imminent. As soon as a person is born, he or she is old enough to die. Thus, that person must seek to take over death by affirming himself or herself with the whole of his or her being in every decisive moment. For the most part, however, human beings engage in a retreat or flight from their having to die, losing themselves in an unauthentic being-unto-death, whereby death is objectivized and externalized as an on-hand factuality which befalls people in general but no one in particular. This is the death of the anonymous one. An authentic being-unto-death, on the other hand, is an awareness of death as a unique possibility which I, and I alone, will have to face. Numerous responsibilities are transferable and can be carried out by proxy. However, no such transferability is possible for the task of dying. There is no dying by proxy. Every Dasein must die his own death.

Conscience and Guilt

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Conscience and guilt play a dominant role in Heidegger’s Daseinsanalytik. Conscience is defined as the “call of concern” which summons us to an awareness of our existential guilt. The human being as such is guilty. Guilt is an inevitable and irreducible determinant of human being. The guilt that is under discussion in Being and Time is quite clearly not a moral quality that a person may or may not possess. It is a determinant of one’s finite existence as such.

The concept of guilt in Heidegger’s analysis is a transmoral concept. The moral view of guilt is rooted in an ontology of on-handness, wherein guilt is externalized and defined as a “thing” or an on-hand reality. The common expression of such an unauthentic, external view of guilt is the court-scene representation in which a person is pronounced guilty by an external judge. The transmoral concept of guilt understands guilt as a structural implication of finitude and nothingness. Dasein as a field of concern is basically a structure of finite possibilities, which he is free to actualize in his concrete choices. These possibilities are primarily rooted in the future; however, the past also holds possibilities that can be repeated. Thus, in his temporal existence Dasein is ever projected into one or another of his possibilities, choosing one and excluding another. Choice involves an inevitable sacrifice or exclusion of possibilities. In every choice, Dasein is “cutting off” possible alternatives that might have been but are not. These nonchosen possibilities remain structurally a part of Dasein’s being and constitute one expression of the nothingness of his existence:The nothingness which we have in mind belongs to Dasein’s being-free for his existential possibilities. This freedom is only in the choice of one, which means not-having-chosen and not-being-able-to-choose the other.

Conscience calls me to my possibilities, but I must always sacrifice some of these possibilities in choosing others. In actualizing one, I am not actualizing another, thereby becoming guilty. Every action implies guilt, but it is impossible to exist without acting. Thus, guilt is an irremovable quality of human being.

Resolution and Time

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One would not be too far amiss in saying that the crowning phenomenological concept in Heidegger’s Daseinsanalytik is resolution. Anxiety has disclosed nothingness and finitude and has revealed a world without supports. The existential reality of death has made human beings aware of their ephemeral or transitory being. Conscience has summoned Dasein to an acknowledgment of his inevitable guilt. However, people must drive beyond these discontinuities of existence and affirm their being. They do this through resolution. Resolution thus becomes a sine qua non for authentic existence.

This resolution is given its final meaning in Heidegger’s seminal interpretation of the character of human time. Heidegger’s analysis of time is in a real sense the focal point of the whole discussion in Being and Time. Central to Heidegger’s analysis is his distinction between the quantitative, objective, and scientifically measured clock time and the qualitative, subjective time of human concern. Quantitative time is understood as an endless, passing, irreversible succession of discrete, objectivized nows. Nows are conceptualized as on-hand entities, thus betraying the restriction of this view of time to the region of on-handness. In “clock time” present moments are viewed as discrete entities. Some moments have gone by and we call them the past. They are no longer real. Some moments are yet to come and we call them the future. They are not yet real. Only the present is real. Qualitative or existential time, as contrasted with clock time, understands time as an ecstatic unity. The past, future, and present are inseparable phases of the care-structure of human existence:Temporality temporalizes itself fully in each ecstasy, i.e., in the ecstatic unity of the complete temporalizing of temporality there is grounded the wholeness of the structural complex of existentiality, factuality, and fallenness, which comprises the unity of the care-structure.

In existential time, the past is still real and the future is already real. Whereas quantitative time gives priority to the present, existential time gives priority to the future. Humanity’s concerns are primarily oriented to the future. However, the past retains its significance in an existential view of time. The past is never existentially finished. It holds possibilities that can be repeated. Thus, we find Heidegger insisting on the importance of the notion of repetition—a notion that was introduced into modern philosophy by Kierkegaard.

Existential time provides the ontological horizon for humanity’s self-understanding of its historicity. Dasein exists historically, which means that he is always arriving from a past, moving into a future, and deciding in the present what he is to become. The authentic self faces the future in resolution. Human beings achieve integrity when they apprehend themselves in their temporal and historical movements, acknowledge their past and future possibilities, appraise themselves in the light of their final possibility (death), and choose in the moment with the whole of their being. Such a self is unified or authentic. Authenticity and inauthenticity thus receive their final clarification in Heidegger’s discussion of time and history. The inauthentic self of the anonymous one is a reduced self—a self that has lost itself by virtue of its fall into the mode of on-handness and its consequent sacrifice to the present. The anonymous one exists in a depersonalized and objectivized mode, in which he has dispersed himself in present concerns to the neglect of both future and past. The time that becomes normative for the anonymous one is the quantitative time of the clock and the calendar. However, this time applies only to the mode of on-handness.

The final meaning of inauthenticity is thus found in the tendency of human beings to reduce themselves and other selves to on-hand reality—to a thing or an object—that has no temporal significance beyond its simple presence as a discrete now. The authentic time of human existence is a unique, qualitative time in which past and future are always copresent. Dasein exists authentically when he acknowledges the unique qualitative time of his personal being and seeks to unify the three ecstasies that are structurally a part of his being as long as he is. These ecstasies are unified in resolute choice. The resolute Dasein thus achieves or wins his authenticity when he takes over his unique past, anticipates his unique future, and chooses in such a manner that his past and future are integrated. The past is held in memory, the future is courageously faced, and the moment is creatively affirmed as the “opportune time” for decisive action.

Bibliography

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Additional Reading

Beistegui, Miguel de. Heidegger and the Political. New York: Routledge, 1998. A comprehensive look at Heidegger’s political and social views.

Bernstein, Michael André. Five Portraits: Modernity and the Imagination in Twentieth-Century German Writing. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2000. A study of five modernist poets, including Heidegger, whose elitism—according to Bernstein—limited his moral reasoning.

Biemel, Walter. Martin Heidegger: An Illustrated Study. Translated by J. L. Mehta. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. Biemel, a student under Heidegger, elucidates Heidegger’s concern for Being and truth in an accessible analysis of seven works, including Being and Time. Dozens of black-and-white photographs of Heidegger and his contemporaries, a five-page chronology, and a twenty-page bibliography (including English translations and important secondary works) contribute to this introduction to Heidegger’s thought.

Dallmayr, Fred. The Other Heidegger. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993. While arguing against the idea that Heidegger’s political involvement with National Socialism can be separated from his philosophical writings, Dallmayr makes an insightful and accessible case in a series of essays composing this book for why Heidegger’s involvement does not imply that his philosophy should be rejected. There is, Dallymayr claims, an “other Heidegger” whose work can be read in a political but nonfascist light.

Dastur, Françoise. Heidegger and the Question of Time. Translated by François Raffoul and David Pettigrew. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1998. Referencing more than twenty works by Heidegger, this book is a clear and insightful introduction to Heidegger’s question of time and being. It is for the expert in Heidegger as well as the novice.

Glazebrook, Trish. Heidegger’s Philosophy of Science. New York: Fordham University Press, 2000. A thoughtful and carefully documented explication of the philosopher’s works.

Guignon, Charles, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger. London: Cambridge University Press, 1993. A collection of thirteen essays by highly respected scholars, published for the first time, on a variety of aspects of Heidegger’s philosophy, including the influence of his thinking on psychotherapy, ecology, and theology. A valuable part of this collection is its bibliography, which contains a list of the publication schedule for the more than one hundred volumes of Heidegger’s collected works in German, along with a list of secondary sources in English for students and others interested in the writings of the thinker whom the American philosopher Richard Rorty, one of the contributors to this book, called one of the three most important philosophers of the twentieth century.

Kaelin, Eugene Francis. “Heidegger’s Being and Time.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 58 (Winter, 1990): 715-716. Attempts to reinstate a philosophical connection with a theological premise, that is, to redefine the meaning of God within the humanity of self.

Martin, F. David. “Heidegger’s Being of Things and Aesthetic Evaluation.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 8 (July, 1974): 87-105. Brief interpretation of Heidegger’s later thought with reference to the Being of things, aesthetic experience, and implications of aesthetic education.

Miles, Murray. “Fundamental Ontology and Existential Analysis in Heidegger’s Being and Time.” International Philosophical Quarterly 34 (September, 1994): 349-359. Provides a scholarly definition of the difference between existentialism and metaphysicalism.

Olafson, Frederick, A. Waugh, and J. M. Bell. “Heidegger and the Philosophy of Mind.” Southern Humanities Review 23 (Summer, 1989): 293-294. Focuses on Heidegger’s Discourse on Thinking (1969), which addresses the question of Being and gives background for understanding Being and Time.

Owensby, Jacob. “Some Roots of Being and Time in Life-Philosophy.” Research in Phenomenology 19 (1989): 311-315. Relates the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle and the existentialist philosophers Immanuel Kant and Jean-Paul Sartre to the evolution of Heidegger’s language exploration.

Poggeler, Otto. Martin Heidegger’s Path of Thinking. Translated by Daniel Magurshak and Sigmund Barber. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1987. Originally published in German in 1963, Poggeler’s work is the most renowned critical study of the development of Heidegger’s early metaphysical work into his later, nonmetaphysical thinking. For this translation of the text of the second German edition, Poggeler wrote a helpful preface and afterword.

Rée, Jonathan. Heidegger. New York: Routledge, 1999. An excellent biographical introduction to the thoughts of the philosopher, clearly presented and requiring no special background. Bibliography.

Scharff, Robert C. “Habermas on Heidegger’s Being and Time.” International Philosophical Quarterly 31 (June, 1991): 189-201. Clearly written analysis of Heidegger in terms of the philosophy of Jürgen Habermas.

Steiner, George. Martin Heidegger. New York: Viking Press, 1978. Intended for the general reader, Steiner’s short work, published soon after Heidegger’s death, intertwines a short biography of the philosopher and an exposition of Being and Time, with a nod toward Heidegger’s later works. Clarifies the central themes of Heidegger’s philosophy. A brief chronology of Heidegger’s life, a short bibliography of English titles, and an extensive index supplement a helpful text.

Wolin, Richard. The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990. Motivated by the increased recognition in the 1980’s of Heidegger’s involvement with Nazism, Wolin seeks here to unearth political themes in Heidegger’s philosophy from Being and Time through his later critiques of technology and humanism. From this perspective, he argues that Heidegger’s involvement with National Socialism was not a “momentary lapse” of thinking but reflective of an endemic blindness to the concrete specifics of modern social life.

Zimmerman, Michael E. Heidegger’s Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, Art. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. A critical, in-depth account of Heidegger’s views on the nature of modern technology, from the perspective of the political context within which these views were formed. Zimmerman’s readable style makes this book an excellent source for the general reader interested in this aspect of Heidegger’s complicated work.

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