Heidegger On Ontology And Mass Communication


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Digital ontology is the event of the end of media

Thus the unity of the different modes of Being is grounded in a capacity for taking-as making-present-to that Aristotle argues is the essence of human existence. Heidegger's response, in effect, is to suggest that although Aristotle is on the right track, he has misconceived the deep structure of taking-as. For Heidegger, taking-as is grounded not in multiple modes of presence, but rather in a more fundamental temporal unity remember, it's Being and time, more on this later that characterizes Being-in-the-world care. For more on Heidegger's pre- Being-and-Time period, see e.

For more on the philosophical relationship between Husserl and Heidegger, see e. Let's back up in order to bring Heidegger's central concern into better view. Consider some philosophical problems that will be familiar from introductory metaphysics classes: Does the table that I think I see before me exist?

Does God exist?

Background and early career

Does mind, conceived as an entity distinct from body, exist? We typically don't even notice this presupposition. This is one way of asking what Heidegger calls the question of the meaning of Being, and Being and Time is an investigation into that question.


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The question of the meaning of Being is concerned with what it is that makes beings intelligible as beings, and whatever that factor Being is, it is seemingly not itself simply another being among beings. But to think of Being in this way would be to commit the very mistake that the capitalization is supposed to help us avoid.

For while Being is always the Being of some entity, Being is not itself some kind of higher-order being waiting to be discovered. As long as we remain alert to this worry, we can follow the otherwise helpful path of capitalization. Heidegger means by this that the history of Western thought has failed to heed the ontological difference, and so has articulated Being precisely as a kind of ultimate being, as evidenced by a series of namings of Being, for example as idea, energeia, substance, monad or will to power.

In this way Being as such has been forgotten. So Heidegger sets himself the task of recovering the question of the meaning of Being. In this context he draws two distinctions between different kinds of inquiry. The first, which is just another way of expressing the ontological difference, is between the ontical and the ontological, where the former is concerned with facts about entities and the latter is concerned with the meaning of Being, with how entities are intelligible as entities.

The second distinction between different kinds of inquiry, drawn within the category of the ontological, is between regional ontology and fundamental ontology, where the former is concerned with the ontologies of particular domains, say biology or banking, and the latter is concerned with the a priori, transcendental conditions that make possible particular modes of Being i. For Heidegger, the ontical presupposes the regional-ontological, which in turn presupposes the fundamental-ontological. As he puts it:. The question of Being aims… at ascertaining the a priori conditions not only for the possibility of the sciences which examine beings as beings of such and such a type, and, in doing so, already operate with an understanding of Being, but also for the possibility of those ontologies themselves which are prior to the ontical sciences and which provide their foundations.

Basically, all ontology, no matter how rich and firmly compacted a system of categories it has at its disposal, remains blind and perverted from its ownmost aim, if it has not first adequately clarified the meaning of Being, and conceived this clarification as its fundamental task. So how do we carry out fundamental ontology, and thus answer the question of the meaning of Being?

It is here that Heidegger introduces the notion of Dasein Da-sein: there-being. Haugeland , complains that this interpretation clashes unhelpfully with Heidegger's identification of care as the Being of Dasein, given Heidegger's prior stipulation that Being is always the Being of some possible entity. This fits with many of Heidegger's explicit characterizations of Dasein see e. That said, one needs to be careful about precisely what sort of entity we are talking about here.

As Haugeland notes, there is an analogy here, one that Heidegger himself draws, with the way in which we might think of a language existing as an entity, that is, as a communally shared way of speaking. This appeal to the community will assume a distinctive philosophical shape as the argument of Being and Time progresses. The foregoing considerations bring an important question to the fore: what, according to Heidegger, is so special about human beings as such? Here there are broadly speaking two routes that one might take through the text of Being and Time.

The first unfolds as follows. If we look around at beings in general—from particles to planets, ants to apes—it is human beings alone who are able to encounter the question of what it means to be e. More specifically, it is human beings alone who a operate in their everyday activities with an understanding of Being although, as we shall see, one which is pre -ontological, in that it is implicit and vague and b are able to reflect upon what it means to be.

Mulhall, who tends to pursue this way of characterizing Dasein, develops the idea by explaining that while inanimate objects merely persist through time and while plants and non-human animals have their lives determined entirely by the demands of survival and reproduction, human beings lead their lives Mulhall , This gives us a sense of human freedom, one that will be unpacked more carefully below. This can all sound terribly inward-looking, but that is not Heidegger's intention. In a way that is about to become clearer, Dasein's projects and possibilities are essentially bound up with the ways in which other entities may become intelligible.

So perhaps Mulhall's point that human beings are distinctive in that they lead their lives would be better expressed as the observation that human beings are the nuclei of lives laying themselves out. The second route to an understanding of Dasein, and thus of what is special about human beings as such, emphasizes the link with the taking-as structure highlighted earlier. Sheehan develops just such a line of exegesis by combining two insights. These dual insights lead to a characterization of Dasein as the having-to-be-open.

In other words, Dasein and so human beings as such cannot but be open: it is a necessary characteristic of human beings an a priori structure of our existential constitution, not an exercise of our wills that we operate with the sense-making capacity to take-other-beings-as.

And this helps us to grasp the meaning of Heidegger's otherwise opaque claim that Dasein, and indeed only Dasein, exists , where existence is understood via etymological considerations as ek-sistence , that is, as a standing out. Dasein stands out in two senses, each of which corresponds to one of the two dimensions of our proposed interpretation. Second, Dasein stands out in an openness to and an opening of Being see e. As we have seen, it is an essential characteristic of Dasein that, in its ordinary ways of engaging with other entities, it operates with a preontological understanding of Being, that is, with a distorted or buried grasp of the a priori conditions that, by underpinning the taking-as structure, make possible particular modes of Being.

Heidegger puts it like this:. Being and Time 3: 33—4. This resistance towards any unpalatable anti-realism is an issue to which we shall return. But what sort of philosophical method is appropriate for the ensuing examination? Famously, Heidegger's adopted method is a species of phenomenology. In the Heideggerian framework, however, phenomenology is not to be understood as it sometimes is as the study of how things merely appear in experience. Presupposed by ordinary experience, these structures must in some sense be present with that experience, but they are not simply available to be read off from its surface, hence the need for disciplined and careful phenomenological analysis to reveal them as they are.

So far so good. But, in a departure from the established Husserlian position, one that demonstrates the influence of Dilthey, Heidegger claims that phenomenology is not just transcendental, it is hermeneutic for discussion, see e. In other words, its goal is always to deliver an interpretation of Being, an interpretation that, on the one hand, is guided by certain historically embedded ways of thinking ways of taking-as reflected in Dasein's preontological understanding of Being that the philosopher as Dasein and as interpreter brings to the task, and, on the other hand, is ceaselessly open to revision, enhancement and replacement.

For Heidegger, this hermeneutic structure is not a limitation on understanding, but a precondition of it, and philosophical understanding conceived as fundamental ontology is no exception. Thus Being and Time itself has a spiral structure in which a sequence of reinterpretations produces an ever more illuminating comprehension of Being. As Heidegger puts it later in the text:. What is decisive is not to get out of the circle but to come into it the right way… In the circle is hidden a positive possibility of the most primordial kind of knowing. To be sure, we genuinely take hold of this possibility only when, in our interpretation, we have understood that our first, last and constant task is never to allow our fore-having, fore-sight and fore-conception to be presented to us by fancies and popular conceptions, but rather to make the scientific theme secure by working out these fore-structures in terms of the things themselves.

Being and Time And this is a tension that, it seems fair to say, is never fully resolved within the pages of Being and Time. The best we can do is note that, by the end of the text, the transcendental has itself become historically embedded. More on that below. What is also true is that there is something of a divide in certain areas of contemporary Heidegger scholarship over whether one should emphasize the transcendental dimension of Heidegger's phenomenology e.

How, then, does the existential analytic unfold? Heidegger argues that we ordinarily encounter entities as what he calls equipment , that is, as being for certain sorts of tasks cooking, writing, hair-care, and so on. Indeed we achieve our most primordial closest relationship with equipment not by looking at the entity in question, or by some detached intellectual or theoretical study of it, but rather by skillfully manipulating it in a hitch-free manner.

Entities so encountered have their own distinctive kind of Being that Heidegger famously calls readiness-to-hand.

The less we just stare at the hammer-thing, and the more we seize hold of it and use it, the more primordial does our relationship to it become, and the more unveiledly is it encountered as that which it is—as equipment. Readiness-to-hand has a distinctive phenomenological signature. While engaged in hitch-free skilled activity, Dasein has no conscious experience of the items of equipment in use as independent objects i.

Thus, while engaged in trouble-free hammering, the skilled carpenter has no conscious recognition of the hammer, the nails, or the work-bench, in the way that one would if one simply stood back and thought about them. Tools-in-use become phenomenologically transparent. Moreover, Heidegger claims, not only are the hammer, nails, and work-bench in this way not part of the engaged carpenter's phenomenal world, neither, in a sense, is the carpenter. The carpenter becomes absorbed in his activity in such a way that he has no awareness of himself as a subject over and against a world of objects.

Crucially, it does not follow from this analysis that Dasein's behaviour in such contexts is automatic, in the sense of there being no awareness present at all, but rather that the awareness that is present what Heidegger calls circumspection is non-subject-object in form. Phenomenologically speaking, then, there are no subjects and no objects; there is only the experience of the ongoing task e.

Heidegger, then, denies that the categories of subject and object characterize our most basic way of encountering entities. He maintains, however, that they apply to a derivative kind of encounter. When Dasein engages in, for example, the practices of natural science, when sensing takes place purely in the service of reflective or philosophical contemplation, or when philosophers claim to have identified certain context-free metaphysical building blocks of the universe e. With this phenomenological transformation in the mode of Being of entities comes a corresponding transformation in the mode of Being of Dasein.

Dasein becomes a subject, one whose project is to explain and predict the behaviour of an independent, objective universe. Encounters with the present-at-hand are thus fundamentally subject-object in structure. The final phenomenological category identified during the first phase of the existential analytic is what Heidegger calls un-readiness-to-hand. This mode of Being of entities emerges when skilled practical activity is disturbed by broken or malfunctioning equipment, discovered-to-be-missing equipment, or in-the-way equipment. When encountered as un-ready-to-hand, entities are no longer phenomenologically transparent.

However, they are not yet the fully fledged objects of the present-at-hand, since their broken, malfunctioning, missing or obstructive status is defined relative to a particular equipmental context.

The combination of two key passages illuminates this point: First:. The damage to the equipment is still not a mere alteration of a Thing—not a change of properties which just occurs in something present-at-hand. When something cannot be used—when, for instance, a tool definitely refuses to work—it can be conspicuous only in and for dealings in which something is manipulated. Thus a driver does not encounter a punctured tyre as a lump of rubber of measurable mass; she encounters it as a damaged item of equipment, that is, as the cause of a temporary interruption to her driving activity.

With such disturbances to skilled activity, Dasein emerges as a practical problem solver whose context-embedded actions are directed at restoring smooth skilled activity. Much of the time Dasein's practical problem solving will involve recovery strategies e. In the limit, however e. With this spectrum of cases in view, it is possible to glimpse a potential worry for Heidegger's account. Cappuccio and Wheeler ; see also Wheeler , argue that the situation of wholly transparent readiness-to-hand is something of an ideal state. Skilled activity is never or very rarely perfectly smooth.

Moreover, minimal subjective activity such as a nonconceptual awareness of certain spatially situated movements by my body produces a background noise that never really disappears. Thus a distinction between Dasein and its environment is, to some extent, preserved, and this distinction arguably manifests the kind of minimal subject-object dichotomy that is characteristic of those cases of un-readiness-to-hand that lie closest to readiness-to-hand.

On the interpretation of Heidegger just given, Dasein's access to the world is only intermittently that of a representing subject. An alternative reading, according to which Dasein always exists as a subject relating to the world via representations, is defended by Christensen , Christensen targets Dreyfus as a prominent and influential exponent of the intermittent-subject view.

Among other criticisms , Christensen accuses Dreyfus of mistakenly hearing Heidegger's clear rejection of the thought that Dasein's access to the world is always theoretical or theory-like in character as being, at the same time, a rejection of the thought that Dasein's access to the world is always in the mode of a representing subject; but, argues Christensen, there may be non-theoretical forms of the subject-world relation, so the claim that Heidegger advocated the second rejection is not established by pointing out that he advocated the first.

Let's assume that Christensen is right about this. The supporter of the intermittent-subject view might still argue that although Heidegger holds that Dasein sometimes emerges as a subject whose access to the world is non-theoretical plausibly, in certain cases of un-readiness-to-hand , there is other textual evidence, beyond that which indicates the non-theoretical character of hitch-free skilled activity, to suggest that readiness-to-hand must remain non-subject-object in form. Whether or not there is such evidence would then need to be settled. What the existential analytic has given us so far is a phenomenological description of Dasein's within-the-world encounters with entities.

The next clarification concerns the notion of world and the associated within-ness of Dasein. Famously, Heidegger writes of Dasein as Being-in-the-world. In effect, then, the notion of Being-in-the-world provides us with a reinterpretation of the activity of existing Dreyfus , 40 , where existence is given the narrow reading ek-sistence identified earlier.

Understood as a unitary phenomenon as opposed to a contingent, additive, tripartite combination of Being, in-ness, and the world , Being-in-the-world is an essential characteristic of Dasein. As Heidegger explains:. Taking up relationships towards the world is possible only because Dasein, as Being-in-the-world, is as it is. This state of Being does not arise just because some entity is present-at-hand outside of Dasein and meets up with it.

As this passage makes clear, the Being-in dimension of Being-in-the-world cannot be thought of as a merely spatial relation in some sense that might be determined by a GPS device, since Dasein is never just present-at-hand within the world in the way demanded by that sort of spatial in-ness. Heidegger sometimes uses the term dwelling to capture the distinctive manner in which Dasein is in the world.

To dwell in a house is not merely to be inside it spatially in the sense just canvassed. Rather, it is to belong there, to have a familiar place there. It is in this sense that Dasein is essentially in the world. Heidegger will later introduce an existential notion of spatiality that does help to illuminate the sense in which Dasein is in the world. So now, what is the world such that Dasein essentially dwells in it? The German term Bewandtnis is extremely difficult to translate in a way that captures all its native nuances for discussion, see Tugendhat ; thanks to a reviewer for emphasizing this point.

Crucially, for Heidegger, an involvement is not a stand-alone structure, but rather a link in a network of intelligibility that he calls a totality of involvements. Take the stock Heideggerian example: the hammer is involved in an act of hammering; that hammering is involved in making something fast; and that making something fast is involved in protecting the human agent against bad weather. Such totalities of involvements are the contexts of everyday equipmental practice. As such, they define equipmental entities, so the hammer is intelligible as what it is only with respect to the shelter and, indeed, all the other items of equipment to which it meaningfully relates in Dasein's everyday practices.

And this radical holism spreads, because once one begins to trace a path through a network of involvements, one will inevitably traverse vast regions of involvement-space. Thus links will be traced not only from hammers to hammering to making fast to protection against the weather, but also from hammers to pulling out nails to dismantling wardrobes to moving house.

This behaviour will refer back to many other behaviours packing, van-driving and thus to many other items of equipment large boxes, removal vans , and so on. The result is a large-scale holistic network of interconnected relational significance. Such networks constitute worlds, in one of Heidegger's key senses of the term—an ontical sense that he describes as having a pre-ontological signification Being and Time Before a second key sense of the Heideggerian notion of world is revealed, some important detail can be added to the emerging picture. Heidegger points out that involvements are not uniform structures.

Thus I am currently working with a computer a with-which , in the practical context of my office an in-which , in order to write this encyclopedia entry an in-order-to , which is aimed towards presenting an introduction to Heidegger's philosophy a towards-this , for the sake of my academic work, that is, for the sake of my being an academic a for-the-sake-of-which.

The final involvement here, the for-the-sake-of-which, is crucial, because according to Heidegger all totalities of involvements have a link of this type at their base. This forges a connection between i the idea that each moment in Dasein's existence constitutes a branch-point at which it chooses a way to be, and ii the claim that Dasein's projects and possibilities are essentially bound up with the ways in which other entities may become intelligible. This is because every for-the-sake-of-which is the base structure of an equipment-defining totality of involvements and reflects a possible way for Dasein to be an academic, a carpenter, a parent, or whatever.

Moreover, given that entities are intelligible only within contexts of activity that, so to speak, arrive with Dasein, this helps to explain Heidegger's claim Being and Time that, in encounters with entities, the world is something with which Dasein is always already familiar. Finally, it puts further flesh on the phenomenological category of the un-ready-to-hand.

Thus when I am absorbed in trouble-free typing, the computer and the role that it plays in my academic activity are transparent aspects of my experience. But if the computer crashes, I become aware of it as an entity with which I was working in the practical context of my office, in order to write an encyclopedia entry aimed towards presenting an introduction to Heidegger's philosophy.

And I become aware of the fact that my behaviour is being organized for the sake of my being an academic. So disturbances have the effect of exposing totalities of involvements and, therefore, worlds.

Martin Heidegger (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

At this point in the existential analytic, worldhood is usefully identified as the abstract network mode of organizational configuration that is shared by all concrete totalities of involvements. We shall see, however, that as the hermeneutic spiral of the text unfolds, the notion of worldhood is subject to a series of reinterpretations until, finally, its deep structure gets played out in terms of temporality.

Having completed what we might think of as the first phase of the existential analytic, Heidegger uses its results to launch an attack on one of the front-line representatives of the tradition, namely Descartes. This is the only worked-through example in Being and Time itself of what Heidegger calls the destruction Destruktion of the Western philosophical tradition, a process that was supposed to be a prominent theme in the ultimately unwritten second part of the text.

In stark contrast, Heidegger's own view is that Dasein is in primary epistemic contact not with context-independent present-at-hand primitives e. What is perhaps Heidegger's best statement of this opposition comes later in Being and Time. Dasein, as essentially understanding, is proximally alongside what is understood. For Heidegger, then, we start not with the present-at-hand, moving to the ready-to-hand by adding value-predicates, but with the ready-to-hand, moving to the present-at-hand by stripping away the holistic networks of everyday equipmental meaning. It seems clear, then, that our two positions are diametrically opposed to each other, but why should we favour Heidegger's framework over Descartes'?

Heidegger's flagship argument here is that the systematic addition of value-predicates to present-at-hand primitives cannot transform our encounters with those objects into encounters with equipment. In other words, once we have assumed that we begin with the present-at-hand, values must take the form of determinate features of objects, and therefore constitute nothing but more present-at-hand structures.

And if you add more present-at-hand structures to some existing present-at-hand structures, what you end up with is not equipmental meaning totalities of involvements but merely a larger number of present-at-hand structures. Heidegger's argument here is at best incomplete for discussion, see Dreyfus , Wheeler The defender of Cartesianism might concede that present-at-hand entities have determinate properties, but wonder why the fact that an entity has determinate properties is necessarily an indication of presence-at-hand.

On this view, having determinate properties is necessary but not sufficient for an entity to be present-at-hand. More specifically, she might wonder why involvements cannot be thought of as determinate features that entities possess just when they are embedded in certain contexts of use. Consider for example the various involvements specified in the academic writing context described earlier. They certainly seem to be determinate, albeit context-relative, properties of the computer. Of course, the massively holistic character of totalities of involvements would make the task of specifying the necessary value-predicates say, as sets of internal representations incredibly hard, but it is unclear that it makes that task impossible.

So it seems as if Heidegger doesn't really develop his case in sufficient detail. However, Dreyfus pursues a response that Heidegger might have given, one that draws on the familiar philosophical distinction between knowing-how and knowing-that. It seems that value-predicates constitute a form of knowing-that i. Given the plausible although not universally held assumption that knowing-how cannot be reduced to knowledge-that, this would explain why value-predicates are simply the wrong sort of structures to capture the phenomenon of world-embeddedness.

In the wake of his critique of Cartesianism, Heidegger turns his attention to spatiality. He argues that Dasein dwells in the world in a spatial manner, but that the spatiality in question—Dasein's existential spatiality—cannot be a matter of Dasein being located at a particular co-ordinate in physical, Cartesian space. That would be to conceive of Dasein as present-at-hand, and presence-at-hand is a mode of Being that can belong only to entities other than Dasein. According to Heidegger, the existential spatiality of Dasein is characterized most fundamentally by what he calls de-severance , a bringing close.

This is of course not a bringing close in the sense of reducing physical distance, although it may involve that. Heidegger's proposal is that spatiality as de-severance is in some way exactly how is a matter of subtle interpretation; see e. Given the Dasein-world relationship highlighted above, the implication drawn explicitly by Heidegger, see Being and Time is that the spatiality distinctive of equipmental entities, and thus of the world, is not equivalent to physical, Cartesian space.

Equipmental space is a matter of pragmatically determined regions of functional places, defined by Dasein-centred totalities of involvements e. For Heidegger, physical, Cartesian space is possible as something meaningful for Dasein only because Dasein has de-severance as one of its existential characteristics. Given the intertwining of de-severance and equipmental space, this licenses the radical view one that is consistent with Heidegger's prior treatment of Cartesianism that physical, Cartesian space as something that we can find intelligible presupposes equipmental space; the former is the present-at-hand phenomenon that is revealed if we strip away the worldhood from the latter.

Malpas forthcoming rejects the account of spatiality given in Being and Time. According to Malpas, then, equipmental space a space ordered in terms of practical activity and within which an agent acts presupposes a more fundamental notion of space as a complex unity with objective, intersubjective and subjective dimensions. If this is right, then of course equipmental space cannot itself explain the spatial. A further problem, as Malpas also notes, is that the whole issue of spatiality brings into sharp focus the awkward relationship that Heidegger has with the body in Being and Time.

Indeed, at times, Heidegger might be interpreted as linking embodiment with Thinghood. Here one might plausibly contain the spread of presence-at-hand by appealing to a distinction between material present-at-hand and lived existential ways in which Dasein is embodied. Unfortunately this distinction isn't made in Being and Time a point noted by Ricoeur , , although Heidegger does adopt it in the much later Seminar in Le Thor see Malpas forthcoming, 5. What seems clear, however, is that while the Heidegger of Being and Time seems to hold that Dasein's embodiment somehow depends on its existential spatiality see e.

Before leaving this issue, it is worth noting briefly that space reappears later in Being and Time —21 , where Heidegger argues that existential space is derived from temporality. This makes sense within Heidegger's overall project, because, as we shall see, the deep structure of totalities of involvements and thus of equipmental space is finally understood in terms of temporality. Nevertheless, and although the distinctive character of Heidegger's concept of temporality needs to be recognized, there is reason to think that the dependency here may well travel in the opposite direction.

The worry, as Malpas forthcoming, 26 again points out, has a Kantian origin. If this is right, and if we can generalize appropriately, then the temporality that matters to Heidegger will be dependent on existential spatiality, and not the other way round. All in all, one is tempted to conclude that Heidegger's treatment of spatiality in Being and Time , and relatedly his treatment or lack of it of the body, face serious difficulties.

In searching for an alternative answer, Heidegger observes that equipment is often revealed to us as being for the sake of the lives and projects of other Dasein. One's immediate response to this might be that it is just false. After all, ordinary experience establishes that each of us is often alone. But of course Heidegger is thinking in an ontological register.

Being-with Mitsein is thus the a priori transcendental condition that makes it possible that Dasein can discover equipment in this Other-related fashion. And it's because Dasein has Being-with as one of its essential modes of Being that everyday Dasein can experience being alone.

Being-with is thus the a priori transcendental condition for loneliness. He explains:. They are rather those from whom, for the most part, one does not distinguish oneself—those among whom one is too… By reason of this with-like Being-in-the-world, the world is always the one that I share with Others. Being and Time —5.

A piece of data cited by Dreyfus helps to illuminate this idea. Each society seems to have its own sense of what counts as an appropriate distance to stand from someone during verbal communication, and this varies depending on whether the other person is a lover, a friend, a colleague, or a business acquaintance, and on whether communication is taking place in noisy or quiet circumstances.

Such standing-distance practices are of course normative, in that they involve a sense of what one should and shouldn't do. And the norms in question are culturally specific. This explains the following striking remark. This all throws important light on the phenomenon of world, since we can now see that the crucial for-the-sake-of-which structure that stands at the base of each totality of involvements is culturally and historically conditioned.

The specific ways in which I behave for the sake of being an academic are what one does if one wants to be considered a good academic, at this particular time, in this particular historically embedded culture carrying out research, tutoring students, giving lectures, and so on. Worlds the referential context of significance, networks of involvements are then culturally and historically conditioned, from which several things seem to follow.

First, Dasein's everyday world is, in the first instance, and of its very essence, a shared world. Second, Being-with and Being-in-the-world are, if not equivalent, deeply intertwined. And third, the sense in which worlds are Dasein-dependent involves some sort of cultural relativism, although, as we shall see later, this final issue is one that needs careful interpretative handling. Critics of the manner in which Heidegger develops the notion of Being-with have often focussed, albeit in different ways, on the thought that Heidegger either ignores or misconceives the fundamental character of our social existence by passing over its grounding in direct interpersonal interaction see e.

From this perspective, the equipmentally mediated discovery of others that Heidegger sometimes describes see above is at best a secondary process that reveals other people only to the extent that they are relevant to Dasein's practical projects. Moreover, Olafson argues that although Heidegger's account clearly involves the idea that Dasein discovers socially shared equipmental meaning which then presumably supports the discovery of other Dasein along with equipment , that account fails to explain why this must be the case.

Processes of direct interpersonal contact e. The obvious move for Heidegger to make here is to claim that the processes that the critics find to be missing from his account, although genuine, are not a priori, transcendental structures of Dasein.


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If not, then Heidegger's notion of Being-with is at best an incomplete account of our social Being. Modality and Ontology. Language, Truth and Ontology. Physics and Ontology. Heidegger and the Essence of Man. Heidegger and the Place of Ethics. The Ontology of Mass Art. Ontology: The Hermeneutics of Facticity. Heidegger and the Philosophy of Mind. Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge. The origin of time : Heidegger and Bergson. Recommend Documents. In addition, new developments in the psychoanalytic technique introduced by Winnicott may prove to be important for the progress of a scientific therapy oriented by Heidegger's existential analytic.

Let us now develop each on of these perspectives. According to Heidegger, a scientific theory in modern natural science "is a constructive assumption [Annahme] to the end of a consistent and continuous ordering of facts in a greater context, namely, in the pre-existing whole of nature" , p. Neither here nor, indeed, anywhere else in Zollikoner Seminare is Heidegger very specific about the nature of "consistent and continuous ordering of facts".

Yet he has more to say about other elements of his definition. One of them is the constructive aspect of modern scientific theories. Theoretical constructions are disposed in two levels, the higher level of "assumptions" and the lower level of "suppositions". On the level of assumptions, constructions have the character of metaphysical projects or models of nature.

The basic metaphysical model in natural sciences is the Newtonian concept of a "space-time system of mass points in movement" p. During the development of modern natural science, the Newtonian metaphysics of nature was itself embedded into still higher level " assumptions ". Among these, the Kantian "transcendental assumption of objectivity of objects" put forward in The Critique of Pure Reason p. Measurability, says Heidegger, belongs to the thing interpreted ontologically as an object p. Both of these assumptions are necessary conditions of the production of objects p.

This is why cybernetics is the paradigmatic form of modern natural science p. The Newtonian mechanical and dynamic model of nature taken together with the Leibnizian and the Kantian general metaphysics functions as the general a priori constructive framework in which specific natural sciences formulate their own lower level "suppositions", that is, hypotheses, fictions or myths pp. Among these additional constructions, a special importance is attributed to certain so called "fundamental forces" - which are special types of cause - and to the idea of machine, that is, of mechanical organization of things, including man, along with many low level and less general causal hypotheses to be tested by experiments.

All these constructs taken together function as the basis for observation and description of facts as well as for realization of experiments. Scientific facts are always theory dependent and theory-laden p. In particular, there are no metaphysics-free facts. The language used is conceived as conveying measurable, calculable information about objective matter of fact and as being, itself, a calculable object p. As to the method, it is the hypothetical-deductive and experimental method p.

From an epistemological point of view, says Heidegger, the results obtained by these two methods are no less fictional then the theoretical constructions which make them possible p. As to the relevance of these results, they are generally praised for being useful. Heidegger insists to say that, to the contrary, the knowledge produced by natural sciences in our epoch does not lead to any better future nor, even less, to the liberation of man but rather to his unlimited self-destruction pp. Heidegger's criticism of the Freudian psychoanalytic theory follows two tracks.

The metapsychology is unacceptable because it transfers to the study of man, firstly, the Kantian theory of objectivity and, secondly, the paradigm of natural sciences , p. Due to the first move, Freud operates an unacceptable objectification of human historicity. This means that he views man as something merely present vorhanden in the world, just as one more example of effective reality Wirklichkeit , p. Both normal and pathological phenomena are seen as results produced by hypothetical and mostly unconscious impulses and forces. The "psychoanalytic history of a human life", for instance, is no history at all, but "a natural causal chain, a chain of cause and effect, and moreover a constructed one" p.

At the same time, Heidegger recognizes that Freud has revealed a number of "ontic" phenomena - such as projection, introjection, identification, regression and repression - which are of great interest to any normal anthropology and pathology. Yet, in order to be used properly, these findings must be reinterpreted in the light of existential analytic and the corresponding regional ontology. Though Heidegger paid no attention to the Oedipus complex and its central role in the Freudian paradigm, he has shown great understanding of Freud's discovery of the fact that human beings may become ill through traumatic relationships with other human beings p.

Again, traumatic events have to be treated as cases of existentially interpreted "being with others", taken in the Heideggerian sense explained in Being and Time , not as effects in the subject of his mode of relating to objects, which is part and parcel of the modern metaphysics of representation and its model of man's being in the world. The same applies to the Freudian discovery that psychic diseases can be cured through the relationship of patients with other human beings.

Here again, Freud's very important concept of therapeutic value interpersonal relationship has to be understood as a particular mode of being-together, not as something like "transference" of affect or representations to a human "object" to be treated by the method of free association and verbalization p. Heidegger's criticism of Freudian psychoanalysis is far from being a pure and simple rejection. It consists rather of showing that, in spite of having produced major contributions to the science of man, Freud's psychoanalysis was unduly embedded in the tradition of modern natural sciences and of modern metaphysics of representation and that its factual findings should be reformulated within the ontological framework of existential analytic completed by the regional ontology of normal anthropology and of pathology.

As Heidegger was trying to explain the ontological structure of the human being and its relevance for a daseinsanalytic scientific psychiatry, some participants of the seminars met him with two severe objections. Firstly, the objection of hostility , namely, that Heidegger's existential analytic was hostile to science, to objects and to concepts p. Secondly, the objection of methodological inadequacy , which says that Heidegger holds an "old-fashioned view of the method of natural sciences" p.

In his attempt to answer these objections, Heidegger put forward a philosophical project of a general science of man in agreement with his existential analytic. A daseinsanalytic scientific anthropology, he says, can be viewed as "the whole of a possible discipline vowed to the task to produce a connected presentation of demonstrable ontic phenomena of social-historic and individual Dasein" , pp. As any science, the daseinsanalytic anthropology should consist in "a systematic ordering".

Ordering of what?

Hermeneutics

Not of brute, empirical facts, but of "interpretations of experiences" gained by means of the hermeneutic method. Ordering of interpretations implies making classifications and considering human existence in modern industrial societies p. This "entirely new science" of anthropology still to be created would consist of a "normal anthropology" and would also include a "daseinsanalytic pathology". With the purpose of presenting a coherent picture of Heidegger's scattered remarks related to his philosophical project of a science of man, I shall try to show how they fit into Th.

Kuhn's concept of scientific paradigm. According to Kuhn, a factual science is characterized by a disciplinary matrix and by shared solutions of paradigmatic problems "exemplars". The disciplinary matrix of an empirical science consists of the following items: 1 leading generalizations 19 , 2 metaphysical model of entities belonging to the research domain, 3 heuristic rules 20 and 4 shared scientific values, including the shared conception of science and of aims of science.

Heidegger has never made any concrete proposal concerning leading generalizations in either normal or pathologic anthropology. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why I speak of Heidegger's "project" of a science of man and not of a Heideggerian "paradigm" of such a science. However, Heidegger did specify two main negative methodological and epistemological conditions which must be met by any scientific generalization put forward in the science of man: they must not be objectifying nor deterministic.

With the next item of the disciplinary matrix of the daseinsanalytic anthropology, the "metaphysical model" of man, Heidegger is much more at ease. He is in full agreement with Kuhn in saying that factual sciences are always developed with more general philosophical frameworks.

What kind of framework is adequate in the case of anthropology? We already know Heidegger's answer: his existential analytic, presented in Being and Time , which however has to be enriched by appropriate derived existentials describing essential "regional" features of ontic phenomena. Now, Heidegger's existential analytic implies a "destruction" or a "deconstruction" of traditional metaphysical ontology, which sees man as a natural, objective entity.

For this ontology Heidegger substitutes his own "fundamental ontology", which is a description of man's modes of being in the horizon of finite original existential time. The "model" of man arrived at in that manner is no more - as it is still in Kuhn - a " metaphysical" one, in the prevailing traditional sense, but a "post-metaphysical" one, in the new daseinsanalytic sense. The scientist guided by Heidegger's new idea of essence of man is invited to see and to interpret concrete human modes of being as manifestations of the underlying Dasein structure and not to make "assumptions" or to frame "suppositions" be they meta-physical or meta-psychological 21 about hidden entities which are thought to causally explain these same phenomena taken as natural events.

As to the "heuristic models", which is the third main element of a disciplinary matrix, the procedure to be employed in producing a daseinsanalytic science of man should have the following characteristics. Firstly, it must be descriptive, not constructive or hypothetical. The daseinsanalytic scientific anthropology's descriptions of factual phenomena which appear in the lives of concrete human individuals must be based on an interpretation of the same phenomena within the horizon of concrete motivational contexts, without ever loosing from sight the regional and fundamental existentials by which they are "determined" and made visible p.

Since the life of an individual is essentially a historic phenomenon, and since the existential time is circular, the movement of the understanding must be circular itself. From the methodological point of view, Heidegger's science of man is thus conceived as a special kind of descriptive, hermeneutic and historical factual 23 knowledge of man's being in the world. As to the fourth item of the paradigm, the "shared values", the standard norms of natural science such as measurability, calculability or indeed producibility of specific modes of human or indeed of man himself are not even considered in Heidegger's project.

Nor does Heidegger recommend looking, in the first place, for predictions, internal or external consistency, simplicity, empirical plausibility or indeed for any other "logical" value of the traditional factual science. The main values that should characterize a daseinsanalytic science of man are rather practical and even ethical: the good-health and the capacity to be somebody responsible for one's own modes of being.

This leads us to our final point, to what Heidegger has to say about "paradigmatic problems" which characterize factual sciences and guide the normal research. It is true that in presenting his general concept of a science of man, Heidegger could not possibly define its field by pinpointing concrete paradigmatic problems.

Nevertheless, he does not seem to have been aware of the fact that particular scientific disciplines remain undefined as long as what Kuhn calls "exemplars" are not specified. As we have seen, Heidegger paid no attention to the Oedipus complex and to the central role which it played in the development of psychoanalytic research and therapy. In other words, Heidegger did not develop any specific conception of permitted or recommended ways of formulating and solving problems in daseinsanalytic anthropology as opposed to the naturalistic anthropology.

This is an additional reason why his project falls short of being a paradigm. Nevertheless, Heidegger has some important things to say about fundamental ontological features of the subject matter of problems of any daseinsanalytic anthropology. The basic data of these problems must be the difficulties of the "existing man" p. The central aspect of these difficulties is the limitation of capacity to be and to be free. All "disturbances" of human existence, sociological as well as medical, are of the same kind, namely, limitations of the liberty to be. The science of man does not aim at making of men objects of theoretical interest but at helping them in realizing their true nature.

Becoming oneself seems thus to be the central feature of the "unknowns" of problems of any daseinsanalytic anthropological discipline In Zollikoner Seminare , Heidegger dedicated a special attention to the daseinsanalytic psychopathology and therapy. They concentrate on the heuristic model and on the paradigmatic problems of the mentioned disciplines. The relevant pathological phenomena are gathered, says Heidegger, in the "relationship between psychiatrist and the patient" p. This concrete analytic relationship must be seen as a way of being-together. Daseinsanalytic psychiatry has therefore the task of exploring and interpreting "medical" experiences which emerge in this specific existential mode of relating to other persons.

The exploration of the relationship and corresponding experiences must be based on this "entirely new method" of involvement Sich-ein-lassen , pp. The task of the exploration is solved by applying a special version of the hermeneutics, which Heidegger calls "hermeneutics of exploration". It presupposes "the horizon of medical experience" p. One important positive instruction for this particular mode of seeing and understanding human data is the following: "The decisive point is that the phenomenal content of singular phenomena which appear in the relationship between the analysand and the analyst be brought to language in so far as they belong to the concrete patient in question and not simply subsumed under an existential in a generic manner [ pauschal ]" p.

Accordingly, the hermeneutics of exploration does not produce interpretations directly in the horizon of the original time. Its horizon must be the circle of the concrete history of the individual Dasein under cure, i. This is this specific background of meaning which the analyst has to take as the framework of his interpretations in addition of course to waster horizons of being in the world as such. If this is not done, ontic phenomena are either not seen at all or are appreciated only in so far as they contribute to the elucidation of ontological questions, not of medical questions.

When this happens, the concrete individual existence is lost from sight and voided of its "factual content" p. This implies that in order to duly appreciate the factual content, the daseinsanalytic pathologist has to have at his disposal a number of derived existentials which allow him to see and to interpret concrete biographic pathologic phenomena. Among these are existentials for health and illness, types of diseases, nature of diseases, pathological defenses and defense organizations. All of them must be clarified along with many others. Particular attention should be paid to the historic side of these existentials.

Phenomenology of Digital-Being

In addition, the question of etiology has to be worked through. Concepts such as trauma must be explained. A full-fledged elaboration of genetic explanations is also highly needed. In short, all ontic phenomena met in the clinical relationship must be understood in the light of particular modes of being in the world, which make them possible. These existentials taken together form the regional ontology of psychiatry. For all I know, such an ontology was never developed by Heidegger, nor indeed by any of his followers Binswanger, Boss.

As to paradigmatic problems of a daseinsanalytic pathology, there is enough evidence that Heidegger expected daseinsanalytic pathologists to find, formulate and solve "ontic", i. An example of Heidegger's difficulty to come to grips with concrete problems is found in a conversation between him and Binswanger, which took place in Binswanger asked Heidegger whether "the mentally ill are open to the being". Heidegger answered, yes, "for the mentally ill also have language".

And he added that "in reading psychiatric clinical cases he has had often the impression that also in mentally ill persons emerges the concern about being [ Besinnung auf das Sein ]" Binswanger , p. This remark is interesting in itself but obviously not precise enough in order to allow us relate to the question of being with clinical problems which are treated in psychiatry and in psychoanalysis. The absence of any articulated conceptualization of psychiatric problems in the light of existential analytic is another reason for not calling Heidegger's project of a daseinsanalytic pathology a scientific paradigm.

Let us now turn to Winnicott.

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I shall first characterize his contribution to psychoanalysis as a creation of a new paradigm for psychoanalysis and argue that this paradigm satisfies Heidegger's requirements for a daseinsanalytic science of man. In the next section, I shall try to show that Winnicott's psychoanalysis might have a stimulating effect on the development of a daseinsanalytic pathology and therapy.

I start by considering the changes which Winnicott has introduced in what can be called "disciplinary matrix" of the Freudian psychoanalysis. In the first place, Winnicott substituted Freud's leading generalization - his theory of sexuality - by an entirely different and original "working theory", namely, "the idea of a progression of dependence towards independence" within the process of emotional maturation.

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