According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On the Question of "Being in the World." A Reflection on the Philosophy of Martin Heiddeger

Publication Date - May 1, 2011

Ten years after graduating with a degree in philosophy from UC Berkeley, filmmaker Tao Ruspoli returned to visit his one-time professor, world-renowned philosopher Herbert Dreyfus. That visit led to meetings with a whole generation of philosophers whom Dreyfus had taught, which subsequently sparked the inspiration for this film. Being in the World raises the question of whether we have forgotten what it means to be truly human in today's technological age, and proceeds to answer this question by taking a journey around the world to meet a whole host of remarkable individuals, including Manuel Molina, the legendary poet and flamenco master; Leah Chase, affectionately known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine; and Hiroshi Sakaguchi, a master carpenter from Japan. By showing how these modern day masters approach life from within their chosen fields, Ruspoli's film celebrates the ability of human beings to find meaning in the world through the mastery of physical, intellectual, and creative skills.

Being in The World movie trailer

Being in the World teaser: Hubert Dreyfus

Review: Germany released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), 77 minutes.

Synopsis: We quickly move beyond the Greeks and then beyond Descartes' mentalist notion ('I think therefore I am') of reality to Martin Heidegger's conception: reality and meaning exist where minds interact with the world. We see humans at work and at play: juggling, doing high-precision Japanese carpentry, flamenco, and cooking gumbo. While we watch them work and struggle to introspect and talk about their art and their craft, we also hear Hubert Dreyfus and his students reflect on Heidegger and his philosophy. Our artisans confess that they cannot explain in rational terms how they do what they do. The being is in the doing. Interviews and action intertwine to make a challenging philosophy clear to the lay viewer. ...Being in the World

Heidegger's Being and Time 1 of 3

Heidegger's Being and Time 2 of 3

Heidegger's Being and Time 3 of 3

A Quick Synopsis:

Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976); German pronunciation: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈhaɪdɛɡɐ]) was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."[3]

Heidegger argues that philosophy is preoccupied with what exists and has forgotten the question of the "ground" of being. We find ourselves "always already" fallen into a world that already existed; but he insists that we have forgotten the basic question of what being itself is. This question defines our central nature. He argues that we are practical agents, caring and concerned about our projects in the world, and allowing it to reveal, or "unconceal" itself to us. He also says that our manipulation of reality is often harmful and hides our true being as essentially limited participants, not masters, of the world which we discover.

Heidegger wrote about these issues in his best-known book, Being and Time (1927), which is considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century.[4] Heidegger's influence is far reaching, from philosophy to deconstruction and literary theory, theology, architecture, and artificial intelligence.[5]

He remains controversial due to his membership in the Nazi Party and statements in support of Adolf Hitler, for which he never apologized or expressed regret.[6]


Heidegger claimed that Western philosophy since Plato has misunderstood what it means for something "to be", tending to approach this question in terms of a being, rather than asking about Being itself. In other words, Heidegger believed all investigations of being have historically focused on particular entities and their properties, or have treated Being itself as an entity, or substance, with properties. A more authentic analysis of being would, for Heidegger, investigate "that on the basis of which beings are already understood," or that which underlies all particular entities and allows them to show up as entities in the first place (see world disclosure).[7] But since philosophers and scientists have overlooked the more basic, pre-theoretical ways of being from which their theories derive, and since they have incorrectly applied those theories universally, they have confused our understanding of being and human existence. To avoid these deep-rooted misconceptions, Heidegger believed philosophical inquiry must be conducted in a new way, through a process of retracing the steps of the history of philosophy.

Heidegger argued that this misunderstanding, beginning with Plato, has left its traces in every stage of Western thought. All that we understand, from the way we speak to our notions of "common sense", is susceptible to error, to fundamental mistakes about the nature of being. These mistakes filter into the terms through which being is articulated in the history of philosophy—such as reality, logic, God, consciousness, and presence. In his later philosophy, Heidegger argues that this profoundly affects the way in which human beings relate to modern technology.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that his writing is 'notoriously difficult', possibly because his thinking was 'original' and clearly on obscure and innovative topics.[8] Heidegger accepted this charge, stating 'Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy', and suggesting that intelligibility is what he is critically trying to examine.[9]

Heidegger's work has strongly influenced philosophy, aesthetics of literature, and the humanities. Within philosophy it played a crucial role in the development of existentialism, hermeneutics, deconstructionism, postmodernism, and continental philosophy in general. Well-known philosophers such as Karl Jaspers, Leo Strauss, Ahmad Fardid, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Lévinas, Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, William E. Connolly, and Jacques Derrida have all analyzed Heidegger's work.

Heidegger supported National Socialism and was a member of the Nazi Party from May 1933 until May 1945.[10] His defenders, notably Hannah Arendt, see this support as arguably a personal " 'error' " (a word which Arendt placed in quotation marks when referring to Heidegger's Nazi-era politics).[11] Defenders think this error was largely irrelevant to Heidegger's philosophy. Critics, such as his former students Emmanuel Levinas[12] and Karl Löwith,[13] claim that Heidegger's support for National Socialism revealed flaws inherent in his thought. [14]

Reactions to Heidegger's 'Being and Time'

Heidegger, Being and Time:
Understanding and Interpretation

A brief talk about sections, 31, 32, 33 from Heidegger's Being and Time

Statement: If a man totally loses his memory, does he still exist? Or is existence defined exclusively by the physical self? If there were a way to transfer all the memories of a man into a new body when the old body, complete with mind and memories died, would the man still exist, even though the being which is physically present is brand new and never actually lived the memories? Is existence defined by physical form, or a continuity of consciousness?

Reply: "If a man totally loses his memory, does he still exist?" Does WHO still exist? WHO is the point! There IS a man still alive, still living, but existence pertains to the WHO that we ARE. In this case, it would be a persson who is now existing as someone with amnesia. Existence is a meaningful stretch of temporality, a thrown retaining that projects and awaits.


Being, time, and Dasein

Heidegger's philosophy is founded on the attempt to conjoin what he considers two fundamental insights: the first is his observation that, in the course of over 2,000 years of history, philosophy has attended to all the beings that can be found in the world (including the "world" itself), but has forgotten to ask what "being" itself is. This is Heidegger's "question of being," and it is Heidegger's fundamental concern throughout his work. One crucial source of this insight was Heidegger's reading of Franz Brentano's treatise on Aristotle's manifold uses of the word "being," a work which provoked Heidegger to ask what kind of unity underlies this multiplicity of uses. Heidegger opens his magnum opus, Being and Time, with a citation from Plato's Sophist [27] indicating that Western philosophy has neglected "being" because it was considered obvious, rather than as worthy of question. Heidegger's intuition about the question of being is thus an historical argument, which in his later work becomes his concern with the "history of being," that is, the history of the forgetting of being, which according to Heidegger requires that philosophy retrace its footsteps through a productive "destruction" of the history of philosophy.

The second intuition animating Heidegger's philosophy derives from the influence of Edmund Husserl, a philosopher largely uninterested in questions of philosophical history. Rather, Husserl argued that all that philosophy could and should be a description of experience (hence the phenomenological slogan, "to the things themselves"). But for Heidegger, this meant understanding that experience is always already situated in a world and in ways of being. Thus Husserl's understanding that all consciousness is "intentional" (in the sense that it is always intended toward something, and is always "about" something) is transformed in Heidegger's philosophy, becoming the thought that all experience is grounded in "care."

This is the basis of Heidegger's "existential analytic", as he develops it in Being and Time. Heidegger argues that to describe experience properly entails finding the being for whom such a description might matter. Heidegger thus conducts his description of experience with reference to "Dasein," the being for whom being is a question.[28]

In Being and Time, Heidegger criticized the abstract and metaphysical character of traditional ways of grasping human existence as rational animal, person, man, soul, spirit, or subject. Dasein, then, is not intended as a way of conducting a philosophical anthropology, but is rather understood by Heidegger to be the condition of possibility for anything like a philosophical anthropology.[29] Dasein, according to Heidegger, is care. In the course of his existential analytic, Heidegger argues that Dasein, who finds itself thrown into the world amidst things and with others, is thrown into its possibilities, including the possibility and inevitability of one's own mortality. The need for Dasein to assume these possibilities, that is, the need to be responsible for one's own existence, is the basis of Heidegger's notions of authenticity and resoluteness—that is, of those specific possibilities for Dasein which depend on escaping the "vulgar" temporality of calculation and of public life.

The marriage of these two observations depends on the fact that each of them is essentially concerned with time. That Dasein is thrown into an already existing world and thus into its mortal possibilities does not only mean that Dasein is an essentially temporal being; it also implies that the description of Dasein can only be carried out in terms inherited from the Western tradition itself. For Heidegger, unlike for Husserl, philosophical terminology could not be divorced from the history of the use of that terminology, and thus genuine philosophy could not avoid confronting questions of language and meaning. The existential analytic of Being and Time was thus always only a first step in Heidegger's philosophy, to be followed by the "dismantling" (Destruktion) of the history of philosophy, that is, a transformation of its language and meaning, that would have made of the existential analytic only a kind of "limit case" (in the sense in which special relativity is a limit case of general relativity).[citation needed]

That Heidegger did not write this second part of Being and Time, and that the existential analytic was left behind in the course of Heidegger's subsequent writings on the history of being, might be interpreted as a failure to conjugate his account of individual experience with his account of the vicissitudes of the collective human adventure that he understands the Western philosophical tradition to be. And this would in turn raise the question of whether this failure is due to a flaw in Heidegger's account of temporality, that is, of whether Heidegger was correct to oppose vulgar and authentic time.[30]

Being and Time

Being and Time (German title: Sein und Zeit), published in 1927, is Heidegger's first academic book. He had been under pressure to publish in order to qualify for Husserl's chair at University of Freiburg and the success of this work ensured his appointment to the post.

It investigates the question of being by asking about the being for whom being is a question. Heidegger names this being Dasein (see above), and the book pursues its investigation through themes such as mortality, care, anxiety, temporality, and historicity. It was Heidegger's original intention to write a second half of the book, consisting of a "Destruktion" of the history of philosophy—that is, the transformation of philosophy by re-tracing its history—but he never completed this project.

Being and Time influenced many thinkers, including such existentialist thinkers as Jean-Paul Sartre (although Heidegger distanced himself from existentialism—see below).

Later works: The Turn

Heidegger's later works, after the Second World War, seem to many commentators (e.g. William J. Richardson[31]) to at least reflect a shift of focus, if not indeed a major change in his philosophical outlook. One way this has been understood is as a shift from "doing" to "dwelling". However, others feel that this is to overstate the difference. For example, in 2011 Mark Wrathall[32] argued that Heidegger pursued and refined the central notion of unconcealment throughout his life as a philosopher. Its importance and continuity in his thinking, Wrathall states, shows that he did not have a 'turn'. A reviewer of Wrathall's book stated: "An ontology of unconcealment ... means a description and analysis of the broad contexts in which entities show up as meaningful to us, as well as the conditions under which such contexts, or worlds, emerge and fade."[33]

Heidegger focuses less on the way in which the structures of being are revealed in everyday behavior, and more on the way in which behavior itself depends on a prior "openness to being." The essence of being human is the maintenance of this openness. Heidegger contrasts this openness to the "will to power" of the modern human subject, which is one way of forgetting this originary openness.
Heidegger understands the commencement of the history of Western philosophy as a brief period of authentic openness to being, during the time of the pre-Socratics, especially Anaximander, Heraclitus, and Parmenides. This was followed, according to Heidegger, by a long period increasingly dominated by the forgetting of this initial openness, a period which commences with Plato, and which occurs in different ways throughout Western history.

Two recurring themes of Heidegger's later writings are poetry and technology. Heidegger sees poetry and technology as two contrasting ways of "revealing." Poetry reveals being in the way in which, if it is genuine poetry, it commences something new. Technology, on the other hand, when it gets going, inaugurates the world of the dichotomous subject and object, which modern philosophy commencing with Descartes also reveals. But with modern technology a new stage of revealing is reached, in which the subject-object distinction is overcome even in the "material" world of technology. The essence of modern technology is the conversion of the whole universe of beings into an undifferentiated "standing reserve" (Bestand) of energy available for any use to which humans choose to put it. Heidegger described the essence of modern technology as Gestell, or "enframing." Heidegger does not unequivocally condemn technology: while he acknowledges that modern technology contains grave dangers, Heidegger nevertheless also argues that it may constitute a chance for human beings to enter a new epoch in their relation to being. Despite this, some commentators have insisted that an agrarian nostalgia permeates his later work.

In a 1950 lecture he formulated the famous saying Language speaks, later published in the 1959 essays collection Unterwegs zur Sprache, and collected in the 1971 English book Poetry, Language, Thought.[34][35][36]

Heidegger's later works include Vom Wesen der Wahrheit ("On the Essence of Truth", 1930), Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes ("The Origin of the Work of Art", 1935), Einführung in die Metaphysik ("Introduction to Metaphysics", 1935), Bauen Wohnen Denken ("Building Dwelling Thinking", 1951), and Die Frage nach der Technik ("The Question Concerning Technology", 1954) and Was heisst Denken? ("What Is Called Thinking?" 1954). Also Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning)), composed in the years 1936–38 but not published until 1989, on the centennial of Heidegger's birth.


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