(last updated March 2009)

Glossary of Terms in Being and Time

By Roderick Munday

Introductory notes

This glossary is taken from my 'explication and commentary' of Heidegger's Being and Time. It was first published online in February 2006 and substantially updated in September 2006. It is, however, a work in progress, so please do not expect a definitive list of terms (yet). The citations contained in this glossary refer to the relevant passages in the 'explication and commentary' and also to the page references found in the 1962 English translation of Being and Time. The full citation of this work is:

Heidegger, Martin (2000), Being and Time, John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson (trans), London: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

The glossary is primarily aimed at persons reading Being and Time in English, consequently German terms are, for the most part, omitted. The primary exception to this is the term "Dasein", which is familiar enough to English readers of Heidegger. Needless to say, I apologise to any German readers - as well as to Heidegger purists reading this! For those seeking translations of the many Greek words and phrases in Being and Time, there is already and excellent online resource dedicated to this at Pete's Ereignis site:

  Click on a letter to jump to the relevant section in the glossary


- A -


A term coined by Aristotle to designate a certain kind of judgement, which, he claimed, could ascertain what is false and what is true about phenomena. However, an apophantic judgement does not arrive at its verdict by comparing true entities with false ones, but by examining and evaluating the entities in themselves. This is why Heidegger was so keen on the method for his phenomenology [ref. ¶ 7, page 56]. Heidegger argues that the comparative methods of judging actually obscures the truth, because it is a placing of something in front of something else. Therefore in order to discover the truth, one must apprehending the being of an entity in and for itself.

Apophantic judgements are made either by attributing a predicate to a subject (insofar as it pertains to the subject as a property of it); or conversely denying a predicate to a subject (insofar as it does not pertain to it), However in both cases the subject and predicates belong to the entity itself and not to something else. Thus, from this ontological basis Aristotle claimed that apophantic judgements could establish the "pure forms" of all possible true (and false) predications and Heidegger claimed by using them he could avoid basing his philosophy on the comparative method of judgment (so that his would not be a mere philosophy of appearances) [ref. ¶ 7, Page 52 - 53]. (This explanation of apophantic was adapted from www.marcuse.org).

Appearance and Announcing

Appearance describes a relationship between phenomena, which is always based on a referral of some kind or other, therefore it is contrary to phenomena that show themselves in their genuine Being. The 'phenomenon' of appearance also shows itself, but its Being is always a reference masking some other kind of Being. [ref. ¶ 7, page 54]

Appearance (as the appearance of something) does not mean something that shows itself, but rather something that announces itself. Announcing can be defined as a 'showing itself by not showing itself,' for example an illness announces itself in its symptoms, which are, so to speak, its calling card. So, in a sense, appearance is a not showing itself (Heidegger uses the term "not" here with the caveat that it is not to be understood as meaning a negation, but as indicating the presence of something unseen). Anything that never shows itself is also something that can never seem. This is why appearance is different from showing or seeming. All indications, presentations, symptoms and symbols have this basic formal structure of appearing. Appearance has four distinct meanings.

  1. Appearance = something which announces itself without showing itself, i.e. the disease announcing itself through its symptoms.
  2. Appearance = something that signifies showing itself, and therefore implies the appearance of phenomena, i.e., a phantom trace on a radar screen that is mistaken for a plane.
  3. Appearance = the term used incorrectly to describing the genuine 'showing-itself' of a phenomenon.
  4. Appearance = something which is the positive emissary of that which does not appear in any manifest form, i.e., a thing which indicates the existence of that which does not appear and never will appear. For instance, causal changes due to the passage of time announces itself in the greying of someone's hair, or the changes in a landscape, or the decaying of fruit, left in a bowl. All these instances appear to point to the existence of a thing called time, which otherwise does not exist as a phenomenon which can be seen in itself.

The point to be made here is that if one defines phenomenon with the aid of a conception of appearance which does not differentiate between these multiple meaning, then confusion is bound to reign! [ref. ¶ 7, Page 52 - 53]


(See equipment)

Authenticity and Inauthenticity

Authentic Being is its own measure, in other words when it does not have to justify it's existence as compared with anything else.

Authenticity and inauthenticity are what gives Dasein its definite character. Dasein is either Authentic, which, in the sense of my Being, means that I can chose and win myself, or conversely lose and never win myself [ref.¶ 9, Page 68], or Dasein is Inauthentic, which means fleeing in the face of my Being and forgetting that I can chose and win myself [ref.¶ 9, Page 69-70]. Authenticity and inauthenticity do not derive their meaning or value by comparison with anything else, in this sense that they simply are what they are. This means that we cannot speak of them as being determined by any prior considerations or influences, but rather we should think of them as determining these things, since authenticity and inauthenticity are the grounds on which a particular Dasein determines its own possibilies. [ref. ¶12, page 78]

When a particular Dasein talks about its Being, it is in each case "my Being". And because the essence of Dasein lies in its 'to be' it is also 'my to be'. Thus, we talk about Dasein's Being in terms of possibility rather than actuality. But of course describing something in terms of all of the potential ways that it can be, is far more complex than describing it in terms of what it "is". [ref. ¶ 9, Page 67].

The decision as to which way the Being of Dasein is 'my to be,' is something that a particular Dasein will have decided beforehand, based on the constraints imposed upon it by experience (see historicality). The entity Dasein, who's Being is an issue for it, comports itself towards its Being as its ownmost possibility. In each case Dasein is its possibility and for that reason it can chose itself and win itself, or conversely lose itself and never win itself, or perhaps only seem to do so. But this choosing and loosing is defined only in the sense that it can be essentially viewed by Dasein as Being authentic - that is as something which has a reality value that is not relative to or measured by comparisons with anything else. Authenticity stands alone: it is the way things are. [ref. ¶ 9, Page 68] An authentic Being is its own measure, because it does not have to justify it's existence by comparing it with anything else (indeed, how would it be possible for people step outside of their own lives to do this?)

Dasein exists, either in the mode of authenticity, or inauthenticity. In fact, in saying this Heidegger is claiming that Dasein cannot properly be described as existing in any other state, although he does concedes that Dasein can be said to be modally undifferentiated. However in considering this last remark, I want to point out that this 'undifferentiated Dasein' cannot be said to constitute a description of any positive characteristics, since undifferentiated Dasein would not possess any characteristics at all. The key word in Heidegger's above statement is describe. You cannot describe Dasein itself since Dasein is not a thing that can be pointed at or talked about in the way we can talk about entities which are not Dasein [ref. ¶ 9, page 67]. In order to talk about being at all we have to talk about structures of Being. For example you cannot talk about the Being of a particular Dasein because it is the sum total of all its possibilities, but you can say of Dasein, generally speaking, that it is the sum total of its possibilities and potentials (whatever they may be). This statement is structural because it describes the structures in which Dasein inhabits. This then is what we are looking at when we are analysing Being. The structural map to the territory that is Being. By looking at the map, we can point to certain characteristics that stand out, of which authenticity and inauthenticity are the primary ones. Authenticity and inauthenticity of Dasein must be seen and understood in Heidegger's analysis as being a priori (that is as coming before) Dasein's understanding of itself and thus of its understanding of its own existence. However, although not determined by anything prior, authenticity and inauthenticity are themselves grounded upon a state of Heidegger calls Being-in-the-world. [ref. ¶ 12, page 78] (see also inauthenticity)

Average Everydayness

In this history of philosophy, one gets the strong impression that thoughts about existence have always emerged in the rarefied atmosphere of solitary contemplation. As Heidegger quite rightly points out, this attitude is not typical of the way people live their everyday lives. Much of our existence is not spend in reflexive contemplation of our Being-in-the-world, but rather we are immersed in the task of just getting on with our lives. This then is Dasein's mode of average everydayness. However Heidegger considers this ordinary mode of Being, despite being the most unconsidered, to be also the most important.

He argues that Dasein is, of course, close to us, (concern about our Being is effectively the same thing as having an "us" inside out head that speaks to us) in this sense, our Being and ourselves are the same thing. But but this also creates a paradox, since Dasein is simultaneously also the thing which is furthest away from us. The fact that Dasein is onto-ontologically prior (to its own thoughts about itself), means that Dasein's own structure of Being is effectively concealed; hidden from view. But, when we speak of it in terms of a pre-ontological understanding, Dasein is hardly a stranger to us. [ref. ¶ 5, page 36 - 37]. This pre-ontological understanding is Dasein's average everydayness. Thus Heidegger argues that average everydayness should not be neglected in a philosophical analysis and Heidegger tasks himself discovering various methods whereby we can gain access to this kind of understanding. Here's what he has to say about average everydayness.

Average everydayness, that undifferentiated character of Dasein, is not nothing, but is actually a positive phenomenological characteristic of this entity, that is its averageness:

"Out of this kind of Being--and back into it again--is all existing, such as it is."

The averageness of Dasein makes up what is ontically proximal for this entity. No doubt the reason that the averageness of Dasein has been passed over again and again in philosophical explications of the human condition is because it is so unremarkable. But this almost tautologically sounding statement in fact underscores the truth in Heidegger's maxim, "what is closest to us ontologically is at the same time the furthest away" [ref. ¶ 5, page 36]. In order to understand that which, phenomenologically speaking, is the closest thing of all, it has to be articulated in a way that means 'the closest thing' is not overlooked, but seen rather in its positive characterisation. [ref. ¶ 9, Page 69]

Dasein's average everydayness is therefore not to be taken as an aspect of it. Dasein comports itself towards its Being in the mode of average everydayness, and the understanding of this is felt by Dasein even before it can even be articulated in thought. Average everydayness' does not carry the usual hazy indefinite connotations that these words have in ordinary speech. In the explication of Dasein anything that is understood ontically can be thought of as existing in an average way and this mode may be grasped in patterns of existence. These are Patterns which Heidegger terms 'pregnant structures', which may be indistinguishable from an authentic Being of Dasein, in other words Dasein choosing and winning itself by comporting itself towards its Being as its ownmost possibility. [ref. ¶ 9, Page 69-70]


- B -


Since the whole of Being and Time is an attempt to answer the question, "What is Being?", it would be a little presumptions of me to attempt a summary here. However, there are three preliminary remarks that can be extracted from the ontological tradition in philosophy, that will help us initially to clarify the question:

1/ "Being is not a genus".
It has been maintained that Being is the most universal of concepts, thus an understanding of Being is presupposed in our conceiving of anything as an entity. Being transcends any categorical distinction we care to make in our apprehension of the world. It does this by existing above and beyond any notion of a category that we can form in our understanding.

2/ Being is indefinable.
The term entity cannot be applied to Being because it cannot be defined using traditional logic, (i.e. a technique for understanding which derives its terms either from higher general concepts, or by recourse to ones of lower generality). In other words, because Being is neither a thing nor a genus it follows that it cannot be defined according to logic, whose job is to set out the rules that govern the categorisation of phenomena and concepts.

3/ Being is self-evident
Whenever one thinks about anything, or makes an assertion, or even asks a question; some use is made of Being. But the intelligibility of Being, in this sense, is only an average sort of intelligibility (common sense understanding). This average intelligibility is also indicative of its scholarly unintelligibility, i.e., the way that the question: "what is Being?", is often ignored in philosophical investigations. [ref. ¶ 1, page 22 - 23]

Subsequently Heidegger elaborated a more considered conceptualising of Being into five characteristics:

1/ Dasein is a Being who understands that it exists, and what is more the Being of Dasein is, in part, shaped by that understanding.

2/ The above statement can be seen to serves as a working definition of the formal conception of existence,

3/ Dasein exists and moreover Dasein and existence are one. For example if Dasein is 'the human Being' and existence is 'the world,' then Dasein and the world are one. The consequence of this is that Dasein and existence cannot be separated - even analytically separated.

4/ Dasein is also an entity which I myself am. In other words each one of us (as human Beings) defines existence in terms of our own existence, a concept that Heidegger terms Mineness. Therefore the only way that Being can be understood is as My Being.' This applies even when Being and Dasein are considered in general.

5/ Mineness belongs to any existent Dasein, in the sense that how I regard 'my Being', creates the conditions that make authenticity and inauthenticity possible. [ref. ¶ 12, page 78]

Being alongside

As an existentiale, Being-alongside-the-world does not mean the same thing as the-Being-present-at-hand-together-of-things-that-occur. "There is no such thing as the side-by-sideness of an entity called 'Dasein' with another entity called 'World,' for that would imply that they were separate 'things'". Of course when speaking ontically about two things, a kind of side-by-sidedness applies; we can say for instance that "the table touches the door" or "The chair touches the wall" because the two things in those examples can be present-at-hand together alongside one another . Although the word 'touch' is problematic in these instances for two reasons"

1/ in actuality, two separate things cannot 'touch' at all, because there is always going to be a minute space between them, even if that space is perceived of as nothing.

2/ Because the usage of the word 'touch' is an anthropomorphisation. In the sense that when talking about entities, tough used as a metaphor to connotes a human closeness. In other worlds the very sense that belongs only to an entity like Dasein. See also worldless [ref. ¶ 12 page 81]

Being in

From the perspective of our common sense understanding, "Being-in" is a term we usually associate with our involvement in a situation or a context. Thus, "Being in" is not thought about solely in isolation, but in terms of "Being in something or other". For example we can say that: the water is in the glass, However, in terms of inness the description cannot be terminated with that proposition for is not the glass also in the kitchen, which is in the house, which is in the village, which is in the county and so on until we realise that, in terms of inness, the glass (and everything else described) are actually located in worldspace. Thus, the inness of "Being-in-the-world" or to put it more precisely, this inness can be defined as, "the-Being-present-at-hand-as-things-within-the-world". This present-at-hand type of 'Being-in' can be further isolated into "Being-present-at-hand-along-with". This sense here is that the Being-present-at-hand describes a definite relationship of location, where something exists with something else; both having the same kind of Being. This sense of 'Being-in' thus can be used as a way to describe patterns of existence and is therefore an example of a characteristic in our way of looking at things categorically [ref. ¶ 12, page 79]

Being-in does not suggest a spatial relationship of the "in-one-anotherness" of things present at hand, anymore than Heidegger's use of the word primordially signifies a spatial relationship. [ref.¶ 12, page 80]. As Heidegger later points out the spatial quality of an entity can only be clarified in terms of it Being part of the structure of worldhood, not as its apriori spatial condition. This conception is contrary to Kant's famous transcendental phenomenology which regards space and time as the a priori conditions that make the perception of reality possible. Heidegger contends that we will not be able to discover the world if we take spatiality as its grounding apriori condition [ref. ¶ 14, page 93].


Being-in-the-world is the grounding state of Being. It is the fundamental ground upon which every other determination of Being rests. Being-in-the-world is a state of Dasein which therefore is necessarily a priori, although it should nevertheless be understood that Being-in-the-world is not by itself a sufficient determinate of Dasein's Being for the reason that Dasein's Being can only be truly understood in the future sense of the my to be. Being-in-the-world therefore describes the formal understanding of the ground on which Dasein's Being stands. It can only elaborate the broad principles upon which any actual Dasein operates, rather than describing the Being of any particular Dasein with precision.

Being-in-the-world is a compound expression, but it names a unitary phenomenon. It underscores the fact that in Heidegger's philosophy 'Being' (the Being of Dasein) and 'the world' are not separate entities but must be grasped together. In this sense, there is no subject and object, nor is there any division between internal and external. However, structurally speaking, this does not prevent us from talking about 'Being' and 'the world' separately, since the structure of Being-in-the-world consists of items which actually may be looked at in three distinct ways:

1/ in terms of the world or Worldhood.

2/ In terms of Who - the entity which in every case has Being-in-the-world as the way in which it exists is a "who."

3/ In terms of Being-in = This conception looks at the ontological constitution of the "Inhood" of Being-in. [ref. ¶ 12, page 78 - 79]

[79] The ways in which Dasein's Being takes on a definite character, and they must be seen and understood a priori as grounded upon that state of Being which we have called "Being-in-the-world'. The compound expression 'Being-in-the-world' stands for a unitary phenomenon.

First, inquiring into the ontological structure of the 'world' and defining the idea of worldhood as such, Second seeking that which one inquires into when one asks the question 'Who?' determined in the mode of Dasein's average everydayness. Third emphasising that the others are emphasized along with it; this means that in any such case the whole phenomenon gets seen.

[78]Dasein itself has a 'Being-in-space' of its own; but this in turn is possible only on the basis of Being-in-the-world in general. Hence Being-in is not to be explained ontologically by some ontical characterization-- Here we are faced with the Being-present-at-hand

Because Being-in-the-world belongs essentially to Dasein, its Being towards the world is essentially concern.

[84] Being-in is not a 'property' which Dasein sometimes has and sometimes does not have ... Dasein is never 'proximally' an entity which is, so to speak, free from Being-in, but which sometimes has the inclination to take up a 'relationship' towards the world. 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 other entity is present-at-hand outside of Dasein ... Nowadays there is much talk about 'man's having an environment ... but this says nothing ontologically as long as this 'having' is left indefinite. In its very possibility this 'having' is founded upon the existential state of Being-in. Because Dasein is essentially an entity with Being-in, it can explicitly discover those entities which it encounters environmentally, it can know them, it can avail itself of them, it can have the 'world' ... even as an a priori condition for the objects which biology takes for its theme, this structure itself can be explained philosophically only if it has been conceived beforehand as a structure of Dasein. Only in terms of an orientation

[86] If Being-in-the-world is a basic state of Dasein, and one in which Dasein operates not only in general but pre-eminently in the mode of everydayness, then it must also be something which has always been experienced ontically. It would be unintelligible for Being-in-the-world to remain totally veiled from view ...[88] knowing is a mode of Being of Dasein as Being-in-the-world, and is founded ontically upon this state of Being. But if, as we suggest, we thus find phenomenally that knowing is a kind of Being which belongs to Being-in-the-world, one might object that with such an Interpretation of knowing, the problem of knowledge is nullified; for what is left to be asked if one presupposes that knowing is already 'alongside' its world, when it is not supposed to reach that world except in the transcending of the subject? ... Proximally, this Being-already-alongside is not just a fixed staring at something that is purely present-at-hand. Being-in-the-world, as concern, is fascinated by the world with which it is concerned. If knowing is to be possible as a way of determining the nature of the present-at-hand by observing it, then there must first be a deficiency in our having-to-do with the world concernfully. When concern holds back from any kind of producing, manipulating, and the like, it puts itself into what is now the sole remaining mode of Being-in, the mode of just tarrying alongside

Being (The formal understanding of)

The answer to the question "What is Being?" in a formal (general) sense is obtained by noticing the connotations of inness as a dwelling place found in both the word In (inn) and the first person conjugation of the very "to be" -"I am." In German this is "ich bin," where "bin" is associated with 'bei', [act], so "ich bin" means "I reside," or "I dwell alongside". Thus, in terms of Heidegger's ontology "am" also means "dwell alongside," or "I reside," when expressed as an existentiale. In the context of 'Being-in,' the way that this 'alongside' is meant is in the sense of, "I reside alongside the world." The "world" here connotes both 'familiarity with' and concern for' the things that I reside alongside with. The "I" in these significations has the characteristic of "I myself am". Thus "Being-in" stands for those things which are familiar to me. "Being", as the infinitive of "I am", signifies "to reside alongside."

The fact that the answer to a general "What is Being?" question is that Being is "I reside alongside", perhaps strikes us as rather strange since I reside alongside seems like a very particular expression, and the temptation is to cut the "I" completely out of the formulation and talk in terms of Being as a general residing alongsideness. However in Heidegger's formulation of Being the "I" represents the wholeness of Being and therefore 'I' is a general term. This is a paradox of Heidegger's philosophy (in the literally sense of the Greek word paradox as meaning against orthodoxy). The paradox is that the pronoun "I" is not to be thought of as designating a singular or particular entity. This is because everything is grounded on the wholeness of Being and general, and therefore general ontological structures are described in the seemingly particular terms of mineness. In order to grasp this we must set aside all associations between the "I" of minenss and the "I" of Cartesian subjectivity, and indeed the "I" of the first person singular also.

In Heidegger phenomenological conception, the infinitive of "I am" signifies "to reside alongside" and in this sense Heidegger conceives of Being as that which we are familiar with. Therefore, the formal expression for the Being of Dasein can be expressed as I reside alongside myself or I myself am. This formal understanding has Being-in-the-world as its essential state. Although we must, again, remind ourselves that looking at the structure of Being is not the same thing as looking at Being itself. Here the distinction implied by "the map is not the territory" very much applies! [ref. ¶ 12, page 80]


- C -


Care is synonymous with Dasein because Being-in-the-world belongs essentially to Dasein. In actual fact, this is what is meant by the meaning of Being conceived of as "I reside alongside"--see Being (the formal understanding of). Dasein's Being is always looking out towards the world is therefore is essentially manifested in care and concern. And also the ontological conception of Being-in as the "alongsidedness of things," suggests both their close proximity to Dasein, and also their intimate intertwining with Dasein.

In making the Being of Dasein visible as care, care itself must be taken as an ontological structural concept. In this sense, care has nothing to do with its everyday significations of "trials and tribulations", or "being bound up in the 'cares of life'." Although, it is true that ontically we can come across these aspects of care in every Dasein. And, like the opposite state of 'gaiety'-- which in its true signification means 'a freedom from care'--they are only possible because Dasein is synonymous with care when understood ontologically. [ref. ¶ 12, page 84]


Entities present-at-hand within the world are understood ontically and their characteristics can be arranged into categories. Dasein on the other hand is understood ontologically and its characteristics are arranged into existentiale. The difference between existentiale and category is both in the way they are used (existentiale applies only to Dasein, category applies to entities within the world) but in the different paradigmatic assumptions (the differences between an ontical and ontological understanding) that underpin them.

In traditional philosophy, categories are defined as tools for analysis. For example, in Aristotle's Organon, categories enumerated all the possible kinds of thing which can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition. The classical Aristotelian view that claims that categories are discrete entities characterized by a set of properties which are shared by their members. These are assumed to establish the conditions which are both necessary and sufficient to capture meaning. Therefore the tradition of categorisation instigated by Aristotle, ideally illuminates a relationship between the subjects and objects of knowledge (source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorization).

The use of categories is predicated on the assumption that reality can be studied by slicing it into parts and grouping those parts into sets, based on some perceived similarity between the parts. In the traditional philosophical paradigm, this slicing is not seem in terms of doing violence to the 'wholeness of reality', for the wholeness of reality is considered to be a mystery that needs to be taken apart and analysed in order to be understood. In addition, one also has to bear in mind that the violence of cutting up objects for study in this way in no way effects the person who is studying them. Since this person, as a subject, is detached from the objects of study and emotionally indifferent to them. However in Heidegger's ontological paradigm, such distinctions collapse and therefore the assumptions upon which are based also collapse.

Heidegger argues, when we encounter entities in the world, we already address ourselves to the question of their Being. This is meant in the sense of when a child points at something and asking "what's that?" the gesture and the question already implies that she is aware that there is a 'Being' there in need of a name. Moreover, the "what's that" question also points to the fact that there is 'something' which is already distinguishable from the manifold of the world, in other words which stands out from the rest in terms of its Being. According to Heidegger, the action of addressing oneself to an entity's Being is what the ancients understood by the term 'category'. Their use of category signifies making a public accusation, in the sense of asking someone to account for their actions in front of witnesses. When used ontologically, the term category has a similar meaning - a kind of putting things on trial, but in this case what is made to account for itself is the Being of entity itself. In other words, the particular kind of language we use to determine a category lets everyone else see the object in terms of its Being. When we use Language in this way it allows us to uncover the "what's that?" of an object's Being that exists before it is named. The Categories are therefore what are 'sighted' in words (the logos), which implies the articulation of an explicit description of the Being of a given entity, rather than the covering over of that Being of that entity with a name. [ref. ¶ 9, page 70]


The ontical meaning of concern comes in three colloquial significations:

1/ 'to carry something out,' or 'to get it done.'

2/ 'to provide oneself with something' and

3/ 'to be concerned about the success of the undertaking'.

In contrast to these ontical significations, the ontological expression 'concern' designates - the Being of a possible way of Being-in-the-world. Thus concern is an existentiale and the term has been chosen because it allows us to make visible the Being of Dasein as care. Dasein's facticity is such that its Being-in-the-world has always dispersed itself into definite ways. A primary characteristic of Dasein is that it is a Being concerned with its own existence. [ref. ¶ 12, page 84]

Covering up

Covering up is the counter-concept to phenomenology. There are many senses in which a phenomenon can be covered up.

1/ Hiddenness
In the sense that a phenomenon has not been discovered (in which case it is neither known nor unknown).

2/ Burying
In the sense that a phenomenon can be buried over, i.e., it has been discovered once, but has now lapsed back into obscurity. However, in this case, the burial is hardly ever total. Something may still be visible if only as a semblance (but nevertheless it is a semblance of the entity's Being).

3/ Disguise
In the sense that a phenomenon can be disguised as something else, with the attendant possibilities of lies and deception which makes the discovery of the true being of that phenomenon especially difficult.

Furthermore covering up, whether in terms of hiddenness, burying or disguise has two additional possibilities:

i/ Covering up which is accidental

ii/ Covering up which with the best of intentions gets 'lost in translation' when immediate experience is represented in language.

In the latter case, the Being of the entity gets understood in an empty way because its ownmost Being gets lost. [ref. ¶ 7, page 60 - 61]


- D -


Dasein is one of the core terms in Being and Time. It can be simply defined as entity that is conscious of the meaning of its own existence. In practical terms, this means the human being is Dasein, since, arguably, no other life-forms on the planet are conscous of thier own existence. For example, it is argued that no other animals buries their dead. Here are some passages which illustrate how Heidegger's utilises the concept of Dasein.

  1. To work out the question of Being adequately, we must make an entity—the inquirer—transparent in his own Being. Thus in the very act of asking of the question, "What is Being?" this inquirery becomes Dasein's mode of Being. Dasein therefore gets its essential character from what is inquired about-—namely, Being. [ref. ¶ 2, page 27]
  2. The meaning of Being, which human beings themselves possess, we call "Dasein". This means that Dasein alone has a special distinctiveness as compared with other entities. Provisionally we can say that Dasein's concern with its own Being is an issue for it. This implies that Dasein's relationship to its own being is constitutive for the definition of Being per se. [ref. ¶ 4, page 32]
  3. The Fundamental ontology must be sought in the existential analytic of Dasein, because it is the source of all other ontologies. [ref. ¶ 4, page 34] This means that the human being itself is the ground upon which all other notions of the world and the existence of things stand. This implies that there is no objectivity nor subjectivity, and no cleaving of existence into interior (mental) categories and exterior (physical) categories, since the world and Dasein are only perceived and perceivable through Dasein's own awareness of its Being.
  4. Dasein is, of course, close to us, in the sense that our "Being" and our notion of ourselves are the same thing. But but this is also a paradox, since Dasein is simultaneously also the thing which is farthest away. The fact that Dasein is onto-ontologically prior (to its own thoughts about itself), means that Dasein's own structure of Being is effectively concealed; hidden from view. But, when we speak of it in terms of a pre-ontological understanding, Dasein is hardly a stranger to us. [ref. ¶ 5, page 36 - 37]
  5. The interpretation of Being has peculiar difficulties, which can basically be put down to the fact that we are the object of our own inquiry. When we consider ourselves as entities under examination, our behaviour changes, and thus the nature of the object we are looking at also changes. [ref. ¶ 5, page 37]


Heidegger's contention is that the Being of those entities which we encounter as closest to us can be exhibited phenomenologically, if we examine how these entities are used in our everyday Being-in-the-world. If this task is undertaken, Heidegger asserts that we find our relationship to entities always manifests in terms of care and concern. Thus dealings evokes this notion of Dasein's relationship with things of value is being based on care and concern. [ref. ¶ 15, page 95]


When we speak of de-severance we do not mean remoteness (or closeness) or even a distance.' De-severance stands for a constitutive state of Dasein's Being. A state where removing something (in sense of putting away or hiding it) is only a factical mode. De-severance, as an existentiale, means discovering remoteness as a determinate, categorical characteristic of entities whose are not Dasein and making that remoteness disappear, bringing it close. Dasein is essentially de-severant: it lets any entity be encountered close by as the entity which it is. But only to the extent that entities are revealed for Dasein in their deseveredness. Things can not be desevered from each other because things do not have Being of themselves. Things merely have a measurable distance between them, which we can come across in our desevering. This is in fact the only way that 'remotenesses' and distances become accessible with regard to other things within-the-world. [page 139]

[140] With the 'radio', for example, Dasein has so expanded its everyday environment that it has accomplished a de-severance of the 'world' a de-severance which, in its meaning for Dasein, is not yet visualised. De-severing does not necessarily imply any explicit estimation of the farness of something ready-to-hand in relation to Dasein. Above all, remoteness never gets taken as a distance… We say that to go over yonder is "a good walk", "a stone's throw", or 'as long as it takes to smoke a pipe'. These measures express not only that they are not intended to 'measure' anything but also that the remoteness here estimated belongs to some entity to which one goes with concernful circumspection. … What is ready-to-hand in the environment is certainly not present-at-hand for an eternal observer exempt from Dasein: but it is encountered in Dasein's circumspectively concernful everydayness. As Dasein goes along its ways, it does not measure off a stretch of space as a corporeal Thing which is present-at-hand; it does not 'devour the kilometres'; bringing-close or de-severance is always a kind of concernful Being towards what is brought close and de-severed. A pathway which is long 'Objectively' can be much shorter than one which is 'Objectively' shorter still but which is perhaps 'hard going' and comes [141] before us' as interminably long. yet only in thus 'coming before us" is the current world authentically ready-to-hand.… this knowledge is used only in and for a concernful Being which does not measure stretches-a Being towards the world that 'matters' to one.


The denotative meaning of Discourse is "talk". In the ontology of ancient Greece, man's Being is defined by its potential and capacity for discourse. Talk is therefore for Heidegger the clue for discerning those structures of Being which we encounter in addressing ourselves to anything or speaking about anything. [ref. ¶ 6, page 48]

In ancient Greek, Discourse means to make manifest, in the sense of revealing what one is talking about in the discourse. In this way discourse was similar to the ancient Greek definition of Logos (words/language) which also meant 'to show something', or 'to let it be seen', (Aristotle called it uncovering). Thus the Greeks defined the function of language (the logos) in terms of the 'making manifest' of discourse.

In the discourse, the 'that,' which is made manifest is discourse itself. This underscores the fact that discourse is never a fiat (a fiat is an act of creation by speaking, like in Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 3, when God said "let there be light" and there was light). In reality however, the things one talks about are not actually created or called into being merely by the talk. Discourse, in this sense, is therefore 'just talk.' However, things which do not exist, (like ideas and myths) can appear to be existent when announced in discourse, for example we can talk of 'pink elephants' or 'pigs that fly'. In this sense discourse makes these things manifest and seemingly real. For example, a person who is troubled by a problem is advised to get it out into the open by talking about it - "a problem shared is a problem halved." But the reasoning behind such advice is predicated on a notion that Heidegger is trying to articulate here. Namely that discourse objectifies thoughts and presents them as things which show themselves and can therefore be dealt with for straightforwardly as we deal with other existent things in the world. [ref. ¶ 7, page 56]


- E -


The term entities is used strategically throughout Being and Time, so that Heidegger can avoid talking about "things". This is because the term "things" already presupposes an understanding of their existence, which Heidegger thinks is false and seeks to contest. As he points out, we are on dangerous ground even by addressing entities as 'Things', for in doing so we have "tacitly anticipated their ontological character". This was, in a nutshell, the mistake of Descartes and his forebears. Heidegger argues if you talk about the world in terms of things, the only "thing" you are ever going to uncover is the totally erroneous conception of the "Thinghood and Reality." [ref. ¶ 15, page 95]


Dasein's everyday world is what we call the environment. The word "environment" is made up of the prefix 'environ,' which designates a space. Therefore, it seems obvious that a spatial character incontestably belongs to any environment. However, Heidegger argues the word environment does not have a primarily 'spatial' meaning. In fact its spatial quality can only be clarified in terms of the structure of worldhood, not as its a priori condition [ref. ¶ 14, page 94]. The environment and nature itself (as that which is environing) is discovered in any work which is ready-to-hand:

In roads, streets, bridges, buildings, our concern discovers Nature as having some definite direction. A covered railway platform takes account of bad weather; an installation for public lighting takes account of the darkness, or rather of specific changes in the presence or absence of daylight-the 'position of the sun'. In a clock, account is taken of some definite constellation in the world-system. When we look at the clock, we tacitly make use of the 'sun's position', in accordance with which the measurement of time gets regulated in the official astronomical manner. When we make use of the clock-equipment, which is proximally and inconspicuously ready-to-hand, the environing Nature is ready-to-hand along with it. [ref. ¶ 15, pages 100 - 101]

(see also spatiality)

Equipment (and assignment)

In our everyday existence, we encounter equipment of numerous sorts for writing, sewing, working, transportation, measurement, etc. Heidegger defines equipment as, essentially, 'something in-order-to'. Structurally, this in-order-to describes what Heidegger calls an assignment, that is and process which employs 'X' (a piece of equipment) to achieve something 'Y' (a task). The term assignment' indicates that a piece of equipment is made visible in its ontological genesis, Now, you may say that a piece of equipment is always visible, "Is not a hammer something that is quite obviously there before us?" The answer is no, for the reason that a rock, or a piece of wood, or even a human fist, can serve just as well as a hammer on occasions. Therefore, jumping to the conclusion that a hammer is an object, a mere "thing," is precisely the mistake people make when they view equipment purely in material terms. Strictly speaking, we can say that there is no such 'thing' as a piece of equipment. In fact, equipment only becomes truly visible as equipment through its use, i.e. in the act of assigning from 'X' to 'Y'. [ref. ¶ 15, page 97]


In Heidegger analysis of equipment he presumes two things:

1. That the kind of Being which equipment has must be exhibitable in some way, and

2. If we can identify this, we will be able to defining its value.

These assumptions will be our first clue in defining what turns an entity into an item of equipment - in order to discover the entity's equipmentality. [ref. ¶ 15, page 97]. However, we have to understand that in our dealing with equipment, its equipmentality is not grasped thematically as a verb - we cannot understand what a hammer does merely by miming the action of hammering in mid air, for to do this would be to disregard the piece of wood, the nail, in other word, its equipment structure.

Equipment Structure

Any 'individual' item of equipment only shows itself in a metonymic sense of being a part of a greater system - something which Heidegger calls its equipment structure. To the Being of any equipment there already belongs a totality of equipment. For instance the equipment of hammering is not merely a hammer, but an nail, piece of wood, workbench, lighting, furniture, windows, doors, room. However, we do not usually consider this totality of equipment, eventhough the task of the particular piece of equipment under consideration could not be performed without it. Thus, we can say there is always an aspect of the equipmentaility of equipment which includes the totality of equipment needed for a particular assignment, but that this totality usually never shows itself if equipment is regarded only in its material sense as a thing. If we take an example of a less that obvious piece of equipment, a room, we can say that the room is both a piece of equipment (to paraphrase Le Corbusier - a machine for living in) and is also a collection of other equipment that comes together to constitute a room. Of course a room is not normally considered in terms of equipmentality, but rather as the space 'between four walls. Hence we easily fall into the trap of considering the room philosophically in terms of the abstract notion of space, and therefore not in terms of the more everyday notion of it as a piece of equipment. [ref. ¶ 15, page 97 - 98]

(For more on this last remark, see also spatiality)


see Average Everydayness 


Exhibiting is nothing else that the Being already at hand, in other words, the being of existent things shows itself. Exhibiting is equivalent to our understanding of Being as a "taking a look beforehand" - or the understanding we take from things before we articulate that understanding back to ourselves as thoughts [ref. ¶ 7, page 25] (see average everydayness). This 'showing' of existence lies at the bottom of any procedure of addressing oneself to thoughts of an entity, or in our discussing it. Additionally, in the context of apophantic judgements, the logos in the mode of exhibiting can also become visible, in itself, as a relation to something. [ref ¶ 7, page 58]. Exhibiting is absolutely necessary for the for Heidegger's phenomenology, for to have such a science means to grasp its objects in a way so that everything about them, which is up for discussion, is both exhibited directly and demonstrated directly. [ref ¶ 7, page 59]

Existentia, Existence, Essentia

We will examine these individually in a moment but it is very important to understand how the meaning of these three terms is distinguished, since Heidegger's analysis of Dasein depends on it:

  1. Existentia = Entities whose Being is only present-at-hand and which are understood ontically.
  2. Existence = Entities whose Being is an issue for them (Dasein) and who are understood ontologically.
  3. Essentia = synonymous with 'essence', a vague and potentially misleading term that Heidegger seeks to supplant with 'existentia' (when he is talking about things that are not Dasein) and 'existence' (when he is talking about Dasein). Heidegger asserts that, in so far as we can talk about Dasein's "essence," we must do so only in terms of the Being of Dasein. But this is also why Heidegger does not want to discuss Being in terms of essences, for the notion is too vague, "the Being of Dasein should be discussed only in terms of its 'Existence." [ref. ¶ 9, page 67]

Existentiale (Existentalia)

Existentalia (plural) are certain characteristics of Dasein that are revealed by the analysis of its existence. In Heideggerian terms, an existentiale (singular) concerns Dasein's residing alongside the world and its involvement with entities within the world which is always expresses in terms of care and concern [ref. ¶ 12, page 82]. Normally, if we were analysing anything entity other than Dasein we would use the term category. But Heidegger forbids this, because Dasein is not like any other entity (Dasein is, in fact, the ground upon which the perception and conception of everything else rests) and therefore Dasein needs to be analysed in a different way to other entities. The existence structure of Dasein must be defined existentially. Heidegger therefore wants his 'existentalia' to be sharply distinguished from the concept of 'category,' as it is ordinarily understood [ref. ¶ 9, page 70]. 'Existentalia' and 'category' are the two basic possibilities for characters of Being. The entities that correspond to them are these...

1/ Existentialia = Dasein

2/ Categories = Entities that present at hand, i.e., not Dasein

It is important to realise that these two terms require different kinds of primary interrogation. In other words, any entity that is either a 'who' (existence) or a 'what' (present-at-hand) is treated differently. [ref. ¶ 9, page 71]

Using the existentiale we may discern some notable patterns in the manifold impressions of Being. These patterns can be articulated into principles with which we can define (broadly) the phenomenological manifestations of the Being of Dasein. This is systematising and in this sense the existentiale is a conceptual tool which allows us to form a certain hypotheses which also have a legislative function qua Being. In other words, these hypotheses concerning the structure of Being in general can be used to make predictions. Thus, the functions of the existentiale (both systematising and legislative) are similar to the functions of the traditional category in philosophy. Where they differ however is in the philosophical assumptions one has to take on board before one applies them. [ref. ¶ 12, page 82]


"Existentiell" refers to someone's personal understanding of their own existence

For an individual Dasein, the question of existence never gets clarified except through existing. The understanding of oneself that we acquire along the way Heidegger calls "Existentiell". [ref. ¶ 4, page 33]


"Extential" refers to a more general understanding of existence.

The question of existence is close to Dasein, but this does not mean that Dasein is necessarily conscious of the question of existence. But the structuring of the question "What is Being?" points the way for the formal analysis of what constitutes existence. The context of such structuring we call "Existentality". But its analytic has the character of an understanding which is not extentiell, i.e. structure plus content. But extential: structure minus content. [ref. ¶ 4, page 33]


The word existentiality is derived from existential, i.e., the formal understanding of Being in general . By "existentiality" we understand the state of Being that is constitutive for those entities that exist. But the idea of such a constitutive state of Being already includes Being as its core component. And this is the reason why we are prevented in working out the general answer to the question, "What is Being?" before the question itself has been answered. [ref. ¶ 4, page 33]


- F -


A Heideggerian term for which we can usually substitute "in fact" [ref. ¶ 2, page 27], but which also references the concept of facticity.


An understanding of specific structures in advance comes from Dasein understanding of its ownmost Being, in the sense of regarding that as a certain 'factual Being-present-at-hand.' In other words Dasein understands its existence as a fact. And yet this kind of fact has quite a different ontology from the factual occurrence of some thing - for instance like the existence of a type of a mineral in the ground. Things present-at-hand exist in worldspace but nevertheless are worldless, thus we can talk about them ontically and arrange them into categories. However whenever Dasein "is", the isness of Dasein is also a Fact; and the factuality of that Fact is what Heidegger terms Dasein's facticity . (Apologies for the all the double-barrelled concepts in that last sentence. All their presence means is that there is a reflexive (self conscious) aspect to discussing one's Being. Thus, to be conscious of one's own existence implies that one is conscious of that consciousness, if you see what I mean)

Facticity is a term which stands for a definite way of Being, and it has a complicated structure which cannot even be grasped by people who have a naive ontological understanding. The concept of "facticity" implies that an entity 'within-the world' has Being-in-the-world so that it can understand itself and its Being-in. That is it understands itself, as if it is bound up in its 'destiny' with the Being of those entities which it encounters within the world.

The facticity of facts like the Beingness of being underscores the point that there is a reflexive component to existence as I have already mentioned. This is something which points to the existence of an interpreter, "myself," who is bound up in the apprehending of the world and the self. In traditional philosophy the adoption of the paradigm of objectivism makes us miss the fact that the interpreter (subject) and interpreted (object) are bound up together in their Being. Moreover, the traditional 'objective' paradigm denigrates the role of the interpreter, because its perceptions of the world are described as being "merely subjective".

In Heidegger's ontological paradigm, however, the subject does not exist and therefore there cannot be any subjectivity either. Although this is not to say Dasein is not prone to error in perceiving the world, for that would deny the ability of the world to surprise Dasein. Rather, what Heidegger's is saying, is that there can be no facts that exist independent of people perceiving them as such. [ref. ¶ 12, page 82]


- G -


Grasping is the simple awareness that something present-at-hand has the temporal structure of a pure 'making present' of something. In the grasping, those entities which show themselves to be present-at-hand are therefore understood as entities in the most authentic sense. Presence then is literally an interpretation of something with regard to the present (immediacy of perception). [ref. ¶ 6, page 48] (see also phenomenology)


- H -


Hermeneutics = the science of interpretation

Heidegger asserts that a phenomena can be grasped in and for themselves in immediate perception. The function of language (logos) is to reveal what phenomena show. However language has a different Being from the phenomena it describes, so the danger is that language will only a 'appear' to tell us what the phenomena is. In other words, the inherent danger of describing phenomena in language is that the Being of language (because it is different from the Being of phenomena) can effectively a cover up the being of phenomena.

Therefore, in order to sort out the covering up of language from the truth of language, we need a method of interrogating language which is both systematic and reflexive enough to hopefully alert us to any potential covering ups. This method is what Heidegger calls, "hermeneutics," or the business of interpretation. As Heidegger asserts - our investigation will show that the meaning of phenomenological description, as a method, lies in interpretation. It is therefore through hermeneutics, as a systematising approach to interpreting, that the authentic meaning of Being can be articulated. Language, in the form of words (logos), when it represents the phenomenology of Dasein, always has the character of hermeneutics. [ref. ¶7, page 61 - 62] There are three points about this to bear in mind.

  • The phenomenology of Dasein is a hermeneutic in the a primordial signification of the word. That is, in the sense that hermeneutics can be defined simply and most primordially as the business of interpreting (although see point 3 for more clarification).
  • Because of the priority of Dasein over other entities for working out the question of Being, it follows that, through the hermeneutics of Dasein, the horizon for any further a ontological study will be revealed.
  • The ontical condition for the possibility of historiology contains the roots of what can be called 'hermeneutic' only in its vaguest sense. When we think about this in the context of the derivative sense of the methodology of those human sciences which are historiological in character, it becomes clear that unless we can articulate a hermeneutic of Dasein's historicity in an ontological way, it is not a true hermaneutic. This reiterates the point that Hermeneutics when applied to Dasein does not mean interpretation, in the sense that the two terms are precisely synonymous, but rather that Hermeneutics should be consideres as a "science of interpretation" in that it systematises the interpretation using a conscious method. [ref. ¶7, page 61 - 62]


    Historicality is a determining characteristic of Dasein. It stands for that kind of Being that is constitutive for Dasein's 'historising.' For it is only on the basis of Dasein's sense of its own past that anything like a 'world history' is possible. [ref. ¶ 6, page 41]

    Dasein is constituted by its past experience in the world, whether a particular Dasein is conscious of this or not. For instance, someone who is fighting depression because of abuses in their childhood might not be aware that these experiences are the cause of her depression (until revealed in psychoanalysis perhaps), but they are part of her history and therefore actually constitutive of her present state of Being. Thus, all that Heidegger is basically saying here, is that we are shaped by our past experiences.[ref. ¶ 6, page 41]

    Dasein, in terms of its my to be, is always orientated in its Being towards the future. Being is always in this sense a "to be". But the concept of Historicity also implies that Dasein views its future possibilities and potentialities as being a territory which is delineated in terms of past experience and, moreover, this is Heidegger claims actually where the notion of "past" comes from. [ref. ¶ 6, page 41]. In other words, past experiences are what set the boundaries for future hopes and dreams. This is why the notion of the past is so important for Dasein. It takes on an urgency because it is actually constitutive of Dasein's "to be." In this sense, the notion of the past does not exist for us in the sense of being something 'dead and buried'.

    Dasein's being, although it exists primordially in the present, is constituted by a notion of the living past. Thus the Being of Dasein exists in notions of the 'past' and the 'future,' which are very much alive and therefore for that reason are also fundamental to Dasein sense of its own existence. In fact, Dasein's very consciousness of its own Being is shaped by what it has done, and what has happened to it as much as by what it hopes, intends, or feels compelled to do. The point to bare in mind here is Dasein's motivation in its 'my to be' is always deliniated by historicity - "In the fact of its Being, Dasein is as it already was." [ref. ¶ 6, page 42]

    Histrocity (Histrology)

    A type of inquiry through which Dasein can discover its Historicality. Histrology means the explicit study and preserving of tradition. The study of tradition can be taken hold of as a task in its own right. In this way, Dasein inquires into its history, but this kind of inquiring is only possible because historicality is in fact a determining characteristic for Dasein itself [ref. ¶ 6, page 41—42].

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - I -


    Heidegger calls Dasein's mode of average everydayness an inauthentic mode of Being. But the interesting thing about this inauthenticity is that it comes before the conscious realisation of one's Being, where ideas of authenticity and inauthenticity might be thought to originate. In Heidegger's analysis, Being is not a judgement, because one cannot assess it retrospectively. Rather, our understanding of Being is something we carry with us even before thinking. However, Heidegger's analysis of the inauthentic still carries with it a judgmental aspect, but in this case the judgement designates a mode of Being characterised by Heidegger evocatively as Dasein fleeing in the face of its Being "and forgetting thereof. This implies that one's ownmost search for one's possibilities of Being can be easily distorted by a mode of inauthenticity, that is of not facing up to and acknowledging the meaning of one's existence. [ref. ¶ 9, Page 69-70] (see also authenticity)


    This is a concept related to the Being in of Being-in-the-world. According to Heidegger's research into linguistics, notably his consultation of Jacob Grimm's Kleine Schriften (Small writings, link in German here). According to Grimm, the German word "in" derives its meaning from the English word "inn" which means 'to dwell'. Grimm discusses both the word "in" and the phrase "in und bei" and goes on to compare a number of archaic German words that take their meaning from domus (the Latin root of the English word 'domicile', or 'dwelling'). Heidegger notes that all these words are similar in form to the old English word "Inn" and claims that "in" therefore derived its primordial signification not as it is usually understood from a preposition, but from a verb. The verb in question is "innan," which in old German meant 'to reside', and whose meaning is therefore also similar to the Latin habitare, which means "to dwell". In English we still retain this sense of "inn" to mean "a place of rest", for example, the Holiday Inn chain of hotels. Heidegger also examines the meaning of the word "Am" (the first person conjugation of the verb "to be"), This word is derived from the German "ann" (again discussed in Grimm). 'Ann' is from the Latin colo, which also means habitare - in other words the "an" (in English "am") has a similar meaning to "inn". Ontologically speaking, habitare stands for "being accustomed" in the sense of "I am familiarity with" and "I look after.... something'. [ref. ¶ 12, Page 82]


    Interrogating is a mode of questioning where the goal is not so much obtained as constantly deferred or reflected back onto the questioner. All inquiries are inquiries about something, which is also a questioning of that something. So, in addition to what is asked about, there is also a sense of that which is interrogated. In this case, inquiry itself is also about the behaviour of a questioner, and the reciprocal relationship that gets established between the questioner and the questioned. Both has their own character of Being. And both therefore must be examined if we to understand the true function of interrogation. When one makes an inquiry one may do so casually, or one may formulate the question explicitly. The latter case is the more peculiar, because the answer to question is never really clarified until all the elements of the question have also been made transparent in and of themselves [ref. ¶ 2, page 24 - 25]


    Investigating is a mode of questioning which is concerned with the attainment of a goal. The goal can be formally conceived of as "laying bare the nature of the question." This is a type of questioning Heidegger calls "expressly theoretical". [ref. ¶ 2, page 24]

    - J -

    - K -

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - L -


    In ancient Greek, Logos meant "words," but in its modern conception, logos is taken to mean words in the sense of language generally. There has been much debate in modern philosophy as to whether the function of language is to name a pre-existing reality or actually forms our conceptions of reality itself (see Saussure, Wittgenstein etc). Heidegger's position in this debate is unusual in the sense that he deliberately positions himself outside of a dualistic conception of language vs. reality. Heidegger asserts rather that Language and reality, (by which he means the phenomenal conception of things as being present in themselves) should be conceived simply as different things. Language is itself a phenomenon (possesses its own Being) which is different from the Being of the phenomena it describes. However, the purpose of language is to grasp phenomena in the world, and language's ability to do this (is other words its fidelity to things in the world themselves) is not really questioned or problematised in Heidegger's analysis in the way that it is in, say, Wittgenstein's.

    The function of the logos is simply letting something be seen, and for this reason logos can itself signify reason. Moreover, because the logos is used, not only with the signification of grasping (perception), but also as something which is exhibited (showing), the logos can signify that the thing to which one addresses oneself becomes visible in itself in the address. Logos, thus, acquires the signification of both a relation and a relationship. This relationship and relation are self supporting in the sense that one does not have to compare them to anything else in order to perceive them. Heidegger therefore considers the primary function of the logos is to exhibit the kind of relationships present in apophantic discourse. [ref ¶ 7, page 58]

    Even using the phenomenological method it is possible that entities which are primordially within our grasp may become hardened into concepts that cover up the presence of the entity. If this happens, the entity is no longer grasped in and for itself, and therefore becomes an appearance of that entity. Heidegger points out that this is the difficulty with this type of research, there is always the need to be mindful of the possibility that language will cover up the Being of phenomena, or has done so already, and thus phenomenologyical method must always be self critical and interrogative. [ref ¶ 7, page 61]

    (see also Hermeneutics)

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - M -

    Mere appearance

    Mere appearance is something that indicates the existence of that which does not in fact appear, and never will appear. For instance, Kant's notion that space is purely an idea is for Heidegger a mere appearence (see spatiality). This sense of appearance can be defined as being tantamount to the "bringing forth" of something which does not in fact constitute the real being of an entity. This then is appearance in the sense of "mere appearance". In the case of mere appearance, that which announces itself can be likened to an emanation of what it announces, but in all cases the thing which is being announced is kept constantly veiled by the announcement. [ref. page 53] However Heidegger asserts that, in every case, the phenomenological conception of phenomena can be brought to show itself. [ref. ¶ 7, page 54 - 55]

    Mere semblance

    See semblance


    The Being of Dasein is the Being of each human individual. Thus for the individual 'Dasein' we can say that the Being under investigation is in each case mine As the translators of Being and Time note the reader must not get the impression that there is anything solipsistic about this statement. Heidegger is merely pointing out that the kind of Being which belongs to Dasein is the kind of Being that each and every one of us relates to in terms our concept of the self. This means that Dasein never thinks about Being in an abstract way, (that is a mere appearance) but rather Being is delivered over to Dasein as an "I myself am." In other words, when we talk of Dasein: your Being, his Being, her Being, their Being, our Being is fundamentally understood in terms of my Being. [ref. ¶ 9, page 67]

    To designate Dasein, the personal pronouns "I" and "you" will always be used and likewise, when Dasein is addressed, Heidegger will always say, "I am" or "you are." Dasein is never to be taken as an instance or special case of some entity (or genus of entities) which is present-at-hand because this would violate the principle that Being is wholeness. In our pre-ontological understanding of our ownmost Being, this fact is grasped before any other precepts can be inferred and, for this reason, it cannot be violated retrospectively and cut up into categorical distinctions like it is in traditional analysis. On the other hand, a kind of categorisation is approapriate to the Being of entities that are not Dasein, because their Being is a matter of indifference to them. [ref. ¶ 9, page 67-68]


    [172] What we indicate ontologically by the term "state-of-mind" is ontically the most familiar and everyday sort of thing; our mood, our Being- attuned a prior to all psychology of moods, a field which in any case still [173] lies fallow, it is necessary to see this phenomenon as a fundamental existentiale, and to outline its structure. The fact that moods can deteriorate and change over means simply that in every case Dasein always has some mood. The pallid, evenly balanced lack of mood which is often persistent and which is not to be mistaken for a bad mood, is far from nothing at all. Rather, it is in this that Dasein becomes satiated with itself…. Dasein cannot know anything of the sort because the possibilities of disclosure which belong to cognition reach far too short a way compared with the primordial disclosure belonging to moods, in which Dasein is brought before its Being as "there." ... A mood makes manifest 'how one is, and how one is faring' ... In this 'how one is', having a mood brings Being to its "there". (Heidegger 1980, 172-3)

    [173] States-of-mind are so far from being reflected upon, that precisely what they do is to assail Dasein in its unreflecting devotion to the 'world.' [176] A mood assails us. It comes neither from 'outside' nor from 'inside', but arises out of Being-in-the-world, as a way of such Being. Having a mood is not related to the psychical and is not itself an inner condition which then reaches forth in an enigmatical way and puts its mark on Things and persons. The mood has already disclosed, in every case, Being-in-the-world as a whole, and makes it possible first of all to direct towards something. [173] This is shown by bad moods. In these, Dasein becomes blind to itself,' the environment with which it is concerned veils itself, the circumspection of concern gets led astray. Factically, Dasein can, should, and must, through knowledge and will, become master of its moods. In certain possible ways of existing, this may signify a priority of volition and cognition. Only we must not be misled by this into denying that ontologically mood is a primordial kind of Being for Dasein, in which Dasein is disclosed to itself prior to all cognition and volition, and beyond their range of disclosure. When we master a mood, we do so by way of a counter-mood; we are never free of moods. In having a mood, Dasein is disclosed moodwise as that entity to which it has been delivered over in its Being; having a mood brings Being to its "there.”... However, to be disclosed" does not mean that the “there” is a known destination: the pure 'that it is' shows might itself, but the "whence" and the "whither" remain in darkness. (see thrownness)

    'My Being' (or 'My to Be')

    When addressing Dasein, the personal pronouns: "I", "you" and "us" should always be used (see Mineness), But in addition, we also need to be aware that when a particular Dasein talks about Being, it is in each case "my Being". However by saying "my Being," Heidegger is not implying that Being is a property of Dasein, in the sense of designating one's ownership over one's Being. But rather, Being is that from which Dasein is itself constituted [ref. ¶ 4, page 32]. Being, therefore, has 'belonged' to Dasein long before Dasein could think about notions of ownership.  

    - N -


    Heidegger claims that nature cannot give us phenomenological access to the world because nature is already an entity encountered within the world. In other words, nature is itself a component part of a greater whole that we call the world. If we try to define the world in terms of nature, the problem we face is one of not being able to escape the frame of reference from within which the inquiry itself is conceived. Therefore the primordial phenomenal access to the world is discovered, not in nature, but in equipment. What happens is equipment is used first and and 'Nature' is discovered along with its use as a surplus quality we find in natural resources [ref. ¶ 14, page 92].

    The wood is a forest of timber, the mountain a quarry of rock; the river is water-power, the wind is wind 'in the sails'. As the 'environment' is discovered through the resource, then 'Nature' is thus discovered in the encountered as well. If, however, its kind of Being as ready-to-hand is disregarded, this 'Nature' itself can be discovered and defined simply in its pure presence-at-hand. But when this happens, the Nature which 'stirs and strives', which assails us and enthrals us as landscape, remains hidden. The botanist's plants are not the flowers of the hedgerow; the 'source' which the geographer establishes for a river is not the 'springhead in the dale'.[ref. ¶ 15, page 100]

    So there is always a residual quality to nature, something present-at-hand, which becomes apparent only after nature has been discovered as a resource. Although this surplus is, paradoxically, the very thing that allows us to contemplate that which has been discovered as a 'something' in its own right. What Heidegger has done here is reversed the normal conception of nature, as something which is taken up (exploited) by humanity in the form of natural resources. However, he argues the problem with this view is it can never make visible the resource structure of nature itself, which is actually what defines the relationship of Dasein towards nature. And thus, nature is always conceived of a something metaphysical (It is a thing that exists, but one can never quite pin down its existence to objects). The advantage of considering nature as a resource structure has over metaphysics, is that we make visible the entity known as nature, and also the means to which we are granted access to it in the first place (with all the attendant notions of myth, beauty sublimity that surround our post-industrial romanticisation of the natural world). [ref. ¶, page 100] (see also ready-to-hand) A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - O -

    Ontic (ontical)

    Ontic inquiries are concerned with knowledge about entities that are not Dasein. [ref. ¶ 3, page 30] In traditional philosophy, this can be conceived as as seeking "facts about things." The term 'ontic' is used throughout Being and Time in a more technical sense to distinguish Heidegger's assumptions about the Being of entities from the paradigmatic assumptions underpinning traditional philosophy. Thus, ontic is a way or articularing Dasein's understanding of the entities that are not Dasein, but nevertheless matter to Dasein, as entities Dasein is concerned with [ref. ¶ 4, page 32] (see also category, Being-alongside, care.)


    Ontological inquiries in philosophy are concerned with Being, Heidegger uses ontology in a specific sense, as being synonymous with his phenomenological method. This similarity is expressed in the maxim,"only as phenomenology is ontology possible" [ref. ¶ 7, page 60]. Phenomenology is the way we access ontology, and it is therefore also the way we can give the study of Being demonstrative precision. In the phenomenological conception of phenomenon the Being of entities--its meaning , its modifications and its derivatives--are revealed. [ref. ¶ 7, page 60]  


    The structural understanding of Being. Being in particular cannot be adequately conceptualised, because it can only be understood in the future tense, as a my to be. Given the fact that there is no way to isolate all the variables of the my to be of a particular Dasein, all we can do is uncover the broad principles upon which the Being of Dasein in general rests. This is not itself an ontological inquiry, it is an ontic inquiry about an ontological inquiry - hence the term, onto-ontological.


    In the context of the human Being, our ownmost Being is the inner-consciousness that constitutes the 'meness of me'. In the context of Being in general it is however its most primordial and authentic aspect. Therefore "own", when used in the sense that it is use here, is not meant as "belonging to Dasein", that is to say it is "a property of," but rather it is something fundamentally constitutive of the Being of Dasein itself. [ref. ¶ 4, page 32]

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - P -

    Phenomena (phenomenon)

    The ancient Greek expression phenomenon is derived from the verb "to show itself". To show itself, in ancient Greek, also connoted "bringing something to the light". In this sense, phenomenon signifies, "that which shows itself in itself." This signification of phenomenon alludes to the fact that an entity can show itself for itself in many ways, depending on the kind of access we have to it. Indeed it is even possible for an entity to show itself as something it is not. The use of the term "phenomena" is restricted in Heidegger's usage to designate only those things that show themselves for themselves. Other forms of showing are given the terms seeming and appearing . [ref. ¶ 7, Page 51]

    Phenomena when understood phenomenologically are nothing but the fragments, so to speak, that go to make up the whole phenomenon of Being in general. I choose the word fragment here to liken the concept of a particular Being to the fragment of a broken mirror. A fragment of a broken mirror is, in terms of its substance, merely part of a greater whole (the whole mirror). Yet in terms of what it reflects, the fragment can not be differentiated, since the part can potentially reflects the same scene as the whole. The variable in this case if what way you view the fragment. We can push this analogy to its limit and say that an appreciating Being in general is dependent on how you view the individual Being. As Heidegger says, Being in general is always the Being of some entity or another. In other words, if we find a way to view the reflection in the mirror that 'belongs' to it and all its fragments, then we are able to see the nature of Being in general. Therefore, in our investigation of the meaning of Being, we should first bring forward entities in themselves and discover their Being. For the two reasons:

    1/ there is nothing behind phenomena and

    2/ phenomena cannot lie.

    Therefore all entities must show themselves phenomenologically in themselves and for themselves with the kind of access that genuinely belongs to them. [ref. ¶ 7, Page 61]

    Phenomena (the formal conception of)

    Heidegger defines phenomena as "that which already shows itself in appearance, as prior to the conception of phenomena,". In every case the phenomenological understanding of phenomena is that it can be brought to show itself. This ideas is, in a sense, the antithesis of the Kantian bracketing of phenomena into empirical phenomena and mental phenomena (noumena). Heidegger argues that there is no purely mental phenomena, and that which is considered as such, can be shown to have a worldly referent (using the phenomenological method). For example, see his analysis of the world and spatiality, as being derived from the totality of equipment, resource, work and product structures, embodies in the notion of nature being ready-to-hand.)

    Heidegger supplies a few general pointers for how we should proceed towards a formal conception of phenomena:

    1. Manifestly the formal conception of pehnomena is something that for the most part remains hidden, (in contrast to that which does show itself which is the mere appearance of phenomena).
    2. It is something that belongs to whatever shows itself and belongs to it so essentially that it constitutes its meaning and its ground.

    Being is not the Being of this or that entity, but the Being of all entities [ref. ¶ 2. page 25]. However, this truth can be easily forgotten. However, when Being of entities is treated phenomenologically its ownmost Being is revealed, and thus its fundamental characteristics are revealed. In fact these are the very characteristics that phenomenology attempts to grasp thematically as its object.

    This is precisely why Heidegger argues that his investigation requires the phenomenological method. Put succinctly, the phenomenological method uncovers that which, proximally and for the most part, remains hidden in the investigations of traditional philosophy. [ref. ¶ 7, page 54 - 55]

    Phenomenon as Semblance (Seeming)

    The primordial phenomenological signification, of "to show itself for itself" is still included in semblance. Only when something makes a pretension of showing itself, can it actually show itself as something which it is not. [ref. ¶ 7, Page 51]

    Phenomenological method (phenomenology)

    The term Phenomenology is a compound made up of the Greek words for phenomenon (thing) and logos (word). Taken superficially it is formed in the same way as all the 'ologies'--biology, psychology and the like--which can be translated as "science of...". Thus, biology equals "science of life," psychology equals "science of mind" etc. -- this would then make phenomenology the "science of phenomena."

    Phenomenology expresses a maxim: "to the things themselves." This maxim invokes a principle which should be the mainstay of any science, namely that nothing is self evident. Entities should be examined in and of themselves, without any preconceptions or prejudices, in order to ascertain what they are in their most primordial sense. The fact that phenomenology (as the science of phenomena) seeks to question the self-evidential qualities of entities, also implies that it is prepared to cast light upon the its own processes of investigation. Thus the expression phenomenology signifies primarily a methodological conception, not of the 'what ' an object is, but of the 'how' of the research - i.e., how do we form an understanding which constitutes the 'what' of an object? [ref. ¶ 7, page 49 - 51]

    Phenomenology designates neither the 'object matter' nor the 'subject matter' of its study. The signification of phenomenon, as conceived of both formally and in the manner in which it is ordinarily encountered, is such that any exhibiting of an entity, as it shows itself in itself, may be called phenomenology. This neither implies nor confirms a subject/object relation assumed by logic. In fact, such dualistic distinctions collapse under the scrutiny of the phenomenological method. This means that phenomenology (as a science of things) is intrinsically different from the all the other sciences who designate their objects of study according to their subject-matter.

    To have a science of phenomena means to grasp its objects in such a way that everything about them, which is up for discussion, must be treated by exhibiting it directly and demonstrating it directly [ref. ¶ 7, page 59]. The way in which Being and its structures are encountered in the mode of phenomenon is one which must first of all be wrested from the objects of phenomenology. This is actually the point of departure for the phenomenological inquiry. This places the phenomenological method in direct opposition to a naive sense of immediately and unreflectively beholding. [ref. ¶ 7, page 61]

    Heidegger’s critique of representation
    [260] Let us suppose that someone with his back turned to the wall makes the true assertion that 'the picture on the wall is hanging askew.' This assertion demonstrates itself when the man who makes it, turns round and perceives the picture hanging askew on the wall. What gets demonstrated in this demonstration? What is the meaning of "confirming" such an assertion? Do we let us say, ascertain some agreement between our 'knowledge' or 'what is known' and the Thing on the wall? Yes and no, depending upon whether our Interpretation of the expression 'what is known' is phenomenally appropriate. If he who makes the assertion judges without perceiving the picture, but 'merely represents' it to himself, to what is he related? To 'representations', shall we say? Certainly not, if "representation" is here supposed to signify representing, as a psychical process. Nor is he related to "representations" in the sense of what is thus "represented," if what we have in mind here is a 'picture' of that Real Thing which is on the wall. The asserting which 'merely represents' is related rather, in that sense which is most its own, to the Real picture on the wall. What one has in mind is the Real picture, and nothing else ... [261] Representations do not get compared, either among themselves or in relation to the Real Thing. What is to be demonstrated is not an agreement of knowing with its object, still less of the psychical with the physical; hut neither is it an agreement between 'contents of consciousness' among themselves. What -is to be demonstrated is solely the Being-uncovered of the entity itself-that entity in the "how" of its uncoveredness. This uncovered- ness is confirmed when that which is put forward in the assertion (namely the entity itself) shows itself 'as that very same thing. "confirmation" signifies the entity's showing itself in its selfsameness. The confirmation is accomplished on the basis of the entity's showing itself. This is possible only in such a way that the knowing which asserts and which gets confirmed is, in its ontological meaning, itself a Being towards Real entities, and a Being that uncovers. To say that an assertion "is true" signifies that it uncovers the entity as it is in itself. Such an assertion asserts, points out, 'lets' the entity 'be seen' in its uncoveredness. The Being-true (truth) of the assertion must be understood as Being-uncovering. Thus truth has by no means the structure of an agreement between knowing and the object in the sense of a likening of one entity (the subject) to another (the Object). Being-true as Being-uncovering) is in turn ontologically possible only on the basis of Being-in-the-world. This latter phenomenon, which we have known as a basic state of Dasein, is the foundation for the primordial phenomenon of truth.

    [283] Indisputably, the fact that one Dasein can be represented by another belongs to its possibilities of Being in Being-with-one-another in the world. In everyday concern, constant and manifold use is made of such represent-ability. Whenever we go anywhere or have anything to contribute, we can be represented by someone within the range of that 'environment' with which we are most closely concerned. The great multiplicity of ways of Being-in-the-world in which one person can be represented by another, not only extends to the more refined modes of publicly being with one another, but is likewise germane to those possibilities of concern which are restricted within definite ranges, and which are cut to the measure of one's occupation, one's social status, or one's age. But the very meaning of such representation is such that it is always a representation 'in' something--that is to say, in concerning oneself with something. But proximally and for the most part everyday Dasein understands itself in terms of that with which it is customarily concerned. 'One is' what one does. In relation to this sort of Being (the everyday manner in which we join with one another in absorption in the 'world' of our concern) representability is not only quite possible but is even constitutive for our [284] being with one another. Here one Dasein can and must, within certain limits, 'be' another Dasein. However, this possibility of representing breaks down completely if the issue is one of representing that possibility-of-Being which makes up Dasein's coming to an end, and which, as such, gives to it its wholeness. No one can take the Other's dying away from him. Of course someone can 'go to his death for another'. But that always means to sacrifice oneself for the Other 'in some definite affair'. Such "dying for" can never signify that the Other has thus had his death taken away in even the slightest degree. Dying is something that every Dasein itself must take upon itself at the time.


    Ontology and phenomenology are not two distinct philosophical disciplines among others. These terms in fact characterise philosophy itself with regards to its object and its way of treating that object. Heidegger, therefore, considers philosophy to be a universal phenomenological ontology, that takes its departure from the hermeneutic of Dasein, which, as an analytic of existence, defines the trajectory of all philosophical inquiries, both at the point where they arise and the point to which they return. [ref. ¶ 7, page 62]


    Heidegger notes that praxis was the Greeks term for things (when pertaining to our concernful dealings with them). But he remarks also that the Greeks left undisclosed their specifically 'pragmatic' character, instead, thinking of them more concretely as 'mere Things.' This is why Heidegger notion of equipmentality and of assignments is not expressed in terms of praxis [ref. ¶ 14, Page 96 - 97].

    Pre ontological

    What we have in mind when we speak of Dasein's "Being ontological" is actually to be designated as something "pre-ontological". This is because it signifies being in such as way that one already has an understanding of Being. The kind of being towards which Dasein comports itself we call existence. Productive logic as discussed above is an example of a pre ontological understanding. In this case it can be argued that the discoveries of all the sciences are indebted to the logic of Plato and Aristotle who first outlined the importance of a systematic approach when studying phenomena [ref. ¶ 4, Page 32].


    The Being of entities can only truly be grasped in the present. Once we attempt to re-present the immediacy of Being in through the mediation of language, the 'present' of an entity, becomes instead a 'presence' in language. However, this conception of representation verses reality does not imply the usual critique of representation found in modern epistemologies, such as semiotics. The semiotic paradigm criticises 'mimesis', (or the Platonic idea that language and art is an imitation of reality) as naive because it ignores the fact that things in the world do not tell us what they are, in fact we have to invent names for them and semioticians argue that the idea of the thing only emerges after it had been named [see Saussure: 1983, 114]. But Heidegger does not seek to alert us to the epistemological problems of 'presence' being a copy or otherwise of the 'present', instead he merely emphasises that the two differ in terms of their Being. However, this ontological distinction does not necessarily cast doubt on the fidelity of language to represent reality.

    Grasping is the simple awareness that something present-at-hand has the temporal structure of a pure 'making present' of something. In the grasping, those entities that show themselves present-at-hand are understood as entities in the most authentic sense. Presence then is literally an interpretation of something with regard to the present (immediacy of perception). [ref. ¶ 6, page 48]

    The ancients, interpreted Being as orientated out towards the world and towards "nature." This interpretation was obtained in terms of time. The outward evidence for this (although merely outward) is the treatment of the meaning of presence in ancient Greek philosophy. Presence has an ontologico-temporal meaning which can be expresses as entities, grasped in their Being, as presence. Thus they can be said to be grasped in the 'present'. [ref. ¶ 6, page 47]

    In the ontology of the ancients, existent entities--the kinds of things that one simply comes across in the world such as rocks plants and animals--are taken as the basic exemplers for the interpretation of Being. The ancients grasp this Being of entities in the form of words. And this is considered the acceptable way to grasp entities. But Heidegger cautions that the Being of those entities must be grasped in a certain way, that is to say in a certain type of speech that lets something be seen. This is the only way that the Being of a given entity can become intelligible to us. The sighting of an entity in words also means that it can have a kind of presence which can be recalled by language to stand for the object in circumstances where the object itself is no longer present. This presence can also be talked about, say, when we wish to interpret the object by elaborating upon some aspect of it that was not apparent in the initial sighting. We can do this because the original sighting in language has a fidelity to its object which can be elaborated upon, so that aspects that were initally not remarked upon can be legitimately discussed, even without the object being directly present. [ref. ¶ 9, page 70],

    [additional ref. Saussure, Ferdinand de (1983), Course in General Linguistics, Roy Harris (Translator) London: Duckworth Publishers]


    Heidegger's term for something that exists. There are three kinds of presence-at-hand identified so far:

    1. presence-at-hand pertaining to entities within the world which is understood ontically as a category.
    2. presence-at-hand pertaining to Dasein (plural, that is as pertaining to Being-in) and therefore understood ontically as a 'quasi-object', Although to see it in this way we must ignore the concept of Being-in.
    3. presence-at-hand pertaining to a pre-ontological understanding of Dasein which a particular Dasein has. This is understood onto-ontologically and does not ignore the concept of Being-in.


    Heidegger uses primordial and primordially in a sense that is vaguely synonymous with "truth" and "truthful." Primordial is that which is closest to the essential nature of Being. [ref. ¶ 3, page 30]

    Productive Logic

    In science, basic concepts determine the way in which we get an understanding beforehand of all the objects that a particular science takes as its theme. For example, in biology the concept of "life" defines all biological inquiries as well as its fundamental categories. All positive investigation in the sciences is in face guided by this principle. Here, the work of Plato and Aristotle is evidence enough of how a systematic logic was elaborated, which later became the basis of the scientific method. This laying the foundations can be described as a productive logic, in Heidegger's words, it "leaps ahead into some area of Being and discloses it for the first time." A productive logic is what gives us the conceptual tools to understand certain things, which we might not have perceived had this systematic way of looking at things not informed our understanding beforehand. In this sense, the idea of a productive logic is akin to appreciating the advantages of a systematic way of looking at things, as opposed to a more ad hoc approach. One the appreciation of a systematic methodology is realised and formalised into a scientific method. Real scientific progress is made because the systematic (logical) approach is conducive to forming a cumulative understanding of knowledge. This is an understanding to which each new discovery contributes to [ref. ¶ 4, Page 32].

    Proximate (Proximately)

    Proximate is more commonly known for its antonym - approximate. Just as approximate means a roundabout impression of an object or an idea, proximate means a precise and accurate one. Heidegger uses proximate both to distinguish the entities which are encountered first and also those that are closest to us (p 135)

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - Q -


    Heidegger defines questioning as "a cognisant seeking for an entity both with regard to the fact that it is and with regard to its Being as it is." Heidegger reminds us that the 'question of Being' is not just any question, it is the question, in the sense that it belongs to every other question. To understand the question, "What is Being?", we must uncover the commonalties in every question, so that what is peculiar about questioning can be made transparent. Every inquiry is seeking and the journey of seeking is guided beforehand by what is sought. [ref. ¶ 2, page 24 - 25]

    - R -

    Ready-to-Hand (Readiness-to-Hand)

    The kind of Being which equipment possesses and the way in which it manifests itself, Heidegger calls 'Readiness-to-Hand.' Readiness to hand does not merely occur in the act of using equipment. But rather, equipment is only manipulatable in the first place because it has this kind of 'Being, in itself'. However the readiness-to-hand of an entity which leads us to consider it as a piece equipment is only discovered by using it - never beforehand. This is the paradoxical nature of equipment, for no matter how long and diligently we stare at its outward appearance, we will never be able to discover anything ready-to-hand about a piece of equipment unless we actually take it up and use it. For example, it is only when we take up a hammer, in order to hammer, that our primordial relationship to the hammer's equipmentality becomes apparent . The act of hammering itself (and the context in which this action occurs) is therefore what uncovers the specific 'manipulability' of the hammer.

    The peculiarity of what is proximally ready-to-hand means that, in terms of an entity being a piece of equipment, its "thingness" must, as it were, withdraw in order to for it to be ready-to-hand in an authentic way. The hammer, as a thing, becomes transparent in the hammering. In this sense, it is as if it becomes an extension of the human arm, for when hammering we can almost feel the nail, and the resistance of the hammer. [ref. ¶ 15, page 98]

    Resource Structure

    Related to the notions of equipment structures and work and product structures is resource structure. The work to be produced is not merely usable for something. The production itself is a using of something for something (The work of the tailor is the use of the equipment structures of tailoring to produce a shoe).

    Because something is produced through work, in addition to the equipment structure there is also an assignment of 'materials': Thus the work of the tailor is dependent on leather, thread, needles, and the like. Leather, moreover is produced from hides. These are taken from animals, which someone else has raised. Animals also occur within the world without having been raised at all; and, in a way, these entities still produce themselves even when they have been raised as a resource for some other production. So in the environment certain entities become accessible which are always ready-to-hand, but which, in themselves, do not need to be produced. Hammer, tongs, and needle, refer in themselves to steel, iron, metal, mineral, wood, in that they consist of these. [ref. ¶ 15, pages 99-100]

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    - S -


    Heidegger employs the term science to designate any discipline engaged in the systematic study of phenomena, not just the hard sciences. [ref. ¶ 3, page 29]

    Science in general (that is science abstracted from any particular content) may be provisionally defined as "the totally established through an interconnection of true propositions." Although this definition does not really approach the true meaning of science. As ways in which man behaves, sciences have the meaning of Being which this entity—Man himself—possesses. [ref. ¶ 4, page 32]

    Semblance (Seeming)

    The primordial phenomenological signification, of "to show itself for itself" is still included in semblance. Only when something makes a pretension of showing itself, can it actually show itself as something which it is not. For only then can it be what it looks like and not what it is. [ref. ¶ 7, Page 51]

    Phenomenon announces itself through appearance which shows itself, but such appearance can also take the variant form of 'mere semblance (deception). A person can fake an illness, for example by coughing and sniffing. The appearance of these symptoms announces the existence (the Being present-at-hand) of that which isn't really there. [ref. ¶ 7, Page 54]


    We will not be able to discover the world, if we take the view that the world has spatiality as its grounding a priori condition, but rather spatiality itself can only be discovered when we have first fixed the concept of worldhood in our minds. This statement can be read as a critique of the transcendental aesthetic of Kant, which regards space and time as being primary forms of pure knowledge. For instance Kant asserted, by means of the external sense we represent to ourselves objects as without us, and all of these are in space. Herein alone are their shape, dimensions, and relations to each other determined or determinable. [Kant 1993, p 49].

    Contrary to this, Heidegger argues space is discoverable as a phenomenon. For instance, if we consider a room as a piece of equipment (to paraphrase Le Corbusier - a machine for living in) We can, at the same time, think of it also as a collection of other pieces of equipment that comes together to constitute a room. Of course a room is not normally defined in terms of its equipmentality, but rather as something conceived of in terms of its spatiality. Thus, we tend to think of a room rather passively as something - as the space 'between four walls. Hence, we easily fall into the trap of considering the room philosophically in terms of the abstract notion of space, and not in terms of the more everyday notion as a piece of equipment (for Being in). And in doing so, we also mystify its existence into something that is not phenomenological (ref Kant). Heidegger considers this a nonsense basically. It is his belief that everything is exhibitable using the phenomenological method, ever phenomena hitherto considered to be merely conceptual like Kant's pure forms. [ref. ¶ 15, p 95 - 102]

    [418] To say that our empirical representations of what is present-at-hand [419] 'in space' run their course 'in time' as psychical occurrences, so that the 'physical' occurs mediately 'in time' also, is not to give an existential- ontological Interpretation of space as a form of intuition, but rather to establish ontically that what is psychically present-at-hand runs its course 'in time'.

    [421] The world is not present-at-hand in space; yet only within a world does space let itself be discovered. The ecstatical temporality of the spatiality that is characteristic of Dasein, makes it intelligible that space is independent of time; but on the other hand, this same temporality also makes intelligible Dasein's 'dependence' on space-a 'dependence' which manifests itself in the well-known phenomenon that both Dasein's interpretation of itself and the whole stock of significations which belong to language in general are ‘dominated through and through by 'spatial representations'. This priority of the spatial in the Articulation of concepts and significations has its basis not in some specific power which space possesses, but in Dasein's kind of Being. Temporality is essentially falling, and it loses itself in making present j not only does it understand itself circumspectively in terms of objects of concern which are ready-at-hand, but from those spatial relationships which making-present is constantly meeting in the ready-to-hand as having presence, it takes its clues for Articulating that which has been understood and can be interpreted in the understanding in general.

    (see also: phenomena the formal conception of)

    [reference: Kant, Immanuel (1993), Critique of Pure Reason, Translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn, London: Everyman]  


    On page 72 of Being and Time, Heidegger makes a plea for our indulgence concerning his obtuse use of language. He pleads that he is not being "terminologically arbitrary" when he avoids using traditional grammatical forms to explain his philosophy. The reason for this is he wants to get away from conceptions of 'subject' and 'object', but unfortunately these conceptions are already so inscribed in language that they schematise our thoughts into certain patterns, which Heidegger wants to contest and overthrow. Ontologically every idea of a 'subject'--unless refined by a previous logical determination of its basic character--still posits what maybe called in Scholastic language the subjectum (which Heidegger translates as "Being-already-at-hand"). This notion of the subject possesses an what might be called "an essence," no matter how many vigorous ontical protestations the advocates of this doctrine care to make against the "soul substance" or the "reification of consciousness" etc. Heidegger argues that such reification always going to happen in the arena of language - where every Being becomes a "thing" and every thing becomes a name. In this paradigm, Dasein becomes "I" and the world becomes a collection of predicates which lie always outside of the "I". Only by using the phenomenological method can the ontological origin of these terms be demonstrated and can this dogma be contested. However such knowledge is certainly not available to any logical proof (since logic itself is predicated on grammar and on language and these ways of understanding the world and ourselves have already cut Being out of the equation!) So if we are to manoeuvre ourselves into a position from where we can ask the question, "What do we understand positively when with think of this unreified Being that we have hitherto considered to be the subject, soul, consciousness, spirit, person, etc?" we must do two things:

    1/ Appreciate how all these "subjectum" terms in fact refer to definite phenomenological domains which can be 'given form', using the phenomenological method.

    2/ Be aware that this method cannot be employed unless we first take on board the idea that the Being of these entities is what is being designated and not the 'thingness' of them.

    On the other hand any serious and scientifically-minded 'philosophy of life' ("although this expression tells us as much as the botany of plants"!) always expresses an unexpressed tendency towards an understanding of Dasein's Being. Now what is conspicuous in that tendency (and this is why the human sciences are defective in principle) is that 'life' itself, as an ontology, is something that never become a problem precisely because of the a priori burying of the problem of Being. And it is upon this error that the 'philosophies of life' are always founded. [ref. ¶ 10, page 72]

    [366] (ref Kant) The 'I' is a bare consciousness. accompanying all concepts. In the 'I', 'nothing more is represented than a transcendental subject of thoughts'. 'Consciousness in itself (is) not so much a representation . . . as it is a form of representation in general. The 'I think' is 'the form of apperception, which clings to every experience and precedes it' ....[367] The subjectum is therefore 'consciousness in itself', not a representation but rather the 'form' of representation. That is to say, the "I think" is not something represented, but the formal structure of representing as such, and this formal structure alone makes it possible for anything to have been represented. When we speak of the "form" of representation, we have in view neither a framework nor a universal concept, but that which, as [idea], makes every representing and everything represented be what it is. If the "I" is understood as the form of representation, this amounts to saying that it is the 'logical subject'.




    Synthesis in the traditional logical sense is the positive result of the dialectic between thesis and antithesis. In this context, synthesis means comparing one proposition with another and arriving at a concluding judgement as to the strengths and weaknesses of each. However Heidegger has a different conception of synthesis where "everything depends on steering clear of any conception of truth which is construed in the sense of being an agreement." The Being-true-of-language derives its truth from saying as uncovering, that is the entities which one is talking about must be taken out of their hiddenness in language. It is only because the structure of language is uncovering, of letting something be seen that the logos can have the structure of synthesis. This has nothing to do with their being related to something else.

    Agreement is predicated on relating one thing to another, which is why agreements should be avoided if we are searching for truth, for truths should be uncovered and seen as things in themselves as something unhidden. That is to say, they must be discovered. Being false amounts to an attempt to cover up the truth by putting something in front of something and thereby obscuring it, or passing it off as something which it is not. [ref. ¶ 7, page 57]

    For the Greeks (and Heidegger as well) truth (alethéia) means perceiving- i.e., the sheer sensory perception of something as true [ref. ¶ 7, page 57]. This can be contrasted with Heidegger's definition of appearance, as denoting a relationship between phenomena, which is always based on a referral of some kind or another. The phenomenon of appearance also shows itself, but its Being is always a reference masking some other kind of Being. [ref. ¶ 7, page 54]

    When something no longer takes the form of just letting something be seen, but is always harking back to something else, it thus acquires a synthesis-structure, and with this is born the possibility of covering up [ref. ¶ 7, page 57].

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    Heidegger asserts that temporality is an important key to interpreting the meaning of Dasein, for Dasein's structures are in fact modes of temporality. [ref. ¶ 5, page 38]

    Temporality is fundamental to the understanding of Being, because it makes historically possible the kind of Being that Dasein itself possesses, regardless of whether Dasein is considered an entity within time or not. [ref. ¶ 5, page 40]

    Thus, a fundamental task of interpreting being, is working out first the temporality of Being. This is for the reason that it is only through temporality that the meaning of Being can hope to be concretely articulated. Being therefore can never be considered 'out of time' that is as an abstract free-floating thing separate from temporality. [ref. ¶ 5, page 40]

    Temporal determinateness

    Temporal determinateness can be defined as that state in which Being and its modes and characteristics have their meaning determined primordially.

    If Being is to be conceived in its temporality, then it is not adequate merely to reveal the Being of entities in time, for Being itself needs to be made visible in its temporal character. But temporality does not just mean 'Being in time' for even the non-temporal and the supra-temporal still have a temporal aspect with regard to their Being. [ref. ¶ 5, page 40]


    Thrownness is the largely uninterrogated condition of everyday existence that is always coloured by a mood of one kind or another. Mood for Heidegger is the first intimation we get of being a creature that cares about its own existence rather than something that merely exists (Heidegger, 1980, pp. 172-3).

    [173] Throwness is the perennial condition of Dasein finding itself possessed by a certain mood, or being in a certain state of mind. Moods reaveal Dasein’s thereness in the sense of 'how one is, and how one is faring'. This sense does not arise from a direct seeking as rather from a fleeing. We do not look for thrownness, we look away from it; flee it, and this is the way in which Dasein’s mood discloses itself [172]. Dasein for the most part evades the Being which is disclosed in the mood. In an ontologico-existential sense, this means that even when a mood is being paid no attention, Dasein is unveiled in its Being-delivered-over to the "there". In the evasion itself the ‘there’ is something disclosed. [173] Dasein is thus always already given and then needs to take a stand on what it is. It is a self-interpreting foundness. Heidegger calls this foundness thrownness. This characteristic of Dasein's being-this "that it is"-is veiled in its "whence" and "whither," yet disclosed in itself unveiled; we call it the "thrownness" of this entity into its "there" .... The expression "thrownness" is meant to suggest the facticity of its being delivered over to somewhere through its mood. The [174] "that it is and has to be" which is disclosed in in Dasein's state-of-mind is not the same 'that-it-is' which expresses ontologico-categorically the factuality belonging to presence-at-hand. This fact becomes accessible only by looking at it. On the other hand the "that-it-is" which is disclosed in Dasein's state-of-mind must rather be conceived as an existential attribute. (see mood),


    Time is primordially the horizon of the understanding of Being. Time exists as the Being of Dasein, which understands itself through temporality.

    The above italicised conception of time must be differentiated from the way time is ordinarily understood. Here we must make it clear that the problem with this 'ordinary understanding of time' is that it has emerged out of temporality itself, and moreover it is blind to this fact. Therefore Heidegger's task in his analysis is to give his conception of time a sense of autonomy. [ref. ¶ 5, page 39]

    [462] The manner in which the time we have 'allowed' 'runs its course', and the way in which concern more or less explicitly assigns itself that time, can be properly explained as phenomena only if, on the one hand, we avoid [463] the theoretical 'representation' of a Continuous stream of "nows", and if, on the other hand, the possible ways in which Dasein assigns itself time and allows itself time are to be conceived of as determined primarily in terms of flow Dasein., in a manner corresponding to its current existence, 'has' its time. In an earlier passage authentic and inauthentic existing nave been characterized with regard to those modes of the temporalizing of temporality upon which such existing is founded. According to that characterization, the irresoluteness of inauthentic existence temporalizes itself in the mode of a making-present which does not await but forgets. He who is irresolute understands himself in terms of those very closest events and be-fallings which he encounters in such a making-present and which thrust themselves upon him in varying ways. Busily losing himself in the object of his concern, he loses his time in it too. Hence his characteristic way of talking-:-'I have no time'. But just as he who exists in authentically is constantly losing time and never. ',has' any, the temporality of authentic existence remains distinctive in that such existence, in its resoluteness, never loses time and 'always has time'.

    Towards which, (the product of work)

    The product of work is that which is produced by a piece of equipment, Heidegger conceives of as the "towards-which" of that piece of equipment. And this is what has the kind of Being that belongs to equipment. The towards which is not synonymous with a goal or aim, except in its most general sense. The product of work is not necessarily a material thing and is therefore never an end in itself, for instance a shoe is produced for wearing; the clock is manufactured for telling the time.

    The work which we chiefly encounter in our concernful dealings has an essential usability which belongs to it. The usability of work is that which allows us to encounter (already) the "towards-which" for which the tool is usable. This is a convoluted way of saying the meaning of the tool is only discovered in its use, and in the wider context of what it is used for. A piece of equipment, therefore, is definable only by its use (working with it) because this is where the assignment context of entities (the equipment structure) is revealed. [ref. ¶ 15, page 99]


    Dasein in its average everydayness tends to fall back on upon the world that it is in, and it interprets this world in terms of a reflected light, which means that it simultaneously falls prey to a tradition. When tradition is seen as an immutable edifice, opportunities for self guidance are blocked in the fundamental senses of Dasein's inquiring and choosing. This is also true in respect of the way Dasein understanding itself. The possibilities of developing that understanding, or making it transparent ontologically, are therefore blocked by the dogma of tradition.

    When tradition becomes master, what it transmits seems to become distant so that that information can no longer be grasped immediately. Therefore it is, in effect, concealed. Tradition takes what has come down to us and treats it as self-evident. This self-evident aspect blocks our access to the primordial sources from which the categories and concepts of tradition have themselves emerged.

    Dasein has had its historicity so thoroughly uprooted by tradition that it clings to its axioms of received wisdom, if only to veil the fact that it has no grounds of its own to stand on.

    For example, Heidegger's major complaint against the tradition of philosophy at the start of Being and Time [ref. Pages 20 - 22] is we don't even care that we are ignorant of Being. And in this sense our 'not caring' perhaps veils a deep rooted anxiety; a terror which speaks of the need to believe in something, anything, even if we suspect that it is wrong, because believing in nothing is too terrifying to contemplate. The mediation of tradition, which masks the proximate or immediate truth of Being, can be likened then to a fortress. We cling to tradition for the protection it offers. [ref. ¶ 6, page 42 - 43]

    Tradition differs from historicality because the latter is a fact of our being while the latter can be imposed from outside. Tradition is received wisdom, it involves some mediation. The facts presented by tradition are never grasped proximately and in themselves, in fact tradition acts as a mask, covering these fact. In the case of Dasein's historicity, this is something that is so much a part of Dasein that it is constitutive of it. Yet an individual Dasein may not even be aware of the authentic facts of its historicity. Presumably because it may be blinded by the inauthentic facts of some tradition of other.


    When a consciousness becomes aware of something consciously, as opposed to instinctively, that knowledge becomes transparent. For example Heidegger argues that real movement in the sciences only takes place when their basic concepts consciously undergo a radical revision, or in this case that the naive assumptions upon which a science is initially grounded become transparent. [ref. ¶ 3, page 29]


    For the Greeks (and Heidegger as well) truth (alethéia) means perceiving - i.e., the sheer sensory perception of something as true [ref. ¶ 7, page 57].

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    Unlike other kinds of analysis, which are premised on cutting up objects up and piecing them together again in new configurations, the structure of Dasein's understanding is primordially (and constantly) a whole and will remain so. However we are afforded various ways of looking at this 'wholeness' by highlighting certain items which are constitutive of it. In other words, while we should continually emphasise a) that the structure of Being in the world is wholeness and b) that it comes before the appreciation of discreet phenomena, we will find by using the phenomenological method of investigation that we can show how certain items can be made to stand out [Part 1, Division 1 introduction, page 65].

    If we are to begin in the right way, this cannot mean that "Dasein" is to be construed in terms of some concrete idea of existence, no matter how provisionally that idea may be cast. At the outset it is particularly important that Dasein should not be interpreted with the differentiated character of something which has some definite way of existing, but that it should be uncovered in its undifferentiated character [ref. ¶ 8, page 65].

    Heidegger argues that the way to discover "what man is," is not to categorise 'his' surface attributes but to grasp the essential being in its wholeness [ref. ¶ 9, page 71].


    Dasein does not proximally dwell with the tools themselves , but with the work the tools do. And because a piece of equipment always conceals an equipment structure, it implies also that work bears with it that referential totality within which the equipment is encountered. The work to be produced by the hammer, Heidegger conceives of as the towards-which of the hammer. And this is what has the kind of Being that belongs to equipment. Equipment is never an end in itself. The end product of the labours of the tailor is not just a shoe, because the shoe itself is produced for wearing; similarly, the clock is manufactured for telling the time. And, as is clear in these examples, the towards which, although it is a product of the work done, does not have to be a product solely in a material sense. [ref. ¶ 15, page 99]


    The question of how the world is defined phenomenologically is analysed in part 1, division 3 of Being and Time (approximately 50 pages). Here are a few salient points of the analysis (so far):

    Historically, philosophical inquiries into the Being of the world have been articulated in two sorts of conceptions, which have led to two sets of arguments:

    1. A reductionist/materialist conception of the world as being only the sum of the things contained within the world, where the world, as such, does not exist.

    2. A metaphysical/spiritual conception of the world, where the world as such exists beyond the realm of matter.

    Therefore, the conceptual choice people have faced in the past is either to deny the world's phenomenological existence, or to describe it in metaphysical terms (effectively mystifying it). In Heidegger's opinion, both theses views are mistaken, precisely because they are grounded in the flawed paradigm of traditional ontology, which privileges an objective view of the world. So, it is perhaps not surprising that philosophers working in this tradition have developed no concepts, nor any arguments to adequately describe the world as a phenomenon. Consequently, despite a plethora of theories that attempt to account for the phenomenon known as the world, none can account for the extra surplus quality that the world seemingly has. The aim of Heidegger's analysis is to show how these problem disappear, when the world is looked at ontologically.

    Neither the ontical depiction of things within-the-world, nor the ontological interpretation of their Being (in terms of examining only the entities we value) is completely up to the task of describing the phenomenon that is "the world." The problem is this notion of 'things'. No doubt then we will have to get away from this tendency of objectifying entities within the world and focus on some other aspect of their being.

    Perhaps we should approach this inquiry from a different direction and ask ourselves if it possible to address ourselves to the phenomenon of world,' directly in terms of its being the determinate for the ontological meaning for all of the entities within the world, and not just something which is determined by them as hitherto assumed. As Heidegger points out, we always refer to things as being "within-the-world", does this not suggest that we have a pre-ontological understanding of a notion of the world, as coming before the notion of the things which are manifest within it? In this case, rather than trying to escape the framing problem, we would be embracing it? The world after all turns out to be the frame our inquiry into the world. But the question remains, how is possible to describe the world? The answer to this question is that in fact the world is not the ultimate frame within which everything is conceived because the world also needs a Being to perceive it, i.e. Dasein. Therefore approach would also involve us having to concede that the 'world' is, in fact, also a part of Dasein's Being, i.e., something which dwells alongside Dasein in the same way that the entities of the world dwell alongside Dasein [ref. ¶12, page 80].

    However, if the latter contention is taken seriously, would it not imply that every particular Dasein 'proximally' dwells within its own world? In other words, that each Dasein's conception of the world as a phenomenon is ultimately going to be a subjective one. If this is true, it is problematic because if the world is ultimately subjective, how could there also be a 'common' world 'in' which all of Dasein all collectively dwell? Resolving this paradox is going to be one of the major themes of this inquiry.

    In order to begin to approach the task of defining the world as a phenomenon in the correct (ontological) way, we should remember that Heidegger formally defined phenomenon as that which shows itself as Being, and which is itself a structure of the Being of Dasein in general [ref. ¶ 7, Page 51]. This definition of a phenomenon is premised on the wholeness of Being [ref. Part 1, Division 1, page 65], which yields two additional observations:

    i. Each part of Being (which takes the form of a particular phenomenon) is never truly isolate from Being taken as a whole.

    ii. Each part of being is itself a reflection of that whole.

    Thus, to describe the 'world' phenomenologically will mean to exhibit the Being of those entities which are present-at-hand within the world, and, in addition to this, to fix that Being in concepts which are categorical.

    Heidegger identifies four main meanings of the term world.

    1. World is as an ontical concept, and signifies the totality of things which can be present-at-hand within the world. (This is the traditional philosophical conception of the world. In this meaning the world is the frame of the inquiry and thus, we can have no genuine access to it).

    2. World functions as an ontological term, and signifies the Being of those things within the world. (This notion makes Dasein the frame through which the inquiry is conceived. It does give us phenomenological access to the world, but it leads to a conception that the worlds is "subjective," i.e. that it belongs to each Dasein. For instance, a mathematician may talk about the world of mathematics, and a philologist can talk about the world of stamp collecting).

    3. World can be understood in an ontical sense, as the place where a factical Dasein 'lives. (This notion, like meaning #1., considers the world to be the frame through which the inquiry is examined. But in this case, rather than privileging things within the world as in meaning #1., or the 'subjective' worlds as in meaning #2, the "world" of meaning #3., is conceived of as a place where factical Dasein lives. I.e. Dasein itself is, as it were, the entity within the world.)

    4. The term "world" designates the ontologico-existential concept of Worldhood. This notion expresses in general terms the a priori character of any entity which can be taken to be a world. This conception of the world serves as an umbrella for the other meanings, because it takes into account both framing perspectives found in meanings #1 to #3. And thus the concept of Worldhood allows us to consider also how the frames operate in relation to one another. Although this is not to suggest that we can transcend the frames by doing this, for it is impossible to conceive of the world from a space outside of the world and outside of yourself. However a conception of Worldhood allows us to see the world as both a framing and a frame, which is itself an important characteristic of the world as a phenomenon. [ref. ¶ 14, pages 93]

    We have to address ourselves to the phenomenon of world, as the determinate for the ontological meaning for all of the entities within the world and not just something which is determined by them. As Heidegger points out, we always refer to things as being "within-the-world", which might suggest the notion of the world, comes before the notion of the things which are manifest within in. We also need to concede that the 'world' is in fact also a part of Dasein's Being, i.e., something which dwells alongside Dasein in the same way that the entities of the world dwell alongside Dasein .

    The conception of entities as existent things, (the present-at-hand) must have priority and take the lead in the sequence of those dealings with the 'world' in which something is discovered and made one's own. Readiness-to-hand is the way in which entities as they are 'in themselves' are defined ontologico-categorically. Thus we discover the world, not as something which exists of itself (something present-at-hand) but rather through the totality of equipment, resource and product structures, that is to say, in things ready to hand. Yet only by reason of something present-at-hand, 'is there' anything ready-to-hand. But even if we join all the structures of readiness to hand we can think of, we still do not get anything like the 'world' as their sum. Is there any avenue that will lead us to exhibiting the phenomenon of the world? [ref. ¶ 15, 102]

    (There will be more on this in future updates).


    Ontologically speaking, when we raise the question of the world, the object of the inquiry is neither the objective world of collective experience, nor is it the subjective world personal experience, but rather the worldhood of the world as such. Worldhood therefore needs to be understood an umbrella term that embraces the sense of the world that both is determinate and determines all the other significations and modalities of the world. As Heidegger has already pointed out (ref.), Being-in-the-world is the way in which Dasein's character can be defined existentially. In this sense, worldhood, like the Being-in Heidegger examined (re. part 1 division 2), must likewise exist as an existentiale. Consequently, in order to understand the world ontologically, we have to include an analytic of Dasein as a component of that understanding.

    'Worldhood' therefore is an ontological concept, that stands for the structure of one of the constitutive items of Being-in-the-world. However, regarding the world in this way does not rule out the possibility of trying to disclose its secrets by examining entities within-the-world. But the Being of such entities will not be discovered by inferring a presence of worldhood as something surplus and existing outside of the entities within it. Worldhood has to exit within them; already perceived as part of Dasein's being. Worldhood conceived of in this way, can be imagined as something surrounding both Dasein and the entities within the world with which Dasein proximately dwells. And thus we will arrive at an ontological conception of the worldhood of the world, which does not suffer form the framing problems of the other conceptions we have discussed. With this conception, we will be able to describe the world phenomenologically. [ref. ¶ 14, page 92]


    Two entities which are merely present-at-hand are worldless. The term worldless here stands for the unthinking existence that mere entities have. In the context of Dasein's Being-alongside-the world, word 'touch' connotes a sense belonging to Dasein. Entities present-at-hand within the world cannot touch, or be touched, and since Dasein's "Being alongside" can only exists with its "Being-there" (this phrase is significant for the German expression of Being there is "Da sein"). To be able to touch something, a Being must have something like the world is already in mind, so that another entity can manifest itself in the touching from out of that world.

    However, if we are talking about entities that have awareness of their own existence (Dasein in other words), the clause 'furthermore are worldless' must not be left out. This is because Dasein are present-at-hand 'in' the world, or more exactly can, with some right and within certain limits, be taken as merely present-at-hand. To think of Dasein as merely present-at-hand, one must either completely disregard, or just not see the existential state of Being-in. But there is no law which compels us to see Being in this way (thus we have factical conceptions of Dasein). For Dasein can be taken as something which is just present-at-hand. However, regarding Dasein (plural) as present at hand should not to be confused with a certain way of presence-at-hand which Dasein (singular) has as its own present-at-handness. For this is presence at handness of an altogether different kind, and therefore it should not be seen as being accessible only if one disregards Dasein's specific structures, but rather by understanding them in advance. [ref. ¶ 12, page 81]

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