Heidegger in Being and Time- The Question of the Meaning of Being?
The definition of the term being has been having the mixture of anxieties among many readers (Gover, 2008, p. 144). Heidegger argues that the term being has a deeper meaning than what people articulate to be. It is out of Heidegger argument whereby people should have a different thinking and perception on the meaning of the being. Heidegger attributes the inability of the people to define being to generation of philosophers who seems to give a blind eye to the question, “What is Being?” (Sinclair, 2009, p. 240) Additionally, the modern philosophy it is no better than the traditional philosophy. The current philosophy do not only term the meaning of Being as superfluous but goes ahead to completely neglect it (Yagi, 2015, p. 63). From the dogmatic philosophical view Being is the most universal and emptiest concepts that denies all attempts of definition. However, the efforts of Heidegger on question what is being gives the readers a clue of understanding the meaning of the term.In order to clarify what is being and establish Heidegger position of questioning what is Being it is appropriate to consider the foundations of being. Having a strong understanding on background of the meaning of the Being helps the readers to form their own opinion what a being can be. From the three preliminary remarks extracted from the traditional assumptions on the meaning of being, people are able to explain the foundations of the question meaning of Being. First, historical dogmatic assumption held that being is not a genus. This supporters of this definition argued that being is a universal concept and therefore it can understood as anything just like an entity. This argument further stipulates that being exists above and beyond any conception that readers and scholars can form the meaning (Schneck, 2012, p. 68).
Secondly, Being is indefinable, this is another attribute that forms the foundation of understanding what is being. The philosophers who supported this notion argued that the term entity can be applied on the understanding of the term being. This is because being is neither a genus nor a thing. It is a conception that its meaning cannot be derived from logical procedures (Snodgrass & Coyne , 2012, p. 70). It is entails setting the rules that guides the classification of things. Being is self-evident, this is the last preliminary that explains the foundation of defining the term being. This assumptions denotes that being applicable on several human aspects such as asking question, making assertion or whenever they are thinking about anything.
Heidegger goes beyond the preliminaries and assumptions of being to assert that “question of Being” it is not just like any other question. It is the question that belongs to each other question (Livingston, 2013, p. 2). Therefore, to reveal the real meaning of being people should focus on uncovering the commonalities on each question. This will help to overcome the strangeness about questioning and everything will be made transparent.
Heidegger strives to explain that there are two sides of the question of the meaning of the being. There are both positive and negative sides. The positive side explains that all human beings are equipped with the common sense on understanding of the human being. Heidegger says that human beings know what a being is but they cannot articulate its knowledge (Chiurazzi, 2011, p. 62). On the negative side, Heidegger argues that people are ignorant of what being is. In fact, it is this ignorant that Heidegger aims to explore before addressing the premises of the question of being.
People may wonder why they are ignorant on understanding the meaning of the Being. Heidegger says that people are ignorant on understanding the question of being because of the earliest philosophical work that has failed to create a foundation of defining Being (Crowther, 2008, p. 22). Heidegger supports this argument by arguing that people position themselves and focus their conscious attention of their own being on to the being of something else (Dostal, 2013, p. 250). As result people end up missing that the processing of understanding human being is somewhat spontaneous in personality. Out of this ignorance people tend to explore the meaning of being based on the traditional methods. Heidegger says this process terms individuals as unintelligent. Therefore, according to Heidegger the process of determining of what is being is a fault one.
Heidegger provides a firm support for the fault process of the ascertaining being by stating that the question of what is Being lacks an answer. He goes further to note that the formulation of the question what is being lacks the direction. Therefore, there is a need to formulate another question to help people in understanding what a being is. It is this notion that motivates Heidegger to establish a task of seeking the answer to the question of the being (Duits, 2007, p. 215).
In his article “Being and Time” Heidegger argues that people do not have an answer to the meaning of the word being. Heidegger advocates the people should have new perspective of questioning the meaning of the being. It out of this desire to establish the meaning of the being whereby Heidegger engages in investigating the new meaning of the being. In the following discussion this paper explores on Heidegger’s efforts on establishing a new question on the meaning of the being.
The formulation of the question of the meaning of the being requires us to put into consideration several aspects (Mitchell, 2010, p. 36). This will not only help us in unravelling the meaning of the being but also solving the misunderstandings exhibited on its meaning. However, Heidegger says that the unsatisfactory grounds of defining may hamper the investigations of exploring the right question of what is a being (Nicholson, 2014, p. 72).
On the formulation of the new question, Heidegger begins by arguing that beings is usually a being of an entity. The wholeness of entities in relation to various domains build a ground of establishing and delimiting specific critical areas of the subject matter. Certain areas such as language, life, space, nature and history are some of the few examples that can be used to carry out scientific investigating of the determining a new question of the being (Wrathall, 2007, p. 358).
The scientific research has naively accomplished the inclusion of these areas in the domain of the Being. Therefore, the inclusion of these core aspects on the definition of Being will make it more understandable among the people. Despite that there has been inclusion of some of these elements in the earlier scope of the question of what is a being. The confinement of these aspects in the definition have not been impactful to help in the investigation of what is being (Ruin, 2013, p. 356). Therefore, the arising basic concepts still remains the crucial foundations of formulating a new question of what is a being.
According to Heidegger the inclusion of these basic concepts in the exploration of the being could have been more meaningful if the concepts had gone radical revisions for the purpose of transparency. The application of the more scientific research will help in ascertaining constrains behind the exploration of the question of being. Heidegger depicts that there is the difference that exists between the traditional researches on being that creates a difference between Being and beings (Escudero, 2013, p. 304).
The question of the meaning of Being is focused on explaining what makes up beings as intelligible beings. However, according to Heidegger Being is not simply like any other being. The capitalization of Being brings it out that it is an ethereal metaphysical (Escudero, 2013, p. 303). This means that it is something that goes beyond the entities of what people term as Being. To the majority of the people Being is just a Being of certain entity. But, this is not true because being is something of the higher order that is yet to be discovered.
Heidegger argues that, the question meaning of the Being has been sidelined by the traditional philosophy (Chiurazzi, 2011, p. 64). Starting from the philosophy of Plato onwards there has not been definite grounds to establish the meaning of the Being question. The traditional philosophy has failed to establish what it is really the meaning of the Being. Instead, it views Being as just an ultimate kind of being. This well illustrated by the several names attributed to the Being such as monad, substance and Energeia. As a result of traditional notion the meaning of the question of Being has been looked upon at.
It is the lacks lack of the sound meaning on the question of being that motivates Heidegger to commence a process of discovering the meaning of this question. In his process Heidegger draws the distinctions between various types of inquiries on what is Being question (Mitchell, 2010, p. 39). The first distinction focuses on the differences between ontological and ontical aspects. Ontological is concerned with the facts involved in explaining the Being entities. On the other side, ontical aims at elaborating the meaning of Being by exploring how entities are intelligible as entities.
By analyzing these two aspects this essay denotes that Heidegger perceives that the traditional history is more focused on ontical approach that ontological technique (Esfeld, 2010, p. 8). Traditional philosophy strives to explain and treat Being as a being. Heidegger disputes that traditional approach of ontical on the facts that cannot alone be depended upon as the technique of expressing objects. However, with the investigation of the meaning of Being by adopting both ontological and ontical procedures the meaning of the being can be expressed effectively.
Another distinction made by Heidegger is based on the fundamental ontology and regional ontology (Nichols, 2010, p. 5). The former confines itself to the transcendental conditions and priori that makes up possible certain means of Being. On the other side, the latter is concerned with the ontologies of certain domains. According to Heidegger the ontical aspect assumes the regional-ontological which transcends into fundamental-ontological. This argument is well illustrated in the following Heidegger’s investigation.
The question of Beings focuses on determining the priori conditions. This is not only focused on the potential of the sciences to examine beings as beings of certain type and by acting so we arrive at the understanding of the question what is Being (Stambaugh, 2008, p. 36). Besides, it aims to assess the possibility of those priors themselves on their ability establish their foundations. However, Heidegger argues that ontology is not yet good enough to explain the meaning of the question what is Being. Heidegger sates that
Fundamentally, all ontology, despite how well firmly compacted and rich it might be. The system still remains week and disintegrated from its core aim. First, it has not adequately clarified the meaning of the question of what is Being. This contradictory because this approach focuses on the exploration of the meaning of Being as its main task. (Stambaugh, 2008, p. 3)
Now, the question lies on who fundamental ontology can be used to answer the question, “What is the meaning of the Being?” It is from this point where Heidegger sets in and introduces the concept of Dasein. Dasein which is denoted as Da-sein meaning there being. According to Dasein brings in a distinctive model that helps understanding of the Being among the human beings. Therefore, according to Heidegger we should confine our thinking of understanding the meaning of the Being my putting into consideration the aspects of Dasein (Brandon, 2002, p. 325). However, Haugeland (2005, p. 422) disputes Heidegger argument by arguing that the interpretation of Being based on Dasein it becomes unhelpful because of the clashes created.
To put Dasein and on the right side and differentiate it with ontological concept, Heidegger advocates that we should conceive it as distinctive type of entity that strives to explain the meaning of the Being. This argument largely suits to the Heidegger’s characteristics on Dasein (Stambaugh, 2008, p. 65). Therefore, it qualifies to be termed as the secondary literature review of explaining the meaning of the Being.Dasein brings out Being as the not only a biological man or the person but a way of life shared among the members of the same community (Dostal, 2013, p. 260). The traditional area of language is brought out in this context. Heidegger aims to make it clear that attributing Being to the members of the same community it brings it language as an existing entity. The inclusion of community in the exploration on the meaning of Being assumes a distinctive philosophical point of view of shaping Being and Time.
The Heidegger stand leads us on questioning what is important that he tries to say about human beings. There are several approaches that readers can take in the Heidegger’s process of establishing what is special about human beings (Brandon, 2002, p. 15). In the first scenario, Heidegger gives an illustration of the environment around us. For example, Heidegger postulates that if we take keen look on our environment around us specifically viewing some elements such as planets, animals and other things that makes up the environment. From the observation we will come into conclusion that only human beings have the ability to carry out the day to day activities with the understanding of the Being. Again, human beings are able to reflect of the meaning of the Being even though they may lack the right meaning.
The above evaluation on the specialty of the human being it come out clear that Dasein is ontically distinctive because of its ability to explore deeper on the meaning of the being. To distinguish human beings from other beings (Mulhall, 2005, p. 15) supports Heidegger by arguing that the live of other plants such as plants and animal is determined by the forces of survival and production. However, human beings lead their own lives. This puts human beings into different category with other beings.
Each moment in the human beings is characterized by a certain of attitude that influences a person to choose a certain type of life (Mitchell, 2010, p. 25). This argument is according to the premises of the ontological structure. This approach goes further to depict that in the relevant sense, human beings can choose a totally different path that they pursue unthinkingly. This approach creates foundations for the human freedom. However, Heidegger do not consider this condition and his intention is solely focused on establishing the meaning of the question of what is Being.
Heidegger’s support of Dasein is focused on finding ways in which we can other entities intelligible (Livingston, 2013, p. 32). However, in his process Heidegger seems to ignore the aspects of choose and lead. Heidegger’s notion on this subject of Being fails to offer reliable interpretation between human beings choosing their freedom and leading the way of life they want. This challenges the Heidegger’s account of Dasein because the distinctive nature of the human beings make chooses and leads their own lives.
The investigation of Being can again be discussed from the arguments of (Sheehan, 2010, p. 85) who argues that Dasein can be translated to mean “open” but not “there” The openness element in the Dasein can be understood as trying to explain pre-intellectual subject matter of the Being as it necessary for us to meet beings as beings in a certain way. However, despite that Sheehan disputes the element of “there” in Dasein as suggested by Heidegger it is undisputable that the premises of Dasein clearly brings out the aspect of “there”
As it has been discussed in the above analysis of trying to position Heidegger arguments to support Dasein model on finding meaning of the question what is Being. The essential characteristics of Dasein proves to us there is no other domain that can be used to explain the meaning of Being as Dasein does (Mulhall, 2005, p. 22). In its normal operations of interacting with the other entities, Dasein acts with the pre-ontological understanding of Being. This operation is accompanied by distortion priori conditions that might underpin the certain modes of Being. Therefore, Dasein forms the first of unravelling the critical meaning of the question of Being. Heidegger argues in support of this statement as this:
“Whenever an ontology assumes its theme entities whose essential traits are different from that of the Dasein, then it is characterized by its own motivation and foundation in Dasein’s own ontical structure. In this domain pre-ontological understanding of Being is included as definite trait. Heidegger argues that that fundamental ontology, an aspect that all other ontologies originate from should therefore seek the existing analytic of Dasein.” (Stambaugh, 2008, pp. 33-44)
Therefore, Dasein is the primary model that Heidegger uses to investigate the departure of exploring the formulation of the new question of Being. According Heidegger the object Dasein enables us to encounter different entities (Nichols, 2010, p. 7). However, the question remains what is the right method of examining the entities we come across on the daily basis. Heidegger suggests the premises of phenomenology as the most suitable to undertake this examination.
Phenomenological analysis helps in establishing the persistent and determinative features of the Being (Haugeland, 2005, p. 425). However, from the assumption of the ordinary experience these characteristic must be at certain degree be together with the experience in order to determine the real meaning of the Being. In support Heidegger said phenomenology is hermeneutic but is not transcendental. The Heidegger argument aims to mean that the objective of phenomenology is to arrive at the interpretation of Being. This interpretation is governed by particular traditional philosophical way of thinking. These are the ways discussed by Heidegger about the Dasein role on pre-ontological understanding of Being.
Terming phenomenology as hermeneutic means a pre-condition of forming the philosophical discussion and understanding of the Being (Sheehan, 2010, p. 18). Therefore, Being and Time has a played a crucial role of laying the structure where the series of reinterpretations comes up with the more appreciative comprehension and the meaning of the Being. Heidegger puts this as follows.
“Being decisive means not just coming out of the circle but coming out on the right way. Within the circle there is unrevealed positive possibility that can be highly a primordial way of knowing. To create our assurance we sincerely strive to bind ourselves on this possibility only when we are interpreting. we have understood that our first, last and constant task is never to allow our fore-having, fore-sight and fore-conception to be presented to us by fancies and popular conceptions, but rather to make the scientific theme secure by working out these fore-structures in terms of the things themselves.” (Stambaugh, 2008, p. 195)
Even though Heidegger philosophical work has been very impactful on finding the solution of the question what is Being, it is difficult to remove his politics from this work. However, the value of his investigation on the meaning of Being cannot go unrecognized. He has intellectually and fruitfully added value to the human life through is unfolding and huge contribution of thoughtful thinking in the field of philosophy.