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Heidegger's concept of temporality: reflections on a recent
criticism.
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Whatever else Heidegger had in mind when he outlined the project of Sein und Zeit, he makes it clear that the finished
portion of the project is supposed to be an "interpretation of Dasein in terms of temporality (Zeitlichkeit)."(1) Yet, despite
this clear expression of his intentions, there has been, at least until quite recently, a noticeable neglect of those chapters
in which Heidegger explicitly turns to temporality in the process of completing this interpretation.(2) Some of this neglect
in the United States can be traced to the influence of Hubert Dreyfus. In the preface to his commentary on Division One of
Sein und Zeit, based on lecture notes that had been circulating for some twenty years, Dreyfus excuses this neglect of
the discussion of temporality by claiming, in the first place, that "his [Heidegger's] account [of the chapters on originary
temporality] leads him so far from the phenomenon of everyday temporality that I did not feel I could give a satisfactory
interpretation of the material" and that, in the second place, Division Two seemed to Dreyfus "to have some errors so
serious as to block any consistent reading."(3)
Another possible source of this neglect in the United States is the work of Mark Okrent.(4) In Heidegger's
Pragmatism Okrent does, indeed, take seriously the importance of the account of temporality for the project of Sein und
Zeit, as originally conceived by Heidegger. However, like Dreyfus, Okrent is so taken by the pragmatic character of the
analyses in Division I that he ignores Heidegger's analysis of authentic existence and thereby any bearing that this
analysis might have on the account of temporality; in addition, he eschews Heidegger's extensive talk of "'ecstases' of
temporality and their 'horizonal schemata'" as inappropriate, picture-thinking holdovers from Husserl.(5) Perhaps even
more significant for contemporary assessments of Heidegger's account of temporality as the meaning of 'to be' is Okrent's
contention that the account is basically aporetic. Okrent fails to find in Sein und Zeit "the conceptual resources" for
distinguishing between "'presence' in the sense of presentability and presence as the ground of presentability." As a
result, he concludes, Heidegger's argument is transcendental and thus verificationist, implying a kind of
metaphysical pragmatism, ultimately distasteful to Heidegger and a prime source of the Kehre.(6)
Neglecting and discrediting Heidegger's analysis of temporality is not, however, a singularly American phenomenon. In
Germany, too, there has been a paucity of studies devoted to unpacking what Heidegger understands by temporality in
the context of the project of Sein und Zeit.(7) When German scholars do take up Heidegger's account of temporality, they
also typically find aporiai and, in those aporiai, ample reason for Heidegger's decision not to proceed with the rest of the
planned Sein und Zeit.(8) Perhaps the most extensive critique of the account of temporality in Sein und Zeit is to be found
in a recent study by Margot Fleischer.(9) Fleischer's work is of interest because she disputes both the necessity and the
soundness of that account. Her criticisms deserve a hearing, especially since problems and issues she raises coincide
with those underlying the critical stance taken toward Heidegger's account of temporality in American, pragmatic
interpretations of Sein und Zeit as well as a recent attempt to counter a pragmatic reading.(10) In the following reflections
the trenchancy of Fleischer's two central criticisms of the analysis of temporality within Sein und Zeit are reviewed and
challenged.
I
Fleischer presents her compact study in two parts. In the initial and, by her own estimation, more fundamental part she
presents two basic criticisms: she questions the alleged necessity of the discussion of temporality in view of Heidegger's
claims for having provided an analysis of Dasein in its entirety at various junctures in Sein und Zeit and she charges that
Heidegger conflates his accounts of original and authentic temporality and, in the process, fails to give the requisite
account of original temporality.
1. The superfluousness of the turn to temporality. The first issue raised by Fleischer is Heidegger's repeated appeal to
considerations of the phenomenon of Dasein in its entirety (Ganzheit) as a rationale for introducing the successive
analyses of authentic existence and temporality. The appeal, she submits, is forced and unwarranted by the task at hand,
namely, a consideration of what it means, in the case of Dasein, to be. Fleischer singles out this sort of appeal and thus
directs her critique at three junctures in Sein und Zeit. At the most general level, in view of Heidegger's articulation of the
fundamental and unitary structure of care constituting Dasein as a whole,(11) Fleischer questions the need "for the
exhibition of a still more original phenomenon [namely, temporality] that ontologically bears the unity and the totality of the
manifold of the structure of care."(12) If the structure of care does, indeed, constitute what it means for Dasein in its
entirety to be, then there is no phenomenological reason for a (transcendental) analysis of temporality, that is to say, no
consideration of temporality that an understanding of the phenomenon at hand as a whole demands - or so Fleischer
seems to be suggesting.(13) The parallel and perhaps even the complementarity between this criticism and those voiced
by Dreyfus and Okrent from the standpoint of a pragmatic interpretation of Sein und Zeit are patent.
At a more particular level Heidegger also appeals to the need to consider the phenomenon of Dasein in its totality in order
to explain the crucial transition to an examination of authentic existence. But in this regard, Fleischer argues, the
artificiality of the appeal becomes even more evident. After affirming that "care is the totality of the whole of the structure
of Dasein's constitution," Heidegger notes that the very point of departure for the initial analysis, namely, everydayness
(the being between birth and death) is in a certain sense at odds with a consideration of Dasein as a whole; at the same
time, however, he notes that Dasein "essentially sets itself against a possible comprehension of itself as a whole entity."
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Author: Dahlstrom, Daniel O.
Publication: The Review of Metaphysics
Date: Sep 1, 1995
Words: 8268
Previous Article: The influence of Kant's
anthropology on his moral theory.
Next Article: The Handbook of Platonism.
Topics: German philosophy
Criticism and interpretation
Philosophy, German
Criticism and interpretation
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time, however, he notes that Dasein "essentially sets itself against a possible comprehension of itself as a whole entity."
(14) Fleischer regards these remarks as confirmation that the perspective guiding the discussion of authentic existence is
"completely out of place within the context of Sein und Zeit" and that the problem of totality, at least in the sense in which
it is initially put forth (notably as "Daseinsganzheit" or Dasein "als ganzes Seiendes" rather than as "Ganzseinkonnen") is
in fact, for Heidegger himself, not a genuine problem.(15)
Finally, if the cogency of the consideration of authentic existence be granted, there is a fur her problematic appeal to the
need for a consideration of Dasein in its totality. In the light of analyses of death and conscience, the meaning of 'being
whole,' proper to Dasein, that is to say, Dasein in its entirety (das eigentliche Ganzsein des Daseins) is elaborated and,
with this elaboration in hand, Heidegger explicates how the resoluteness (Entschlossenheit) on Dasein's part that
anticipates its death constitutes Dasein's existentially authentic potential to be whole. Yet, at the same time, Heidegger
asserts that the original phenomenon of temporality is to be secured by proving "that all the hitherto elaborated
fundamental structures of Dasein, with respect to their totality, unity, and development, are to be conceived at bottom
'temporally' and as modes of the temporalization of temporality."(16) Or, as Heidegger also puts it, "temporality . . .
originally constitutes the totality of the structure of care."(17)
The latter claims only make sense, Fleischer suggests, on the assumption of the distinction between inauthentic and
authentic care. In other words, temporality is purportedly required in order to explain what it means for Dasein as a whole,
both inauthentic and authentic, to be. Accordingly, without the distinction between inauthentic and authentic care, the
argument of Sein und Zeit breaks down. Yet the distinction itself, like that between care and temporality, is, Fleischer
submits, based upon concerns external to a consideration of the phenomenon at hand, what it means for Dasein to be.
(18) Heidegger's very characterization of care as the totality of the structure of Dasein and his characterization of
anticipatory resoluteness as constitutive of the structure of authentic care as a whole, she argues, imply as much.
There seem to be two interrelated levels to the first criticism made by Fleischer at each of these three crucial junctures or
transitions in the argument of Sein und Zeit. On one level, she questions the need for the respective transitions, including
ultimately the transition to an ontological meta-level, given the completeness claimed for the determination of the
phenomenon in advance of the transition. At another, profounder level, her criticism amounts to a challenge to what,
purportedly, the analysis of temporality positively adds to the account(s) of Dasein already given.
2. The confusion of original and authentic temporality or, the missing dimension of original temporality. The second basic
criticism made by Fleischer is directed at the soundness and consistency of Heidegger's analysis of temporality as such.
She claims that the analysis is marred by a basic ambivalence, a conflation of the themes of original and authentic
temporality. On her interpretation, Heidegger understands original temporality, on the one hand, as something that can be
"carried out" or "accomplished" (vollzogen) on an existentiell plane authentically or inauthentically or, in other words, as
something that makes authentic and inauthentic temporality possible.(19) At the same time, however, according
to Fleischer, Heidegger conflates original with authentic temporality and thus fails to give an adequate account of the
original dimension of temporality.
Fleischer sees the conflation exemplified in the account of the authentic future in paragraph 7 of Section 65. The
authentic future is, she claims, distinguished from and grounded in the original future by Heidegger when he observes
that "anticipating makes Dasein authentically futural, to be sure, such that the anticipating itself is only possible insofar as
Dasein as an entity in general is already always coming to itself, that is to say, is futural in its being in general."(20)
However, in her view Heidegger proceeds directly to undermine the distinction by claiming that holding out the possibility
of letting oneself come to oneself, in effect, Dasein's authentic future, is "the original phenomenon of the future."(21) The
same sort of ambivalence, Fleischer adds, besets the account of the authentic and original past.(22)
If the original dimensions of the future and the past are occluded by being conflated with the authentic future and past in
Heidegger's account, the original dimension of the present fares even worse, according to Fleischer. Heidegger speaks
only of the authentic present or, more precisely, the authentic presenting/encountering (Gegenwartigen), springing from
the authentic future and past.(23) Indeed, Fleischer contends, an original present cannot be distinguished from the
authentic present on Heidegger's account. Moreover, she finds some indication that Heidegger himself was aware of this
difficulty when he observes that "making present" - or presencing, as Gegenwartigen is sometimes translated - "in the
manner of the original temporality remains enveloped (eingeschlossen) in future and past."(24)
From this last remark Fleischer draws implications that seal her general criticism. If "making present" is, indeed,
"enveloped" in the future and the past, it can scarcely be an ecstasis (that is to say, something that consists in "standing
out" from the future and the past). However, if making present is not itself an ecstasis, then temporality cannot be, as
Heidegger understands it, a unitary phenomenon of three ecstases and, hence, "there is no original temporality."(25) The
implications of this failure to articulate the original dimension of temporality are, Fleischer concludes, dire for Heidegger's
project.
The analysis of temporality cannot accomplish what Heidegger apparently took upon himself to accomplish with it -
precisely, as mentioned, to enter on an ontological meta-level, that is to say, to pass beyond care as the being of Dasein
to an underlying being and, hence, to grasp in temporality a happening of being (Seinsgeschehen) that was to be set off
against the ways of being (Seinsvollzuge) of the 'everyday' and the authentic care as the grounding is set off from the
grounded.(26)
This critical conclusion, it bears noting, is not unrelated to Fleischer's initial criticism. If, for the purpose of unpacking what
it means for Dasein as a whole to be, there is no intrinsic need to move beyond the account of care to an analysis of
temporality, then it is perhaps not surprising that, in the latter analysis, a supposedly original dimension of temporality is
indistinguishable from or at least not distinguished from a derivative dimension of temporality that is equivalent to a
dimension of care (namely, authentic care). In other words, the analysis of temporality is unsound, that is to say, internally
incoherent since the purportedly original dimension (as Fleischer puts it, das Fundierende) is confounded with a
subordinate dimension (authentic temporality, das Fundierte). However, this confounding is to be expected, from
Fleischer's point of view, since care has already been shown to constitute what it means for Dasein to be in its entirety.
II
Fleischer's two central criticisms can be summarized as follows. In the first place, she argues, there is no need for the
transcendental or ontological turn to temporality if, as Heidegger himself maintains, the phenomenon of care constitutes
the unified structure of Dasein in its entirety, in other words, what it means for Dasein as a whole to be. In the second
place, she charges that Heidegger fails to elaborate the original dimension of temporality, demanded by such a
transcendental or ontological turn, because he systematically confiates original and authentic temporality.
1. The existential necessity of the turn to temporality. Though the result of the analysis in Division 1 of Sein und Zeit is
that care is the structure of Dasein in its entirety, the focus of the analysis, namely, Dasein in its everydayness, is such
that the sense of being entire that is most proper to Dasein is not only not considered, but, indeed, potentially occluded by
the initial analysis. It is in this sense that Heidegger does, indeed, qualify his claim to completeness in his initial
elaboration of Dasein as care, pointing up the shortcoming of an analysis that takes its cues from the inauthentic
existence of everydayness. What is at issue here is central to the task of Sein und Zeit, namely, the possibility of securing
the distinctive sense of Dasein, irreducible to that of the ready- or present-at-hand (Zu- or Vorhanden-sein).(27) This
distinctive sense can only be adequately demonstrated by articulating how Dasein as a whole is at bottom (ursprunglich)
a being-possible or dunamis (Seinkonnen), how the possibility that is most inherently its own (eigentlich) and decisively
de-termines (de-fines) its being (indeed, as a whole) is its death, something that cannot be present-at-hand to it, and
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de-termines (de-fines) its being (indeed, as a whole) is its death, something that cannot be present-at-hand to it, and
finally, how Da-sein can only genuinely be in the complete and fundamental sense of what it means for it "to be" by
resolutely projecting itself towards this possibility.(28)
The problem accordingly is not, as Fleischer would have it, the lack of a sufficient reason for pressing the analysis further
once it has been explicated how care constitutes Dasein as a whole. The problem is whether care has been unpacked as
the defining feature of Dasein as a whole only in an inauthentic sense.(29) It is certainly possible to have said something
true about the whole of x and still raise the question of whether the meaning of 'the whole,' as supposed in that true
statement, is adequately or appropriately (authentically) understood.
There is, accordingly, nothing inconsistent in Heidegger's procedure of initially establishing that care is the structural
totality of Dasein, what it means, 'da zu sein as a whole', on the basis of an analysis of inauthentic existence even though
the latter effectively obscures the appropriate sense of that totality. The procedure is not only not inconsistent but also
highly effective. Heidegger's strategy is not unlike that of a critic canvassing traditional viewpoints towards something and
showing that the truth expressed in the respective interpretations can be summed up in some central, unifying
phenomenon, already alluded to within those interpretations, on the way to demonstrating the most appropriate
understanding of that phenomenon.(30)
These considerations provide an answer to one level of Fleischer's initial criticism, namely, her objection to Heidegger's
appeal to considerations of Dasein in its totality in order to make the general transition from the theme of care to that of
temporality and the more particular transitions from the theme of care in general to that of authentic existence (care) and
from the latter to the theme of temporality. These considerations do not, however, constitute a rebuttal of the most serious
level of her objection. By the latter I mean her contention that the account of temporality is based upon external
considerations (a concern for establishing a transcendental or ontological meta-level) with the implication that the account
of temporality does not add anything positive to the results of the preceding analyses, namely, the determination of care
as the meaning of 'Dasein' or even the determination of authentic care (a death-anticipating resoluteness) as the sense of
authentic Dasein.
An adequate response to this objection cannot be given in the space of this discussion paper since it requires, at the very
least, an elaboration of the meaning or meanings of 'Sinn' in Sein und Zeit and the way in which temporality constitutes
the sense, so understood, of care (which is itself the sense of Dasein in its entirety, both authentic and inauthentic).(31)
What is presented in the following paragraphs is accordingly at best the sketch of an appropriate response to this
objection.
It bears iterating, at this point, what Heidegger means in his claim that care sums up what 'to be' means in the case of
Dasein as a whole: 'care' here signifies a way of being ahead of oneself, already in a world, encountering entities within
one's surroundings.(32) Temporality in some sense is clearly presupposed by this formal characterization of care in
general ("vorweg," "schon") as well as by the accounts of both authentic and inauthentic care. Whether a prey to the
fallen das Man or a death-anticipating resoluteness, the unity of thrownness, projecting, and falling is only understandable
by appeal to some sense of time. Yet the fact that those various, preliminary accounts of what 'to be' means in the case of
Dasein are more or less understood (for example, in an initial reading of the first part of Sein und Zeit, prior to a reading of
the analysis of temporality) by no means secures or establishes that they are understood in the most appropriate manner,
that is to say, with an adequate understanding of time. Indeed, precisely because those accounts rely on temporal
significations, it is incumbent on anyone trying to articulate the import of those accounts to press on to the analysis of the
meaning of 'temporality' informing them.
These considerations as to why an inquiry into the sense of Dasein requires an analysis of temporality are trenchant, but
they can also mislead to the extent that they suggest that the meaning of 'temporality' is determinable independently of
the analysis of what it means da zu sein. "The sense of being of Dasein," Heidegger states quite plainly, "is not some
free-floating other and 'outside' of its very self, but rather that very Dasein understanding itself."(33) In other words, if
temporality is the ontological sense of care (as what it means, in the case of Dasein, 'to be'), then that sense must be
demonstrable, as it were, from the inside, on the basis of a consideration of Dasein's own distinctive way of being.
Heidegger's own understanding of 'sense', moreover, insures the immanence of his investigation and thus -
contra Fleischer - the intrinsic relevance of the consideration of temporality to the existential analysis of Dasein. Sense
(Sinn) is for Heidegger not primarily a property of a word or expression, but rather what sustains a level of
understandability, without necessarily becoming explicit; it is the "horizon" against or upon which - or even the "target"
towards which (woraufhin) - a possibility is projected, rendering the projection of that possibility possible and, hence,
understandable. At the same time, the horizon itself - precisely as a horizon - is not something detachable from the
projection but rather comes to be only with the projection. In other words, the horizon is not a space that might remain
whether occupied or not. Hence, for Heidegger, in order to uncover the sense of something it is necessary to identify and
follow up the projection of it. "To establish the sense of care means, then, to pursue the projection underlying the original
existential interpretation of Dasein and guiding it, so that in what has been projected that against which it has been
projected becomes apparent."(34)
This last sentence indicates Heidegger's procedure for arriving at the conclusion that temporality is the horizon for the
project of care and, in that sense, the meaning of 'care' (that in turn, inauthentically or authentically, constitutes what 'da
zu sein' means). For just as care is not simply a project, so temporality is not a horizon without the projecting of
something over against or towards it (woraufhin). Temporality as horizon is only disclosed in the course of cutting a profile
or "standing out" over against it. Temporality is the horizon for care, but not as a background or backdrop that is present-
at-hand, that is to say, present regardless of whether something "projects itself" upon it or not. Rather, temporality is the
sense of care precisely as that against which Dasein "stands out," as that towards which Dasein projects its possibilities
and towards which Dasein projects itself as a possibility. The phenomenon of Dasein projecting itself upon and thereby
"standing out against the horizon" in this manner underlies what Heidegger calls "ecstatic-horizontal temporality." It is
precisely as "this projection of itself upon the horizon" that temporality is implicit but nonetheless essential to the
determination of care or, in other words, what 'da zu sein' means. The terms "ahead" (vorweg), "already" (schon), and
"with" (bei) in the determination of care indicate interlocked ways of "projecting oneself or standing out over against the
horizon" (that is composed of them.)(35)
In order to illustrate this admittedly obscure and difficult point, it may be helpful to discuss the distinction and the relation
obtaining between an existentiell sense or project-and-horizon and an existential one. For example, when a mechanic
uses a wrench and, indeed, uses it as a wrench, talking, projecting, understanding it as such unthematically, he does so
with a view towards accomplishing a certain task or job and in view of a web of instrumental relations, a Werkwelt. That
task and context form the existentiell horizon of the project and thereby the sense of that activity (as well as the sense of
the wrench). However, at the same time, the use of the wrench is (albeit also unthematically) a looking-forward that keeps
in mind only what is relevant to the expected accomplishment, forgetting its own (eigentliches) being (Seins-[des
Daseins]-vergessenheit) and encountering things only in view of what is expected (in other words, allowing itself to
encounter things only as ready-to-hand). This expecting-forgetting encountering (gewartigend-vergessendes
Gegenwartigen) is the existential projection-and-horizon (more precisely, ecstasis-and-horizon) and, so understood, the
ontological significance of "Da-sein," even in its Seinsvergessenheit. With every existentiell projection-and-horizon, every
authentic or inauthentic existence (care), there is an existential ecstasis-and-horizon, a temporalizing that is the
ontological sense (yes, projection-and-horizon) of Da-sein.
Given this understanding of sense, Heidegger's investigation of temporality as the ontological sense of care is by no
means an inquiry into something that is irrelevant or external to the determination of what it means for Dasein in its
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entirety to be. What it means, da zu sein, is inexplicable without that ecstatic horizon, the temporalizing of temporality
(das Zeitigen der Zeitlichkeit). In other words, for the purposes of an existential analysis of Dasein, the turn to a
consideration of temporality as the ecstatic horizon of Dasein is imperative.
2. Original temporality and temporality in general. The central source of Fleischer's complaint about the "ambivalence" of
the account of temporality in Sein und Zeit is Heidegger's procedure in section 65 of elaborating how temporality figures
as the sense of Da-sein principally through a discussion of "original and authentic temporality" (ursprungliche und
eigentliche Zeitlichkeit). Indeed, in the course of introducing the theme of temporality but even before it is explicitly
mentioned, Heidegger refers to the "anticipating resoluteness" (vorlaufende Entschlossenheit) of authentic care as "the
original, existential projection of existence."(36) More significantly, in this context Heidegger never explicitly states that
original temporality is the condition of the possibility of authentic temporality; nor does he explicitly distinguish the
referent of "original temporality" from that of "authentic temporality." Instead, he repeatedly refers to "original and
authentic temporality" as though each qualifier designated the same thing, only from different vantage points.(37)
As noted above, in Fleischer's eyes the conflation of original and authentic temporality is clearly apparent in paragraph 7
of Section 65. There, after recounting how anticipatory resoluteness is only possible inasmuch as "Dasein in general can
come to itself in its ownmost possibility" and sustain the possibility of allowing itself to come to itself in this way as a
possibility, Heidegger designates the sustaining of this possibility as "the original phenomenon of the future."(38)
Fleischer interprets the next two paragraphs (eight and nine) as an indication that Heidegger construes original
temporality as the condition for the other dimensions of authentic temporality (and, equivalently, authentic existence or
care). In those paragraphs Hei-degger urges that the sense of coming back to itself in anticipatory resoluteness is
possible only insofar as "Dasein in general is as I have-been" and that the sense of allowing the ready-to-hand to be
encountered in the situation as disclosed in that anticipatory resoluteness is possible only "in encountering this entity [or,
alternatively, presencing it or making it present]."(39)
Still, in none of these passages does Heidegger explicitly refer to "original temporality" as the condition of the possibility
of authentic temporality. Rather, he speaks of the temporality of "Dasein in general." Moreover, in paragraph 10, when
Heidegger sums up the foregoing as the account of "the having-been-ness springing from the future, such that the . . .
future releases the present from itself," he refers to the latter, not as "original temporality," but simply as "temporality." In
the same context he does characterize temporality in a rather neutral way as the unified phenomenon of this future
"having been-presenting," but temporality, so characterized, is not identified with original temporality. If the
characterization needs to be labelled, it would seem to be an account of "the temporality of Dasein in general."(40)
In paragraph 16 of Section 65 Heidegger perhaps comes closest to saying what might be interpreted as an assertion that
original temporality - and not merely the temporality of Dasein in general - is the condition of the possibility of authentic
and inauthentic temporality.(41) He opens the paragraph with the observation that "temporality enables the unity of
existence, facticity, and falling and constitutes thus originally the totality of the structure of care." Just as the moments of
care are not simply pieced together by being heaped on top of one another, he warns, so temporality is not something put
together out of the future, past, and present. Rather, "temporality temporalizes and, to be sure, its possible ways. The
latter enable the manifold of the modes of being of Dasein, above all, the basic possibility of authentic and inauthentic
existence."(42) Yet even in this context Heidegger does not refer to temporality, insofar as it is to be construed as the
condition of the possibility of authentic temporality, explicitly as "original temporality."
The fact that Heidegger does not explicitly assert the nonequivalence of original temporality and authentic temporality
does not, by itself, rule out Fleischer's contention that he implicitly does so and that, when he does not, he meant to or
should have.(43) All the references to temporality as the condition of the possibility of authentic, existentiell care can be
read as references to an "original temporality," the transcendental condition of care, itself "modally indifferent" with
respect to matters of authenticity and inauthenticity.(44)
Nevertheless, the fact that Heidegger so explicitly and constantly links original and authentic temporality should give one
pause before endorsing Fleischer's interpretation.(45) Moreover, there are weighty reasons for rejecting this
interpretation. In the first place, Heidegger explicitly sets out to establish that inauthentic time is "not original and instead
is springing away (entspringend) from authentic temporality."(46) In other words, not only is inauthentic temporality in no
way original temporality, it also does not directly spring, strictly speaking, from original temporality, but rather from
authentic temporality (even though authentic temporality is in some way original temporality).(47) These claims represent
a substantial hurdle for any interpretation asserting that Heidegger implicitly considered or, on his own understanding of
original temporality, ought to have considered it something indifferently instantiable as authentic or inauthentic.
Nor, in the second place, given Heidegger's characterization and use of terms like "ursprunglich" and "Ursprung" in Sein
und Zeit, is it likely that he equated or meant to equate original temporality with what he characterizes as the temporality
of Dasein "in general."(48) Heidegger makes it clear that, as far as the question of ontological constitution is concerned,
"originality (Ursprunglichkeit) does not coincide with the simplicity and uniqueness of some ultimate element of
construction. The ontological origin of the 'to be' of Dasein is not 'less' than what springs from it, but rather it towers over it
from the outset in mightiness, and all 'springing forth' in the ontological field is degeneration."(49) If these remarks about
origins and originality can be transferred to the discussion of original temporality, then it becomes difficult to suppose that
the rather neutral manner in which Heidegger characterizes the temporality of "Dasein in general" (applicable to the more
richly formulated accounts of authentic and inauthentic temporality) is meant to apply to original temporality as such.
In the third place, and most importantly, Heidegger's linking of original and authentic temporality is justified by the fact that
Dasein is being/potential (Seinkonnen). What Dasein is originally, is a project, a potential to be, but not a potential to be in
general (whatever that could mean). Rather Dasein is as a potential to be in a certain way, namely, authentically (and for
this reason alone can it be inauthentically).(50) Original and authentic temporality is the ontological sense of care which
is, in turn, the structure of Da-sein. Heidegger's use of "eigentlich" and "ursprunglich" in the opening paragraph of Section
65 (which, in effect, prefigures his strategy with respect to temporality) reinforces this interpretation. After declaring that
Da-sein essentially comes to be in "authentic" existence, Heidegger notes that this mode of the authenticity of care
contains the "original" totality of Dasein.(51)
There are, moreover, ready analogues to the procedure of linking what something is originally (in the sense of original
being/potential, Seinkonnen) to what it means for it to be authentically. For example, if one wants to understand what it
means to be an artist, then it makes sense to look, not to someone who may become or develop into an artist, but to a
master, that is to say, to an accomplished or authentic artist (who will no doubt insist that his or her work is unfinished). Or
if one wants to understand what, in an original sense, it means to be a given plant or animal, it is probably advisable to
pay attention to the sort of development and maturation and demise, most normal, suitable, or appropriate to it within a
given environment. The inauthentic is a degenerate form or process of such an entity's authentic, that is to say, original
being/potential.
"Authentic temporality" stands for the ecstases-and-horizons without which there is no authentic existence or,
equivalently, no authentic care. According to Heidegger, it may be recalled, a human being exists authentically when it
genuinely cares about the potential most inherent in it, that is to say, when it resolutely anticipates its death, in effect,
projecting itself and its possibilities towards that defining potentiality, the realization of which is inevitable and the
eclipsing of all other possibilities. Insofar as it thus lets its death, as it were, come to it, it both retrieves or assumes this
ultimate potentiality with which it has been thrown into the world and discloses or makes present the actual situation in
which it finds itself. This resolute anticipation of death is existentiell, but it is also unthematically existential, namely, a
temporalizing (ecstatic-horizonal) that discloses the sense of Dasein originally and authentically (or, alternatively, from the
thematic standpoint of fundamental ontology, the original and authentic meaning of 'da sein': 'being here').(52)
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thematic standpoint of fundamental ontology, the original and authentic meaning of 'da sein': 'being here').(52)
Perhaps what misled Fleischer and others is the fact that Heidegger construes the anticipatory resoluteness as "the
existentiell, authentic potential to be entirely" (das existenziell eigentliche Ganzseinkonnen)(53) and that temporality, by
contrast, is construed as the "ontological," that is, existential sense of care, making possible "the existentiell being of
factual being-potential (das existenzielle Sein des faktischen Seinkonnens), authentic or inauthentic.(54) Given this
contrast between existential and existentiell levels, it may seem legitimate to assume that the original temporality is
existential, while authentic temporality and inauthentic temporality are existentiell. But the assumption is incorrect.
Authentic existence and inauthentic existence are, in addition to being existential, always existentiell,(55) but the
temporalizing of authentic temporality and that of inauthentic temporality are existential, that is to say, they are the
respective ecstatic horizons, implicit yet constitutive of what it means, authentically or inauthentically da zu sein.
1 Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (hereafter, "SZ") (Tubingen: Niemeyer, 1972), 39. This translation of Zeitlichkeit as
"temporality" departs from Kockelmans' suggestion of translating it as "temporalness" in order to employ "temporality" as
a translation of Temporalitat. See Joseph J. Kockelmans, "Heidegger's Fundamental Ontology and Kant's Transcendental
Doctrine of Method," in Kant and Phenomenology, ed. Thomas M. Seebohm and Joseph J. Kockelmans (Washington,
D.C.: University Press of America, 1984), 169. "Temporalitat" is Heidegger's term for "Zeitlichkeit" insofar as the latter is
considered as the condition of the possibility, not merely of "da zu sein," but of "the understanding of being and ontology
as such." See Martin Heidegger, Grundprobleme der Phanomenologie, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (Frankfurt
am Main: Klostermann, 1975), 324. However, since in SZ the term Temporalitat surfaces only in the introduction (eleven
times) while Heidegger's overriding preoccupation is with Zeitlichkeit, it seems appropriate to use the more common
English term "temporality" for the latter.
2 For exceptions to this trend, in addition to the already cited piece by Kockelmans, see John Sallis, "Time Out," in
Echoes: After Heidegger (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 44-75 and William Blattner, "Existential
Temporality in Being and Time (Why Heidegger is not a Pragmatist)," in Heidegger: A Critical Reader, ed. Hubert Dreyfus
and Harrison Hall (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1992), 99-129. For overviews of the relation between Husserl's and
Heidegger's views on time, see Rudolf Bernet, "Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Zeit bei Husserl und Heidegger,"
Heidegger Studies 3/4 (1987-88): 89-104; Robert J. Dostal, "Time and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger" in The
Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, ed. Charles B. Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993): 141-69;
also noteworthy are Piotr Hoffman, "Death, Time, History: Division II of Being and Time" in Heidegger: A Critical Reader,
195-214 and David Farrell Krell, "The Raptures of Ontology and the Finitude of Time," in Intimations of Time and Being:
Time, Truth, and Finitude in Heidegger's Thinking of Being (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1986),
47-63.
3 Hubert Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I (Cambridge: MIT Press,
1991), viii. For reasons discussed below, it is noteworthy that Dreyfus in this connection objects not only to the account of
temporality, but to the entire Division II in which Heidegger gives what he considers the requisite interpretation of
authentic existence. Dreyfus finds corroboration for his assessment of Division II in the fact that Heidegger had originally
submitted only Division I for publication; because the Ministry of Education considered this insufficient, Heidegger is said
to have "agreed, in exchange for tenure, to publish a hastily finished version of Division II"; ibid.
4 Mark Okrent, Heidegger's Pragmatism: Understanding, Being, and the Critique of Metaphysics (Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 1988). Okrent's interpretation has been praised by Rorty. "In Part I of his Heidegger's Pragmatism, Mark
Okrent has shown, very carefully and lucidly, how to read Being and Time as a pragmatist treatise"; Richard Rorty,
Essays on Heidegger and Others (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 32. See, however, ibid., 33 and 38-9
n. 22 for Rorty's own conception of how to read Division II of Sein und Zeit and his criticism of Okrent's view that "all
pragmatism either must be based on a transcendental semantics or be self-contradictory."
5 Okrent, Heidegger's Pragmatism, 212 n. 67; Okrent does not spell out exactly what he has in mind here. By this point in
Sein und Zeit, it seems highly unfair to interpret such expressions as indications of some sort of Cartesian mentalism or
representationalism on Heidegger's part. Perhaps he is alluding to the curiosity - to put it mildly - that the final account of
time relies on such visual and/or spatial metaphors and expressions as "horizon" and "outside itself" (Ausser sich). For
pertinent remarks in this regard, see Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B50 and Sallis, Echoes, 60-1, 63.
6 "What it is to be is specified by our understanding of what it is to be only if what it is to be is nothing other than the
conditions under which we would be warranted in thinking or asserting that some thing is, because our intention that it is
would be fulfilled. If there is no such intention, and thus no such conditions (for example, because there does not happen
to be any Dasein), then there 'is' no being"; Okrent, Heidegger's Pragmatism, 217.
7 Among the few exceptions to this trend are the following: Klans Dusing, "Objektive und subjektive Zeit. Untersuchungen
zu Kants Zeittheorie und zu ihrer modernen kritischen Rezeption," Kant-Studien 71 (1980): 1-34; Marion Heinz,
Zeitlichkeit und Temporalitat. Die Konstitution der Existenz und die Grundlegung einer temporalen Ontologie im Fruhwerk
Martin Heideggers (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1982); Otto Poggeler, "Heidegger und das Problem der Zeit," in L'Heritage de
Kant. Melanges Philosophiques offerts au P. Marcel Regnier (Paris: Beauchesne, 1982), 287-307; Rainer Thurnhers,
"Heideggers 'Sein und Zeit' als philosophisches Programm," Allgemeine Zeitschrift fur Philosophie 11 (1986): 29-51; and,
more recently, Dietmar Kohler, Martin Heidegger: Die Schematisierung des Seinssinnes als Thematik des dritten
Abschnitts von 'Sein und Zeit' (Bonn: Bouvier, 1993). Cf. also Francoise Dastur, Heidegger et la question du temps
(Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1990).
8 "Mit einigem Recht lasst sich Heideggers Verzicht auf die Veroffentlichung des dritten Abschnittes von Sein und Zeit als
ein Scheitern seiner fruhen Zeitphilosophie interpretieren"; Gunter Figal, Martin Heidegger. Phanomenologie der Freiheit
(Frankfurt am Main: Hain, 1991), 273.
9 Margot Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen in Heideggers 'Sein und Zeit': Aporien, Probleme und ein Ausblick (Wurzburg:
Konigshausen and Neumann, 1991).
10 See Blattner "Existential Temporality in Being and Time."
11 "Die formal existenziale Ganzheit des ontologischen Strukturganzen des Daseins muss daher in folgender Struktur
gefasst werden: Das Sein des Daseins besagt: Sich-vorweg-schon-sein-in-(der-Welt-) als Sein-bei (inner-weltlich
begegnendem Seienden). Dieses Sein erfullt die Bedeutung des Titels Sorge, . . ."; SZ, 192.
12 Ibid., 196.
13 "Wird Zeitlichkeit dem Dasein nicht als sein Sein zugrunde gelegt, dann entsteht nach meiner Auffassung, wie
ausgefuhrt, far die Ganzheit der Sorge kein Schaden"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 39.
14 SZ, 233.
15 "Man sieht: Heidegger fuhrt die neue Fragestellung aus einer Perspektive ein, deren vollige Unangemessenheit im
Kontext von SZ zutage liegt, so dass das aufgeworfene Ganzheitsproblem auch fur Heidegger selbst der Echtheit eines
Sachproblems ermangelt"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 14. The expressions "in its entirety," "as a whole," and "in its
totality" are used in this paper to translate "als Ganzes" and its variants.
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16 SZ, 304 (emphasis added).
17 SZ, 328 (emphasis added).
18 "Heideggers Ansatz, mit der Zeitigung der Zeitlichkeit ein Seinsgeschehen des Daseins aufzuweisen, das von den
formal-existenzial fassbaren Seinsvollzugen der 'alltaglichen' und eigentlichen Sorge ontologisch unterscheidbar ist wie
das Fundierende vom Fundierten, ist mehr und etwas anderes als 'nur' das Unternehmen, die in den herausgearbeiteten
existenzia-len Strukturen implizierten und unausdrucklich langst mitthematischen Zeit-strukturen zu ausdrucklichem
Verstandnis zu bringen (wonach die 'Sache' entschieden verlangt)"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 17.
19 As discussed below, this apparent quandry also lies at the heart of Blattner's interpretation.
20 SZ, 325.
21 Ibid.
22 Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 20-1. AS evidence of the conflation of original with authentic temporality, Fleischer singles
out the same passages that, in Blattner's view, are mistakenly interpreted as indicating that original time is to be
exclusively associated with authentic time; see Blattner, "Existential Temporality," 101.
23 SZ, 326.
24 SZ, 328.
25 "Eingeschlossen in Zukunft und Gewesenheit, ist das Gegenwartigen wohl kaum eine gezeitigte Ekstase. Wenn aber
Zeitlichkeit das 'einheitliche Phanomen' dreier Ekstasen ist, bedeutet das nichts Geringeres als: Es gibt die ursprungliche
Zeitlichkeit nicht"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 25.
26 "Die Analyse der Zeitlichkeit kann das nicht leisten, was Heidegger sich mit ihr offensichtlich vorgenommen hat - eben,
wie erwahnt, eine ontologische Meta-ebene, d.h. die Sorge als Sein des Daseins auf ein zugrundeliegendes Sein hin zu
uberschreiten und also in der Zeitlichkeit ein Seinsgeschehen zu fassen, das gegen die Seinsvollzuge der 'alltaglichen'
und der eigentlichen Sorge wie das Fundierende vom Fundierten abzugrenzen ware"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 25. In
addition to the weighty challenge of these first two criticisms, Fleischer mentions a further, fundamental problem
associated with what she regards as Heidegger's failure to elaborate the original dimension of temporality. Without such
an elaboration, there is no basis for the "degeneration" thesis, on which Heidegger constructs the argument of SZ.
According to that thesis (alles 'Entspringen' im ontologischen Felde ist Degeneration), inauthentic temporality, that is to
say, the temporality of inauthentic understanding, feelings, and concerns together with the ordinary concept of time, is to
be construed as "degenerating" from the original and authentic temporality. However, the present is in fact said by
Heidegger to spring, not from an authentic present, but from "its authentic future and past, in order to permit Dasein to
come to authentic existence first on the detour over it [the present]"; SZ, 348. According to Fleischer, this observation
confirms the distinction between original and authentic temporality (on which she has been insisting). But it also, in effect,
ascribes "falling" as an ecstasis to original temporality and this ascription stands in the way of any attempt to conceive
authentic temporality as the existenziell execution (Vollzug) of original temporality; see Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 29. In
this same connection, Fleischer adds, the fact that worldly time (Weltzeit) is characterized only in terms of the presenting
that is fallen and inauthentic presents a dilemma inasmuch as authentic Dasein is, no less than inauthentic Dasein, in
need of worldly time; see ibid., 31-2.
27 "Wurde nicht in lediglich formaler Argumentation auf die Unmoglichkeit einer Erfassung des ganzen Daseins
geschlossen? Oder wurde gar im Grunde das Dasein nicht unversehens als ein Vorhandenes angesetzt, dem sich
standig ein Noch-nicht-vorhandenes vorwegschiebt?"; SZ, 236-7. In what follows the term 'sense' will be used in the way
that Heidegger employs 'Sinn', while 'meaning' is used for the sense of a word or expression; on this convention, 'the
sense of Dasein' is not convertible with 'the meaning of "Dasein"'.
28 SZ, 310-11. The focus, it bears noting, changes not only in the sense that the notions of Ganzsein, Ganzheit,
Ganzseinkonnen are given a more exact meaning through the account of Dasein as Sein zum Tod, but also in the sense
that the inquiry can no longer be understood as purely theoretical and ontological-methodical; cf. SZ, 309.
29 "Deun nur dann, wenn dieses Seiende in seiner Eigentlichkeit und Ganzheit phanomenal zuganglich geworden ist,
kommt die Frage nach dem Sinn des Seins dieses Seienden, zu dessert Existenz Seinsverstandnis uberhaupt gehort, auf
einen probehaltigen Boden"; SZ, 301.
30 For a good example of this strategy, see A. C. Bradley's interpretation of Hamlet where, after reviewing the traditional
takes on the play, including that of Schlegel and Coleridge ("the most widely received view"), he notes that the latter is
"on the whole and so far as it goes, a true description"; but he then adds that "it fails not merely in this or that detail, but
as a whole. We feel that its Hamlet does not fully answer to our imaginative impression"; see A. C. Bradley,
Shakespearean Tragedy (New York: Fawcett, 1967), 92-3. For the sense in which Heidegger's strategy amounts to an
extension of the Husserlian method of reduction, see Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Das logische Vorurteil: Untersuchungen zur
Wahrheitstheorie des fruhen Heidegger (Wien: Passagen, 1994), 97.
31 "Drei Bedeutungen von 'Sinn' lassen sich also in Heideggers Auffassung desselben unterscheiden: der ursprungliche
oder existenzial-hermeneutische Sinn, der existenziell-hermeneutische Sinn und der apophantische Sinn"; Dahlstrom,
Das logische Vorurteil, 277.
32 "Die Seinsganzheit des Daseins als Sorge besagt: Sich-vorweg-schonsein-in (einer Welt) als Sein-bei (innerweltlich
begegnendem Seienden)"; SZ, 327.
33 SZ, 325.
34 Sallis raises two issues, pertinent to the present discussion. He questions whether this account of sense, in which
"upon-which" of the projection (understanding) is confiated with that which makes possible what is projected, is "perhaps
too closely linked to the analysis of equipment," ruminations which lead to a further question, which moves very close to
Fleischer's concerns: "Does this conflation not, in turn, expose the analysis to the danger of drifting, more than Heidegger
would ever have authorized, in the direction of a transcendental analysis?" See Sallis, Echoes, 56.
35 The horizon for the respective ecstasis, that is to say, the horizon over against which the "looking forward," the
"retaining or forgetting," and the "encountering" stand out is constituted by the other ecstases.
36 SZ, 325.
37 Blattner argues, to the contrary, that "Heidegger clearly indicates that originary temporality is not authentic," that
"authentic temporality is merely one mode of originary temporality"; Cf. Blattner, "Existential Temporality," 100-101.
38 SZ, 325.
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39 SZ, 326. This reading of these passages also forms the backbone of Blattner's interpretation: "But what s. 65 says
about authentic temporality is that it is only possible because Dasein is temporal in a more fundamental way"; Blattner,
"Existential Temporality," 101. In what follows I suggest, to the contrary, that for Heidegger there is no more fundamental
way for Dasein to be temporal.
40 In another context I referred to the notion of temporality in general, in contrast to that of original temporality, as a
"placeholder concept" (Platzhalter-Begriff); see Dahlstrom, Das logische Vorurteil, 232-6.
41 Another passage that may be construed as supporting the Fleischer/Blattner interpretation is the transition from
paragraph 11 to paragraph 12. After noting that a concrete development of the "original phenomenon" of temporality is
required (in order to show "the origin of inauthentic temporality in original and authentic temporality"!), Heidegger speaks
of resoluteness as "a modality of temporality"; see SZ, 327.
42 SZ, 328.
43 The sense of 'equivalence' intended here in the expression 'nonequivalence' is not identity, but valid biconditionality.
The thesis defended in this paper is that Heidegger asserts, with good reason, that there is original temporality if and only
if (and to the extent that) temporality can be authentic.
44 While Blattner, much like Fleischer, argues that "originary temporality is indeed indifferent between authenticity and
inauthenticity," he contends that Heidegger, nonetheless, had good reasons for postponing the discussion of originary
temporality until he had discussed the themes of guilt and death. Like originary temporality, guilt and death are "modally
indifferent features," Blattner argues, the response to which can be authentic or inauthentic. At the same time, however,
guilt and death are features of Dasein that cannot be assimilated to a "sequential temporality" and, accordingly, are "the
source of Heidegger's argument for the necessity of a non-sequential manifold of originary temporality." Thus, while
Fleischer argues that the notion of original temporality is ultimately not sustained on its own terms or, at least, conflated
with that of authentic temporality in Heidegger's analysis, Blattner contends that the two notions are properly
distinguished. Yet, despite this significant difference, both scholars insist on a thesis contested in this paper, namely, the
nonequivalence of original temporality and authentic temporality; see Blattner, "Existential Temporality," 100-101, 112.
45 In Section 65 the expression "ursprunglich und eigentlich" (in modification of "Zeitlichkeit," "Zukunft," "Auf-sich-
zukommen") surfaces eight times, while Heidegger refers to temporality, the future, time, and the phenomenon of time
merely as "ursprunglich" nine times; yet "ursprunglich" and "uneigentlich" are never used together to modify anything.
46 SZ, 329.
47 See note 41 above.
48 See Heidegger's opening remarks about "Ursprung" in "Ursprung des Kunstwerkes," in Holzwege (Frankfurt am Main:
Klostermann, 1972), 7.
49 SZ, 334.
50 Or, to put it in another, cognate way that exploits the family of meanings of the terms 'eigen', 'eigenste', and 'eigentlich'
(usually translated 'own', 'ownmost', 'authentic'), Dasein is the potential to be itself, that is to say, to be in the sort of way
that is most proper to it or most properly its own.
51 Cf.: "Das Dasein wird >>wesentlich<< in der eigentlichen Existenz, die sich als vorlaufende Entschlossenheit
konstituiert. Dieser Modus der Eigentlichkeit der Sorge enthalt die ursprungliche Selbst-standigkeit und Ganzheit des
Daseins"; SZ, 323.
52 "Being here" comes closer to the Alemmanic use of "ich bin da" in contrast to 'being there,' the regular use of the
expression.
53 SZ, 305, 309.
54 SZ, 325.
55 "Die Frage nach dem Ganzseinkonnen ist eine faktisch-existenzielle"; SZ, 309.
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