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I. Martin Heidegger, his beings and times

Le culte de la perfection porte toujours à préférer la mystification à l'authenticité.

Paul Ariès

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

1. Starting from Athens and Jerusalem

2. On Temporalizing Being and temporalizing being
3. On the Way to One-ing
4. Times : Temporalität, Zeitlichkeit
5. Sein und Zeit, Being and Time: the Book
6. Dasein and Zeitlichkeit: Everyday time
7. Appendix 1: Some Origins
8. Appendix 2: Heidegger and the Nazis

1. Starting from Athens and Jerusalem

1.1 The Greek god or personification Chronos (Time) was said to be one of the
Protogonoi, "the first born immortals whose forms made up the very fabric of the
universe". According to Hesiod in his Theogony, the first of the Protogonoi was
Chaos . The word Chaos is related to a Greek verb meaning "to be wide open", "to
gape". It is often translated as The Void or Nothingness or Nothing. but sometimes
as Infinite Space. Chaos gave birth to Gaia (World, Earth), Tartaros
(Underworld, Hell) and Eros (Love). Gaia bore Ouranos (Sky, Heaven). Gaia lay
with Ouranos, her son. One of their children was Chronos (Time), said to have
been a wily god who hated his father Ouranos. At the bidding of his mother Gaia,
Chronos undertook to ambush and castrate his father Ouranos while Ouranos was
mating with Gaia. Thus we have Earth giving birth to Sky, a geocentric hypothesis,
and Sky giving birth to Time, thus relating Time to the movement of celestial objects
relative to the earth. Question: Why did Time hate Sky (Heaven)?

1.2. In the anonymous Orphic Rhapsodies, it is said that Chronos (Time) begot
Aither (Light) and Chaos (Space, Nothingness), and then Chronos made out of
Chaos a bright white egg from which the god (or form) Phanes (Generation) was
born (or hatched). Propagating life was born. Thus Time begets Chaos, rather than
the other way around.
1.3. In the book of Genesis, it is said that "In the beginning, God created the heaven
[Ouranos?] and the Earth [Gaia?]. And the earth was without form [no
Protogonoi?], and void and darkness [Chaos?] was upon the face of the deep. And
the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light
and there was light." In Hesiod's Theogony, there were the gods Erebos (Darkness)
and Nyx (Night), children of Chaos. Erebos and Nyx mated, and produced Aither
(Light) and Hemmerai (Day). In the Genesis account, Time is left implicit. There
God divides the light from the darkness, and calls the light Day and the darkness
Night, "and the evening and the morning were the first day".

1.4. This slight excursion into sources of Western culture is meant to set a mood for a
look into Martin Heidegger's work and life. In Heidegger's Sein und Zeit (1927,
translated as Being and Time, 1962 and 1996), he argues on behalf of a temporal
interpretation of Sein (Being). Heidegger contrasts his standpoint with traditional
Western views in which Sein or Being or the One is taken to be Timeless. The One
was said to transcend Time and Change, and with the Many which Come-to-be and
Pass-away, which are generated and corrupted. Sometimes Being is described as
eternal.. In English, the word "eternal" is ambiguous. Sometimes it refers to Never-
ending Time, a Time without end and perhaps without beginning, but sometimes it
refers to transcendence of time.

1.5. Here is a sample of thinking about Being from Aristotle's Physics :

Aristotle. Physics. i. 4; 187 a 12: For some who hold that the real, the underlying
substance, is a unity, either one of the three [elements] or something else that is
denser than fire and more rarefied than air, teach that other things are generated by
condensation and rarefaction... 20. And others believe that existing opposites are
separated from the unity, as Anaximander says, and those also who say that unity and
multiplicity exist, as Empedocles and Anaxagoras; for these separate other things
from the mixture.

Physics. iii. 4; 203 b 7: There is no beginning of the infinite, for in that case it would
have an end. But it is without beginning and indestructible, as being a sort of first
principle; for it is necessary that whatever comes into existence should have an end,
and there is a conclusion of all destruction. Wherefore as we say, there is no first
principle of this [i.e. the infinite], but it itself seems to be the first principle of all
other things and to surround all and to direct all, as they say who think that there are
no other causes besides the infinite (such as mind, or friendship), but that it itself is
divine ; for it is immortal and indestructible, as Anaximander and most of the
physicists say.

Simplicius, commenting on Phys. 32 r; 150, 20: There is another method, according

to which they do not attribute change to matter itself, nor do they suppose that
generation takes place by a transformation of the underlying substance, but by
separation; for the opposites existing in the substance which is infinite matter are
separated, according to Anaximander, who was the earliest thinker to call the
underlying substance the first principle. And the opposites are heat and cold, dry and
moist, and the rest."

1.6. Such concepts of Being were subsequently interpreted by Jewish, Christian and
Islamic thinkers, and incorporated in various ways into their religions. The
following, for example, is taken from an article on Aristotle in the Catholic
Encyclopedia on the Internet at .

To prove that there is a Supreme Cause is one of the tasks of metaphysics the
Theologic Science. And this Aristotle undertakes to do in several portions of his work
on First Philosophy. In the "Physics" he adopts and improves on Socrates's
teleological argument, the major premise of which is, "Whatever exists for a useful
purpose must be the work of an intelligence". In the same treatise, he argues that,
although motion is eternal, there cannot be an infinite series of movers and of things
moved, that, therefore, there must be one, the first in the series, which is unmoved, to
proton kinoun akineton--primum movens immobile. In the "Metaphysics" he takes the
stand that the actual is of its nature antecedent to the potential, that consequently,
before all matter, and all composition of matter and form, of potentiality and actuality,
there must have existed a Being Who is pure actuality, and Whose life is self-
contemplative thought (noesis noeseos). The Supreme Being imparted movement to
the universe by moving the First Heaven, the movement, however, emanated from the
First Cause as desirable; in other words, the First Heaven, attracted by the desirability
of the Supreme Being "as the soul is attracted by beauty", was set in motion, and
imparted its motion to the lower spheres and thus, ultimately, to our terrestrial world.
According to this theory God never leaves the eternal repose in which His
blessedness consists. Will and intellect are incompatible with the eternal
unchangeableness of His being. Since matter, motion, and time are eternal, the world
is eternal. Yet, it is caused. The manner in which the world originated is not defined in
Aristotle's philosophy. It seems hazardous to say that he taught the doctrine of
Creation. This much, however, may safely be said: He lays down principles which, if
carried to their logical conclusion, would lead to the doctrine that the world was made
out of nothing.

1.7. Before the time of Aristotle, Parmenides had said in his poem about nature (from
the Internet, edited by Alan F. Randall from translations by David Gallop, Richard D.
McKirahan, Jr', Jonathan Barnes, John Mansley Robinson and others) :

One path only is left for us to speak of: that it is. On this path there are a multitude of
indications that what-is, being ungenerated, is also imperishable, whole, of a single
kind, immovable and complete. Nor was it once, nor will it be, since it is, now, all
together, one and continuous. For what coming-to-be of it will you seek? How and
from where did it grow? I shall not permit you to say or to think that it grew from
what-is-not, for it is not to be said or thought that it is not. What necessity could have
impelled it to grow later rather than sooner, if it began from nothing? Thus it must
either fully be, or be not at all. Nor will the force of conviction ever allow anything,
from what-is, to come-to-be something apart from itself; wherefore Justice does not
loosen her shackles so as to allow it to come-to-be or to perish, but holds it fast.
1.8 Taking Being as a name for the "it" in the first sentence of this quotation from
Parmenides' poem, one may infer the Being is homogeneous or unitary ("of a single
kind"), and unchanging. When Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) undertook to elucidate
Being, it appears that he wishes to retain the homogeneity, i.e., the Oneness, but on
the other hand, apparently to explain how change comes to be in the world, he sees
Being as possessing a kind of time, though not the kind that humans experience or
measure in their world. This kind of time he calls Temporalität (temporality). I
propose that Heidegger's temporalizing Sein be called Is-ingness in English. I choose
Is-ingness rather than a more literal Be-ingness in order to play on the ambiguities of
"is", which I take to be even more prominent in everyday English than the
ambiguities of the term "be". "Is" sometimes indicates something inalterable, as in
"God is God", and sometimes indicates transience or action as in "someone is
talking", and sometimes carries other meanings, and sometimes carries more than one
meaning in a single occurrence. The ending "-ing" suggests time, as in "they are
running" or the (ambiguous) combination "being and becoming". I note that
Heidegger introduced an obsolete version of Sein, spelled Seyn, in order to what he
meant from what previous metaphysicians may have meant when they talked about
Sein in modern German.

1.9. Heidegger was influenced when young by a work by Franz Brentano called Von
der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seiendes nach Aristoteles (1862) (translated as The
Several Senses of Being in Aristotle, 1975). This was Brentano's doctoral
dissertation. Brentano remained a devoted Aristotelian all his life. According to
Aristotle's Metaphysics, one may study Being as Being, without attending to any of its
parts. In studying parts of ordinary being, one begins with something which is to be
elucidated. For example, in geometry one may begin with the concept of continuous
magnitudes, arrived at through intuition or visualization (Anschauung), and available
for axiomatizations and applications of logic. However, in metaphysics, it is claimed
by numerous philosophers, one can't do this sort of thing, since Being is what one
necessarily begins with in any study whatsoever. Brentano says that Aristotle
proposed that one can conduct a study of Being by "distinguishing the various senses
which he found the name of being to comprise, by separating the proper from the
improper senses, and by excluding the latter from metaphysical consideration." Thus
Brentano proposed to shed light on Being as Being by using his German language to
uncover such terms in classical Greek as on (being) and ousía (substance) and einai
(to be), and many other terms of the ancient philosophers of that place and time..

1.10. In his first chapter, entitled "The Fourfold Distinction of Being", Brentano in
the English translation quotes Aristotle from the Metaphysics IV. 2. 1003b6 :

One thing is said to be because it is substance, another because it is an attribute of

substance, still another because it is a process toward substance, or corruption of
substance, or privation of substantial forms or quality of substance, or because it
produces or generates substance or that which is predicates of substance, or because it
is a negation of such a thing or of substance itself. For this reason we also say that
non-being is non-being.
Brentano then writes:

The various sorts of being which are here enumerated can be reduced to four kinds :
(1) Being which has no existence whatever outside the understanding (privation,
negation; stereseis, apophaseis); (2) The being of movement and generation and
corruption (process toward substance, destruction, hodos eis ousían, phthora); for
though these are outside the mind, they do not have complete and perfect existence
(cf. Physics III. 1. 201a9); (3) Being which has complete but dependent existence
(affections of substance, qualities, things productive and generative; pathe ousías,
poietika, genetika); (4) The being of the substances (ousìa).

1.11. Brentano continues :

Another enumeration of concepts to which the appellation "being" is attached in

different ways is given in Met. VI. 2. 1026a33. In that passage, one kind of being is
said to be accidental being (on kata synbebekos), another being in the sense of being
true (on hos alethes), whose opposite is non-being in the sense of being false (me on
hos pseudos). Besides, there is said to be another kind of being which divides into the
categories, and in addition to all of them, potential and actual (dynamei kat energeía)

Brentano notes that the list of meanings in Book IV doesn't consistently correspond to
the list in Book VI, nor with others given in the Metaphysics. He decides that the
various meanings given by Aristotle can all be subordinated to the list given in Book
VI, and sets out to explicate the different meanings on the basis of this list. One sees
at least part of the origin of Heidegger's concern with classical Greek philosophers,
and with attaining knowledge of Being and being and beings through by way of

2. On Temporalizing Being and temporalizing being

2.1. The word "being" in English has multiple meanings, as related terms do in all
languages. In English, depending on context, it may or may not be advantageous to
have in mind more than one of these meanings (senses, references, connotations,
denotations) simultaneously (or close together) when interpreting or communicating.
For example, in such a statement as "the house is being built", there is a verb form of
"being", indicating that an action is occurring. The question "are you being served?"
is a question about action, present or future. In "the house is being built" there is
another inflection of the verb "to be" involved, namely "is". "The house is being
built" carries a somewhat different meaning than "the house is being built. If we
leave the italics out, the written statement "the house is being built" doesn't indicate
any emphasis to translate into oral speech. One might say or interpret the statement
as "the house is being built", etc., which varying emphasis depending on context. Or
there may not be any notable added emphasis at all.
2.2. Here is a set of definitions of the noun "being" in a Merriam-Webster's
Unabridged [English] Dictionary (2000) (slightly edited and italics added to
emphasize all the uses of terms closely related to the one being (!) defined):

1 a : the quality or state of existing: material or immaterial existence as in "artistic

form comes into being only when two elements are successfully fused"; b (1) :
something that is more abstract and has less intension than existence, nonexistence, or
any other predicate as in "pure being is the empty absolute", used especially by
Hegelians; (2) : something that is logically conceivable and hence capable of
existence : something that has or may have reality; (3) : something that exists as an
actuality or entity in time or space or in idea or matter; (4) : the totality comprising
the possible and the actual : something that is common to the objects within a class
and to the objects not included in the same class c : conscious or mortal existence : as
in "the mother who gave him his being."
2 : the complex of physical and spiritual qualities that constitute an individual as in "it
thus enlarges our being and gives us strength": "one of history's most enigmatic
3 a : now dialect England (1) : livelihood, living (2) : dwelling place; b : archaic :
station in life : standing
4 : essence as in "an analysis that probes the very being of religion"
5 a : human, person as in "always a well-dressed being; b : individual as in "human
being", "the incredible beings you see in the circus"

2.3 Other dictionaries would give different lists. So would most any philosopher. In
fact, Heidegger does this sort of thing in his Einführung in die Metaphysik, 1953, a
reworked version of a lecture he gave in 1935. In an English translation (An
Introduction to Metaphysics, 1987) there is a chapter called "On the Grammar and
Etymology of the Word "Being" ". Here Heidegger is made to say (italics within
brackets mark my insertions into the translation) :

What kind of word is "being" in respect to its word form? To "being" (das Sein)
correspond going, falling, dreaming, etc. (das Gehen, das Fallen, das Träumen).
These linguistic entities are nouns like bread, house, grass, thing. But we observe at
once this difference: that we can easily reduce them to the verbs to go, to fall (gehen,
fallen), etc., which does not seem to be possible with the other group. "House"
[Haus], to be sure, has the related form "to house" [hausen]: "he houses (dwells) in
the forest. [Unlike the German "hausen", "to house" in English customarily means
"to provide housing" or "to shelter", and means "to dwell" only in rare cases
nowadays. Cf. Shakespeare: "Graze where you will, you will not house with me."]
But the relation of grammar and meaning between "going" (das Gehen) and "to go"
(gehen) is different from that between "the house" [das Haus] and "to house"
[hausen]. [Heidegger doesn't say why. Here it appears likely that the noun "das
Gehen" was formed from the verb "gehen", but the verb "hausen" was formed from
the noun "das Haus", the other way around. However, he may have had in mind that
one can dwell in all sorts of places, not necessarily in a house, whereas to perform a
"going" one necessarily has to go..] On the other hand [says Heidegger] there are
word forms that correspond exactly to our first group (going, falling) and yet
resemble "bread", "house" in word character and meaning. For example: "The
ambassador gave an Essen (dinner; infinitive essen, to eat). "He died of an incurable
Leiden" (illness; infinitive leiden, to suffer). We no longer regard these words as
pertaining to verbs. From the verb, a substantive, a name, has developed, and this
through a definite form of the verb which in Latin is called modus infinitivus. [Thus
Heidegger seems to have in mind that the nound "Gehen" does pertain to the verb
"gehen" because, as I have already indicated, a going (noun) involves going
(participle); cf. ein ständiges Kommen und Gehen, a continual coming and going.
On the other hand, "Leiden" doesn't necessarily pertain to the verb "leiden". It seems
that "Leiden" customarily refers to a disease, whereas "leiden" may refer to suffering
of any origin.]

2.4. Heidegger continues with an detailed analysis of grammatical categories and

etymologies, especially as applied to the term das Sein. His conclusion is (translated)

"Being" remains barely a sound to us, a threadbare appellation. If nothing more is

left to us, we must seek at least to grasp this last vestige of a possession. Therefore
we ask "How does it stand with the word 'being' (das Sein)?" We have answered this
question in two ways which have led us into the grammar and the etymology of the
word. Let us sum up the results of this twofold discussion of the word "das Sein".

1. Grammatical investigation of the word form shows that in the infinitive the
definite meanings of the word no longer make themselves felt; they are effaced.
Substantivization completely stabilizes and objectifies this effacement. The word
becomes a name for something indeterminate.

2. Etymological investigation of the word's meaning has shown that in respect to

meaning what we have long called by the name of "das Sein" is a compromise and
mixture of three different radical meanings. None of these reaches up independently
to determine the meaning of the word. Mixture and effacement go hand in hand. In
the combination of these two processes we find an adequate explanation of the fact
from which we started, that the word "being" is empty and its meaning a vapor.

He derives the three radical meanings he speaks of from certain Sanskrit and Greek
stems. He says : "From the three stems we derive the three initial concrete meanings:
to live, to emerge, to linger or endure. These are are established by linguistics
[philology?], which also establishes that these initial meanings are extinct today, that
only an "abstract" meaning "to be" has been preserved."

2.5. After this chapter on grammar and etymology of the word "being", Heidegger
turns to a chapter entitled "The Question of the Essence of Being". However, this
doesn't mean he turns away from the word "being". After arguing that because it is
given to us to distinguish being from non-being in everyday situations (the window is
or is not closed), and after he, he says: "Thus the word "being" proves to be totally
indeterminate and yet we understand it definitely." Embracing the obvious
contradiction, he says:
Suddenly the fact that being is an empty word for us takes on an entirely different
face. We suspect that the word may not be as empty as alleged. If we reflect more
closely on the word, it ultimately turns out that despite all the blur and mixture and
universality of its meaning we mean something definite by it. This definiteness is so
definite is so definite and unique in its kind that we must even say this: The being
which belongs to every essent whatsoever, and which is thus dispersed among all that
is most current and familiar is more unique than all else. . . . Over against the fact
that the meaning of the word "being" remains an indeterminate vapor for us, the fact
that we understand being and differentiate it with certainty from non-being is not just
another, second fact; rather, the two belong together, they are one. . . . [E]ven in
order that our being-there should remain for us an indifferent essent, we should have
to understand being. Without this understanding we should not even be able to say no
to our being-there.

Leaving aside a question about degrees of uniqueness, an "essent" is presumably a

being in nature or a human being, whereas what is more unique than all else is Being
with a capital B. So Heidegger embarked on a search for the true meaning of Sein by
an examination of the word "Sein". His strategy appears to be to examine meanings
of Sein and associated terms, and to study interactions of the terms and their multiple
and overlapping meanings until they meld into a One (or meaning of One) of the sort
that he alleges Parmenides to have sighted, but which philosophers -- up to him --
have lost sight of over the years, although a few philosophers are said by him to have
had a peek at it. It should be noted that Heidegger often distinguishes rather sharply
between philosophers and theologians.

2.6 I will dwell (house myself) for a bit with some general considerations about the
German noun Sein and some associated terms. Das Sein is a verbal noun derived
from the verb sein, "to be". In Heidegger's writings, there are associated terms such
as seiend ("being", participle form of sein), Seiende (verbal noun, "what is", "things
that are", or perhaps, that which is-ing), Seiendes (a being or a human being),
Seienden (beings or human beings). In the light of the work of classical
metaphysicians, one may wonder about words corresponding to the English word
"becoming", such as werden, Werden, entstehen. It is curious that in the translation
into English of Sein und Zeit by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (M and R,
1962), Seiende is translated as "entity", and terms related to the English word
"becoming" such as werden and Werden do not appear in their glossary of German
expressions, nor does "becoming" appear in their index of English expressions.
However, there are sometimes hints of such a concept in present participle endings,
"-end" and "ing", although Heidegger is concerned not to contrast Being (non-
temporal) with Becoming (temporal) as traditionally done by philosophers. Two
terms related to "being" which Heidegger introduces is ontologisch ("ontological")
and ontisch ("ontic" or "ontical"). Ontologie ("ontology") and ontologisch
correspond to standard terms for investigations into Being and Becoming as
conducted by philosophers since at least the time of ancient Greece. For Heidegger,
Ontisch refers to investigations which begin with something to be studied, something
which exists as disclosed in Dasein. Such for example are the disclosures of Sein
(mit Zeit) studied by scientists and historians. Physicists study motion, matter, energy
and so on, biologists study living organisms and their environments and evolution of
organisms. Ontologisch by contrast refers to Temporalizing Being (Sein, Is-ingness),
which doesn't exist as an entity, but is that which furnishes existence in the world.

2.7. Heidegger distinguishes between World and Earth (Welt and Erde). Victor
Vycinas says in Earth and Gods that Heidegger developed this distinction with views
of early Greek philosophers in mind. According to Vycinas, Heidegger takes World to
include Earth and Sky, presumably meant to include our planet Earth and its environs
on one hand, and all celestial phenomena on the other. However, Vycinas says :

In his Le Concept de Monde chez Heidegger, Walter Biemel had exhaustively shown
world as the referential context, i.e. world as approached from the ontological
structures of the implements; but he did not show the world as not-a-being or
nothingness, i.e. world as that to which man transcends in his authentic mode of
being. . . . The traditional philosophies could be called philosophies of substances
because they were oriented to the beings and their structures. World for these
philosophies was not a primary problem; it was merely an abstraction deducted from
the diversity of beings. World was either the sum of all the beings, or it was a region
to which a certain group of beings belonged. This latter case considered a diversity of
worlds, such as the world of mathematics, world of business, and world of hoodlums.
. . . According to Heidegger, it is impossible to deduce world from beings; world has
to be known some way directly. The only being which knows the world is man. . . .
The knowledge of the world is ontologically prior to theoretical, as well as practical,
knowledge. It is prior to the knowledge of a being as such; it makes the knowledge of
a being possible. . . . In Heidegger's understanding, the essence of man must be
sought in deeper layers of reality than merely in substantiality. . . . In Heidegger's
Was ist Metaphysik?, world is indicated as nothingness in the sense of 'no-being' or

Here "implements" in the first sentence could be translated as "things", and

"nothingness" as "no-thingness", i.e. "not-a-thing-ness". Also in the term "not-a-
being", the "being" refers to everyday existence, and not to transcendental Being. We
would then have a statement to the effect that Biemel did not show that Heidegger
used the term die Welt not just to signify that which exists for people as "things", but
also to include that by virtue of which "things" and people exist. In fact, Vycinas

Being and world are not two different things. There is not Being as in itself, as a
certain substance, which then, off and on, can come into the world. . . . To say
'Being' is to say 'openness of Being" which again is to say 'world'.

It seems unfortunate that Vycinas says "two different things". It seems better to have
said "Being and world are not different." In any case, Vycinas seems to be saying that
Heidegger's Sein und Zeit, his Welt, includes being and beings and whatever
transcends these.
2.8. Vycinas detects three successive approaches by Heidegger to his concept of
World :

In each of these approaches, the world is never a something for itself, but it always
involves things. In the first phase, the world is the referential totality
(Verweisungsganzheit) of the things as implements [things people think of in terms of
their uses]; in the second phase, the world is the openness of Being in which things
sojourn; and in the third phase, the world is the interplay of the foursome as
assembled by a thing."

Vycinas describes what he calls Heidegger's "problem of the foursome" in this way,
with reference to Heidegger's Vorträge und Aufsätze (1954) :

According to Heidegger, dwelling, as "abiding of the mortals [men] on the earth," is

at the same time their wandering under the sky, sojourning in the proximity of
divinities, and their belonging in togetherness. These four -- earth, sky, gods, and
mortals -- belong together in an original unity. Sky is characterized by the sun, moon,
stars, seasons of the year, days, nights, winds, and clouds. Gods are "the hinting
messengers of the divine." A god appears from out of the sway held by the divine
(Being). The mortals are characterized as those who have the capacity for death as

2.9. According to Vycinas, Earth (Erde), as distinguished from World (Welt) by

Heidegger, can be characterized by a study of the Greek term physis. This was
translated into Latin by natura, and is often translated into English by "Nature" or
"nature". However, Heidegger regarded physis as meaning something more than that
which physicists and other scientists study, and something more than the outdoors
that people may experience in their ordinary existences. It is not only these, but also
links Sein und Zeit (Temporalität) to Dasein, authentic Being to inauthentic being. As
such, it produces Aristotle's genesis and phthora, generatio and corruptio, "coming-
to-be" and "passing away". Vycinas says :

Physis is not nature in the sense of the modern physical sciences. It is rather nature as
left to be the way it is in itself and not the way it is when faced by an impersonal,
scientific subject. Instead of treating physis in the modern sense it is necessary to see
it the way the Greeks have seen it and thus to understand Heidegger's earth. . . .
Physis in general means the rising or breaking through, unraveling, opening, and
developing. Thus physis appears and comes forward and sojourns in this appearance;
it is this appearance. It is wrong to think of physis as a certain substance which
besides being has the property of breaking through and coming forward into
appearance. The breaking through and coming forward is Being, is physis. It is never
a property of a being but is Being itself. In breaking through, physis holds an order or
a realm open with which it dominates all appearances. . . . Anything whatsoever
would not be thinkable, would disintegrate into nothing, if it were not for the power
of physis which throws everything into its boundaries -- waters, lands, animals, men,
nations, and even gods. . . . Since physis is that which grants life or being to
everything, it itself is that in which all such life or being is based.
Vycinas quotes Eugen Fink who says in his Grundfragen der Antiken Philosophie :

Physis is that which sends forth the many and takes them back again. . . . Physis is
that which lies in the ground of all changeability.

Physis not only gives life and being, it also takes them back again. It is "that in which
everything begins and ends". It takes the life and being and beings of Dasein back
into Sein and Temporalität, back into the undifferentiated One. And so physis
discloses the beings and things of the Earth and presumably also the Sky, makes them
appear, and then hides them again, makes them disappear.

2.10. Heidegger makes much use of the term Dasein (or Da-sein), which literally
translated into English is "being-there", or even more literally "there-being", although
to judge from certain colloquial usages, "being-here" is also possible, or perhaps
"being-here-and-there". Dasein is often left untranslated in English. Sometimes it is
translated as "human being", i.e., "human being" with emphasis on the "being". Here
"human being" is not to be taken in the sense of "individual person", but as referring
to the way humans exist, including not only the kind of ordinary ways they (or we)
exist, but also the Being which we may have or are open to. On the other hand,
human being occurs in human beings (people), so some amalgamation of these two
meanings of the phrase "human being" is to be expected.

2.11. Heidegger speaks of being-in-the-world (In-der-Welt-sein, literally "in-the-

world-to-be") as a (or the) fundamental state of Dasein. I take it, however, that he
meant Dasein to be open to Temporalizing Sein (Is-ingness) in some way. Dasein
might be translated by Is-ing. The ordinary or inauthentic kind of being a human has,
when Being is absent, might be translated by is-ing, uncapitalized. With this
terminology, I am tempted to speak of physis as Isingness Is-ing and is-ing. A
related translation was used by Thomas K. Carr in a review (First Things, Aug/Sep
1995) of John Macquarrie's lectures on Heidegger and Christianity (published 1994).
Carr asks "What kind of 'thing' is the is-ness of things?" This question is presented by
Carr as a rewording of the perennial philosophical question "What is Being?". The
use of the term "thing" in quotes seems therefore to refer to Being (which, however,
Heidegger sometimes says is not a "thing" in any everyday sense), whereas the term
"things" not in quotes evidently refers to ordinary existence. Carr may have had in
mind the authentic (or extraordinary) way of being open to Dasein, in which a
person, so to speak, may live in the light of Being.

2.12. After wandering through a few meanings of Dasein, it is fitting, or maybe fit-
causing, to read the following, from "A Paradigm Shift in Heidegger Research"
(2001) by Thomas Sheehan :

Da: One of the least happy moves of Heidegger-scholarship has been to translate the
Da of Da-sein as "there." But with Heidegger's Da, as with Gertrude Stein's Oakland,
there is no there there. . . . The Beiträge and other texts show that Heidegger
understood the Da not as the "there" but as das Offene or die Offenheit, the "open". . .
. That is, the Da is the same as Welt and Lichtung . . . It is a scandal that forty years
after the publication of Being and Time Heidegger's key term Dasein is still usually
left in the German. Translating it as with variations on "there" is bad enough, but
leaving it untranslated is no better. That's like issuing a promissory note: "Let the
word Dasein stand for the unknown, and when we figure out what it means, we'll get
back to you."

Heidegger understands the Da not as "the there" but as "the open." As such, the Da is
not only the same as Welt and Lichtung but is also equivalent to all the other terms
that Heidegger used for die Sache selbst [literally, "the concern itself", i.e. what we
are primarily concerned with"]. . . . The most extraordinary thing about all of
Heidegger's thought, both early and late, is his unwaivering insistence that human
being is that "open" and thus is "the thing itself." From the beginning to the end of his
career, he never got beyond that point.

Heidegger insists that the verbal emphasis in the word Dasein falls on the second
syllable: Dasein,"having-to-be open" (Zollikon, 157.8, 188.14). His point is that
human beings are the Da not occasionally or by their own choice, but of necessity. We
cannot not be the open (the possibility of taking-as) just as we cannot not be our own
minds. In Heidegger's early language, we are always already thrown-open (geworfen).
We are not thrown "into" the open, as if the Da/Lichtung/Welt already existed without
us; we are not open "to" the open, as if it were something separate from us; we do not
"transcend to" the open as if we had to cross from here to there; and we do not
"project" the open as if we brought it about as our own personal achievement.
Without us, there is no open at all; but with us, the open is always apriori operative.
In that regard some of Heidegger's terms can be misleading. "Being-in-the-world"
actually means "being-the-world" (die Lichtung-sein: GA 69, 101.12), and
"thrownness into theworld" means being-the-world of necessity, i.e., a priori.

2.13. I am reminded of a favorite mathematics professor of mine, Herman Meyer of

the University of Miami (Florida), who had a habit of interspersing his explanations
with the rhetorical question "Is this clear?". Students soon realized that he wasn't
really asking this of the students, but, I expect, giving himself a brief time to think of
what he wanted to say next. One day, in a class on theory of functions of a real
variable (he was a professor of mathematics), a fellow student of mine decided
nevertheless to start shaking his head "no!" vigorously, behind Prof. Meyer's back, as
if the professor really intended that students be able to respond to the question. This
caused the other members of the class to start laughing, at which Herman turned,
puzzled, and then proceeded onward, since the student had stopped shaking his head,
and said nothing. After the class, I had occasion to tell Herman what the laughter was
about, and told him, apparently to his surprise, about his speech habit. I can't recall at
this later date (it happened over 50 years ago) whether or not Prof. Meyer modified
his lecturing in the light of this exposure, or not. However, I often think of the
incident, and the above discussion of possible meanings of key words in Heidegger's
works, and possible English translations of them, has triggered this memory one more
time. Is this clear?
2.14. Heidegger says of the word Existenz ("existence") : Das Sein selbst, zu dem das
Dasein sich so oder so verhalten, und immer irgendwie verhält, nennen wir Existenz.
I translate : "That Being which relates in this or that way to Dasein, and always
somehow relates, we call 'existence' ". M and R have: "That kind of Being towards
which Dasein can comport itself in one way or another, and always does comport
itself somehow, we call 'existence'." Sometimes the word Dasein is translated into
English by "existence", but unless modified this misses a distinction between human
existence in the world, and existence in general in the world, as well as masking
presence of Sein in Dasein.

2.15. In his book Heidegger's Atheism (1961), Laurence Paul Hemming quotes from
an exchange between Heidegger and Karl Löwith:

Heidegger: "But Dasein in Sein und Zeit . . . how do you understand it?
Löwith: "The there of being."
Heidegger: "No! . . . being has no there."

Presumably Heidegger was alluding to the derivative nature of spatiality, i.e. Is-
ingness is not in space, but space in some way arises from Is-ingness. On the other
hand, perhaps Löwith meant to allude to the way Is-ingness is related to human-
being-in-the-world, rather than asserting the Temporalizing Sein has some sort of
physical location.

2.16. A comparison of this interchange between Heidegger and Löwith with a

statement made by Victor Vycinas in Earth and Gods (1961) illustrates once more the
kind of overlaps and conflicts which are liable to become implicated in any
discussions of the terms "to be" and "Sein" and their kin :

The close relation of Dasein and Being does not mean man's remotion [remoteness?
action of removal?] from concrete life. Not at all! The Da of Being is that in which
all concreteness is rooted, or that which is presupposed by concreteness. Considering
the Greek word polis not as a state or a city-state but as "Da wherein and what the
Dasein historically is", Heidegger maintains that the Da as polis is the center to which
all the meanings of the ways and doings of concrete human life are related. To Da,
"to the abode of historicity belong gods, temples, priests, feasts, plays, poets, thinkers,
rulers, councils of seniors, national assemblies, forces, and vessels." Only here, in
Da, poet is poet, priest is priest, ruler is ruler, thinker is thinker; and all their doings
and the things they deal with -- words, prayers, orders, thoughts, duties, soldiers,
vessels, etc. -- are meaningful elements in the-meaning-granting whole, the Da of

The quotations within this quotation are translated from Heidegger's Introduction to

2.17. There are many instances of Dasein, one for each human, but only one instance
of Sein. Each instance of Dasein is thrown (geworfen) into the world, where it is put
contact with other instances of Dasein which have been thrown into the world. One
instance of Dasein is present to or interacts with another instance of Dasein in ways
different from the way one instance of Dasein is present to itself or interacts within or
on its self, and each Dasein (each Is-ing) is in greater or lesser contact with Sein (Is-
ingness). Interactions and sharing between such instances involve caring, as found in
caring or not caring for : liking or loving, taking care of or ameliorating, but also not
liking, hating, "taking care of" in the sense of eliminating or even killing. However,
according to Heidegger, this caring about others is part of the inauthentic or everyday
being of Dasein, and functions differently from caring about and searching for the
authentic being of one's own self, which is a private enterprise. Such authenticity is
achieved by living toward one's death. Each death of an instance of Dasein belongs
to that Dasein alone, and cannot be shared in any way with another instance of
Dasein. It thus appears that striving for authenticity involves disregard of others,
which has ethical implications. This is even more extreme when other creatures
besides humans are taken into consideration. It is Heidegger's view that only humans
are capable of knowing Sein, Being, Is-ingness. It appears that as a consequence,
one's dog or cat may be considered as no more of an object than one's table or a stray

2.18. Along with translating Heidegger's Temporalizing Sein as Is-ingness, one may
translate his Dasein by Is-ing. It might be objected that adding one more term to
multiplicities of translations of these terms into English just introduces more
confusion. But along with confusing, we are illuminating characteristics of some
usages of language (not only by Heidegger), in which words and terms and phrases
intentionally or inescapably have multiple related meanings in given contexts, and
evoke associated words or synonyms, as elaborated by analytic philosophers and
literary critics. Thus there are advantages to reading and translating Heidegger's
works from his German into another language, inasmuch as such characteristics of
languages are brought more into the open. In his writing, Heidegger seems to strive
to produce this same sort of thing within the German language itself. In Heidegger
and the Question of Time (1999; translation of Heidegger et la Question du Temps,
1990), Françoise Dastur says :

. . . Heidegger represents only the extreme case of what is normal for any thought,
namely, attempting to express a universal in and through a singular language. We
know, at least since Herder and especially since Humboldt (under whose authority
Heidegger explicitly places himself . . . ) that every language is a world-view and is,
therefore, not a mere tool for expressing preexisting significations but instead
constitutes them. This is why translating can never be a simple transposition of terms
from one language to another or the search for interlinguistic equivalences. . . . That
translation is nevertheless possible is what Heidegger himself stresses when he recalls
. . . that we must first translate our own mother tongue, that is, appropriate this idiom,
which is never only a familiar tool but, as soon as we begin to think, acquires the
status of a foreign language. It is this translation within language that makes the
translation between different languages possible. This, however, implies that
translating is always a work of thought and an effort of interpretation.
It seems apposite to quote Marjorie Grene on this topic, from her book Martin
Heidegger (1957) :

Sein und Zeit is written in a contorted and arbitrary style, hopelessly untranslatable
into English, some say even into German; and its argument is buried under a heap of
paradoxical pronouncements. Yet for all its verbosity and its arrogance, there is in it a
direct, driving compression: its words, though many, are less than the passion behind

2.20. Heidegger's use of language reminds me of a slogan I used to proclaim to my

students in mathematics classes : "It's what it is, it's not something else". What I had
in mind was a way to proceed in doing mathematics, in which one recognizes that the
special terms used by mathematicians are severely restricted in a way often not found
in other uses of speech and language. For example, take the notion of "field" as used
by mathematicians in connection with algebraic structures. The term describes a very
specific algebraic structure, characterized by a certain finite set of assumptions, the
axioms for a field. Mathematicians introduce various collections of entities which, as
they say, satisfy or obey these axioms. Using these axioms and logic, one is able to
deduce further propositions, called theorems. I won't go any further into the
mathematics of fields, nor their applications. My point is this : The word "field" has
many other meanings -- denotations and connotations, references, senses. But one
must take care that none of these other meanings, so to speak, infects its mathematical
meaning in connection with algebra. This is especially tempting in connection with a
different use by mathematicians of the very same term "field", when they speak of a
vector field. A field in this latter sense is defined as precisely as the previous kind,
but in a quite different way. Furthermore the latter kind of field has a geometric
component which can be regarded as lacking in the former kind, although instances of
the former kind are certainly applied to geometrical constructs. In any case, one
should try not to confuse the two, and not relate the two without clearly
distinguishing between them, and providing explicitly stated and logically sound
connections between them, each of these mental constructs is what it is, and not
something else. Of course, such pure separation of concepts is an ideal, which may or
may not be fully realized in practice. It's something to aim at.

2.21. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the term field as used by
physicists is something else again, although they customarily use rather elaborate
mathematics in working with then. My experience has been that when physicists
want to be precise about, say, what an electric field, they rely on some mathematical
formulation, but that besides the mathematical formulation, they also have some
further constructs in mind. These are, I take it, to some extent based on experiments
they have done or been told about, and on other phenomena they have experienced
(perceived) or been told about, as well as whatever they think the mathematics they
use describes or fails to describe. Quantum fields are especially ornery in this regard,
since geometric intuition, Anschauung, visualization in or out of human minds, don't
seem to work very well for such fields, and physicists up to now have had to rely on
algebraically based mathematical constructions with only limited geometric content
derived by analogy from well-developed geometric structures.
2.22. Of course, besides special uses of the term "field" in mathematics and physics,
there are many other uses and meanings and shades of meanings of this term, as may
be verified by looking in a sufficiently large dictionary. These also should be
separated, as far as possible, from the technical uses. I note, in passing, that the
algebraic structure called a field in English is translated into German by Körper. So
in German, an algebraic field is liable to be thought of as a kind of body, whereas in
English it is likely to thought of as a kind of expanse. Furthermore, a physical field,
such as an electric or gravitational field, is translated into German by Feld, so it is
liable to be thought of as an expanse. I wonder what Heidegger might have
concluded about the natures of algebra and electricity by an analysis of these two
different terms in German, using his ways with language. And I wonder what
problems would have arisen in translating his presentation of the analysis from
German into English.

2.23. As fate would have it, shortly after writing the previous paragraph, I picked up
a book by Francis Wheen called Idiot Proof : Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power
Brokers, Media Morons, and the Erosion of Common Sense (2004), and opened it to a
page on which Wheen quotes a statement by Michel Foucault. Heidegger had a
considerable influence on people like Foucault who are customarily said to have been
or to be participants in the medley of movements labeled as "post-modern". This
statement illustrates in another way something along the lines of what I have just been
trying to communicate. Wheen writes :

As post-structuralism morphed into deconstruction and then post-modernism, it often

seemed a way of evading politics altogether . . . The logic of their playful insistence
that there were no certainties or realities, and their refusal to acknowledge the
legitimacy of value-judgments, led to a free-floating relativism that could celebrate
both American pop culture and medieval superstition without a qualm. Michel
Foucault visited Tehran soon after the fall of the Shah, and came back to Paris
enraptured by the "beauty" of the Ayatollah Khomeini's neanderthal regime. Asked
about the suppression of all dissent, he replied :

They don't have the same regime of truth as ours, which, it has to be said, is very
special, even if it has become almost universal. The Greeks had their own. The
Arabs of the Maghreb have another. And in Iran it is largely modeled on a religion
that has an exoteric form and an esoteric content. That is to say, everything that is
said under the explicit form of the law also refers to another meaning. So not only is
saying one thing that means another not a condemnable ambiguity, it is, on the
contrary, a necessary and highly prized additional level of meaning. It's often the case
that people say something that, at the factual level, isn't true, but which refers to
another, deeper meaning, which cannot be assimilated in terms of precision and

It is surely not the case that Heidegger influenced the mullahs of Iran in such uses of
language. My view is that what Heidegger and the mullahs have in common is
traditions and doctrines and beliefs which can be traced back to expositors and
interpreters of the Semitic religions : Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Hermeneutics
is the term used to cover the methods of interpreting and explaining the Tanach and
Talmuds and Kabbalah, the Christian Bibles and writings of the Church Fathers and
of the Reformation, the Quran and the Hadiths. Hermeneutics is a term used
frequently by Heidegger, and his followers and expositors. The term originally was
applied to methods for interpreting the Bible and other religious writings, such as
various kinds of exegesis, involving such techniques as allegory and prefiguration
(typology). Many of the hermeneutical methods involve uses of language analogous
to those used by Heidegger, and which, as I tried to illustrate, are in sharp contrast to
those used by mathematicians, logicians, scientists, and some kinds of philosophers,
e.g. those known as logical positivists or logical empiricists.

2.24. To continue with an examination of parts of the Introduction to Sein und Zeit, I
note that Heidegger rejects any claim that Sein, as he uses it, is (or means) something
self-evident. He indicates that such an interpretation may occur when Sein is
understood through ordinary usages of sein and its inflections, as in Der Himmel ist
blau ("The sky is blue") or Ich bin froh ("I am happy"). He says : Allein diese
durchschnittliche Verständigkeit demonstriert nur Unverständigkeit. Sie macht
offenbar, dass in jedem Verhalten und Sein zu Seiendem als Seiendem a priori ein
Rätsel liegt. I translate : "This everyday wisdom just demonstrates lack of wisdom.
It makes clear that a priori a riddle lies in any approach to, and Is-ingness involved
in, "that which is" qua "that which is". M and R translate this: "But here we have an
average kind of intelligibility, which merely demonstrates that this is unintelligible. It
makes manifest that in any way of behaving oneself towards entities as entities --
even in any Being towards entities as entities -- there lies a priori an enigma." In her
translation into English of Sein und Zeit (1996), Joan Stambaugh has : "But this
average comprehensibility only demonstrates the incomprehensibility. It shows that
an enigma lies a priori in every relation and being toward beings as beings." The
phrase I have translated as "being toward that which is qua that which is" suggests a
participation of Being in the world, in entities considered merely as entities, though
not necessarily the sort which occur in Dasein, "human-being-in-the world".

2.25. Heidegger's uses of Dasein and Sein suggest a further look at differences
between various forms of the English "to be". I am, as a complete statement, can be
taken as a reference to awareness of my Dasein. You are can be taken, in suitable
context, as a reference to my recognition of your Dasein. He or she is can be taken as
referring with a greater loss of intimacy or interaction as referring to some person's
Dasein. We are may have connotations of collectivities. They are suggests a division
of one collectivity from another, or one individual from others. And then there is it is,
which moves away from Dasein, in that one customarily doesn't use this form to refer
to a human. They are is ambiguous in this respect, and like it is, may refer to
collections of non-humans, or inanimate objects, or humans regarded as objects rather
than subjects, or to abstractions or ideals like Platonic Ideas. One may interpret
Plato's views to involve a collection of such Ideas forming the ground of Being,
which brings us back to one meaning of Sein to be found among philosophers (not
including Heidegger). All of this emphasizes again that any discussion of being and
being-in-the-world and Sein and Dasein (Is-ingness and Is-ing) and all other
variations and derivatives of sein and to be) is bound to be conducted in an
atmosphere of ambiguity and multiple meanings and contradiction and mystery. So
be it. This is not mathematics, nor one of the sciences, nor is it analytic philosophy.

2.26. Heidegger uses the two words existenzial and existenziell. The term existenzial
is used in the German language in connection with the movement in philosophy
called existentialism. However, Heidegger denied being an existentialist philosopher,
especially one in the mode of Jean-Paul Sartre, and maintained instead that he was an
ontologist. Some readers of his works have disagreed with this assessment of
himself, in view of his passionate depiction of the loneliness, Angst (dread) in
individual lives, the place of death in our lives, and other central themes of such
existentialist philosophers as Søren Kierkegaard and Sartre. The term Angst is often
left untranslated in English, since for such philosophers, Angst is not a dread or fear
of something within the world, but a kind of anxiety which arises from Sein, which is
not a something, but a no-thing. Vycinas says that "Heidegger stresses that dread
comes from nowhere which indicates that it does not arise from something but rather
from 'no-thing'." This thought is sometimes stated in English by such phrases as
"Angst arises from Nothing". There is a play here on the terms Nothing and No-
thing. If one speaks of "fear of nothing", one means that fear is totally lacking,
whereas if one speaks of "fear of no thing" one may mean that fear is present, but
does not arise from a thing. The latter interpretation might be reduced to the former
by interpreting the term "thing" sufficiently broadly, but an emphasis on thing
suggests otherwise.

2.27. Heidegger says of the word existienziell, evidently coined by him, that "Die
Frage der Existenz ist immer nur durch das Existieren selbst ins Reine zu bringen.
Das hierbei führende Verständnis seiner selbst nennen wir existenziell." My
translation : "The question of existence is always only settled through living itself.
The understanding of oneself led to in this way we call existentiell". M and R have :
"The question of existence never gets straightened out except through existing itself.
The understanding of oneself which leads along this way we call 'existentiell' ". This
term is sometimes left untranslated in English. Another variation used by Heidegger
is Existenzial, which can be rendered "an existential" with plural "existentials",
although M and R have "existentialia" for the plural. There is also Existentialität,
"existentiality". Heidegger says : Weil sie sich aus der Existentialität bestimmen,
nennen wir die Seinscharaktere des Daseins Existentialia ("Because they are
determined by existentiality, we call the characteristics of Being of Dasein
existentialia".) In Heidegger's Being & Time, E. F. Kaelin compares Heidegger's
"existentials" (as he calls them) with ontological categories, of the sort Aristotle and
Kant put forward,. The "existentials" are only applicable to humans, and are to
function as replacements for categories, or perhaps special kinds of categories.

2.28. Existentialität is one of a trinity which Heidegger asserts is fundamental to the

analysis of Dasein, of human being. He says: Die fundamentalen ontologischen
Charaktere dieses Seienden sind Existentialität, Faktizität, und Verfallensein. Diese
existentialen Bestimmungen gehören nicht als Stütcke zu einem Kompositum, daran
zuweilen eines fehlen könnte, sondern in ihnen webt ein ursprünglicher
Zusammenhang, der die gesuchte Ganzheit des Strukturganzen ausmacht. In der
Einheit der genannten Seinsbestimmungen des Daseins wird dessen Sein als solches
ontologisch fassbar. Marjorie Grene translates this as : "The fundamental ontological
characteristics of this being are existentiality, facticity and forfeiture. These
existential determinations do not belong as bits to a composite whole, in such a way
that one might be missing, but in them there is entwined a fundamental relationship,
which constitutes that wholeness of the whole structure for which we have been
seeking. In the unity of the aforementioned determinations of Being possessed by
human being, its being is ontologically comprehensible as such." The word
Verfallensein is translated by Grene by "forfeiture". This word, which may have
coined by Heidegger, has been translated in many ways. For example, one finds
"Being-fallen" (M and R), "falling prey" (Stambaugh), "inauthentic existence",
"fallen existence", "enslavement", "thralldom". Heidegger evidently wants a word
which conveys the idea of humans forgetting Being (Sein) in their everyday worlds.
The noun Verfall has primary meanings such as "decay", "degeneration", "downfall"
and "forfeiture" and "expiration" in legal senses. The verb verfallen connotes
similarly, and also in some contexts means "be enslaved", "fall into the possession
of". This situation exemplifies the difficulties of translating Heidegger's Sein und
Zeit into other languages. When Grene wrote her book about Heidegger, no English
translation had yet appeared. She remarks: "Sein und Zeit is written in a contorted
and arbitrary style, hopelessly untranslatable into English, some say even into
German; and its argument is buried under a heap of paradoxical pronouncements."

2.29. Grene concludes :

These three, then: facticity: being-always-already-in-a-world; existentiality: being

always in advance of itself in essential relation to its own possibilities; forfeiture:
distraction by the insistent claims of everyday moods and everyday interests and
everyday companions, are the essential aspects of human being. But the three aspects
are not separable. They form, as we have seen, one unified structure. It is to this
single, indissoluble nature that Heidegger gives the name Sorge, cura, "concern" or

2.30. In his book The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time (1993), Theodore
Kisiel says of the term Faktizität ("facticity") : "The locus classicus of the term is in
the post-Kantian "irrational hiatus" between aposteriori and apriori, where Faktizität
is paired with Logizität and specifically set off from it first by Fichte. After
discussing it in its neo-Kantian sense, Heidegger than makes the term his own . . . to
refer to the primal reality of factic life experience [presumably everyday living],
already charged with its own hermeneutic "logicity", thereby collapsing and
conflating the post-Kantian distinction." It seems that the neo-Kantian use of the
term was meant to separate that part of everyday living which is not affected by
reasoning, from that part of everyday living which is affected by reason. Kisiel's
statement indicates that Heidegger wished, for example, to consider emotional and
reasonable actions under a more general category, which he called Faktizität.

2.31. Søren Kierkegard made use of a concept related to Sorge, and Saint Augustine
made a related use of the Latin term cura. Other possible translations of Sorge are
"worry", "solicitude ", "caring". The translation "caring" is interesting in English
since one may speak of "caring" for some one in the two senses of "liking or loving
someone" and "taking care of someone", both of which involve worries. However, in
a slang term of gangsterism, "taking care of" a person means killing that person, and,
less drastically, questions about "caring for someone" may involve negative as well as
positive answers, i.e. not liking or hating. By Sorge, though, Heidegger at times
means something like "caring who and what and how oneself is", or "being concerned
with or about oneself", which involves searching for the role of Sein in Dasein, the
role of Being in being-in-the-world. This points to a difference between what I do in
the world, and what others do in the world. It appears that a person's coming into
contact with his or her Is-ingness is a lonely procedure, which involves withdrawal
from caring about others. Heidegger proposes that in proceeding toward dying, one is
proceeding, alone, toward one's true self, as contrasted with one's everyday or
inauthentic self. Presence of Sein in a Dasein has been compared to presence of a
soul, to be distinguished, for example, from a mind or intellect, and from a body or
one's flesh.

2.32. Heidegger says that Temporalizing Sein, Is-ingness, is hidden, although it can
become to some degree revealed to the understanding of humans, or at any rate to
some philosophers. He argued that Parmenides had pointed to a Being which is
hidden, and that Heraclitus had pointed to a hidden being that could be revealed to
what we now call scientists. A central aim for Heidegger in Sein und Zeit is to give
an account of the way a Temporalizing Sein (Is-ingness) is realized in the world, i.e.
to describe how Dasein (Is-ness) is disclosed or revealed in the world so it can be
understood by humans. This disclosure or revelation has been described in various
ways: the emergence of being, the meaning of being, the truth of meaning, the
coming-to-pass of being. Heidegger at times used the word Ereignis for this process.
This word can be translated as "event" or "happening". In English, there is
"happening" as a noun, close in meaning to "event", and "happening" as a participle,
as in "I saw it happening" or "what's the chance of that happening?", close to "taking

2.33. However, Ereignis has frequently been translated by "appropriation" which

may suggest that the world is in some manner taking possession of Being, or perhaps
the other way around. Etymologically, one can try the separation Er-eign-is", which
can be roughly approximated in English by en-own-ment, or "a making one's own",
provided one takes the central "-eign-" to be related to eigen, "own" (adjective, as in
"that's my own book"). On the other hand, one might take "-eign-" to have been
derived from "eignen", "to occur", related to "sich aneignen", "to appropriate" or (!)
"to misappropriate". In his book Earth and Gods (1961), Vincent Vycinas translates
Ereignis as "co-appropriation", suggesting some sort of interactive relationship of
Sein and Dasein. On still another hand, Françoise Dastur in her book on Heidegger
says that the correct etymology of "-eign-" derives it from Auge, "eye", referring to
something seen, a happening perceived visually.

2.34. In The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time (1993), Theodore Kisiel says :
Ereignis (properizing event, appropriating event) [was] [c]learly destined from the
start to be the central "terminus technicus" of Heidegger's entire Denkweg ["way of
thinking"] to identify the very source and "primal leap" of experience . . . Er-eignis
is first introduced in KNS [World Emergency Semester, 1919] as the central
characterization of the most intense lived experience (Er-leben) of the historical I in
close conjunction with the meaning-bestowing dynamics of the It which "worlds". . .
. This intimate involvement with the primal It of Being thus prompts the distinction
which "happen" (passieren) to me passionally and move me by situating me, and
processs (Vorgänge) which pass before me objectively. . . . In BT [Being and Time],
however, the occasional use of Ereignis . . . returns to its mundane sense of
objectified and reified impersonal historical events past and gone . . . It is only in SS
1928 that a tendency back to its originally intimate sense begins to assert itself . . .
[as] the Ureignis [primal or originary event] which is essentially generative

If I understand what Kisiel is driving at, he is interpreting the later use by Heidegger's
of the term Ereignis as referring, as it were, to Temporalizing Being (Is-ingness)
generating history, i.e. what happens.

2.35. Heidegger thought that everyday (ontic, inauthentic) thinking eclipsed

authentic (correct ontological) thinking. He searched for a fundamental kind of
thinking which transcends rules of logic(s). True thinking, thinking in the light of
Being, transcends logic, yet, he says, doesn't lead to irrationalism. For without a
rationalism dictated by rules of logic, there is no irrationalism, since irrationalism
involves breaking rules of logic (!). From a different angle, he speaks of true
thinking as a kind of thinking of logos, which Being can disclose to humans by way
of Dasein. At times, he comes close to identifying logos with Being. The Greek
word λόγος or logos has been translated into English in numerous ways, e.g. as
"reason", "word", "principle", "standard", or "logic". The Greek-English dictionary
of Liddell and Scott has a bewildering variety of translations from classical Greek,
depending on context, including "measure", "account", "value", "relation", "ratio",
"proportion", "analogy", "theory", "thesis", "argument", "rule", "law", "principle",
"ground", "thinking", "reasoning", "fable", "legend", "story", "utterance", "speech",
"talk", "phrase" (but "rarely a single word"), "assertion", "saying", "dialogue",
"report", "tradition", "subject-matter", "the Word or Wisdom of God". This list is not
irrelevant in view of Heidegger's knowledge of classical Greek and his dependence on
classical Greek philosophers.

2.36. Here is a sample set of definitions of "logos" from the Merriam-Webster

English dictionary quoted earlier:

1 often capitalized : reason or the manifestation of reason conceived in ancient Greek

philosophy as constituting the controlling principle in the universe: a : a moving and
regulating principle in the universe together with an element in man by which
according to Heraclitus this principle is perceived b : a cosmic governing or
generating principle according to the Stoics that is immanent and active in all reality
and that pervades all reality c : a principle that according to Philo is intermediate
between ultimate or divine reality and the sensible world.
2 usually capitalized : the actively expressed creative revelatory thought and will of
God identified in the prologue of the Gospel of St. John and in various Christian
doctrinal works with the second person of the Trinity.

Meaning 1 is not too bad a characterization of what Heidegger seems to mean by

logos. Meaning 2 refers to the first verse of the book of John which notoriously has
been translated from the Greek New Testament into English as : "In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Word is here
a translation of logos. This particular translation has led to many meditations on the
relationship of logic and language, and such relations were a major concern of

2.37. Vycinas says that for Heidegger:

. . . physis . . . is that which assembles all the things into their 'somethingnesses' by
throwing them into their boundaries; physis is logos. . . . logos is the 'logic' of physis
. . . logos is ratio, the basis of conventional logic. Man for the ancient Greeks, by
standing in physis and thus by understanding the assemblages or logos of physis, was
guarding the logos, guarding that which was assembled in in physis; whereas since
Plato, man became the true possessor of logos. Instead of being located in physis,
logos becomes located in the mind or, as Heidegger indicates, in a statement.

Vycinas quotes Heidegger :

In the beginning logos as assemblage is the occurrence of disclosure, and is founded

in and servile to it [to disclosure]. Now, on the contrary, logos as assemblage
becomes the place of truth in the sense of correctness. It results in the Aristotelian
thesis according to which the logos, [merely] as a statement, is that which can be true
or false.

The comments in brackets are by Vycinas. Heidegger distinguishes between truth as

correctness, the sort of thing one can get (or not) by employing logic, and truth by
disclosure, the kind of thing one can get from revelation or intuition or
unconcealment (aletheia).

2.38. It appears that according to Vycinas, physis and logos and temporalized Being
(and the World) are the same for Heidegger, although, on the other hand, they are not
the same. For example, Vycinas has said "The breaking through and coming forward
is Being, is physis", and he has said that "physis is logos", but that logos is "in the
mind", which I assume means in the minds of people. This contradiction is
appropriate in its way, since it appears that physis and logos) and temporalized Being
are various names Heidegger has given to the undifferentiated One which is the
source of everything, and which is linked with the Earth and Sky, with being and
beings, which are many. The One, like a Euclidean point, has no parts, so whatever
name we use for the One names the same thing. Presumably only the inferior kind of
logos which people possess leads to differences and contradictions. One might write
Logos for the kind which is the One, and logos for the kind Plato and Aristotle are
said to have introduced to us (explicitly).

2.39. Ontology (etymologically, on-logos, logos of being), as Heidegger understood

it, should transcend all the scientific -ologies : psychology, biology, and so on. He
considers practitioners of the scientific -ologies to be engaged in ontic rather than
ontological thinking, that is with a kind of practical thinking which doesn't open itself
to the authentic truth of Being. He took most philosophers who have been engaged in
ontology up to his time to have been thinking ontically, though some of the ancient
Greek philosophers are explicitly excepted. He also took practitioners of theology
(logos of God) to be engaged in a thinking of this kind, inasmuch as they started with
faith, whereas he -- he was doing what? It seems he was searching for faith,
searching in Sein und Zeit, and afterward.

3. On the Way to One-ing

3.1. Authentic thinking, according to Heidegger, opens us to Is-ingness. For this sort
of thinking one must try to think without negation. In everyday inauthentic or
practical thinking (including scientific thinking) we unavoidably bring to mind what
the things are not and/or an idea of nothing, or what the being is not and/or an idea of
non-being. In everyday thinking about ideas or when we form concepts, we
inevitably bring to mind opposites to and absences of the ideas and concepts. When
we think about a human being, we can't help thinking about the absence of that
human being. When we love a human being, we have thoughts of not loving, or even
of hate. However, when one is totally open to Is-ingness, such absences and
opposites and contraries are overcome. We think without negation. Aristotelian laws
of logic -- identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle, no longer constrain us. We
are free, we no longer distinguish something from nothing, what is from what isn't,
nor subject from object. The classical metaphysical categories of Being and
Becoming became One when Heidegger temporalized the classical Sein.
Furthermore, Being (Is-ingness) and Not-Being (Non-Being, Nothingness, Not-
Isingness) are melded together and become indistinguishable in the One. The One
and the Many are One-d by Heidegger, and Is-ingness ones.

3.2. This is an ultimate monism, and very like the mystical unions experienced and
described by members of various religions. The terms subject and object can refer to
how humans perceive, and also can refer to grammatical categories, the subject and
object of a statement. In languages, there is a universal availability of grammatical
negation, of not-ing, not to be confused with nothing or with "noting" (from "to
note"). This points to the difficulty of talking or writing about Heidegger's proposed
authentic thinking. Why then should we try to think this way? To overcome the
Parmenidean paradoxes, and follow a Heraclitean path by employing a Way (Weg,
Tao, Dao) provided for us by Heidegger? To find God, and lose our (everyday,
ordinary) selves?

3.3. On the other hand, God in most religions is considered as a source of Good, or of
Good and Evil. Heidegger's one-ing merges these into the One. In the Tanach and
the Old Testament, Yahweh, the one God, can be interpreted as being the source of
both Good and Evil, Beelzebub notwithstanding. This kind of dualism is explicitly
eliminated by Heidegger in some of his writings. Nor are the good God and Christ of
the New Testament opposed by Satan, for that would be another dualism which
Heidegger doesn't want to admit into Is-ingness. The question then arises, what is the
source of an ethics? Heidegger rejects a rational or logical foundation for ethics.
What then?

4. Times: Temporalität, Zeitlichkeit

4.1. Marjorie Grene observed that there is a sense in which the three basic
characteristics of Dasein correspond to a familiar three modes of time as commonly
conceived : past, present, future. Facticity, as relating to the world one is born into,
involves a past; forfeiture involves distraction in a present; existentiality points to
anticipation of a future. Heidegger speaks of two different kinds of time,
Temporalität and Zeitlichkeit. Temporalität is not the kind of time which is measured
by motions of celestial objects relative to the earth or other periodic processes, but
rather the kind of time which is a part of Is-ing. Zeitlichkeit, on the other hand, is a
kind of time experienced by humans by way of Dasein. Heidegger emphasized that
Zeitlichkeit is not consciousness of time, as Edmund Husserl would have it (in a
Kantian tradition), but something else. A notable property of Zeitlichkeit, human
time, as furnished by Dasein, is that for each human being, it is finite. Zeitlichkeit
must have a stop, but not (presumably) Temporalität. Heidegger is much concerned
with the finitude of people; that is, each one of us has died or is proceeding toward

4.2. According to Heidegger, the Zeitlichkeit of Dasein is not meant to be one of the
kinds of time found among physicists and other natural scientists, nor among social
scientists (including psychologists), at least as far as their professions are concerned..
Nor is it like Bergson's duration, as found in individual consciousnesses and more
generally in what he called creative evolution, a kind of unmeasured and
unspatialized time always elapsing from a past forward into a future. Zeitlichkeit, as
it is generated by Temporalität, is a personal kind of time which does not proceed
from past to present to future. Let's call it I-time. I-time is meant to describe how
humans live in their relationship with Is-ingness, and is not meant to refer, for
example, to any of the ways humans measure processes in the world -- the way we
"number motion", as Aristotle put it. In the activity of Is-ing, I-time moves from
future to past to present, because (for one thing) for each of us, living proceeds from
or is directed by awareness of death. Heidegger says "Das 'Wesen' des Daseins liegt
in seiner Existenz." Kaelin translates this as "The essence of a human being lies in its
existence", but remarks that this translation maintains the ambiguities of the original.
He offers instead the interpretation "The way a human being exists is as a projection
toward future possibilities". However, during the course of living, what has happened
already for each of us is (in part) revealed or accessible, and disclosed to each of us in
what we take to be each one of our personal presents, and, as Kaelin remarks:
"Existing in the present is a self-projection into the future."
4.3. Françoise Dastur reports that Heidegger's first text devoted to time was a lecture
of 27 July 1915 entitled "The Concept of Time in Historical Science". In his doctoral
dissertation of 1914, Heidegger had thanked one of his teachers for having awakened
"in the mathematician resistant to history love and understanding for it." Heidegger
had been attracted to a study of mathematics and physics when still in his gymnasium
years (high school). However, he entered the Freiburg University to study theology,
which furnished him with a scholarship. He was further attracted to mathematics by
reading Edmund Husserl's Die Philosophie der Arithmetik, and he was much
influenced by reading Husserl's later work, Logische Untersuchungen (Logical
Investigations) in which Husserl (who started as a mathematician) founded the
philosophical movement known as phenomenology. Husserl left the study of
theology, spent some time enrolled in the department mathematics and physics at the
university, and then turned to philosophy. His inaugural doctor's dissertation was
entitled Die Lehre vom Urteil im Psychologismus (The Doctrine of Judgment in  
Psychologism), and grew out of his study of Husserl's writings.  

4.4.  Dastur says about Heidegger's lecture of 1915 concerning time : "The work 
pursues an epistemological inquiry aimed at establishing the specificity of the concept 
of time in historical science, in opposition to the concept of time in the physical 
sciences."  Heidegger argues that the time of physicists is introduced to make 
measurement possible, and that for this they conceive of time as a uniform flow, 
which amounts (he says) to identifying time with space.  Quoting Dastur again, 
speaking of Heidegger's 1915 lecture : 

Opposed to this homogenized and spatialized time, which has become a mere 
parameter, is historical time, which is characterized, on the contrary, by its qualitative 
heterogeneity.  Historical science does not work with quantities, even when occupied 
with establishing chronology, but works instead only with significations and values ­­ 
which explains why it cannot be reduced to the epistemological model of the natural 
sciences.  . . . But, over and above the purely epistemological problem, some 
ontological considerations already appear about what constitutes "true" time, which is 
not physical time and is characterized by diversity and heterogeneity.

4.5.  In 1924, Heidegger gave a lecture in which he asserted that the concept of 
eternity is derived from our ordinary experience(s) of time, which he calls Dasein.  
He argues that concepts of eternity which involve timelessness or never­ending time  
are based on the kind of time we experience in our daily lives.  He proposes that the 
question "what is time?" be transformed into "who is time?", with the answer that we 
ourselves are time.  He says that Dasein is time, and, expressing the temporality of 
Being (Sein) that Dasein is "the Being of this entity that we know as human life".  
Furthermore, he argues that time, as given to humans, is inextricably received as 
related to our deaths.  We do not experience authentic Time as a sequence of neutral 
nows, much less a regular or periodic sequence of nows, as one find among scientists, 
or the kind of clock times with which people use to regulate or try to regulate their 
lives, but rather as a Vorlaufen, a "running toward" our deaths.  He may have arrived 
at this idea by way of his understanding of the Christian belief in parousia, the second 
coming of Christ, although he is concerned to find philosophical grounds and 
descriptions rather than theological ones based on faith.

4.6.  Dastur writes :

Heidegger discovered the conception of original temporality as authentic future in the 
first episode of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, which he commented upon in a course 
given during the winter semester, 1920­21, Introduction to the Phenomenology of  
Religion.  The Christian experience involves a new conception of eschatology in the 
sense that the authentic Christian relation to parousia, that it, to the second coming to 
presence of Christ, signaling the end of time, is not the awaiting of a future event but 
the readiness for the imminence of the coming.  Having a relation to parousia means 
being ready in the present rather than being in expectation of an event that has not yet 
taken place: the question "When?" has become the question "How to live?" ­­ namely, 
in the mode of readiness.  In fact, what really interests Heidegger in the original 
Christian experience is not the fact that it is a faith in this or that content of revelation, 
but that it is an experience of life in its facticity, that is, a life which takes no 
theoretical distance from itself but understands itself within the realm of its own 
unfolding.  Because this life does not attempt to provide an "objective" representation 
of existence by means of chronological reference pints and calculable contents, it 
remains delivered over to an indeterminate future and to the unmasterable character of 
time; it situates time, considered as a whole, less in the chronos than in the kairos, in 
the opportune moment, the moment of decision.  . . .  Heidegger calls this 
nonobjectifiable relation with time historicality  . . .

4.7.  This reminds of a motto of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement:  Live one day  
at a time.  Another recommendation of that movement is to turn one's life over to a 
"Power greater than one's self", God "as you understand Him", or if that won't do, to 
something which one hypostatizes.  I quote from an article in Fortune magazine, Feb 
1951:  "Gradually the phrase “as you understand Him” takes hold. Sometimes the
concept of the Higher Power can be accepted only by some elaborate stratagem. One
alcoholic, determined in his agnosticism, at last solved his problem by accepting as a
Power greater than himself the steam radiator than clanked and hissed in his
miserable room. It was hot and full of energy and burned him when he touched it. It
was sufficient. The radiator clanked inscrutably; the alcoholic stopped drinking". I'm 
led to think about Heidegger's Being, his Sein, as coming out of a steam radiator, 
furnishing a kind of heat or energy, call it Temporalität, which is disclosed via Dasein 
to an alcoholic as Zeitlichkeit, time of which the alcoholic is conscious inwardly, but 
may or may not measure by reference to something external.  The time of Being, the 
Temporalität, discloses in such a way that a human being looks forward, a function of 
Zeitlichkeit, the time of Dasein.  But during the period when an alcoholic is trying to 
give up alcohol, he or she may be overcome by anxiety or dread (Angst), so the trick is 
to strive to not look too far forward.  This technique may make it easier for the 
alcoholic to care about himself or herself more, and facilitate sobriety.  Such caring 
(Sorge) sounds like another feature of the existence of a human being furnished by 

4.8.  The thought has struck me that in order to give a name to the sort of 
Parmenidean One which Heidegger has led me to ponder, one might better use the 
term Temporalität, rather than Sein.  As far as I know, this is never done by 
Heidegger, and the name Sein is firmly established for what he was after.  Indeed, it 
might be that he would have objected to such a substitution.  An alternative for me is 
to use the term Is­ingness I introduced earlier, when, it appears, I already had 
something like this mind.

5. Sein und Zeit, Being and Time: the Book

5.1. And so we come to Sein und Zeit, Being and Time, the book which made
Heidegger famous, published in 1927. I will examine certain parts of the Introduction
in detail, then skip over to treatments of time(s), thus leaving out, for example,
sections which deal with space. I will work with the English translation by John
Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (M & R), 1962, checking on occasion against the
translation by Joan Stambaugh (JS), 1996 and a copy of the 11th unrevised edition in
German published by the Max Niemayer Verlag in 1967 (SZ).

5.2. In section 5 of part II of the Introduction, Heidegger announces the importance

of time in getting at, or opening oneself to the Sein of Dasein, the Being of being-in-
the-world. He says, in the translation by M & R:

We shall point to temporality as the meaning of the Being of that entity which we call
"Dasein". . . . In thus interpreting Dasein as temporality, however, we shall not give
the answer to our leading question as to the meaning of Being in general. But the
ground will have been prepared for obtaining such an answer.

The translation by JS has for this :

The meaning of the being of that being we call Da-sein proves to be temporality
[Zeitlichkeit]. . . . While it is true that with this interpretation of Da-sein as
temporality the answer to the guiding question about the meaning of being in general
is not already given, the soil from which we may reap it will nevertheless be

In SZ, we read :

Als der Sinn des Seins des Seienden, das wir Dasein nennen, wird die Zeitlichkeit
aufgewiesen. . . . Aber mit dieser Auslegung des Daseins als Zeitlichkeit ist nicht
auch schon die Antwort auf die leitende Frage gegeben, die nach dem Sinn von Sein
überhaupt steht. Wohl aber in der Boden für die Gewinnung dieser Antwort

5.3. We can see already some of the problems one has in trying to make out what
Heidegger is getting at, especially if one is not a native speaker of German, or at least
fluent in German, and tries to work by way of English translations. In the first
sentence of this quotation, we see, as I pointed out earlier, that M & R translate
Seienden with "entity", which loses the cognativity, the relationship of Seienden with
Sein (the lower case s in Seins is a signal for a genitive). In the translation by JS, this
is, so to speak, overpreserved, since Sein and Seienden are both translated with the
same term, "being". In the light of what I have said earlier, a first reaction might be
to alter the JS version to "The meaning of the Being of that being we call Da-sein
proves to be temporality [Zeitlichkeit]." This assumes that a reader has some
interpretation of Da-sein already available, but this is more or less reasonable since
Heidegger has earlier in the Introduction given some indication of what he means by
this term. However, there is still a problem, insofar as grammatically Seienden
appears to be plural, so it seems we should replace "Being of that being" with "Being
of those beings", and this is quite often done. This indicates, then, that Dasein refers
to the being (in the world) of humans as a whole, that is to "human being", and not to
"human beings" the way this term is used in population studies or biology or, as
Heidegger says, ontically rather than ontologically. This seems to explain why JS
wrote "being of being" rather than "being of beings", although she leaves the
entanglement which I have tried to illuminate by putting "Being of being", and I leave
the ambiguities of the terms "being" and "beings".

5.4. Heidegger continues (via M & R -- the italics are in the German) :

We have already intimated that Dasein has a pre-ontological Being as its ontically
constitutive state. Dasein is in such a way as to be something which understands
something like Being. Keeping this interconnection firmly in mind, we shall show
that whenever Dasein tacitly understands and interprets something like Being, it does
so with time as its standpoint. Time must be brought to light -- and genuinely
conceived -- as the horizon for all understanding of Being and for any way of
interpreting. In order for us to discern this, time needs to be explicated primordially
as the horizon for the understanding of Being, and in terms of temporality as the
Being of Dasein, which understands Being. This task as a whole requires that the
conception of time thus obtained shall be distinguished in the way it is ordinarily
understood. . . . Here we must make clear that this conception of time and, in
general, the ordinary way of understanding it, have sprung from temporality, and we
must show how this has come about. We shall thereby restore to the ordinary
conception the autonomy which is its rightful due, as against Bergson's thesis that the
time one has in this conception is space.

5.5. I have discussed earlier the contrast between ontical and ontological. It appears
that in the above quotation Heidegger is saying, to start with, that people as they live
their lives have a capacity to understand Being, which, whatever that is, is unlike their
everyday being. M & R are evidently bothered by the second sentence of their
translation, since they give the original for it in a footnote: Dasein ist in der Weise,
seiend so etwas wie Sein zu verstehen. I will translate this with "Dasein is such that
its being is of a sort to understand Being", i.e. people are able to understand Being,
whatever that is, with overtones of "whether they do so or not", and Heidegger
perhaps shouldn't be taken to mean a human being can completely understand Being.
Also, I expect that in light of later statements by Heidegger, we shouldn't understand
this use of "understand" in some everyday sense, or in some scientific or traditional
epistemological sense. JS has for this line: "Da-sein is in such a way that, by being,
it understands something like being." Besides the confusion which arises by
translating the present participle seiend and the verbal noun Sein with the same word
"being", this translation, like the one by M & R, has a problem with the phrase
"something like being", which in English rather strongly suggests that Being is a
thing, a something, in some way like the things a person meets every day, or that
scientists study. Heidegger often speaks against this interpretation. This suggestion
appears to be absent in the German version, since etwas and so etwas wie seem to
lack this force, and to suggest rather some relation to was, "what", as in the
translation "Dasein is the sort of being what understands Being". The use of "what"
instead of the usual "that" in this sentence does occur in some dialects of English.

5.6. The previous paragraph shows once more the sort of thing one gets into in trying
to interpret Heidegger's speech, certainly using English, and I expect also in German
in different ways. Heidegger says that when Dasein, or the being of Dasein,
understands or interprets Being, it does so "with time as its standpoint". The
translation by M & R of the third line in the quotation, given above, seems to me to
be further from the original (which I will forego quoting) than that of JS:
"Remembering this connection, we must show that time is that from which Da-sein
tacitly understands and interprets something like being at all". I would, as usual,
replace the word "being" with "Being", and the use of "something" is subject to the
same criticism as in the previous paragraph. As I see it, Heidegger is saying that
humans get at Being (when they do) by way of time, but, as he goes on to say, the
kind of time involved is not the sort that clocks or celestial movements measure, or
that can be represented spatially, e.g. using a straight line in the way mathematicians
and physicists do. Here, Heidegger's phenomenology shows, as he inherited it from
Edmund Husserl, and differences come to mind between, on one hand, our
experiences and consciousness of time, our inner time consciousness as presented by
Kant and Husserl, and, on the other hand, time as measured by external changes and
motions, making use of spatial perceptions or counting methods such as those
obtained by atomic clocks (although inner counting is also possible).
5.7. I am puzzled by the use of the word "horizon" (Horizont) in the next two
sentences of the quotation. On meaning of this word is skyline, where the earth meets
the sky, which for someone on the ground is always at a distance. However, a phrase
such as "to broaden one's horizon(s)" (seinen Horizont erweitern) means "to extend
the the range of one's vision or understanding or experience". It is odd of Heidegger
to speak of the kind of time he has in mind, a phenomenological time using a term so
evocative of space as "horizon" is, since he goes on to say that he doesn't mean this
kind of time to be "spatial". Perhaps he means that a person can't relate to Being in a
flash, but that it takes time for such a relation to occur; or perhaps he just means that
Dasein being what it is to him, a person necessarily encounters Being the way a
person encounters everything else of which a person becomes conscious. Kaelin
discusses this point. He says :

How is it to be understood that an analytic of our human being (Daseinanalytic) will

yield a "horizon" for an interpretation of Being in general? An answer may be found
in considering the function of a natural horizon, the limit of our visual field. For
Heidegger, all explanations are given from a particular point of view -- our place in a
world, from which we project an anticipated state of closure [final understanding, at
least provisionally?] on the basis of what we already understand about our
relationship to the objects of that world. As in our visual field, the "horizon" for an
interpretation is the furthest point [set of points, circle?] of projection; and all
"meanings" must be detected between the here and the there of the projection. Thus,
when Heidegger states that an analytic of our human being will lay bare a horizon for
determining the meaning of Being in general, he means to call to our attention the fact
that temporality will be found to be the meaning of our human being as caring, and
that it is in respect to that that we may find the grounds for explaining the being of
any entity whatsoever.

To understand (provisionally) that "temporality will be found to be the meaning of

our human being as caring", one can recall that the Zeitlichkeit, or time(s)-in-the
world, furnished by Temporalität, the Time-of-Being or Time-which-is-Being or Is-
ingness, is the explanation of how it comes about that we take care (Heidegger's
Sorge) to exist in our world(s). I write world(s) to indicate that speaking of "our
world" is ambiguous, since it may be taken to signify a single "world" for all, or
different, though related, worlds for each individual.

5.8. A final comment about the quoted paragraph : The word translated by
"temporality" is Zeitlichkeit. As I discussed earlier, Heidegger uses two words which
may be translated by "temporality", Zeitlichkeit and Temporalität. At this stage,
Heidegger hasn't distinguished between these two, so "temporality" here remains
suspended between ordinary, everyday time(s), and the time of Being, whatever that
turns out to be.

5.9. I pass now to the next paragraphs of the Introduction to Being and Time in the
translation by M & R, which I will present in the form of a dialogue between
Heidegger's statements (MH) and me talking to myself (GF) :
MH: 'Time has long functioned as an ontological -- or rather an ontical -- criterion
for naïvely discriminating various realms of entities.

GF: (to himself, here and throughout the dialogue -- Heidegger doesn't speak to me,
but hands me statements on a piece of paper, or sometimes on a computer screen)
Maybe both, depending on context?.

MH: A distinction has been made between 'temporal' entities [zeitlich Seiendes]
(natural processes and historical happenings) and 'non-temporal' entities [unzeitlich
Seiendes] (spatial and numerical relationships).

GF: So we have various kinds of times: (1) the times of natural processes, which may
include the unnumericalized and phenomenological times of everyday living as an
outcome of Dasein; (2) the times of history (Geschichte, what has happened), the
times of the history of historians (Historie, what is said about what has happened); (3)
the spatialized and numericalized times of mathematicians and physicists, as well as
the sort read everyday from clocks and/or more or less regular motions of the earth
and (other) relevant celestial objects. There are times inside of people, involving
consciousness or self-consciousness, and there are times outside of people,
chronological times, and times to measure motions with. (Did I hear someone ask for
one time at a time? I won't proceed to a single time or Time here, as can be seen by
my use of the plural of the word "time". Of course, here I'm not using "times" in such
senses as in "the good old times", or "the times when the alarm went off" or "the
motion will be interrupted at various times, which I will try to record". I have in
mind the many different possible and available concepts and explications of the term
"time", as the italicization times is meant to emphasize.)

MH: We are accustomed to contrasting the 'timeless' meaning of propositions with

the 'temporal' course of propositional assertions.

GF: Shades of classical metaphysics and logics, temporal logic, philosophies of

language(s) and literature(s), theories of truth and falsity, postmodernistic critical
theories, etc.

MH : It is held that there is a 'cleavage' between 'temporal' entities [zeitlich Seienden]

and the 'supra-temporal' eternal [überzeitlichen Ewigen], and efforts are made to
bridge this over.

GF: More shades of classical metaphysics, and shades -- or shadows -- of theology.

MH: Here 'temporal' always means simply being [seiend] "in time" -- a designation
which, admittedly, is still pretty obscure. The Fact remains that time, in the sense of
'being [sein] in time', functions as a criterion for distinguishing realms of Being.
Hitherto no one has asked or troubled to investigate how time has come to have this
distinctive ontological function, or with what right anything like time functions as
such a criterion; not has anyone asked whether the authentic ontological relevance
which is possible which is possible for it, gets expressed when "time: is used in so
naïvely ontological a manner. 'Time' has acquired this 'self-evident' ontological
function 'of its own accord' so to speak; indeed it has done so within the horizon of
the way it is ordinarily understood. And it has maintained itself in this function to
this day.

GF: Aha! So the times of everyday lives, and of scientists and historians, the ontic
times, are used in connection with explications of Being, as if they were applicable to
Being (and, I presume, to Non-Being and Nothingness), as if they could be used to
get at Being ontologically. This is put down as being naïve, horribile dictu.

MH: In contrast to all this, our treatment of the question of the meaning of Being
must enable us to show that the central problematic of all ontology is rooted in the
phenomenon of time, if rightly seen and rightly explained, and we must show how this
is case.

GF: So MH has depicted his goal. He is on der Weg zur Sprache (name of a work by
MH, translated as On the Way to Language), as well on his way to getting rid of
classical metaphysics and ontologies, contaminated as they are with onticities, so to
speak, and producing an authentic ontology. It appears that he is in search of a kind
of Urzeit, a primordial Time, Temporalität, which is at the root of all those ontic
times, those Zeitlichkeiten. -- or should that be Zeiten?

MH: (a little later) Thus the fundamental ontological task of interpreting Being as
such includes working out the Temporality [Temporalität] of Being.

GF: So we have now both temporality (Zeitlichkeit) and Temporality (Temporalität).

The latter is the one present in Being, while the former designates present to people
when they are being in the world (Dasein).

5.10. MH goes on to say that we should go back to the "Ancients" to start our
"concrete ontological research" with "an investigative inquiry which keeps us within
the horizon we have laid bare". I said earlier that I was puzzled by Heidegger's use of
the word "horizon" (Horizont) in this context. Now it seems to me that he did have in
mind something like "seeing at distance", the distance here being a time-like one, a
look backwards in historical time to certain ancient Greek philosophers, or perhaps
the reference is more to the difficulty of a person seeing through to Being as if Being
were far away from the person's apprehension or understanding.

5.11. Heidegger says (M & R) :

""Historicality" stands for the state of Being that is constitutive for Dasein's
'historizing' as such; only on the basis of such 'historizing' is anything like 'world-
history' possible or can anything belong historically to world-history. In its factical
Being, any Dasein is as it already was, and it is 'what' it already was. It is its past,
whether explicitly or not. And this is so not only in that its past is, as it were, pushing
itself along 'behind' it, and Dasein possesses what is past as a property which is still
present-at-hand and which sometimes has after-effects on it: Dasein 'is' its past in the
way of its own Being, which, to put it roughly, 'historizes' out of its future on each
occasion. Whatever the way of being it may have at the time, and thus with whatever
understanding of Being it may possess, Dasein has grown up both into and in a
traditional way of interpreting itself: in terms of this it understands itself proximally
and, within a certain range, constantly. By this understanding, the possibilities of its
Being are disclosed and regulated. Its own past -- and this always means the past of
its 'generation' -- is not something which follows along after Dasein, but something
which already goes ahead of it.

It will take some doing to unravel this! Let's see if the translation by JS is of any help
(I will capitalize her word" being when it comes from the word Sein) :

Historicity means the constitution of Being of the "occurrence" of Da-sein as such; it

is the ground for the fact that something like the discipline of "world-history" is at all
possible and historically belongs to world history. In its factual Being Da-sein always
is as and "what" it already was. Whether explicitly or not, it is its past. It is its own
past not only in such a way that its past, as it were, pushes itself along "behind" it,
and that it possesses what is past as a property that is still objectively present, and at
times has an effect on it. Da-sein "is" its past in the manner of its Being which,
roughly expressed, on each occasion "occurs" out of its future. In its manner of
existing [M & R translate "existing" with "being", uncapitalized] at any given time,
and accordingly also with the understanding of Being that belongs to it, Da-sein
grows into a customary interpretation of itself and grows up in that interpretation. It
understands itself in terms of this interpretation at first, and within a certain range,
constantly. This understanding discloses the possibilities of its Being and regulates
them. Its own past -- and that always means that of its "generation" -- does not follow
after Da-sein but rather always already goes ahead of it.

This helps a little, but I expect it will be best to compare these with the original. MH
has :

Geschichlichtkeit meint die Seinverfassung des "Geschehens" des Daseins als

solchen, auf dessen Grunde allererst so etwas möglich wie "Weltgeschichte" und
geschichtlich zur Weltgeschichte gehört. Das Dasein ist je in seinem faktischen Sein,
wie and "was" es schon war. Ob ausdrücklich oder nicht, ist es seine Vergangenheit.
Und das nicht nur so, dass sich ihm seine Vergangenheit gleichsam "hinter" ihm
herschiebt, und es Vergangenes als noch verhandene Eigenschaft besitzt, die zuweilen
in ihm nachwirkt. Das Dasein "ist" aus seiner Zukunft her "geschieht". Das Dasein
ist in seiner jeweiligen Weise zu sein and so nach auch mit dem ihm zugehörigen
Seinsverständnis in eine überkommene Daseinsauslegung hinein- und in ihr
aufgewachsen. Aus dieser her versteht es sich zunächst und in gewissen Umkreis
ständig. Diese Verständnis erschliesst die Möglichkeiten seines Seins und regelt sie.
Seine eigene Vergangenheit -- und das besagt immer die seine "Generation" -- folgt
dem Dasein nicht nach, sondern geht ihm je schon vorweg.

Let's try to hack a way through this thicket.

5.12. I take it that Geschichtlichkeit, translated by "historicality" (M & R) and
"historicity" by JS, refers to what happens in the world, as contrasted with what
historians say happens in the world. This suggests that the JS translation is better
than the one by M & R; cf. this definition from a Merriam-Webster dictionary: "a
condition of being placed in the stream of historical developments; also : a result of
such placement". Thinking of the term Seinverfassung and Geschehen as meaning,
respectively, something on the order of "constitutive Being" and "events", I am led to
this paraphrase of the above quotation :

The events of the world proceed from Being (Is-ingness), and this makes it possible
for what is said about the events to be events themselves. People in the world are as
and what they have already become. Whether known to them or not, people are their
pasts. And that is not only because their past, as it were, pushes them from behind,
and because their pasts are still at hand, and sometimes have an effect on them. What
happens to people as they live, happens to them from out of their futures. People live
in their particular way and thus with their understanding of themselves grow up into
and in traditional interpretations of their existence. From this, they understand
themselves to begin with, and to a certain extent continue to do so. This
understanding reveals the possibilities of their Being and governs them. Their
particular pasts -- and that means those generated by Being -- don't follow after them,
but are already in front of them.

One might take it that the last sentence is a declaration that a person's future is
predetermined, because that's the way Being [Is-ingness] is, or acts, or works. This
would make it sound like Heidegger is declaring declaring in favor of a
predeterminism, and against free will. I doubt that Heidegger subscribed to such a
Calvinistic belief. He more likely had in mind how we live with hopes and fears,
desires and aversions, expectations from life, and for Heidegger, especially dread of
death, such being done, as we say, in the light of our pasts, parts of which guide or
misguide us. Heidegger says that our pasts, as it were, push us from behind. Our
futures, on the other hand, may be said to pull us from ahead, as it were, on our ways
to our deaths, and there's nothing we can do about, so long as we shall live. While
sometimes we live in the past, especially as we age, we always must look forward to,
we must look ahead. If we reword this to say that time (Zeit) pushes us and pulls us,
we seem to invoke an active principle of Dasein, of living in the world, which recalls
ways some ancient poets and other creators of myth thought of time, e.g. as
Chronos. I began this study by invoking such personifications of time. It appears
that Heidegger is looking for some source, some explanation of this phenomenon in a
kind of Time (Temporalität) of Being (Sein), with which to transform or augment -- or
destroy -- our understandings of Being inherited from all the previous ontologists and
metaphysicians who failed to follow in the footsteps of certain ancient Greeks, and
failed to illuminate or disclose temporalized Being (Is-ingness) to others, and
presumably to themselves.

5.13. In a section entitled "The Task [or Problem] of Destroying the History of
Ontology", Heidegger announces that he will correct and go beyond Descartes and
Kant in his pursuit of time(s) and Time(s) (M & R) :
In pursuing this task of destruction with the problematic of Temporality as our clue,
we shall try to interpret the chapter on the schematism and the Kantian doctrine of
time, taking that chapter aws our point of departure. At the same time we shall show
why Kant could never achieve an insight into the problematic of Temporality. There
were two things that stood in his way : in the first place, he altogether neglected the
problem of Being; and, in connection with this, he failed to provide an ontology with
Dasein as its theme or (to put this in Kantian language) to give a preliminary
ontological analytic of the subjectivity of the subject. Instead of this, Kant took over
Descartes' position quite dogmatically, notwithstanding all the essential respects in
which he had gone beyond him. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that he was bringing
the phenomenon of time back into the subject again, his analysis of it remained
oriented towards the traditional way in which time had been ordinarily understood; in
the long run this kept him from working out the phenomenon of a 'transcendental
determination of time' in its own structure and function. Because of this double effect
of tradition the decisive connection between time and the 'I think' was shrouded in
utter darkness; it did not even become a problem.

So we have again a summary of what Heidegger is after in Sein und Zeit. There is a
suggestion that Kant's depiction of an unknowable and indescribable reality, the thing
in itself, the noumenon, is what constituted Kant's neglect of Being. Also, Heidegger
says, Kant failed to take into consideration the relationship of Being to the everyday
kinds of living covered by the term Dasein. And furthermore, Kant has conceived of
time in the way scientists (natural philosophers) like Newton did, and in the way it is
measured by the motions in clocks and in the skies, and other sorts of motion.
Heidegger is in search of the primordial Time of Being, which, he expects, will be
found in the consciousnesses of human subjects.

5.14. Heidegger assigns the failure of Descartes to take a position on Being to his
failure to take into account the relation of Being to Dasein, being-in-the-world. When
Descartes took as a starting point for philosophizing his "cogito ergo sum", "I think,
therefore I am", he left undetermined, according to Heidegger, "the meaning of the
Being of the 'sum' , of the "I am" or "I exist", which for Heidegger is one of
connotations of his term Dasein. Heidegger finds that in Descartes' Meditationes a
person is defined as an ens ("being"), and that the meaning of Being for such an ens is
that of ens creatum, created being, which in medieval ontology is contrasted to God,
ens increatum, uncreated being. Heidegger's point seems to be that Descartes took
God out of the picture, and failed to provide a philosophically satisfactory

5.15. Heidegger introduces here his special use of the word die Gegenwart which in
some contexts can mean presence in the sense of being at a place or being present on
some occasion, approximately synonymous with Anwesenheit, as in in Gegenwart
von and in Anwesenheit von, "in the presence of". However, the more common
meaning of die Gegenwart is the present as contrasted with the past or the future. M
& R remark that Heidegger seems to think of these meanings as fused together. They
translate die Gegenwart as "the Present" with a capital, to distinguish it from the
related adjective gegenwärtig, which also carries two meanings, "at the present time",
and in gegenwärtig sein, "to be present". I note that "he was present at her wedding"
can be translated into the awkward "he was in the present of her wedding", which
refers to a present which is past, and "he will be present at her wedding" may be
taken to refer to a present which is future.

5.16. Heidegger promises to give an interpretation of Aristotle's treatment of time in

the Physics, but in fact this never appeared. At the end of the Introduction to Sein
und Zeit, Heidegger lists the topics he intends to cover in the book, and Aristotle's
explication of time is the last item on the list for Part Two of Sein und Zeit. However,
Part Two never appeared, nor did the third and last part of Part One, which has the
title Zeit und Sein. Probably what Heidegger had in mind when he reversed the order
of "Sein" and "Zeit" was how he would expose a kind of time as intrinsic in Sein
(Being), unlike traditional metaphysicians who made Sein atemporal. He came to call
this kind of time Temporalität to distinguish it from Zeit, a term he reserved for
conceptions of time as found in the world, i.e. in Dasein. The two sections of Part
One which did appear are devoted to a study of this latter kind of time, which he
called Zeitlichkeit. M & R translate Zeitlichkeit as "temporality", uncapitalized, and
Temporalität as "Temporality", capitalized. Instead of this maneuver, one might
introduce the word "timeness" to translate Zeitlichkeit, or, in the spirit of Heidegger's
attachment to etymologies, one might form such a term as "time-like-ness".

5.17. The rest of the Introduction to Sein und Zeit is devoted to an explication of the
method Heidegger intends to use, a version of Husserl's phenomenological method. I
won't go into this here, except to say that Heidegger promotes this method as a way to
reveal the Being of entities, as contrasted with their being. I suggest that some idea of
what he has in mind is the proposal that by considering entities as they are in
themselves, without presuppositions or theories about them, the fundamental One or
Is-ingness which is the source of existence and non-existence (called death) will be
disclosed to some degree.

5.18. So much for Heidegger's Introduction to Sein und Zeit, in which he has laid out
his program. In his commentary, Being & Time, A Reading for Readers (1988), E. F.
Kaelin says:

Of the three aims set forth in his introduction -- re-posing the question of the meaning
of Being, undertaking the "destruction" of the history of ontology, and constructing an
analytic of human being -- only the third was achieved. What does exist of the other
two intended projects was never achieved by the method described in the
introduction, nor, in my view, could it have been. How could human speech, even on
the basis of analyzing temporality, the meaning of its being, allow Being in general to
show itself from itself as it is in itself? The very concept of Being in general, which
is not the being of a human not yet of a nonhuman entity, has never been made clear.
If being is always the being of some entity, what it that Being which, in its generality,
may be attributed to any entity? And by virtue of what is any such attribution to be
made -- an Aristotelian-like "analogy"? If so, we would not have progressed in
ontology, and out destruction of the history of the discipline would merely have been
its reinstauration. So many questions, so many doubts . . . . .
It appears, then, that as far as the main body of Sein und Zeit is concerned, as it was
published, we can't expect to find a clarification of what, so to speak, is behind
human being, be it a Parmenidean One, or God, or a philosophical replacement for
God, Being with capital B, or Temporalität, or Is-ingness, or . . . what? However, in
the rest of Sein und Zeit, one can look forward (as is the wont of Dasein) to finding
out something about time as it is experienced by or as it presents itself to humans as
they live, as time goes by, or (it may be) as they are some sort of time.

5.19. I recall the short allusions I made at the beginning of this essay to what
Westerners have come to call Greek myths. I spoke of Chronos, who (or which) is
sometimes said to eat his own children. Can we say that for Heidegger, Temporalität
does likewise, after first giving them Zeitlichkeit to live with for a while? Charles
Bambach has written on this topic in his Heidegger's Roots: Nietzsche, National
Socialism and the Greeks (2003). In his Preface, Bambach says, speaking of
Heidegger's "account of the history of being" :

In its simplest form, the story proceeds as follows: at the very beginning of the
tradition, the early Greek philosophers and poets set forth their poetic-philosophical
work from out of a primordial relation to earth as chthonos. Drawing on this
rootedness these early Greeks gave voice to the power of the earth as the hidden,
chthonic source for human destiny. . . . . . Heidegger will understand Germany's own
desperate situation of economic collapse, social upheaval, and political chaos in late
Weimar [i.e., late years of the Weimar Republic, preceding the Nazi takeover of
German government] in terms of the same rootless forces of enlightening rationality
that destroyed archaic Greece. The only way out of this situation, Heidegger will
claim, is to reconnect the German Volk with the archaic, chthonic sources of it own
tradition in language, landscape, and community. Theophany must become a
fundamental happening for the Volk; the task at hand is to prepare the way for the
return of the gods who have fled. [Walter F.] Otto's formulation of "the German
Problem", nurtured on the Philhellenism of Hölderlin and Nietzsche, will be reframed
by Heidegger in terms of an ontological narrative about the history of the West and of
Germany's singular role in retrieving the lost chthonic elements of archaic Greek

Walter Otto was the author of a work entitled Die Götter Griechenlands (The Gods of
Greece; 1929) in which, according to Bambach, Otto argues

that the enlightened Olympian religion of Homeric Greece covers over and occludes
the elemental subterranean dimension of Greek chthonic deities, ushering in a
rational-metaphysical epoch of Olympian enlightenment. In this turn away from the
primordial arche or origin of Greek culture, Olympian religion will lose touch with
the very sources of divine revelation -- what the Greeks called "theophany" or "the
manifestation of the god(s)".

6. Dasein and Zeitlichkeit: Everyday time

6.1. Heidegger speaks of a primordial time (Urzeit) of Dasein which is, I take it, the
way humans experience the Zeitlichkeit as it appears from or is disclosed by
Temporalität, the Time of Being (Sein). As such, it is the source of everyday time(s)
that humans are presented with and or which they construct, including not only
consciousness of inner time(s), but also outer time(s) as measured by observable
periodic processes. However, primordial time is finite as presented to Dasein, since
humans die, whereupon Temporalität ceases to disclose Zeitlichkeit to the individual
that dies, and a person who dies is no longer in-the-world, no longer participating in
Daseinheit ("being-in-the-world-ness"). A curious turn seems to occur here. Instead
of Chronos eating its children, we have children of Temporalität as it were eating
primordial time (Urzeit), finite portions of Zeitlichkeit, the world-time furnished to
humans by Temporalität. Or maybe not.

6.2. Kaelin says of such matters :

The time of the world, then, is a concept that derives from the ontology of the human
being and cannot be used as an explanation of the being of a human existent or any of
its institutions.

In the terms I've been using, this seems to say that Zeitlichkeit derives from
Temporalität, and the inner times and outer times of Zeitlichkeit as experienced by
humans in the world cannot function as reasons that humans live and die in the world,
nor that periodic processes can be measured (numbered).

6.4. At this point, I abandon Being and Time and the multifarious other works of
Heidegger -- at least for the time being. I conclude from what I have acquired from
my abbreviated exposure to Heidegger's thoughts that worrying about an ultimate
source of life and death can lure a person, so long as he or she shall live, into
continually choosing to ride on a merry-go-round while talking into the wind. One
way to discontinue or to never start on such a circuitous program is to dwell in a
religion or a mysticism. Another way to discontinue is to swear off riding the merry-
go-round. Some people evidently can't do this, but some can. I rather think that
ability to quit seriously caring about the ultimate foundation and maintenance of the
world depends on the quality of one's sense of humor.

7. Appendix 1: Some Origins

7.1. Martin Heidegger was born in Messkirch, Baden-Württenberg, Germany in

1889, and was raised as a conservative Catholic. His father was a Catholic sexton.
Martin developed an early interest in religion. He became a Jesuit novitiate for a
short time -- two weeks! He then entered the theological seminary at the university in
Freiburg, Germany, where he got a grounding in scholastic philosophy and theology.
He had even earlier become acquainted with phenomenology by way of Edmund
Husserl's Logical Investigations, a founding work of this philosophical movement.
He received a doctorate at Freiburg in 1913 with a thesis about judgment in
psychologism, which shows strong influence of the work of Husserl. The relations
between Heidegger's Catholicism and his philosophical views have been the subject
of much debate. Put concisely, it seems that Heidegger was searching all his life, one
way and another, for as reasonable a grounding as he could find for what he wished to
retain from the Roman Catholicism of his youth, possibly modified by the Lutheran
Protestantism of his wife, divorced from theism and doctrines of faith.

7.2. I say this despite the fact that Heidegger affirmed throughout his life that his
Being was not to be identified with God in a theological or ecclesiastical sense, and
that theology and philosophy were distinct and incompatible enterprises. Theology,
he said, is ontic, being based on faith, whereas his philosophy was ontological, and
concerned with the disclosure of Being (Sein) via Being-in-the-world (Dasein). In his
book God Without Being: Hors-Text (1991; translation of Dieu sans l'etre: Hors-texte,
1982), Jean-Luc Marion reports Heidegger's response made in 1951 to a question
about whether or not one can identify Being and God : "Being and God are not
identical and I would never attempt to think the essence of God by means of Being. .
. . If I were yet to write a theology -- to which I sometimes feel inclined -- then the
word Being would not occur in it. Faith does not need the thought of Being. When
faith has recourse to this thought, it is no longer faith. This is what Luther
understood." But who can't discern a concern (Sorge) with a kind of God in his
treatment of Being?

7.3. In 1924, before the publication of Zeit und Sein in 1927, Heidegger gave a
lecture to the Marburg Theological Society entitled "Der Begriff der Zeit" which has
been published, bilingually, as The Concept of Time (1992). Languages being what
they are, and language being what it is, I think it's helpful to give multiple translations
from one language to another, done by different people. In this spirit, I will give two
translations into English of a passage from the beginning of this lecture, and then the
original German. First, I give the one made by William McNeill in the book
mentioned :

What is time?

If time finds its meaning in eternity, then it must be understood starting from eternity.
The point of departure and path of this inquiry are thereby indicated in advance: from
eternity to time. This way of posing the question is fine, provided that we have the
aforementioned point of departure at our proposal, that is, that we are acquainted with
eternity and adequately understand it. If eternity were something other than the
empty state of perpetual being, the àeí, if God were eternity, then the way of
contemplating time initially suggested would necessarily remain in a state of
perplexity so long as it knows nothing of God, and fails to understand the inquiry
concerning him. If our access to God is faith and if involving oneself with eternity is
nothing other than this faith, then philosophy will never have eternity and,
accordingly, we will never be able to employ eternity methodologically as a possible
respect in which to discuss time. . . . The philosopher does not believe. If the
philosopher asks about time, then he has resolved to understand time in terms of time
or in terms of the àeí, which looks like eternity but proves to be a mere derivative of
being temporal.
Here is my own translation. Besides being stylistically different from McNeill's, it is
also a little more literal :

What is time?

If time finds its meaning in eternity, then it must be understood from there. The
starting point and path of this search are thus predetermined: from eternity to time.
This posing of the question is in order under the assumption that we can access the
aforementioned starting point so we know and sufficiently understand eternity.
Should eternity be something other than empty "always being", the àeí [ancient Greek
for "always" or "forever", made into a noun, "the always"], should God be eternity,
then the kind of consideration of time first suggested must remain a puzzle as long as
one knows nothing of God, doesn't understand the inquiry about him. If our access to
God is faith, and involving oneself with eternity is nothing else than this faith, then
philosophy will never get to [haben] eternity and therefore we will never be able to
take this as a possible way to discuss time for methodical use. . . . The philosopher
does not believe. If the philosopher asks about time, then he has decided to
understand time from time or from the àeí, which looks like eternity but shows itself
as a mere derivative of the being of time.

And here is the original :

Was ist die Zeit?

Wenn die Zeit ihren Sinn findet in der Ewigkeit, dann muss sie von daher verstanden
werden. Damit sind Ausgang and Weg dieser Nachforschung vorgezeichnet: von der
Ewigkeit zur Zeit. Diese Fragestellung ist in Ordnung unter der Voraussetzung, dass
wir über den vorgenannten Ausgang verfügen, also die Ewigkeit kennen und
hinreichend verstehen. Sollte die Ewigkeit etwas anderes sein als das leere
Immersein, das àeí, sollte Gott die Ewigkeit sein, dann müsste die zuerst nachgelegte
Art der Zeitbetrachtung so lange in einer Verlegenheit bleiben, als sie nicht von Gott
weiss, nicht versteht die Nachfrage nach ihm. Wenn die Zugang zu Gott der Glaube
ist und das Sich-einlassen mit der Ewigkeit nie haben und diese sonach nie als
mögliche Hinsicht für die Diskussion der Zeit in methodischen Gebrauch genommen
werden können. . . . Der Philosoph glaubt nicht. Fragt der Philosoph nach der Zeit,
dann ist er entschlossen, die Zeit aus der Zeit zu verstehen bzw. aus dem àeí, was so
aussieht wie Ewigkeit, was sich aber herausstellt als ein blosses Derivat des

7.4. There are other ways to translate besides a more or less faithful transfer from one
language to another (or from a language to itself) sentence by sentence and phrase by
phrase. For example, one can try to condense. Here is a condensation of these
passages :

If philosophers start by trying to find the meaning of time from the meaning of
eternity, they won't get very far. Philosophers can't start by identifying eternity with
God, but must try to find out about time starting from time itself.
This seems to me to be a fairly good description of what Heidegger was trying to do
at some length (of time) in his Sein und Zeit.

7.5. Here is another condensation by John Sallis, from Echoes: After Heidegger
(1990) (or a condensation of a commentary, as quoted by Frank Schalow in
Heidegger and the Quest for the Sacred (2001) :

"The Concept of Time" begins in a manner appropriate to the theological audience by

referring time to eternity -- or, rather, by introducing such a referral only to disavow
it. . . . The difficulty is that philosophy, unlike theology, can make no claim to
understand eternity. This difficulty cannot be removed for the philosopher. . . .
Rather, he would understand time out of time in precisely such a way as to forego
referring time to anything else, would understand it from out of itself.

7.6. Schalow's book is a study of positive influences of Heidegger's thought on

theological matters. In his concluding chapter, Schalow says :

We have reached the crucial point in our inquiry where it is necessary to ask "Why
Heidegger?": what has been gained by seeking in his thought a new avenue to
approach theological questions? As indicated at the close of the last chapter,
Heidegger plants the seeds for a postmodern theology which can restore a sense of the
divine mystery, or reaffirm the religious experience of the "wholly other." By taking
Heidegger's lead, we can determine that there is more than a superficial resemblance
between the thought of being and the mystery of God. Indeed, his thought enables us
to address what is distinctive of the divinities as much through the modality of their
absence as through their presence.

From my point of view, this is not a surprising conclusion, since Heidegger's central
enterprise seems without doubt to have been the depiction of a Catholic God
independent of Catholic faith, doctrine and history, and independent of Catholic logic
and reasoning, as engaged in by theologians old and modern. A notion of Truth,
distinct from truths of logical reasoning was to be accepted. Schalow says

Heidegger's attempt to displace the locus of truth from the proposition, however, is
completed only when he cultivates . . . [a] radical approach to language. The power
which we normally attribute to speech must take its cue from the accompanying
process of self-showing [aletheia, revelation].

Schalow's intention is to reclaim Heidegger for theology. The question of the extent
to which Schalow has succeeded in this, I must leave aside.

7.7. The appearance of such a detheologized God and such a derationalized Truth,
what I have called Heidegger's Is-ingness, was to occur by way of aletheia,
"revelation", "unforgetting", "clearing". But then, in view of the difficulty humans
have in receiving aletheia, it necessarily would also be accompanied by "mystery",
"feeling the holy", unless, somehow, it were a total unio mystica. Stated so baldly, the
approach seems Gnostic, even Kabbalistic, and makes one think of Buddhist nirvana.
One remembers that Hans Jonas, a prominent exponent of Gnosticism, was a student
of Heidegger's in the 1930s. On the other hand, Heidegger's approach is of a kind
associated with the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, in its expectation that such
revelation could be unencumbered by anything involved in living in the world, other
than one's consciousness. Such revelation would be purely subjective, though
available to anyone, and would be the same (the One) for everyone. Many years ago,
when reading Plato's Phaedo, I was surprised by the thought that the immortality
Plato was getting at sounded a lot like death, was, as it were, annihilation of Dasein.
After death, we will be immortal in the sense that we will change no more, and be
forever whatever it was we had become. I wonder if Heidegger's intense concern
about death was connected with such thoughts. What if Is-ingness turns out to be not
God purified for philosophers, but some thing that perishes along with No-thing-
ness, with cessation of Dasein, which turns out to be ordinary death? What if
Nietzsche's death of God occurs with each death of an individual who has been
visited by God, and death of Sein occurs with each philosopher who has been
occupied with (or by) Sein?

8. Appendix 2: Heidegger and the Nazis

8.1. After World War 2 and the exposures of the Nazi policies of extermination
against Jews and others, Hannah Arendt (Jewish) and Karl Jaspers (Jewish wife), two
of his closest friends (at times) and both devoted to his philosophical views (at times),
struggled with the question of Heidegger's Nazism. Both of them often remarked on
the passion with which Heidegger pursued philosophical investigations, and the way
Heidegger made the writings of classic philosophers seem alive and relevant. Arendt
and Jaspers were more than close friends of Heidegger before World War 2, they were
to some degree disciples in the early years of their contact. Among other things,
Arendt and Heidegger were lovers. Their affair began when she was a young student
of his, 18 years old, and he was a married man of 35, with two children. They
intermittently communicated for many years, and she defended him in various ways
until her death in 1975. There seems to have been something passionately
mesmerizing about Heideggerr. Shortly after World War 2, when Heidegger was
subjected to a denazification process, Jaspers wrote to the committee that Heidegger's
ways of thinking, speaking and acting "had a certain affinity" with Nazi
characteristics, and Heidegger was banned from teaching until 1950. This is not to
say that Heidegger's philosophy did or did not possess characteristics of Nazi politics,
nor that Heidegger's mind and character as revealed in his book Sein und Zeit
significantly resembles Hitler's mind and character as revealed in Hitler's book Mein
Kampf. But it does recall the passion stirred in many Germans by the Nazi movement
in the 1930s, and especially the mesmerizing effect Hitler had on many people.

8.2. It has been well verified that in the 1930s Heidegger became enamored of and
active to some degree in the Nazi movement in his homeland. There have been many
attempts to associate or disassociate his philosophical and political views. One
typical hypothesis is that in 1933 Heidegger saw in the Nazi movement an
opportunity for a transformation of the people of Germany which would occur if his
views on what he called authentic (eigentlich) being or being-in-the-world were to be
promulgated by an authoritarian government. Heidegger himself said something like
this in 1948, in a letter in answer to a letter from Herbert Marcuse ("Marcuse and
Heidegger: An Exchange of Letters", New German Critique, 1991). Heidegger spoke
of a renewal of western Dasein, and protection of that Dasein "from the dangers of
communism". He went on to say that he recognized his error sometime in 1934, but
did not make any public declarations about this because "it would have been the end
of both me and my family". He says he didn't make any claims about his renunciation
after 1945 because that would have put him in a class with Nazis who lied to about
their allegiance to the movement "in a most loathsome way", and he "had nothing in
common with them. Marcuse had especially asked about Heidegger's reactions to the
killing of Jews in concentration camps and death factories, and elsewhere, i.e. about
the Holocaust. Here Heidegger made an incriminating reply, by trying to excuse the
killing by comparing it to what "one of the allies" (presumably Russia) did in eastern
Germany. Marcuse would buy nothing of this, and in a subsequent letter condemned
Heidegger for trying to explain or relativize or comprehend the Holocaust by saying
that others did the same thing, especially when what happened in eastern Germany
was nowhere near being comparable to what happened with the killing of Jews.
Marcuse also wrote: "You, the philosopher, have confused the liquidation of
occidental Dasein with its renewal? Was this liquidation not already evident in every
word of the "leaders", in every gesture and deed of the SA [Sturmabteilung, Storm
Troopers], long before 1933?"

8.3. It appears that Heidegger hoped, at least initially, that National Socialism would
lead to a new kind of national religion, based on his kind of philosophy, perhaps
rather than on Christian dogma and theology. Heidegger bristled at being called an
atheist, so it is perhaps unfair to claim that a message of his work is the advent of
atheism, or even agnosticism. As to his relations to Nazism, in The Reckless Mind
(2001), Mark Lilla writes that Heidegger "was never able to confront the issue of
philosophy's relation to politics, of philosophical passion to political passion. For
him, this was not the issue; he simply had been fooled into thinking that the Nazis'
resolve to found a new nation was compatible with his private and loftier resolution to
refound the entire tradition of Western thought, and thereby Western existence." I
wonder to what extent this new foundation was to be a kind of de-theologized
Catholicism, based on his anguished attempts to come to grips with his loss of a rural
and peaceful world, and having grown up in the heart of a devout religious family.

8.4. We have Heidegger's statement that while he was attracted to the Nazi
movement in (or before?) 1933, he changed his mind sometime in 1934, and came to
think that the Nazi movement as originally envisioned fell afoul of devotion to what
Nietzsche christened the Will to Power (only starting in 1934? -- hard to believe).
Heidegger gives evidence in various places that he believed, to start with, that the
program of the Nazis, as he understood it, would overcome what he took to be evils
of modernism, programs and ideals which arose during the Enlightenment, such as
too much devotion to sciences, too much promotion of technology, and establishment
of more republican or democratic governments. It has been suggested that Heidegger
may have hoped to play successfully a role like that Plato unsuccessfully played in his
trips to Syracuse, trying to lead the young ruler (tyrant) Dionysius II to adopt
principles of philosophical rule of the sort Plato proposed in his writings. But
Heidegger, like Plato at Syracuse, seems to have found (he says by 1934) that
authentic Being, as he saw it, and political action, as he experienced it in Germany,
were antagonists. Heidegger was an academic philosopher, Adolf Hitler and most of
his accomplices were not.

8.5. Charles Bambach, in his book Heidegger's Roots: Nietzsche, National

Socialism, and the Greeks (2003) makes a strong case for taking into account, in
interpreting the works of Heidegger, the political contexts in which they were
written. To evaluate the nature of Heidegger's commitment to Nazism, Bambach
concentrates on his works written during the period of Nazi ascendancy, 1933-1945.
I quote here a passage from the Introduction to Bambach's book:

Heidegger's pastoral language of field paths, native soil, pathmarks, fertile gound, and
folkish rootedness -- what I will summarily term "Heidegger's roots" -- betrays a
fundamental unity with the language and axiomatics of his "other" paramilitary
discourse about heroism, sacrifice, courage, will, struggle, hardness, violence, and
self-assertioin that marks his political works of the '30s and beyond. Far from being a
pastoral roundelay about the rural landscape, Heidegger's song of the earth in praise
of rootedness and autochthony (Bodenständigkeit) is part of a martial-political
ideology of the chthonic that was deployed in the 1930s in the name of German
metaphysical-racial autochthony. In Heidegger's work this autochthonic metaphysics
of exclusion aims to supplant the crude biological racism of Nazi ideologues, such as
Alfred Rosenberg and R. Walther Darré, by defining the essence of a Volk in terms of
roots and belonging. Hence, Heidegger will consistently oppose the Nazi discourse
of biological racism on philosophical grounds, since Nazi scientific-ethnological
categories of blood and genetic inheritance are wholly at odds with the existential
categories of Being and Time and the early Freiburg lectures.. More simply,
Heidegger saw that the Nazi metaphysics of blood denied the essential historicity of a
Volk by maintaining a positivist metaphysics of scientism and anthropologism in its
place, Heidegger's critique is counter-racial, yet racial nonetheless, because it is still
a version of German rootedness as a form of political metaphysics, which, of course,
was not original with Heidegger. As we will seem it developed both in and against
the Kriegsideologie of the Great War that shaped right-wing thinking during the years
of the Weimar Republic.

The situation being what it was and is, Heidegger's use of the term Bodenständigkeit
for "rootedness" brings to mind the Nazi slogan Blut und Boden, "Blood and Soil" or
"Race and Land", which the red and black colors of the Nazi swastika flag were said
to symbolize. This in turn evokes a string of German keywords of the Nazizeit und
Nazisein : Volk, Heimat, my people, my homeland; Vaterland und Muttersprache,
fatherland and mother tongue; Heimweh und Seinweh, longing for home, longing for
Being; Lebensraum und Arbeit Macht Frei, living space and "Work makes one free"
(old peasant saying, adopted as a motto over an entrance to concentration camp and
killing chambers at Auschwitz). Actually, I haven't seen Nazisein nor Seinweh before,
but these terms seem to be in the spirit of Heidegger's use of the German language.
Some might argue that Nazisein should be Nazidasein, which may dissassociate true
Being (as Temporalized) from everyday urban and scientific being-in-the-world (as in
Nazizeit, which I have seen here and there).

8.6. Bambach lists a number of points of agreement of Heidegger with Nazi

thinkers. Speaking of the economic collapse and political and social upheavals in
Germany after World War I, Bambach says that Heidegger and Nationalist Socialist
thinkers had :

A shared sense that the immediate roots of this crisis go back to the Great War -- a
war waged by the Germans against the "ideas of 1789" (belief in the rights of man,
democratic equality, the liberty of the individual, social contract theory, a liberal
Enlightenment faith in reason, and the ideal of a modern centralized nation-state) and
in support of the "ideas of 1914" (the militaristic affirmation of Germany's cultural
mission to save the West, the commitment to a view of the German Volk as a
Gemeinschaft forged by the front soldiers in the trenches; the radical affirmation of
the Volk over the individual; the sense that Germany's spiritual rebirth depends on
waging a fateful battle [Kampf] against the Anglo-French model of nationalism and
the whole Western Enlightenment definition of freedom, equality, individuality).

8.7. I will not discuss any further here the relationship between Heidegger as a
person and Heidegger's philosophical work, on the one hand, and the National
Socialist German Workers Party and events in Germany of the Hitler years, on the
other hand. I will leave this subject with a quotation from Path to Collective
Madness (2001) by Dipak K. Gupta, a professor of political science who has
published extensively on such topics as public policy, economic behavior and
political violence, as may seen by visiting his website. As far as I can tell, Gupta has
no professional interest in Heidegger or Heidegger's kind of philosophy. I am struck
by what I take to be an unintended resemblance of parts of his description of the Nazi
regime to some of the fundamentals of Heidegger's thought. The insertions in
brackets are mine.

The National Socialist ideology was based on the notion of the Volksgemeinschaft --
the folk [German national] community -- which was going to replace the vile,
atomizing industrial society of Gesellschaft [business, corporations]. The
Volksgemeinschaft was a total community that regulated every aspect of life of an
individual within it. An egalitarian society based in equal rights for its Aryan
members was to replace the prevailing society based on economic class and birth.
Anyone born in this Volk is bound by the identity of a common race. In this new
society all men and women would know their place and find meaning in their lives
through total dedication go ghe communal spirit. In return, the new Aryan nation
would provide a harmony between themselves and others (the Aryans were going to
rule over the non-Aryans) and between the Aryan community and nature. This unity
would be based on a mystical nexus among Blut (blood), Volk (people), and Boden
(the "German" soil) and on the simpler values of Aryan agrarian society. These four
essential notions provided symbolic expressions of the Nazi Party: the red color of
blood, the black of the soil, and the images of shovel and grain. And, of course, from
the Aryan past came the symbol of the swastika.

8.8. In view of Heidegger's absorption with language and etymology, especially

German and classical Greek, it may not be irrelevant to mention here that the term
Indo-Aryan was once a synonym among linguists for Indo-European. The word
Aryan is of Persian origin, and is the etymological ancestor of the word Iran. These
terms refer to a family of languages whose origins and evolution have been much
studied, especially by German philologists, starting in the early 19th century. The
family consists of early Greek and Latin, most modern European languages and their
ancestors, including the Germanic (Teutonic), Italic (Romance), Slavic and Celtic, as
well as Farsi (from Parsi, Persian), Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali. There have been and
still are numerous conflicting theories of the ultimate origins of this group of

8.9. I am led by my provisional estimation of Heidegger to picture him as a person

who strove mightily to interpret the world in terms of values he acquired in his
childhood in the provincial German town of Messkirch, as the son of a sexton of a
Catholic church. He regarded the peasants of this region as "the salt of the earth", as
the old phrase goes. When he was thrust out into a larger world as a soldier during
World War I, and as a university student, he brought with him a keen desire to
construct, in his teaching and writing, a world modeled after Messkirch and its
surroundings, a world in which there would be an attachment and submission to some
higher Being, conceived philosophically and without traditional religious beliefs, a
world in which one could dwell unencumbered by mere everyday matters. He seems
to have had an unusually philosophical case of Heimweh, homesickness. He was
according to all accounts a spellbinding lecturer and a copious writer who was
notably attached to poetic expression and antagonistic to the dry talk of scientistic
people. He was also notably antagonistic to what he took to be severe threats to
idealized kinds of rural and small-town life set down in him when he was a child,
threats arising from technological developments, and from departures from secure
authoritarian rule. He was, at least during the Nazi years, not averse to the idea of a
struggle, a Kampf, to bring about such a world, whatever the cost might be to those
who enthusiastically looked forward to technological developments, and to
democratic institutions, in the spirit of 1789 and the European Enlightenment.

8.10. In what I have read of Heidegger's works, and those of his followers and critics,
supporters and detractors, I have been struck by a lack of reference to population
increase with reference to the hopes for a transformation or return into a world like
that around Messkirch during Heidegger's childhood, as Heidegger experienced and
interpreted it. The fundamental urge to propagate was not taken into serious
consideration as a cause not only of overpopulation, but of a large proportion of the
technological developments during the 19th century. The same can be said about
developments of democratic institutions. Such developments were instrumental in
enabling larger populations to be fed, clothed, housed and otherwise supported and
entertained, and also in enabling groups of people -- the Germans, for example -- to
try to spread out by military means, while at the same time finding something for
people to do, and incidentally temporarily reducing the size of populations. But this is
another story.