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Heidegger's Concept of Temporality: Reflections of a Recent Criticism

Author(s): Daniel O. Dahlstrom

Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Sep., 1995), pp. 95-115
Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc.
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The Review of Metaphysics

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W? HATEVER else Heidegger had in mind when he outlined the proj

ect of Sein und Zeit, he makes it clear that the finished portion of
the project is supposed to be an "interpretation of Dasein in terms
of temporality (Zeittichkeit)"1 Yet, despite this clear expression of
his intentions, there has been, at least until quite recently, a notice
able neglect of those chapters in which Heidegger expUcitly turns to
temporaUty in the process of completing this interpretation.2 Some

Correspondence to: The School of Ph?osophy, The CathoUc University

of America, Washington, D.C., 20064.
1 Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (hereafter, "SZ") (T?bingen: Nie
meyer, 1972), 39. This translation of Zeitlichkeit as "temporality" departs
from Kockelmans' suggestion of translating it as "temporalness" in order
to employ "temporality" as a translation of Temporalit?t. See Joseph J.
Kockelmans, "Heidegger's Fundamental Ontology and Kant's Transcendental
Doctrine of Method," in Kant and Phenomenology, ed. Thomas M. Seebohm
and Joseph J. Kockelmans (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America,
1984), 169. "Tempora?t?t" is Heidegger's term for "Zeitlichkeit" insofar as
the latter is considered as the condition of the possib?ity, not merely of "da
zu sein," but of "the understanding of being and ontology as such." See
Martin Heidegger, Grundprobleme der Ph?nomenologie, ed. Friedrich-W?
helm von Herrmann (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1975), 324. However,
since in SZ the term Temporalit?t surfaces only in the introduction (eleven
times) wh?e Heidegger's overriding preoccupation is with Zeitlichkeit, it
seems appropriate to use the more common English term "temporality" for
the latter.
2 For exceptions to this trend, in addition to the already cited piece
by Kockelmans, see John Sallis, "Time Out," in Echoes: After Heidegger
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 44-75 and WilUam Blattner,
"Existential Temporality in Being and Time (Why Heidegger is not a Prag
matist)," in Heidegger: A Critical Reader, ed. Hubert Dreyfus and Harrison
HaU (Cambridge, MA: BlackweU, 1992), 99-129. For overviews of the rela
tion between Husserl's and Heidegger's views on time, see Rudolf Bernet,
"Die Frage nach dem Ursprung der Zeit bei Husserl und Heidegger," Heideg
ger Studies 3/4 (1987-88): 89-104; Robert J. Dostal, "Time and Phenomenol
ogy in Husserl and Heidegger" in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger,
ed. Charles B. Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993):

Review of Metaphysics 49 (September 1995): 95-115. Copyright ? 1995 by the Review of


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of this neglect in the United States can be traced to the influence of

Hubert Dreyfus. In the preface to his commentary on Division One
of Sein und Zeit, based on lecture notes that had been circulating
for some twenty years, Dreyfus excuses this neglect of the discussion
of temporaUty by claiming, in the first place, that "his [Heidegger's]
account [of the chapters on originary temporaUty] leads him so far
from the phenomenon of everyday temporaUty that I did not feel I
could give a satisfactory interpretation of the material" and that, in
the second place, Division Two seemed to Dreyfus "to have some
errors so serious as to block any consistent reading."3
Another possible source of this neglect in the United States is
the work of Mark Okrent.4 In Heidegger's Pragmatism Okrent does,
indeed, take seriously the importance of the account of temporaUty
for the project of Sein und Zeit, as originaUy conceived by Heideg
ger. However, Uke Dreyfus, Okrent is so taken by the pragmatic
character of the analyses in Division I that he ignores Heidegger's
analysis of authentic existence and thereby any bearing that this anal

141-69; also noteworthy are Piotr Hoffman, "Death, Time, History: Division
II of Being and Time" in Heidegger: A Critical Reader, 195-214 and David
FarreU KreU, "The Raptures of Ontology and the Finitude of Time," in Inti
mations of Time and Being: Time, Truth, and Finitude in Heidegger's
Thinking of Being (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press,
1986), 47-63.
3 Hubert Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's
Being and Time, Division I (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991), vin. For reasons
discussed below, it is noteworthy that Dreyfus in this connection objects
not only to the account of temporaUty, but to the entire Division II in which
Heidegger gives what he considers the requisite interpretation of authentic
existence. Dreyfus finds corroboration for his assessment of Division II in
the fact that Heidegger had originaUy submitted only Division I for pubfica
tion; because the Ministry of Education considered this insufficient, Heideg
ger is said to have "agreed, in exchange for tenure, to pubfish a hastily
finished version of Division H"; ibid.
4 Mark Okrent, Heidegger's Pragmatism: Understanding, Being, and
the Critique of Metaphysics (Ithaca: CorneU University Press, 1988). Ok
rent's interpretation has been praised by Rorty. "In Part I of his Heidegger's
Pragmatism, Mark Okrent has shown, very carefuUy and lucidly, how to read
Being and Time as a pragmatist treatise"; Richard Rorty, Essays on Heideg
ger and Others (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 32. See,
however, ibid., 33 and 38-9 n. 22 for Rorty's own conception of how to read
Division II of Sein und Zeit and his criticism of Okrent's view that "all
pragmatism either must be based on a transcendental semantics or be self

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ysis might have on the account of temporaUty; in addition, he es

chews Heidegger's extensive talk of " 'ecstases' of temporality and
their 'horizonal schemata' " as inappropriate, picture-thinking hold
overs from Husserl.5 Perhaps even more significant for contemporary
assessments of Heidegger's account of temporaUty as the meaning of
'to be' is Okrent's contention that the account is basically aporetic.
Okrent fa?s to find in Sein und Zeit "the conceptual resources" for
distinguishing between " 'presence' in the sense of presentabiUty and
presence as the ground of presentabiUty." As a result, he concludes,
Heidegger's argument is transcendental and thus verificationist, im
plying a kind of metaphysical pragmatism, ultimately distasteful to
Heidegger and a prime source of the Kehre.6
Neglecting and discrediting Heidegger's analysis of temporaUty
is not, however, a singularly American phenomenon. In Germany,
too, there has been a paucity of studies devoted to unpacking what
Heidegger understands by temporaUty in the context of the project
of Sein und Zeit.7 When German scholars do take up Heidegger's

5 Okrent, Heidegger's Pragmatism, 212 n. 67; Okrent does not speU out
exactly what he has in mind here. By this point in Sein und Zeit, it seems
highly unfair to interpret such expressions as indications of some sort of
Cartesian mentalism or representationalism on Heidegger's part. Perhaps
he is aUuding to the curiosity?to put it m?dly?that the final account of
time refies on such visual and/or spatial metaphors and expressions as "hori
zon" and "outside itself" (Au?er sich). For pertinent remarks in this regard,
see Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B50 and Sallis, Echoes, 60-1, 63.
6 "What it is to be is specified by our understanding of what it is to be
only if what it is to be is nothing other than the conditions under which we
would be warranted in thinking or asserting that some thing is, because our
intention that it is would be fulfiUed. If there is no such intention, and thus
no such conditions (for example, because there does not happen to be any
Dasein), then there 'is' no being"; Okrent, Heidegger's Pragmatism, 217.
7 Among the few exceptions to this trend are the foUowing: Klaus D?s
ing, "Objektive und subjektive Zeit. Untersuchungen zu Kants Zeittheorie
und zu ihrer modernen kritischen Rezeption," Kant-Studien 71 (1980): 1
34; Marion Heinz, Zeitlichkeit und Temporalit?t. Die Konstitution der Ex
istenz und die Grundlegung einer temporalen Ontologie im Fr?hwerk Mar
tin Heideggers (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1982); Otto P?ggeler, "Heidegger und
das Problem der Zeit," in L'H?ritage de Kant. M?langes Philosophiques
offerts au P. Marcel R?gnier (Paris: Beauchesne, 1982), 287-307; Rainer
Thurnhers, "Heideggers 'Sein und Zeit' als ph?osophisches Programm," All
gemeine Zeitschrift f?r Philosophie 11 (1986): 29-51; and, more recently,
Dietmar K?hler, Martin Heidegger: Die Schematisierung des Seinssinnes
als Thematik des dritten Abschnitts von 'Sein und Zeit' (Bonn: Bouvier,

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account of temporaUty, they also typicaUy find aporiai and, in those

aporiai, ample reason for Heidegger's decision not to proceed with
the rest of the planned Sein und Zeit.8 Perhaps the most extensive
critique of the account of temporaUty in Sein und Zeit is to be found
in a recent study by Margot Fleischer.9 Fleischer's work is of interest
because she disputes both the necessity and the soundness of that
account. Her criticisms deserve a hearing, especiaUy since problems
and issues she raises coincide with those underlying the critical
stance taken toward Heidegger's account of temporaUty in American,
pragmatic interpretations of Sein und Zeit as weU as a recent attempt
to counter a pragmatic reading.10 In the foUowing reflections the
trenchancy of Fleischer's two central criticisms of the analysis of
temporaUty within Sein und Zeit are reviewed and challenged.

Fleischer presents her compact study in two parts. In the initial

and, by her own estimation, more fundamental part she presents two
basic criticisms: she questions the aUeged necessity of the discussion
of temporaUty in view of Heidegger's claims for having provided an
analysis of Dasein in its entirety at various junctures in Sein und Zeit
and she charges that Heidegger conflates his accounts of original and
authentic temporaUty and, in the process, fails to give the requisite
account of original temporaUty.
1. The superfluousness of the turn to temporality. The first is
sue raised by Fleischer is Heidegger's repeated appeal to considera
tions of the phenomenon of Dasein in its entirety (Ganzheit) as a
rationale for introducing the successive analyses of authentic exis

1993). Cf. also Fran?oise Dastur, Heidegger et la question du temps (Paris:

Presses Universitaires, 1990).
8 "Mit einigem Recht l??t sich Heideggers Verzicht auf die Ver?ffent
?chung des dritten Abschnittes von Sein und Zeit als ein Scheitern seiner
fr?hen Zeitph?osophie interpretieren"; G?nter Figal, Martin Heidegger.
Ph?nomenologie der Freiheit (Frankfurt am Main: Hain, 1991), 273.
9 Margot Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen in Heideggers 'Sein und Zeit':
ApoHen, Probleme und ein Ausblick (W?rzburg: K?nigshausen and Neu
mann, 1991).
10 See Blattner "Existential TemporaUty in Being and Time."

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tence and temporality. The appeal, she submits, is forced and unwar
ranted by the task at hand, namely, a consideration of what it means,
in the case of Dasein, to be. Fleischer singles out this sort of appeal
and thus directs her critique at three junctures in Sein und Zeit.
At the most general level, in view of Heidegger's articulation of the
fundamental and unitary structure of care constituting Dasein as a
whole,11 Fleischer questions the need "for the exhibition of a stiU
more original phenomenon [namely, temporality] that ontologicaUy
bears the unity and the totaUty of the manifold of the structure of
care."12 If the structure of care does, indeed, constitute what it
means for Dasein in its entirety to be, then there is no phenomenolog
ical reason for a (transcendental) analysis of temporality, that is to
say, no consideration of temporaUty that an understanding of the
phenomenon at hand as a whole demands?or so Fleischer seems to
be suggesting.13 The paraUel and perhaps even the complementarity
between this criticism and those voiced by Dreyfus and Okrent from
the standpoint of a pragmatic interpretation of Sein und Zeit are
At a more particular level Heidegger also appeals to the need to
consider the phenomenon of Dasein in its totaUty in order to explain
the crucial transition to an examination of authentic existence. But
in this regard, Fleischer argues, the artificiality of the appeal becomes
even more evident. After affirming that "care is the totaUty of the
whole of the structure of Dasein's constitution," Heidegger notes that
the very point of departure for the initial analysis, namely, everyday
ness (the being between birth and death) is in a certain sense at odds
with a consideration of Dasein as a whole; at the same time, however,
he notes that Dasein "essentiaUy sets itself against a possible compre
hension of itself as a whole entity."14 Fleischer regards these remarks

11 "Die formal existenziale Ganzheit des ontologischen Strukturganzen

des Daseins mu? daher in folgender Struktur gefa?t werden: Das Sein des
Daseins besagt: Sich-vorweg-schon-sein-in-(der-Welt-) als Sein-bei (inner
welt?ch begegnendem Seienden). Dieses Sein erf?llt die Bedeutung des
Titels Sorge, . . ."; SZ, 192.
12 Ibid., 196.
13 "Wird Zeitiichkeit dem Dasein nicht als sein Sein zugrunde gelegt,
dann entsteht nach meiner Auffassung, wie ausgef?hrt, f?r die Ganzheit der
Sorge kein Schaden"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 39.
14 SZ, 233.

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as confirmation that the perspective guiding the discussion of authen

tic existence is "completely out of place within the context of Sein
und Zeit" and that the problem of totaUty, at least in the sense in
which it is initiaUy put forth (notably as "Daseinsganzheit" or Dasein
"als ganzes Seiendes" rather than as "Ganzseink?nnen") is in fact,
for Heidegger himself, not a genuine problem.15
FinaUy, if the cogency of the consideration of authentic exis
tence be granted, there is a further problematic appeal to the need
for a consideration of Dasein in its totaUty. In the Ught of analyses
of death and conscience, the meaning of 'being whole,' proper to
Dasein, that is to say, Dasein in its entirety (das eigentliche Ganzsein
des Daseins) is elaborated and, with this elaboration in hand, Heideg
ger expUcates how the resoluteness (Entschlossenheit) on Dasein's
part that anticipates its death constitutes Dasein's existentiaUy au
thentic potential to be whole. Yet, at the same time, Heidegger as
serts that the original phenomenon of temporaUty is to be secured
by proving "that aU the hitherto elaborated fundamental structures
of Dasein, with respect to their totality, unity, and development, are
to be conceived at bottom 'temporaUy' and as modes of the tempo
raUzation of temporaUty."16 Or, as Heidegger also puts it, "temporal
ity .. . originaUy constitutes the totality of the structure of care."17
The latter claims only make sense, Fleischer suggests, on the
assumption of the distinction between inauthentic and authentic
care. In other words, temporaUty is purportedly required in order to
explain what it means for Dasein as a whole, both inauthentic and
authentic, to be. Accordingly, without the distinction between inau
thentic and authentic care, the argument of Sein und Zeit breaks
down. Yet the distinction itself, Uke that between care and temporal
ity, is, Fleischer submits, based upon concerns external to a consider
ation of the phenomenon at hand, what it means for Dasein to be.18

15 "Man sieht: Heidegger f?hrt die neue FragesteUung aus einer Per
spektive ein, deren v?lUge Unangemessenheit im Kontext von SZ zutage
?egt, so da? das aufgeworfene Ganzheitsproblem auch f?r Heidegger selbst
der Echtheit eines Sachproblems ermangelt"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen,
14. The expressions "in its entirety," "as a whole," and "in its totaUty" are
used in this paper to translate "als Ganzes" and its variants.
16 SZ, 304 (emphasis added).
17 SZ, 328 (emphasis added).
18 "Heideggers Ansatz, mit der Zeitigung der Zeitlichkeit ein Seinsge
schehen des Daseins aufzuweisen, das von den formal-existenzial fa?baren

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Heidegger's very characterization of care as the totaUty of the struc

ture of Dasein and his characterization of anticipatory resoluteness
as constitutive of the structure of authentic care as a whole, she
argues, imply as much.
There seem to be two interrelated levels to the first criticism
made by Fleischer at each of these three crucial junctures or transi
tions in the argument of Sein und Zeit. On one level, she questions
the need for the respective transitions, including ultimately the transi
tion to an ontological meta-level, given the completeness claimed for
the determination of the phenomenon in advance of the transition.
At another, profounder level, her criticism amounts to a chaUenge to
what, purportedly, the analysis of temporaUty positively adds to the
account(s) of Dasein already given.
2. The confusion of original and authentic temporality or, the
missing dimension of original temporality. The second basic criti
cism made by Fleischer is directed at the soundness and consistency
of Heidegger's analysis of temporaUty as such. She claims that the
analysis is marred by a basic ambivalence, a conflation of the themes
of original and authentic temporality. On her interpretation, Heideg
ger understands original temporality, on the one hand, as something
that can be "carried out" or "accomplished" (vollzogen) on an exis
tentiell plane authenticaUy or inauthenticaUy or, in other words, as
something that makes authentic and inauthentic temporaUty possi
ble.19 At the same time, however, according to Fleischer, Heidegger
conflates original with authentic temporaUty and thus fa?s to give an
adequate account of the original dimension of temporaUty.
Fleischer sees the conflation exemplified in the account of the
authentic future in paragraph 7 of Section 65. The authentic future
is, she claims, distinguished from and grounded in the original future
by Heidegger when he observes that "anticipating makes Dasein au
thenticaUy futural, to be sure, such that the anticipating itself is only

SeinsvoUz?gen der 'a?t?g?chen' und eigentlichen Sorge ontologisch un

terscheidbar ist wie das Fundierende vom Fundierten, ist mehr und etwas
anderes als 'nur' das Unternehmen, die in den herausgearbeiteten existenzia
len Strukturen implizierten und unausdr?ck?ch l?ngst mitthematischen Zeit
strukturen zu ausdr?ck?chem Verst?ndnis zu bringen (wonach die 'Sache'
entschieden verlangt)"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 17.
19 As discussed below, this apparent quandry also Ues at the heart of
Blattner's interpretation.

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possible insofar as Dasein as an entity in general is already always

coming to itself, that is to say, is futural in its being in general."20
However, in her view Heidegger proceeds directly to undermine the
distinction by claiming that holding out the possibi?ty of letting
oneself come to oneself, in effect, Dasein's authentic future, is "the
original phenomenon of the future."21 The same sort of ambiv
alence, Fleischer adds, besets the account of the authentic and origi
nal past.22
If the original dimensions of the future and the past are occluded
by being conflated with the authentic future and past in Heidegger's
account, the original dimension of the present fares even worse, ac
cording to Fleischer. Heidegger speaks only of the authentic present
or, more precisely, the authentic presenting/encountering (Gegenw?r
tigen), springing from the authentic future and past.23 Indeed,
Fleischer contends, an original present cannot be distinguished from
the authentic present on Heidegger's account. Moreover, she finds
some indication that Heidegger himself was aware of this difficulty
when he observes that "making present"?or presencing, as Gegen
w?rtigen is sometimes translated?"in the manner of the original
temporaUty remains enveloped (eingeschlossen) in future and past."24
From this last remark Fleischer draws impUcations that seal her
general criticism. If "making present" is, indeed, "enveloped" in the
future and the past, it can scarcely be an ecstasis (that is to say,
something that consists in "standing out" from the future and the
past). However, if making present is not itself an ecstasis, then tem
poraUty cannot be, as Heidegger understands it, a unitary phenome
non of three ecstases and, hence, "there is no original temporaUty."25

20 SZ, 325.
21 Ibid.
22 Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 20-1. AS evidence of the conflation of
original with authentic temporaUty, Fleischer singles out the same passages
that, in Blattner's view, are mistakenly interpreted as indicating that original
time is to be exclusively associated with authentic time; see Blattner, "Exis
tential TemporaUty," 101.
23 SZ, 326.
24 SZ, 328.
25 "Eingeschlossen in Zukunft und Gewesenheit, ist das Gegenw?rtigen
wohl kaum eine gezeitigte Ekstase. Wenn aber Zeitlichkeit das 'einheitUche
Ph?nomen' dreier Ekstasen ist, bedeutet das nichts Geringeres als: Es gibt
die urspr?ngUche Zeit?chkeit nicht"; Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 25.

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The impUcations of this fa?ure to articulate the original dimension of

temporaUty are, Fleischer concludes, dire for Heidegger's project.

The analysis of temporaUty cannot accomplish what Heidegger appar

ently took upon himself to accomplish with it?precisely, as men
tioned, to enter on an ontological meta-level, that is to say, to pass
beyond care as the being of Dasein to an underlying being and, hence,
to grasp in temporality a happening of being (Seinsgeschehen) that was
to be set off against the ways of being (Seinsvollz?ge) of the 'everyday'
and the authentic care as the grounding is set off from the grounded.26

This critical conclusion, it bears noting, is not unrelated to Fleischer's

initial criticism. If, for the purpose of unpacking what it means for
Dasein as a whole to be, there is no intrinsic need to move beyond
the account of care to an analysis of temporaUty, then it is perhaps
not surprising that, in the latter analysis, a supposedly original dimen
sion of temporaUty is indistinguishable from or at least not distin
guished from a derivative dimension of temporaUty that is equivalent

26 "Die Analyse der Zeit?chkeit kann das nicht leisten, was Heidegger
sich mit ihr offensichtiich vorgenommen hat?eben, wie erw?hnt, eine onto
logische Meta-ebene, d.h. die Sorge als Sein des Daseins auf ein zugrundeUe
gendes Sein hin zu ?berschreiten und also in der Zeitiichkeit ein Seins
geschehen zu fassen, das gegen die Seinsvollz?ge der 'a?t?gUchen' und der
eigent?chen Sorge wie das Fundierende vom Fundierten abzugrenzen w?re";
Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen, 25. In addition to the weighty challenge of
these first two criticisms, Fleischer mentions a further, fundamental problem
associated with what she regards as Heidegger's failure to elaborate the
original dimension of temporality. Without such an elaboration, there is
no basis for the "degeneration" thesis, on which Heidegger constructs the
argument of SZ. According to that thesis (alles 'Entspringen' im ontolo
gischen Felde ist Degeneration), inauthentic temporality, that is to say, the
temporality of inauthentic understanding, feelings, and concerns together
with the ordinary concept of time, is to be construed as "degenerating" from
the original and authentic temporality. However, the present is in fact said
by Heidegger to spring, not from an authentic present, but from "its authen
tic future and past, in order to permit Dasein to come to authentic existence
first on the detour over it [the present]"; SZ, 348. According to Fleischer,
this observation confirms the distinction between original and authentic
temporality (on which she has been insisting). But it also, in effect, ascribes
"falling" as an ecstasis to original temporaUty and this ascription stands in
the way of any attempt to conceive authentic temporaUty as the existenzieU
execution (Vollzug) of original temporaUty; see Fleischer, Die Zeitanalysen,
29. In this same connection, Fleischer adds, the fact that worldly time (Welt
zeit) is characterized only in terms of the presenting that is fallen and inau
thentic presents a dUemma inasmuch as authentic Dasein is, no less than
inauthentic Dasein, in need of worldly time; see ibid., 31-2.

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to a dimension of care (namely, authentic care). In other words, the

analysis of temporaUty is unsound, that is to say, internaUy incoher
ent since the purportedly original dimension (as Fleischer puts it, das
Fundierende) is confounded with a subordinate dimension (authen
tic temporaUty, das Fundierte). However, this confounding is to be
expected, from Fleischer's point of view, since care has already been
shown to constitute what it means for Dasein to be in its entirety.


Fleischer's two central criticisms can be summarized as foUows.

In the first place, she argues, there is no need for the transcendental
or ontological turn to temporality if, as Heidegger himself maintains,
the phenomenon of care constitutes the unified structure of Dasein
in its entirety, in other words, what it means for Dasein as a whole
to be. In the second place, she charges that Heidegger fa?s to elabo
rate the original dimension of temporaUty, demanded by such a tran
scendental or ontological turn, because he systematicaUy conflates
original and authentic temporality.
1. The existential necessity of the turn to temporality. Though
the result of the analysis in Division 1 of Sein und Zeit is that care
is the structure of Dasein in its entirety, the focus of the analysis,
namely, Dasein in its everydayness, is such that the sense of being
entire that is most proper to Dasein is not only not considered, but,
indeed, potentiaUy occluded by the initial analysis. It is in this sense
that Heidegger does, indeed, qualify his claim to completeness in his
initial elaboration of Dasein as care, pointing up the shortcoming
of an analysis that takes its cues from the inauthentic existence of
everydayness. What is at issue here is central to the task of Sein
und Zeit, namely, the possibUity of securing the distinctive sense of
Da-sein, irreducible to that of the ready- or present-at-hand (Zu- or
Vorhandensein).27 This distinctive sense can only be adequately

27 "Wurde nicht in ledigUch formaler Argumentation auf die Unm?g?ch

keit einer Erfassung des ganzen Daseins geschlossen? Oder wurde gar im
Grunde das Dasein nicht unversehens als ein Vorhandenes angesetzt, dem
sich st?ndig ein Noch-nicht-vorhandenes vorwegschiebt?"; SZ, 236-7. In
what fo?ows the term 'sense' wiU be used in the way that Heidegger employs
'Sinn', wh?e 'meaning' is used for the sense of a word or expression; on this

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demonstrated by articulating how Dasein as a whole is at bottom

(urspr?nglich) a being-possible or dunamis (Seink?nnen), how the
possibiUty that is most inherently its own (eigentlich) and decisively
de-termines (de-fines) its being (indeed, as a whole) is its death,
something that cannot be present-at-hand to it, and finaUy, how Da
sein can only genuinely be in the complete and fundamental sense of
what it means for it "to be" by resolutely projecting itself towards
this possibUity.28
The problem accordingly is not, as Fleischer would have it, the
lack of a sufficient reason for pressing the analysis further once it
has been expficated how care constitutes Dasein as a whole. The
problem is whether care has been unpacked as the defining feature
of Dasein as a whole only in an inauthentic sense.29 It is certainly
possible to have said something true about the whole of x and stiU
raise the question of whether the meaning of 'the whole,' as supposed
in that true statement, is adequately or appropriately (authenticaUy)
There is, accordingly, nothing inconsistent in Heidegger's proce
dure of initiaUy establishing that care is the structural totaUty of Da
sein, what it means, 'da zu sein as a whole', on the basis of an analy
sis of inauthentic existence even though the latter effectively
obscures the appropriate sense of that totality. The procedure is not
only not inconsistent but also highly effective. Heidegger's strategy
is not unUke that of a critic canvassing traditional viewpoints towards
something and showing that the truth expressed in the respective
interpretations can be summed up in some central, unifying phenom
enon, already aUuded to within those interpretations, on the way

Convention, 'the sense of Dasein' is not convertible with 'the meaning of

"Dasein" '.
28 SZ, 310-11. The focus, it bears noting, changes not only in the sense
that the notions of Ganzsein, Ganzheit, Ganzseink?nnen are given a more
exact meaning through the account of Dasein as Sein zum Tod, but also in
the sense that the inquiry can no longer be understood as purely theoretical
and ontological-methodical; cf. SZ, 309.
29 "Denn nur dann, wenn dieses Seiende in seiner Eigent?chkeit und
Ganzheit ph?nomenal zug?ng?ch geworden ist, kommt die Frage nach dem
Sinn des Seins dieses Seienden, zu dessen Existenz Seinsverst?ndnis ?ber
haupt geh?rt, auf einen probehaltigen Boden"; SZ, 301.

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to demonstrating the most appropriate understanding of that phe

These considerations provide an answer to one level of Fleisch
er's initial criticism, namely, her objection to Heidegger's appeal to
considerations of Dasein in its totaUty in order to make the general
transition from the theme of care to that of temporaUty and the more
particular transitions from the theme of care in general to that of
authentic existence (care) and from the latter to the theme of tempo
raUty. These considerations do not, however, constitute a rebuttal
of the most serious level of her objection. By the latter I mean her
contention that the account of temporaUty is based upon external
considerations (a concern for establishing a transcendental or onto
logical meta-level) with the impUcation that the account of temporal
ity does not add anything positive to the results of the preceding
analyses, namely, the determination of care as the meaning of 'Da
sein' or even the determination of authentic care (a death-anticipating
resoluteness) as the sense of authentic Dasein.
An adequate response to this objection cannot be given in the
space of this discussion paper since it requires, at the very least, an
elaboration of the meaning or meanings of 'Sinn' in Sein und Zeit and
the way in which temporaUty constitutes the sense, so understood, of
care (which is itself the sense of Dasein in its entirety, both authentic
and inauthentic).31 What is presented in the foUowing paragraphs is
accordingly at best the sketch of an appropriate response to this
It bears iterating, at this point, what Heidegger means in his
claim that care sums up what 'to be' means in the case of Dasein as

30 For a good example of this strategy, see A. C. Bradley's interpretation

of Hamlet where, after reviewing the traditional takes on the play, including
that of Schlegel and Coleridge ("the most widely received view"), he notes
that the latter is "on the whole and so far as it goes, a true description"; but
he then adds that "it fails not merely in this or that deta?, but as a whole.
We feel that its Hamlet does not fuUy answer to our imaginative impres
sion"; see A C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy (New York: Fawcett, 1967),
92-3. For the sense in which Heidegger's strategy amounts to an extension
of the HusserUan method of reduction, see Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Das lo
gische Vorurteil: Untersuchungen zur Wahrheitstheorie des fr?hen Heideg
ger (Wien: Passagen, 1994), 97.
31 "Drei Bedeutungen von 'Sinn' lassen sich also in Heideggers Auffas
sung desselben unterscheiden: der urspr?ng?che oder existenzial-hermeneu

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a whole: 'care' here signifies a way of being ahead of oneself, already

in a world, encountering entities within one's surroundings.32 Tempo
rality in some sense is clearly presupposed by this formal character
ization of care in general ("vorweg," "schon") as well as by the ac
counts of both authentic and inauthentic care. Whether a prey to
the faUen das Man or a death-anticipating resoluteness, the unity of
thrownness, projecting, and falling is only understandable by appeal
to some sense of time. Yet the fact that those various, preliminary
accounts of what 'to be' means in the case of Dasein are more or
less understood (for example, in an initial reading of the first part of
Sein und Zeit, prior to a reading of the analysis of temporaUty) by
no means secures or establishes that they are understood in the most
appropriate manner, that is to say, with an adequate understanding
of time. Indeed, precisely because those accounts rely on temporal
significations, it is incumbent on anyone trying to articulate the im
port of those accounts to press on to the analysis of the meaning of
'temporality' informing them.
These considerations as to why an inquiry into the sense of Da
sein requires an analysis of temporality are trenchant, but they can
also mislead to the extent that they suggest that the meaning of 'tem
poraUty' is determinable independently of the analysis of what it
means da zu sein. "The sense of being of Dasein," Heidegger states
quite plainly, "is not some free-floating other and 'outside' of its very
self, but rather that very Dasein understanding itself."33 In other
words, if temporaUty is the ontological sense of care (as what it
means, in the case of Dasein, 'to be'), then that sense must be demon
strable, as it were, from the inside, on the basis of a consideration of
Dasein's own distinctive way of being.
Heidegger's own understanding of 'sense', moreover, insures the
immanence of his investigation and thus?contra Fleischer?the in
trinsic relevance of the consideration of temporaUty to the existential
analysis of Dasein. Sense (Sinn) is for Heidegger not primarily a prop

tische Sinn, der existenzieU-hermeneutische Sinn und der apophantische

Sinn"; Dahlstrom, Das logische Vorurteil, 277.
32 "Die Seinsganzheit des Daseins als Sorge besagt: Sich-vorweg-schon
sein-in (einer Welt) als Sein-bei (innerwelt?ch begegnendem Seienden)";
SZ, 327.
33 SZ, 325.

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erty of a word or expression, but rather what sustains a level of under

standabUity, without necessarily becoming expUcit; it is the "horizon"
against or upon which?or even the "target" towards which (worauf
hin)?a possibi?ty is projected, rendering the projection of that possi
bi?ty possible and, hence, understandable. At the same time, the hori
zon itself?precisely as a horizon?is not something detachable from
the projection but rather comes to be only with the projection. In
other words, the horizon is not a space that might remain whether
occupied or not. Hence, for Heidegger, in order to uncover the sense
of something it is necessary to identify and foUow up the projection
of it. "To establish the sense of care means, then, to pursue the projec
tion underlying the original existential interpretation of Dasein and
guiding it, so that in what has been projected that against which it has
been projected becomes apparent."34
This last sentence indicates Heidegger's procedure for arriving
at the conclusion that temporaUty is the horizon for the project of
care and, in that sense, the meaning of 'care' (that in turn, inauthenti
caUy or authenticaUy, constitutes what 'da zu sein' means). For just
as care is not simply a project, so temporality is not a horizon without
the projecting of something over against or towards it (woraufhin).
TemporaUty as horizon is only disclosed in the course of cutting a
profile or "standing out" over against it. TemporaUty is the horizon
for care, but not as a background or backdrop that is present-at-hand,
that is to say, present regardless of whether something "projects it
self' upon it or not. Rather, temporaUty is the sense of care precisely
as that against which Dasein "stands out," as that towards which
Dasein projects its possibiUties and towards which Dasein projects
itself as a possibiUty. The phenomenon of Dasein projecting itself
upon and thereby "standing out against the horizon" in this manner
underUes what Heidegger caUs "ecstatic-horizontal temporaUty." It
is precisely as "this projection of itself upon the horizon" that tempo

34 Sallis raises two issues, pertinent to the present discussion. He ques

tions whether this account of sense, in which "upon-which" of the projection
(understanding) is conflated with that which makes possible what is pro
jected, is "perhaps too closely linked to the analysis of equipment," rumina
tions which lead to a further question, which moves very close to Fleischer's
concerns: "Does this conflation not, in turn, expose the analysis to the dan
ger of drifting, more than Heidegger would ever have authorized, in the
direction of a transcendental analysis?" See Sallis, Echoes, 56.

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raUty is implicit but nonetheless essential to the determination of

care or, in other words, what 'da zu sein' means. The terms "ahead"
(vorweg), "already" (schon), and "with" (bei) in the determination of
care indicate interlocked ways of "projecting oneself or standing out
over against the horizon" (that is composed of them.)35
In order to Ulustrate this admittedly obscure and difficult point,
it may be helpful to discuss the distinction and the relation obtaining
between an existentiell sense or project-and-horizon and an existen
tial one. For example, when a mechanic uses a wrench and, indeed,
uses it as a wrench, taking, projecting, understanding it as such un
thematicaUy, he does so with a view towards accomp?shing a certain
task or job and in view of a web of instrumental relations, a Werk
welt. That task and context form the existentiell horizon of the proj
ect and thereby the sense of that activity (as weU as the sense of the
wrench). However, at the same time, the use of the wrench is (albeit
also unthematicaUy) a looking-forward that keeps in mind only what
is relevant to the expected accomplishment, forgetting its own (ei
gentliches) being (Seins-[des Daseins]-vergessenheit) and encoun
tering things only in view of what is expected (in other words,
aUowing itself to encounter things only as ready-to-hand). This ex
pecting-forgetting encountering (gew?rtigend-vergessendes Gegen
w?rtigen) is the existential projection-and-horizon (more precisely,
ecstasis-and-horizon) and, so understood, the ontological significance
of "Da-sein," even in its Seinsvergessenheit. With every existentiell
projection-and-horizon, every authentic or inauthentic existence
(care), there is an existential ecstasis-and-horizon, a temporaUzing
that is the ontological sense (yes, projection-and-horizon) of Da-sein.
Given this understanding of sense, Heidegger's investigation of
temporality as the ontological sense of care is by no means an inquiry
into something that is irrelevant or external to the determination of
what it means for Dasein in its entirety to be. What it means, da zu
sein, is inexpUcable without that ecstatic horizon, the temporaUzing
of temporaUty (das Zeitigen der Zeitlichkeit). In other words, for
the purposes of an existential analysis of Dasein, the turn to a consid
eration of temporaUty as the ecstatic horizon of Dasein is imperative.

35 The horizon for the respective ecstasis, that is to say, the horizon
over against which the "looking forward," the "retaining or forgetting," and
the "encountering" stand out is constituted by the other ecstases.

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2. Original temporality and temporality in general. The cen

tral source of Fleischer's complaint about the "ambivalence" of the
account of temporaUty in Sein und Zeit is Heidegger's procedure in
section 65 of elaborating how temporaUty figures as the sense of
Da-sein principaUy through a discussion of "original and authentic
temporaUty" (urspr?ngliche und eigentliche Zeitlichkeit). Indeed,
in the course of introducing the theme of temporaUty but even before
it is expUcitly mentioned, Heidegger refers to the "anticipating reso
luteness" (vorlaufende Entschlossenheit) of authentic care as "the
original, existential projection of existence."36 More significantly, in
this context Heidegger never expUcitly states that original temporal
ity is the condition of the possibUity of authentic temporaUty; nor
does he expUcitly distinguish the referent of "original temporaUty"
from that of "authentic temporaUty." Instead, he repeatedly refers to
"original and authentic temporaUty" as though each qualifier desig
nated the same thing, only from different vantage points.37
As noted above, in Fleischer's eyes the conflation of original and
authentic temporaUty is clearly apparent in paragraph 7 of Section
65. There, after recounting how anticipatory resoluteness is only
possible inasmuch as "Dasein in general can come to itself in its
ownmost possibUity" and sustain the possibUity of aUowing itself to
come to itself in this way as a possibUity, Heidegger designates the
sustaining of this possibUity as "the original phenomenon of the fu
ture."38 Fleischer interprets the next two paragraphs (eight and nine)
as an indication that Heidegger construes original temporaUty as the
condition for the other dimensions of authentic temporaUty (and,
equivalently, authentic existence or care). In those paragraphs Hei
degger urges that the sense of coming back to itself in anticipatory
resoluteness is possible only insofar as "Dasein in general is as I
have-been" and that the sense of aUowing the ready-to-hand to be
encountered in the situation as disclosed in that anticipatory reso

36 SZ, 325.
37 Blattner argues, to the contrary, that "Heidegger clearly indicates that
originary temporality is not authentic," that "authentic temporality is merely
one mode of originary temporality"; Cf. Blattner, "Existential Temporality,"
38 SZ, 325.

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luteness is possible only "in encountering this entity [or, alterna

tively, presencing it or making it present]."39
StiU, in none of these passages does Heidegger expUcitly refer to
"original temporaUty" as the condition of the possibUity of authentic
temporaUty. Rather, he speaks of the temporaUty of "Dasein in gen
eral." Moreover, in paragraph 10, when Heidegger sums up the fore
going as the account of "the having-been-ness springing from the fu
ture, such that the . . . future releases the present from itself," he
refers to the latter, not as "original temporaUty," but simply as "tem
poraUty." In the same context he does characterize temporaUty in a
rather neutral way as the unified phenomenon of this future "having
been-presenting," but temporaUty, so characterized, is not identified
with original temporaUty. If the characterization needs to be labeUed,
it would seem to be an account of "the temporaUty of Dasein in
In paragraph 16 of Section 65 Heidegger perhaps comes closest
to saying what might be interpreted as an assertion that original tem
poraUty?and not merely the temporaUty of Dasein in general?is
the condition of the possibUity of authentic and inauthentic temporal
ity.41 He opens the paragraph with the observation that "temporaUty
enables the unity of existence, facticity, and falling and constitutes
thus originaUy the totaUty of the structure of care." Just as the mo
ments of care are not simply pieced together by being heaped on top
of one another, he warns, so temporaUty is not something put to
gether out of the future, past, and present. Rather, "temporaUty tem
poralizes and, to be sure, its possible ways. The latter enable the

39 SZ, 326. This reading of these passages also forms the backbone of
Blattner's interpretation: "But what s. 65 says about authentic temporality
is that it is only possible because Dasein is temporal in a more fundamental
way"; Blattner, "Existential TemporaUty," 101. In what foUows I suggest, to
the contrary, that for Heidegger there is no more fundamental way for Da
sein to be temporal.
40 In another context I referred to the notion of temporality in general,
in contrast to that of original temporaUty, as a "placeholder concept" (Platz
halter-Begriff); see Dahlstrom, Das logische Vorurteil, 232-6.
41 Another passage that may be construed as supporting the Fleischer/
Blattner interpretation is the transition from paragraph 11 to paragraph 12.
After noting that a concrete development of the "original phenomenon" of
temporaUty is required (in order to show "the origin of inauthentic temporal
ity in original and authentic temporaUty"!), Heidegger speaks of resoluteness
as "a modality of temporaUty"; see SZ, 327.

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manifold of the modes of being of Dasein, above aU, the basic possi
bUity of authentic and inauthentic existence."42 Yet even in this con
text Heidegger does not refer to temporaUty, insofar as it is to be
construed as the condition of the possibUity of authentic temporaUty,
expUcitly as "original temporaUty."
The fact that Heidegger does not expUcitly assert the nonequiva
lence of original temporaUty and authentic temporaUty does not, by
itself, rule out Fleischer's contention that he impUcitly does so and
that, when he does not, he meant to or should have.43 AU the refer
ences to temporaUty as the condition of the possibUity of authentic,
existentiell care can be read as references to an "original temporal
ity," the transcendental condition of care, itself "modaUy indifferent"
with respect to matters of authenticity and inauthenticity.44
Nevertheless, the fact that Heidegger so expUcitly and constantly
links original and authentic temporaUty should give one pause before
endorsing Fleischer's interpretation.45 Moreover, there are weighty
reasons for rejecting this interpretation. In the first place, Heidegger

42 SZ, 328.
43 The sense of 'equivalence' intended here in the expression 'nonequiv
alence' is not identity, but vafid biconditionaUty. The thesis defended in this
paper is that Heidegger asserts, with good reason, that there is orig
inal temporaUty if and only if (and to the extent that) temporaUty can be
44 Wh?e Blattner, much Uke Fleischer, argues that "originary temporal
ity is indeed indifferent between authenticity and inauthenticity," he con
tends that Heidegger, nonetheless, had good reasons for postponing the dis
cussion of originary temporaUty until he had discussed the themes of gu?t
and death. Like originary temporality, gu?t and death are "modaUy indiffer
ent features," Blattner argues, the response to which can be authentic or
inauthentic. At the same time, however, gu?t and death are features of
Dasein that cannot be assim?ated to a "sequential temporality" and, accord
ingly, are "the source of Heidegger's argument for the necessity of a non
sequential manifold of originary temporaUty." Thus, wh?e Fleischer argues
that the notion of original temporaUty is ultimately not sustained on its own
terms or, at least, conflated with that of authentic temporaUty in Heidegger's
analysis, Blattner contends that the two notions are properly distinguished.
Yet, despite this significant difference, both scholars insist on a thesis con
tested in this paper, namely, the nonequivalence of original temporality and
authentic temporaUty; see Blattner, "Existential Temporality," 100-101, 112.
45 In Section 65 the expression "urspr?ngUch und eigentiich" (in modi
fication of "Zeit?chkeit," "Zukunft," "Auf-sich-zukommen") surfaces eight
times, wh?e Heidegger refers to temporality, the future, time, and the phe
nomenon of time merely as "urspr?ngUch" nine times; yet "urspr?ngUch"
and "uneigentUch" are never used together to modify anything.

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expUcitly sets out to estab?sh that inauthentic time is unot original

and instead is springing away (entspringend) from authentic tempo
raUty."46 In other words, not only is inauthentic temporaUty in no
way original temporaUty, it also does not directly spring, strictly
speaking, from original temporaUty, but rather from authentic tempo
raUty (even though authentic temporality is in some way original
temporality).47 These claims represent a substantial hurdle for any
interpretation asserting that Heidegger impUcitly considered or, on
his own understanding of original temporaUty, ought to have con
sidered it something indifferently instantiable as authentic or in
Nor, in the second place, given Heidegger's characterization and
use of terms ?ke "urspr?ngUch" and "Ursprung" in Sein und Zeit, is
it likely that he equated or meant to equate original temporaUty with
what he characterizes as the temporality of Dasein "in general."48
Heidegger makes it clear that, as far as the question of ontological
constitution is concerned, "originaUty (Urspr?nglichkeif) does not
coincide with the simpUcity and uniqueness of some ultimate element
of construction. The ontological origin of the 'to be' of Dasein is not
'less' than what springs from it, but rather it towers over it from the
outset in mightiness, and aU 'springing forth' in the ontological field
is degeneration."49 If these remarks about origins and originaUty can
be transferred to the discussion of original temporaUty, then it be
comes difficult to suppose that the rather neutral manner in which
Heidegger characterizes the temporaUty of "Dasein in general" (app?
cable to the more richly formulated accounts of authentic and inau
thentic temporaUty) is meant to apply to original temporaUty as such.
In the third place, and most importantly, Heidegger's linking of
original and authentic temporaUty is justified by the fact that Dasein
is being/potential (Seink?nnen). What Dasein is originaUy, is a proj
ect, a potential to be, but not a potential to be in general (whatever
that could mean). Rather Dasein is as a potential to be in a certain
way, namely, authenticaUy (and for this reason alone can it be inau

46 SZ, 329.
47 See note 41 above.
48 See Heidegger's opening remarks about "Ursprung" in "Ursprung des
Kunstwerkes," in Holzwege (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1972), 7.
49 SZ, 334.

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thenticaUy). Original and authentic temporaUty is the ontological

sense of care which is, in turn, the structure of Da-sein. Heidegger's
use of "eigentlich" and "urspr?ngUch" in the opening paragraph of
Section 65 (which, in effect, prefigures his strategy with respect to
temporaUty) reinforces this interpretation. After declaring that Da
sein essentiaUy comes to be in "authentic" existence, Heidegger notes
that this mode of the authenticity of care contains the "original" total
ity of Dasein.51
There are, moreover, ready analogues to the procedure of linking
what something is originaUy (in the sense of original being/potential,
Seink?nnen) to what it means for it to be authenticaUy. For example,
if one wants to understand what it means to be an artist, then it
makes sense to look, not to someone who may become or develop
into an artist, but to a master, that is to say, to an accomplished or
authentic artist (who w?l no doubt insist that his or her work is
unfinished). Or if one wants to understand what, in an original sense,
it means to be a given plant or animal, it is probably advisable to pay
attention to the sort of development and maturation and demise,
most normal, suitable, or appropriate to it within a given environ
ment. The inauthentic is a degenerate form or process of such an
entity's authentic, that is to say, original being/potential.
"Authentic temporaUty" stands for the ecstases-and-horizons
without which there is no authentic existence or, equivalently, no
authentic care. According to Heidegger, it may be recaUed, a human
being exists authenticaUy when it genuinely cares about the potential
most inherent in it, that is to say, when it resolutely anticipates its
death, in effect, projecting itself and its possibi?ties towards that de
fining potentiaUty, the realization of which is inevitable and the
ecUpsing of aU other possibi?ties. Insofar as it thus lets its death, as
it were, come to it, it both retrieves or assumes this ultimate potenti
aUty with which it has been thrown into the world and discloses or

50 Or, to put it in another, cognate way that exploits the famUy of mean
ings of the terms 'eigen', 'eigenste', and 'eigentlich' (usually translated 'own',
'ownmosf, 'authentic'), Dasein is the potential to be itself, that is to say, to
be in the sort of way that is most proper to it or most properly its own.
51 Cf.: "Das Dasein wird >wesentliche in der eigentlichen Existenz,
die sich als vorlaufende Entschlossenheit konstituiert. Dieser Modus der
Eigent?chkeit der Sorge enth?lt die urspr?ng?che Selbst-st?ndigkeit und
Ganzheit des Daseins"; SZ, 323.

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makes present the actual situation in which it finds itself. This reso
lute anticipation of death is existentiell, but it is also unthematically
existential, namely, a temporaUzing (ecstatic-horizonal) that dis
closes the sense of Dasein originally and authenticaUy (or, alterna
tively, from the thematic standpoint of fundamental ontology, the
original and authentic meaning of 'da sein': 'being here').52
Perhaps what misled Fleischer and others is the fact that Heideg
ger construes the anticipatory resoluteness as "the existentiell, au
thentic potential to be entirely" (das existenziell eigentliche Ganz
seink?nnenf3 and that temporality, by contrast, is construed as the
"ontological," that is, existential sense of care, making possible "the
existentiell being of factual being-potential (das existenzielle Sein
des faktischen Seink?nnens), authentic or inauthentic.54 Given this
contrast between existential and existentieU levels, it may seem legit
imate to assume that the original temporality is existential, wh?e au
thentic temporaUty and inauthentic temporality are existentieU. But
the assumption is incorrect. Authentic existence and inauthentic ex
istence are, in addition to being existential, always existentiell,55 but
the temporaUzing of authentic temporality and that of inauthentic
temporality are existential, that is to say, they are the respective ec
static horizons, imp?cit yet constitutive of what it means, authenti
cally or inauthentically da zu sein.

The Catholic University of America

52 "Being here" comes closer to the Alemmanic use of "ich bin da" in
contrast to 'being there,' the regular use of the expression.
53 SZ, 305, 309.
64 SZ, 325.
55 ut
"Die Frage nach dem Ganzseink?nnen ist eine faktisch-existenzieUe";
SZ, 309.

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