Being and Time
Book Author: Martin Heidegger
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
With over 4 years of experience as an analyst. Terrence Timmons is committed to analyzing summaries without compromising on quality.
Being and Time: Summary
Unlock the mystery of existence, behold its meaning and be confronted by our own mortality with Martin Heidegger's monumental work, Being and Time. This is a captivating philosophical treatise that explores the concept of 'Being' from every conceivable angle, driving towards the enigmatic heart of our very existence.
In Being and Time, Heidegger positions "Dasein" (Being-There) as his primary object of investigation, which signifies the way humans exist in the world. He argues that our common understanding of 'being' is deeply flawed because we've forgotten the question of its meaning. Heidegger explores this central thesis by unfolding the existential and ontological dimensions of Dasein, the way in which we relate to our own existence and the world.
In the first division, Heidegger introduces the concept of Dasein, being distinct in its existential character. He points out our 'being-in-the-world' is not a mere spatial-temporal relation but deeply intertwined with meaning. Our everydayness is characterized by the 'they', a form of impersonal public self that defines what is regarded as 'normal'. This societal normativity obscures Dasein’s authentic potentiality-for-Being, leading to inauthenticity.
In the second division, Heidegger delves into the temporality of Dasein. He argues that an understanding of being cannot occur without acknowledging 'temporality' as its foundation. He emphasizes that Dasein is a being-towards-death, meaning we must constantly confront our own finitude. This existential angst, according to Heidegger, enables Dasein to realize its authentic self.
In essence, Being and Time delivers a profound introspective analysis of our existence, nudging us towards a more authentic understanding of 'Being'.
Being and Time
Date Published: 1927
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Being and Time: Genres
Being and Time: Themes
Dasein and Being-in-the-world: This theme revolves around understanding the unique nature of human existence (Dasein), which is not merely present in the world but actively involved in its world.
Authenticity and Inauthenticity: Heidegger discusses the notion of authenticity (eigentlichkeit) and inauthenticity (uneigentlichkeit) as modes of Dasein’s existence. Inauthenticity arises when Dasein falls into the ‘they’ (Das Man), losing its individuality. Authenticity is attained when Dasein recognizes its potentiality-for-being and takes responsibility for its existence.
Temporality and Being-towards-death: Heidegger posits that Dasein is a ‘being-towards-death’, which means it’s oriented towards its own finitude. This confrontation with mortality induces anxiety but also gives Dasein the potential to live authentically.
Forgetfulness of Being: Heidegger suggests that the West has forgotten the question of Being, which leads to an inaccurate understanding of it. The true question of Being has been concealed by metaphysical assumptions and needs to be reawakened.