What is "the they"?

Martin Heidegger's term "the they" was meant to refer to ordinary people who go about their everyday lives with no philosophical awareness of their existence.

What were Martin Heidegger's views on death?

Heidegger thought that the individual's death had to be wrested away from "the they," who made of death something impersonal that was ordinary, but which somehow didn't happen to anyone in particular. Heidegger claimed that death is "in each case my own" and that authentic existence requires an attitude of "anticipatory resoluteness" toward one's own death. It is nothing less than conscience, "the call of care," which draws a person to attend to his or her own death.

The problem is that Dasein cannot be completed until Dasein is no more. But when Dasein is no more, Dasein will no longer "be" as a concrete individual, and furthermore, its own death is a nothing. Heidegger took this to mean that we are constantly being called to a nullity in a paradoxical need to authentically be that which we most fully are. This nullity in the essence of Dasein, which in Heidegger's terminology is "always out-standing," so long as Dasein is, creates a primordial anxiety in Dasein. Heidegger meant that the fact that our death is always in the future is what makes us always anxious. But of course, if our death were in the present, we would no longer exist. So we mortals have to put up with the fact that we will die as something that we are always aware of while we are alive.

What was Martin Heidegger's theory of space?

Dasein creates space by assigning proximity or distance to objects in the world with which it is concerned. And the space that results from existence in this way does not necessarily line up with abstract dimensions and distances. The eyeglasses on a person's nose, for example, are farther away to the wearer than the picture hanging on the wall that he or she looks through the glasses to see.

Objects in space acquire a characteristic of being "ready-to-hand"—they are things that we use and manipulate. The ready-to-hand, although literally in space, has its real meaning through human action over time. For example, if you pick up a hammer, you intend to do something with it in the next few minutes, and you are doing that to achieve a goal after that, such as hanging a picture on the wall.

What was Martin Heidegger's theory of time?

As with space, time, explained Heidegger, is a creation of Dasein based on its concern for things beyond its immediate self. Dasein in the mode of temporality even creates abstract or clock time because it is a goal-oriented being. Something that is "not-yet" becomes located in the future. On the basis of the "having-been," which is the past, the immediacy of the present emerges from Dasein's concern about something in the future. As a structure of human existence, temporality thus temporalizes itself. This is Heidegger's terminology, and what he seems to mean is that when you think about the future, you think about how the present will be a memory to you then. People do this when they deliberately take photographs to "create memories."

Why did Martin Heidegger claim that existentialism was not a type of humanism?

In going back to Presocratic thought, Heidegger concluded that the original concern of man, or Dasein (in a cultural line that linked contemporary Germans to ancient Greeks), was Being. Heidegger believed that the Presocratics had only started to formulate the primary questions concerning Being, when the Socratics introduced a subject-object kind of metaphysics that already foreclosed one kind of answer to the original question of Being. Heidegger makes it clear to the reader that he does not know what this original question concerning Being was. Indeed, he devoted his philosophical work to trying to reconstruct the question, thereby inviting readers to ponder the same problem he did, with no conclusive answer. In this sense, Heidegger provides an exercise in meditation to those of his readers who take the time to understand him.

Heidegger wrote much about what that question might be, relying on a phenomenological intuition that "language is the house of Being." He did not mean by this the language of "the they," or even the discourse of French existentialists, such as Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980), with its insufficiently general concerns. Until the question of

Why did Martin Heidegger refuse having his works translated from the German language?

Heidegger had a strong bias in favor of German as the language of thought. He did not think that his philosophy could be understood by those who did not speak German, and would not permit his work to be translated into Spanish.

Being could be formulated, the kind of humanism that existentialism could be could not even be properly imagined, according to Heidegger.

What was Martin Heidegger's question concerning technology?

Heidegger's question was the same question that hangs over us at this time: will technology destroy the world as we know it? But Heidegger's understanding of technology was unlike environmentalist thought that distinguished the artificial from what is natural. As part of what it means to say that "the world worlds," Heidegger believed that technology was a process arising from Being, insofar as human beings are the custodians of Being in their own being, albeit without a full understanding of what is involved in their relationship to Being.

Technology, according to Heidegger, was an "enframing" force and process that emerges from Dasein's relationship to being: all beings are marshalled and regimented to present themselves as uniform types of objects; human activities and the beauties of nature are also enframed and presented back to Dasein as items for use or consumption. In Heidegger's terms, a particularly plaintive example of such processing is the redirection and artificialization of the River Rhine as a tourist attraction.

As part of his analysis of the historical force of technology that has arisen from a distinctively human understanding of Being, Heidegger insists that technology is not an effect of science, but the reverse. Science and scientific research are no more than the results of more general technological forces.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >