In terms of structure, Being and Time remains as it was when it first appeared in print; it consists of the lengthy two-part introduction, followed by Division One, the "Preparatory Fundamental Analysis of Dasein," and Division Two, "Dasein and Temporality. Heidegger calls this being Dasein an ordinary German word literally meaning "being-there," i. Dasein is not "man," but is nothing other than "man"—it is this distinction that enables Heidegger to claim that Being and Time is something other than philosophical anthropology. From there he raises the problem of "authenticity," that is, the potentiality or otherwise for mortal Dasein to exist fully enough that it might actually understand being. Heidegger is clear throughout the book that nothing makes certain that Dasein is capable of this understanding.

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It has earned Heidegger a leading status within 20th century philosophy, along with Husserl, Wittgenstein, James, Dewey, and a few others. Because both the text is so difficult and this seminar will proceed at a graduate level, we will not be able to work through the entire book. We understand the world primarily through our skills and abilities for going about our business in the world, rather than through a stock of knowledge or an implicit theory.

Division II of Being and Time turns to some of the classical existentialist themes for which the treatise is known: his reconception of death, guilt, and conscience so as to generate a vision of resoluteness or authenticity that serves as the ideal he offers for human life.

It is not exactly a moral vision, since moral considerations are decidedly secondary within it. In fact, Heidegger claims that authenticity is more fundamental than morality because a condition for the possibility of it. We will have to move through these parts of the text a little more quickly than is ideal, but we shall not forsake them!

The requirements and due dates will vary depending on whether you are a graduate student in the Philosophy Dept. Any such student must consult with me and get my signature. I will permit senior undergraduate philosophy majors who qualify for the Honors Program whether they are actually doing it or not and have completed History of Modern Philosophy Phi.


Heidegger's 'Being and Time'




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