PHI 347: HERMENEUTICS AND DECONSTRUCTION - PROTOCOL #2
FALL SEMESTER 2004
Protocol of Sept. 15th, 2004 Class (2nd meeting)
-Heidegger: After studying philosophy in
-Edmund Husserl: He developed phenomenology as the
pure investigation into the nature and content of consciousness when
directed at things themselves as they appear in the world. Husserl was Professor of Philosophy at the
-Jean Paul Sartre: A French philosopher who
Levinas: A Lithuanian philosopher who traveled to
Raymond Aron: A French philosopher
who specialized in the study of history and sociology, went to
-Simone de Beauvoir- Also educated in
It was important for these philosophers to travel
across the border to
* Important note in reading philosophy texts. It is important to know how to read the “Table of Contents.” It is similar to understanding how to read a map; if one were to study a whole map carefully, one would have a much better sense of where he or she is. Heidegger’s language in Being and Time is very carefully constructed and with a very precise vocabulary. He wants to be precise; this is why each claim is very carefully placed. The placing of each chapter and each introduction is very methodical so each section relates to another in a determinant way.
Background to Heidegger’s Philosophy
Heidegger’s philosophy revolves around hermeneutics and phenomenology. In the Introduction to Being and Time, he questions the nature of phenomenology and links it to hermeneutics. He defines it as the essence of interpretation. The introduction asks about beings and their meaning in relation to Being. This is the topic of today’s lesson to understand what Heidegger meant in the exposition “What is the meaning of the Being of beings”.
Introduction I: Why Is This Question Important?
The Necessity of an explicit retrieve of the question of Being. Heidegger wishes to retrieve, to go and dig out the question of Being. The question of Being is something that needs to be retrieved. Retrieval is an important part of methodology. Heidegger will find out intellectually what the definition of Being is.
The formal structure of the question of Being. To look at the formal structure of Being. It is a question, it has structure, is formally structured. Heidegger will find out how it is formally constructed.
Ontological priority -- the priority of Ontology- the study of Being. For Heidegger, the study of Being is prior to other considerations. For him, the study of Being (ontology) is prior. It is before other questions. The question of Being has to be asked first before any other questions can be asked.
The ontic. The “ontic” has to do with that which is. The ontological has to do with the relation to Being in general. (to put it simply: this is a book, it is, and it is something that is, hence it is ontic).
Ontic- the concern with beings in their particularity and everydayness.
Ontological- the question of Being, that which concerns all beings. Each being has a relation to Being, the ontological.
All of these somethings that are, beings, they all have something in common. What they all have in common is that they all are. Every being that is has a relation to Being.
The Methods Used to Look at:
The Question of Being
The ontological analysis of Dasein as the ex-posure of the horizon of an interpretation of the meaning of Being in general.
How do we define Dasein it. This is a disputed question.
Da-sein: (sometimes without the -) is a German word that means “existence.” Sein means “to be.” The verb [to be] is Sein. “To Be” turned into a noun is “Being.”
To be= sein
Being= the to-be
Dasein (noun)= the being that is here.
For a long time Dasein is translated as “Being there.” However it would be better if it were translated as “Being here.” This is because the being that asks about its own being is here (not there). When one asks “wo bin ich?” (where am I?), the answer is “ich bin Da” (I am here – not there). Therefore Dasein should be defined as Being here.
Dasein- When translated into French by Henri Corbin, Dasein became “la realite humaine” (human reality). Dasein is the being that can ask about its relation to Being. Heidegger is trying to keep it general. He believes that being, any being that is able to ask an ontological question is here (Da) , i.e., Dasein. Dasein is the being that does ask the question of Being and questions its own existence. Dasein asks the ontological question rather being one that “just is.” A being that “just is” is ontic. Dasein is ontic and can ask the ontological question.
The Ontological Analysis of Dasein as the exposure of the horizon for an interpretation is the task of an ontological hermeneutics.
Ex-posure: the bringing out of something, dis-playing. Ex- means away from, posure is positing, putting forth.
Ontological analysis has as its task to expose something. This will be connected to Heidegger’s notion of truth and disclosure. What is being disclosed? This is the horizon of the meaning of beings in relation to Being in general.
What is a horizon? It is a limit, the furthest edge. The question is what is beyond that. Horizon is the limit of what one can see, what is available to perception. If it is the horizon that we are ex-posing, then the limit is exposed as well. When doing ontological hermeneutics, the horizon for the interpretation for the question of Being to beings is ex-posed. What is the frame, the limits; these will be helpful for the meaning of Being. An interpretation has to do with hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is concerned with interpretation. We want to know the limits of the meaning of Being in general.
Destruktion in the history of ontology is not just concerned with the meaning of Being, but is also interested in history and historicity. What is the history of Being? Heidegger believes the history of the study of Being is very important. He wants to know how this notion of Being has been treated by ancient Greek philosophers. He wishes to retrieve what has been forgotten over the years regarding the meaning of Being. Heidegger wants to find out how the meaning of Being has been ex-posed historically; he believes this will help us bring out the meaning of the being of Beings in the present.