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Heidegger ’ s Dasein and patricide

Heidegger ’ s Dasein and patricide. A genealogy of the notion ‘ Dasein ’. The genealogy of the analytic of Dasein.

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Heidegger ’ s Dasein and patricide

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  1. Heidegger’s Dasein and patricide A genealogy of the notion ‘Dasein’

  2. The genealogy of the analytic of Dasein • The genealogy of the notion of “Dasein” as a problem: the first impulses in which Heideger initially employs Dasein in his early phenomenological analyses (before it culminates in a fully-fledged analytic of Dasein in Sein und Zeit) • The issue cannot be exhausted here. We have to be schematic and can only highlight certain critical moments, that indicate a way into the hypothesis. This is more an invitation to re-read.

  3. Hypothesis: Heidegger contra Husserl • Thesis: Heidegger adopts the notion of Dasein primarily as a response to the restricted way Husserl uses, understands, and employs it. Heidegger appropriates, i.e. actively inherits, the notion from Husserl, and radicalizes it in a way that pushes Husserlian phenomenology to an area that was previously “out of reach”.

  4. Possible counter-arguments • First counter-argument: Heidegger simply picks out the notion of Dasein from everyday German discourse, in a casual way, something that is consistent with the phenomenological method. • Thus, a simple common word of vernacular German attains a technical philosophical meaning without mediation from the philosophical tradition.

  5. Second counter-argument: We cannot argue that Heidegger’s appropriation of the notion of “Dasein” comes out of Heidegger’s relation to Husserl: the notion itself has a long history in philosophy, particularly in German Idealism. For example, it is widely used in Kant, and it is a category in Hegel’s Logik. It is also widely used by Jaspers. How can we decide whom he is “taking it” from? Why not from Kant, for example?

  6. Response to counter-arguments via a clarification • It is indeed impossible to maintain that Heidegger adopts the notion of Dasein exclusively the notion is exclusively in relation to Husserl. That is not what I am submitting. What I am submitting is that the most immediate philosopher that informs Heidegger’s turn to the notion “Dasein” itself is Husserl. He is the strongest influence. • A minimalist version of my thesis is: Heidegger was conscious of the way Husserl employed the notion of “Dasein”, and how it affected the phenomenological project, and was dissatisfied with it.

  7. A surprise • It is surprising that scholarship has completely missed the way “Dasein” is part of the most central programmatic formulations concerning the phenomenological project, and the canonical definitions of eidetic seeing and the epoche, that Husserl himself is supplied.

  8. Two controversial statements • Two controversial statements, which I would probably not repeat if I were to present the argument in a serious scholar article, since I would want to avoid any dramatizing rhetoric. Let’s see if they survive. Here they are: • First: it is a bit of a scandal not to have Husserl’s notion of “Dasein” appear at all in a genealogical account of the word in Heidegger’s philosophy • Heidegger’s appropriation of the notion “Dasein” constitutes a sort of “patricide” (Husserl being the “father”). But not a cruel patricide. Rather, a soft one, as it culminates in the dedication of Sein und Zeit to Husserl

  9. A schema of nine points • I will offer nine crucial points that would constitute the spine of the narrative. The thread connecting the points still needs to be worked out and alas must remain implicit at this stage. (You must also excuse me for sometimes failing to offer the entire original German; but in all cases the important words are, of course, given in German, in brackets).

  10. First point • In his 1911 programmatic essay entitled “Philosophy as Rigorous Science”, Husserl says that pure phenomenology can only be an investigation of essence, and not at all investigation of Dasein. He understands Dasein as “existential positing” and thus as carrying the stigma of naturalism.

  11. Second and third point • In Ideen I, Husserl reiterates what he wrote in Philosophy as Rigorous Science in §3: Dasein is synonymous to Existenz and corresponds to “Tatsache”; Essence corresponds to “Eidos”. And phenomenology will be about the intuition of Eidos • In §4 Husserl explains how eidetic judgments posit nothing about Dasein

  12. Fourth and fifth point • In §31 Husserl associates “Dasein” with the natural attitude: Dasein is the way the natural attitude posits existence. It is associated with “Wirklichkeit” • In §32, the phenomenological ἐποχή is precisely defined in terms of a shutting out of (zeitliches) Dasein

  13. Sixth point • Heidegger’s most obvious criticisms against Husserl concern the problem of the beginning (which, for Husserl, is the change of attitude, the instituting of the epochē) (It is crucial to remember that Heidegger had not yet adopted the notion ‘Dasein’ at this point): In the 1919/20 lecture Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie, he says that we need to begin factically and not “reflect” on the beginning. Remember: these are the moments that Husserl names. That’s when Dasein is referred to as that which is to be shut out. Starting from the Dasein constitutes a certain “critical reversal” of the starting point, the way into, phenomenology, undermining the very reflective character of Husserlian phenomenology that Heidegger finds problematic.

  14. Seventh point • Again, in the lecture Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie, Heidegger speaks against Husserl, without naming him: a certain patricide takes place. He says that phenomenology must go against phenomenology itself, must go against the “master” (i.e. Husserl)

  15. Eighth point • In the same lecture course Heidegger tries to radicalize the phenomenological method: scientific research tendencies are not about reflecting on the beginning (in the way that Husserl did through the epochē), but scientific researching tendencies are a letting-open-up [Offen-Lassen] of perspectives and of constantly commencing anew. Heidegger doesn’t name Dasein here as he still had not settled for using the notion of Dasein. But the “letting-open-up” [Offen-Lassen], a precursor of Gelassenheit (I think), will be Heidegger’s alternative to Husserl’s epochē (i.e. the “suspension of Dasein”)

  16. Ninth point • In §22 in the Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, when Dasein has reached full conceptual maturity in Heidegger’s phenomenology, Heidegger says how phenomenology must avoid an “artificial change of attitude”. Rather phenomenologists must release ourselves [Gelassenheit] and start right from the everyday Dasein. He doesn’t name Husserl, again, as he never explicitly does. But Huserl is the target. It’s a patricide.

  17. First point- text • Excerpt from the 1911 programmatic essay of Husserl entitled “Philosophy as Rigorous Science” [Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft]: Pure phenomenology as science, so long as it is pure and makes no use of existentially positing nature, can only be essence investigation, and not at all investigation of being-there; all “introspection” and every judgment based on such “experience” falls outside its framework. The particular can in its immanence be posited only as this – this disappearing perception, recollection, etc. – and if need be, can be brought under the strict essential concepts resulting from essential analysis. For the individual is not essence, it is true, but it “has” an essence, which can be said of it with evident validity. To fix this essence as an individual, however, to give it a position in a “world” of individual being-there, is something that such a mere subsumption under essential concepts cannot accomplish. For phenomenology, the singular is eternally the apeiron. Phenomenology can recognize with objective validity only essences and essential relations, and thereby it can accomplish and decisively accomplish whatever is necessary for a correct understanding of all empirical cognition whatsoever: the clarification of the “origin” of all formal-logical and natural-logical principles (and whatever other guiding “principles” there may be) and of all the problems involved in correlating “being” (being of nature, being of value, etc.) and consciousness, problems intimately connected with the aforementioned principles.”

  18. Excerpt from the 1911 programmatic essay of Husserl entitled “Philosophy as Rigorous Science”: Reine Phänomenologie als Wissenschaft kann, solange sie rein ist und von der existenzialen Setzung der Natur keinen Gebrauch macht,  nur  Wesensforschung und gar nicht Daseinsforschung sein, jede "Selbstbeobachtung" und jedes Urteil aufgrund einer solchen "Erfahrung" fällt außerhalb ihres Rahmens. Das Einzelne in seiner Immanenz kann nur als dies da! - diese dahinfließende Wahrnehmung, Erinnerung und dgl. - gesetzt un allenfalls unter die der Wesensanalyse verdankten strengen Wesensbegriff gebracht werden. Denn das Individuum  ist  zwar nicht Wesen, aber es  "hat"  ein Wesen, das von ihm evidentgültig aussagbar ist. Es aber als Individuum fixieren, ihm eine Stellung einer "Welt" individuellen Daseins geben, das kann eine solche bloße Subsumtion offenbar nicht leisten. Für sie ist das Singuläre ewig das  apeiron  [Unfaßbare - wp]. Objektiv gültig kann sie nur Wesen und Wesensbeziehungen erkennen und damit alles leisten und endgültig leisten, was zum aufklärenden Verständnis aller empirischen Erkenntnis und aller Erkenntnis überhaupt nötig ist: die Aufklärung des "Ursprungs" aller formal-logisch und natur-logisch uns sonst irgendwie leitenden "Prinzipien" und aller damit innig zusammenhängenden Probleme der Korrelation von "Sein" (Natursein, Wertsein, etc.) und "Bewußtsein".

  19. Second point- text • Ideen I, §3: There are two types of intuition that are essentially different: intuition of essence and intuition of existence. Existence= individual Dasein, Tatsache. Essence= Eidos. “Den Wesensunterschieden der Anschauungen korrespondieren die Wesensbeziehungen zwischen »Existenz« (hier offenbar im Sinne von individuell Daseiendem) und »Essenz«, zwischen Tatsache und Eidos. We can start the eidetic seeing from experiencing intuitions but equally well from non-experiencing intuitions which do not seize upon factual existence but which are instead merely imaginative [ebenwohl aber auch von nicht-erfahrenden, nicht-daseinerfassenden, vielmehr “bloß einbildenden” Anschauungen].

  20. Third point - text • Ideen I, §4: Eidetic judgments posit no individual Dasein even when they judge—with purely eidetic universality—about something individual. [Damit hängt wesentlich zusammen, Setzung und zunächst anschauende Erfassung von Wesen impliziert nicht das mindeste von Setzung irgendeines individuellen Daseins; reine Wesenswahrheiten enthalten nicht die mindeste Behauptung über Tatsachen, also ist auch aus ihnen allein nicht die geringsügigste Tatsachenwahrheit zu erschließen]

  21. Fourth point - text • Ideen I, §31: “Instead of remaining in this attitude [Einstellung], we propose to alter it radically”. The natural attitude involves the general positing that the real surrounding world is “a factually existing “actuality” [daseiende Wirklichkeit]”.

  22. Fifth point - text • Ideen I, §32: The phenomenological ἐποχή: I am not negating the world or doubting its factual being [zeitliches Dasein], but I fully “shut out” every judgment about temporal being: Die zum Wesen der natürlichen Einstellung gehörige Generalthesis setzen wir außer Aktion, alles und jedes, was sie in ontiscber Hinsicht umspannt, setzen wir in Klammern: also diese ganze natürliche Welt, die beständig »für uns da«, »vorhanden« ist, und die immerfort dableiben wird als bewußtseinsmäßige »Wirklichkeit«, wenn es uns auch beliebt, sie einzuklammern. Tue ich so, wie es meine volle Freiheit ist, dann negiere ich diese »Welt« also nich, als wäre ich Sophist, ich bezweifle ihr Dasein nicht, als wäre ich Skeptiker; aber ich übe die »phänomenologische« ἐποχή, die mir jedes Urteil über räumlich-zeitliches Dasein völlig verschließt.”

  23. Sixth point - text • GA 58 1919/20 Wintersemester “Grundprobleme der Phaenomenologie”: [On the method of the phenomenological science]: “Das Problem der Anfang”: “Schwierigkeiten Nur aus der Objektivierung des Anfangs in der objektiven Zeit und an einem objektivierten gegenständlichen Was gelegen! Reflektieren wir doch nicht über das Anfangen, sondern fangen faktisch an!”. [Indeed, we should not reflect on the beginning, but rather factically begin!] (p. 4, Eng).

  24. Seventh point - text • GA 58, p. 5 (Eng.): The genuine actualization of phenomenology [echten Vollzug] lies in its radicalism in questioning and critique. And this “radicalism of phenomenology needs to operate in the most radical way against phenomenology itself and against everything that speaks out as phenomenological cognition. There is no iurare in verba magistri [swearing to the words of a master] within scientific research. The essence of a genuine generation of researchers and of subsequent generations lies in its not losing itself on the fringe of special questions, but rather to return in a new and genuine way to the primal sources of the problems, and to take them deeper.”

  25. Eighth point - text • GA 58, p. 21 (Eng.): The primacy of scientific researching tendencies is in itself a letting-open-up [Offen-Lassen] of perspectives and of constantly-commencing-anew. All “completion” is relative, which means that it is only absolute when it is seen in a particular genuine problem-tendency, one that has grown together with other “original” problem-tendencies.”“Dieser Primat der wissenschaftlich forschenden Tendenz ist in ihr selbst ein Offen-Lassen der Perspektive und des ständig Neu-Ansetzens. Alle »Erledigung« ist relativ, d.h. absolut nur, Wenn gesehen in einer bestimmten echten, aber mit anderen »ursprünglich« verwachsenen Problemtendenz” (pp. 25-26, German).

  26. Ninth point - text • Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik: Welt, Endlichkeit, Einsamkeit, §22: “Es kommt gerade nicht darauf an, eine Region von Erlebnissen zurechtzupräparieren, uns in eine Schicht von Bewußtseinszusammenhängen hineinzuarbeiten. Wir müssen gerade vermeiden, uns in eine künstlich zurechtgelegte oder aus fest verhärteten überlieferten Blickrichtungen aufgezwungene besondere Sphäre zu verlieren, statt die Unmittelbarkeit des alltäglichen Daseins zu erhalten und festzuhalten. Es gilt nicht die Anstrengung, uns in eine besondere Einstellung hineinzuarbeiten, sondern umgekehrt, es gilt die Gelassenheit des alltäglichen freien Blickes – frei von psychologischen und sonstigen Theorien von Bewußtsein, Erlebnisstrom und dergleichen.”

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