Martin Heidegger "What is metaphysics"

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Martin Heidegger "What is metaphysics"
Martin Heidegger "What is metaphysics"

Martin Heidegger is widely regarded as one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century, while remaining one of the most controversial. His thinking contributed to the development of such diverse fields as phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty), existentialism (Sartre, Ortega and Gasset), hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur), political theory (Arendt, Marcuse, Habermas), psychology (Boss, Binswanger, Rollo May) and theology (Bultmann, Rahner, Tillich). He revealed the foundations of phenomena that are not amenable to science and described what metaphysics is. According to Heidegger, it takes on a different form in space and time.

The critical component of the world philosopher

What is Heidegger's metaphysics, and what is his opposition to positivism and technological world domination? They were supported by leading theorists of postmodernism (Derrida, Foucault and Lyotard). On the other hand, his participation in the Nazi movement caused heated debate. Although he never claimed that his philosophy was political, political considerations overshadowed him.philosophical work:

  1. Heidegger's main interest was ontology or the study of being. In his fundamental treatise Being and Time, he attempted to access being (sein) through a phenomenological analysis of human existence (dasein) in relation to its temporal and historical character.
  2. After changing his thinking, Heidegger emphasized language as a means by which to reveal the question of being.
  3. He turned to the interpretation of historical texts, especially those from the Dococrats, but also Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Hölderlin; to poetry, architecture, technology and other subjects.
  4. Instead of looking for a complete explanation of the meaning of being, he tried to engage in some kind of thinking in the concept of metaphysics. Heidegger criticized the tradition of Western philosophy, which he considered nihilistic.
  5. He also highlighted the nihilism of today's technological culture. Moving on to the pre-Ocratic beginnings of Western thought, he wanted to repeat the early Greek experience of being so that the West could turn away from the dead end of nihilism and start anew.

His writing is notoriously difficult. "Being and Time" remains the most influential work.

Philosophy as a phenomenological ontology

What does Heidegger's metaphysics do?

To understand what Heidegger's metaphysics was before The Turn, let's first take a quick look at his developments with Edmund Husserl. As already mentioned, the scientist under study was interested in Husserl from his early student years at the University of Freiburg,when he was reading Logical Investigations. Later, when Husserl took over the chair at Freiburg, Heidegger became his assistant. His debt to Husserl cannot be ignored. Not only is Being and Time dedicated to Husserl, Heidegger admits in it that without Husserl's phenomenology, his own research would be impossible. How, then, is Heidegger's philosophy related to the Husserlian program of phenomenology?

Under phenomenology Husserl himself always meant the science of consciousness and its objects:

  1. This core of meaning permeates the development of this concept as eidetic, transcendental or constructive in all his works.
  2. Following the Cartesian tradition, he saw the basis and absolute starting point of philosophy in this subject.
  3. The bracketing procedure is essential to Husserl's "phenomenological reduction" - the methodological procedure by which we conduct ourselves from the "natural relation" in which we participate in the real world and its affairs, to the "phenomenological relation", in which analysis and separate description of the content of consciousness is possible.

Phenomenological reduction helps us free ourselves from prejudice and ensure that our detachment as observers is clear, so that we can face “the way they are in themselves,” regardless of any prerequisites. The goal of phenomenology for Husserl is a descriptive, independent analysis of consciousness in which objects are composed as their correlates.

What right does Husserl have to insist that the original way of meetingbeings in which they appear to us as they are in themselves, is the purification of the encounter of consciousness by phenomenological contraction and its objects?

Perhaps because of his reverence for Husserl, he does not directly criticize him in his fundamental work. Nevertheless, Being and Time is in itself a powerful critique of Husserl's phenomenon. But Martin Heidegger does not change the basic concepts of metaphysics, despite the many different "ways" in which we exist and encounter things. He analyzes the structures that make up things, not only as they occur in a separate, theoretical relation of consciousness, but also in everyday life as "utensils".

Husserl's problem: is the structure of the world a phenomenon of consciousness?

In his concept of metaphysics, Heidegger demonstrates the structures that make up the special type of being that is man. He calls him "dasein". For Heidegger, this is not pure consciousness in which beings are originally formed. For him, the starting point of philosophy is not consciousness, but Dasein in his being.

Martin Heidegger and his wife

The central problem for Husserl is the problem of the constitution:

  1. How does the world work, as a phenomenon in our minds? Heidegger takes Husserl's problem one step further. Instead of asking how something must be given in consciousness in order to be composed, he asks, "What is the mode of existence of the being in which the world is composed?".
  2. In a letter to Husserl dated October 27, 1927year, he argues that the question of the existence of Dasein cannot be evaded, since the issue of the constitution is involved.
  3. Dasein is the being in which any being consists. In addition, the question of the existence of Dasein directs him to the problem of being in general.

Heidegger, although not dependent on Husserl, finds inspiration in his thought that leads him to a topic that continues to attract his attention from an early age: the question of the meaning of being.

The birth of a new direction: being in Heidegger's etymology

Thus, phenomenology receives a new meaning from Heidegger. He understands it more broadly and etymologically than Husserl, as "allowing that which shows itself to be seen from itself, just as it shows itself."

Husserl's Thoughts Treatment of Heidegger
Husserl applies the term "phenomenology" to all philosophy. For Heidegger the method of ontology is phenomenology. "Phenomenology," he says, "is a way of accessing what should be the topic of ontology." Being must be grasped by the phenomenological method. However, being is always the being of a being, and, accordingly, it becomes available only indirectly through some existing entity.
Husserl can adopt his method from one of the actual sciences. Heidegger prefers to denote method. For in Being and Time philosophy is described as "ontology" and has direction as its theme.
Husserl believes that you need to direct yourself toessence, but in such a way that its essence is inferred. This is Dasein, which Heidegger chooses as a special entity to access being. Consequently, he accepts Husserl's phenomenological reduction as the main component of his phenomenology, but gives it a completely different meaning.

Summarizing: Heidegger in the basic concept of metaphysics does not base his philosophy on consciousness, like Husserl. For him, the phenomenological or theoretical relation of consciousness, which Husserl forms the core of his doctrine, is only one of the possible ways of a more fundamental, namely the being of Dasein. Although he agrees with Husserl that the transcendental constitution of the world cannot be revealed by naturalistic or physical explanations, in his opinion, this requires not a descriptive analysis of consciousness, but an analysis of Dasein.

Phenomenology for him is a non-descriptive, detached analysis of consciousness. It is a method of access to being. What does Heidegger's metaphysics do if it comes from Dasein's analysis? This is a phenomenological ontology that differs from the interpretation of the predecessor.

Dasein and its temporality

Heidegger and his being

In everyday German, the word "Dasein" means life or existence. Nouns are used by other German philosophers to denote the existence of a person. However, the scholar under study breaks it down into the components "yes" and "sein" and gives it a special meaning. Which is connected with the answer to the question of who is a person andwhat does Heidegger's metaphysics do.

He connects this question with the question of being. Dasein is what we ourselves are, but differs from all other beings in that it creates the problem of its own being. It stands out for being. As Da-sein, this is the place, "Da" to reveal the essence of "Sein":

  1. Heidegger's fundamental analysis of Dasein from Being and Time points to temporality as the original meaning of being Dasein. It is essentially temporary.
  2. Its temporality stems from a tripartite ontological structure: existence, dross and falls that describe the being of Dasein.

Existence means that Dasein is the potentiality of existence. Heidegger projects the basic concepts of metaphysics as a phenomenon of the future. Then, like a throw, Dasin always finds himself already in a certain spiritual and material, historically conditioned environment; in a world where the space of possibilities is always somehow limited:

  1. Encounter with these beings, "to be near" or "to be with them", was made possible for Dasein by the presence of these beings in this world. This represents the original appearance of the present.
  2. Accordingly, Dasein is not temporal for the simple reason that it exists "in time", but because its very being is rooted in temporality: the primordial unity of future, past and present.
  3. Temporality cannot be identified with an ordinary clock - just being at one moment in time, one "now" after another, which is metaphysics for Martin Heideggeris a derivative phenomenon.
  4. Dasein's temporality also does not have a purely quantitative, homogeneous character of the concept of time found in natural science. This is the phenomenon of primordial time, which "temporalizes" itself during the existence of Dasein. It is a movement through the world as a space of opportunity.

The "return" to the possibilities that were (in the past) at the moment of rejection, and their projection in a decisive movement, "approaching" (to the future) at the moment of existence, constitutes a true temporality.

Searching for the meaning of being

Husserl and Heidegger

What is Heidegger's metaphysics, and what is the meaning of the world? He describes his thoughts in academic terms:

  1. The first of these dates back to his high school years, during which he read Franz Brentano's The Varieties of the Meaning of Being in Aristotle.
  2. In 1907, the seventeen-year-old Heidegger asked: "If what is is determined by multiple meanings, then what is its basic fundamental meaning? What does it mean to be?".
  3. The question of being, left unanswered at the time, becomes the leading question of "Being and Time" twenty years later.

Reviewing the long history of the meaning attributed to being, Heidegger, in the foundations of metaphysics, notes that in the philosophical tradition it was generally assumed that being is at the same time the most universal concept. Indefinable in terms of other concepts and self-evident. This is a concept that is mostly taken for granted. Howeverhowever, the scientist under study claims that although we understand existence, its meaning is still hidden in darkness.

Therefore, we need to reformulate the question of the meaning of being and ask ourselves the problem of metaphysics. Heidegger and Kant in their works go very closely with thoughts, but the only difference is that the former interprets life for granted, but from two sides. The second says that the creature does not have an inner "I" and an outer "meaning of life and purpose".

In accordance with the method of philosophy, which is what metaphysics according to M. Heidegger does, which he uses in his fundamental treatise, before trying to answer the question of being as a whole, you need to answer the question of the existence of a special kind of essence, which man is - Dasein.

Philosophy of existence and death

Vivid phenomenological descriptions of Dasein's existence in the world, especially everyday life and determination regarding death, attracted many readers with interests related to existential philosophy, theology and literature.

Basic concepts such as temporality, understanding, historicity, recurrence, and authentic or non-certain existence were carried over and explored in more detail in Heidegger's later writings on the transcendence of metaphysics. However, from the point of view of the search for the meaning of being, "Being and Time" was unsuccessful and remained unfinished.

As Heidegger himself admitted in his essay "Letter on Humanism" (1946), the third subdivision of his first part, en titled "Time and Being", was put aside "because thinking does notresponded to adequate statements about the turn and did not succeed with the help of the language of metaphysics. The second part also remained unwritten:

  1. The "turn" that occurs in the 1930s is a change in Heidegger's thinking.
  2. The consequence of the "turn" is not the rejection of the main question of "Being and Time".
  3. Heidegger emphasizes the continuity of his thought in the course of change. However, since "everything is reversed", even the question of the meaning of Genesis is reformulated in a later work.

It becomes a question of openness, that is, of truth, of being. In addition, since the openness of being refers to a situation in history, the most important concept in the later Heidegger is the history of being.

Who are you inside yourself: what do we live for?

Philosopher Husserl with his son

For a reader unfamiliar with Heidegger's thought, both "the question of the meaning of being" and the expression "history of being" sound strange:

  1. Firstly, such a reader may argue that when he is spoken of, something is not expressed that mundane "being" could properly designate. Therefore, the word "being" is a meaningless term, and Martin Heidegger's metaphysics about the search for the meaning of being is a misunderstanding.
  2. Secondly, the reader might also think that the being of the scientist being studied is more likely to have no history than the being of Aristotle, so "history of being" is also a misunderstanding.
  3. Nevertheless, his task is precisely to show briefly the basic concepts of metaphysics. Heidegger deducesa meaningful concept of being: “We understand what ‘is’ we use in conversation,” he argues, “although we don’t understand it conceptually.”

So the scientist under study asks:

Is it then possible to think about existence? We can think of beings: a desk, my desk, the pencil I write with, the school building, a big storm in the mountains… but be?

"Ontological difference", the difference between being (das Sein) and beings (das Seiende) is fundamental to Heidegger. In a lecture on metaphysics, he talks about forgetfulness, deceit and confusion. Forgetting what he says is happening in the course of Western philosophy amounts to forgetting this difference.

How to avoid and hide from metaphysics? Overcoming Being

In short, Heidegger's metaphysics is a mistake of "Western philosophy". In his opinion, oblivion of being takes place in it. Therefore, it is synonymous with the "tradition of metaphysics". Metaphysics asks about the essence of beings, but in such a way that the question of existence as such is ignored. Existence itself is destroyed.

Thus, Heidegger's "history of being" can be regarded as the history of metaphysics, which is the history of the oblivion of being. (It is rather confusing, but if you delve into it, it is very interesting.) However, if you look from the other side at what metaphysics according to M. Heidegger is, the following will become clear:

  1. It is also a way of thinking that looks beyond beings to their core.
  2. Every metaphysics aims at an absolute foundation. And the land of such metaphysics presents itselfno doubt.
  3. For example, in Descartes, the absolute foundation is achieved using the argument "Cogito".
  4. Cartesian metaphysics is characterized by subjectivity because it is based on a self-confident subject.
  5. Besides, metaphysics is not just a philosophy that raises the question of the essence of beings. In this century, when philosophy is disintegrating into specific sciences, they still talk about the existence of what is in general.

In the broader sense of the term, metaphysics, therefore, for Heidegger is any discipline that, explicitly or not, gives an answer to the question of the essence of beings and their foundation. In medieval times, such a discipline was scholastic philosophy, which defined beings as entia creatum (created things) and provided their ground in ens perfectissimum (perfect being).

Philosophy of life and death

Today, the discipline is as follows: if we say what Heidegger's metaphysics is, the brief content of ideology boils down to the modernity of technology, thanks to which modern man asserts himself in the world, working on himself in various forms of creation and formation. Technology shapes and controls the position of man in the modern world. He controls beings and dominates in various ways:

  1. Unlike mastering beings, the thinking of thinkers is the thinking of being.
  2. Heidegger believes that ancient Greek thinking is not yet metaphysics.
  3. Presocratic thinkers ask about the essence of beings, but in a way thatlife is revealed. They perceive the being as a representation (Anwesen) of that which is present (Anwesende).
  4. Being like a performance means being invisibility, revealing.

In his later works, the philosopher replaces the meaning of concepts with synonyms by introducing them into metaphysics. Heidegger describes his experience with the Greek words phusis (dominant position) and alêtheia (hiddenness). He is trying to show that the early Greeks did not objectify beings (they did not try to reduce them to an object for the thinking subject), but they allowed them to be as they were, as a manifestation of themselves turning into a non-disguise.

They have experienced the phenomenality of what is present, its radiant self-giving. The departure of the Western philosophical tradition from caring about what is present in the representation of this unique experience that amazed the Greeks had profound theoretical and practical implications.

What is, what is present, unhidden, is “what appears from itself, manifests itself in the phenomenon and in these manifestations of self-expression”. It is "arising arising, unfolding, which lingers."

From philosophy to political theory

Heidegger never claimed that his philosophy was related to politics. Nevertheless, there are certain political implications of his thought. He perceives the metaphysical culture of the West as a continuity. It begins with Plato and ends with modernity and the dominance of science and technology. Thus, in a postmodern way, he implies that Nazism and the atomic bomb,Auschwitz and Hiroshima were something of a "fulfillment" of the tradition of Western metaphysics and are trying to distance themselves from it.

He turns to Presocratics to restore the subject, a physical way of thinking that would serve as a starting point for a new beginning. Nevertheless, his grand vision of the essential history of the West and of Western nihilism can be called into question. Modernity, the development of which includes not only a technological but also a social revolution, which liberates people from religious and ethnic communities, parishes and family ties, and which affirms materialistic values, can be seen as a radical departure from earlier classical and Christian traditions., contrary to Heidegger's argument:

  1. Christianity challenges the classical world by absorbing some aspects of it, and in turn is challenged by modernity.
  2. Modernity overturns the ideas and values ​​of the traditional (Christian and classical) culture of the West and, as soon as it becomes global, leads to the erosion of non-Western traditional cultures.
  3. Under the cover of great speculative depth and a rich ontological vocabulary filled with intricate puns (both of which make his writings extremely difficult to understand), Heidegger expresses a simple political vision.

He is a revolutionary thinker who rejects the traditional philosophical separation between theory and practice. This is especially clear when he boldly states in his Introduction to Metaphysics that:

Wehave taken on the great and long task of destroying a world that has grown old and needs to be truly rebuilt.

The philosopher of Nazism is an opponent of political being

He wants to turn over the traditional culture of the West and build it anew on the basis of earlier traditions in the name of being. Like other modern thinkers, he adheres to a Eurocentric point of view and considers the revival of German society as a condition for the revival of Europe (or the West), and Europe as a condition for the revival of the whole world.

After all, in a famous interview with Der Spiegel, he expresses his disappointment with his project and says:

Philosophy cannot lead to a direct change in the current state of the world. The greatness of what to think about is too great.

As the being he describes as "revealing himself to the concealer", once revealed he is removed; after inciting a revolution, he leaves all his problems to others, erases the basic concepts of metaphysics. M. Heidegger says: "Only God can still save us." But the God he now looks to in the absence of philosophical thought is clearly not a Christian or representative of "any" modern religion..

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