Logbook Week 3 (redone)
What is Heidegger’s notion of dasein and how does it relate to his phenomenology
Heidegger’s phenomenology is a radicalisation of that of Husserl’s, he expands on Husserl’s notion of phenomenology reduction and creates his own version.
Within Heidegger’s phenomenology he aims to carry out an investigation on the idea of being, in order for us to understand the world in his terms. Heidegger begins in section 14 of Being and Time that “being-in-the-world is to be made visible with regard to the structural factor “world””(BATp63). He asks the question how it is possible to see the world as a phenomenon, which he believes is done by “letting what shows itself in the “beings within the world be seen”(BATp63). Heidegger creates a distinction between what he calls “ontic” and “ontological” descriptions. The ontic description is describing “the outward appearance of these beings and tell of the events occurring in them”(BATp63). In order to describe the world “phenomenologically” we must use the ontological description, which is what being means; to “categorically and conceptually determine the being of beings present in the world”(BATp63). Heidegger creates a distinction between a being and being, as being is a mode of existence and “things having value”(BATp63), whilst a being is an entity.
On this basis Heidegger coins the term Dasein in his phenomenology. Da-sein translates to Da meaning there in the world and sein meaning to be (being). The notion of Dasein is to be understood in the sense that Dasein is “the overall phenomenon, consisting entirely of its individual “occurrences,” and yet prerequisite for any of them being what it is”(Dasein Disclosed (DD) p9). It is “me” (and you). It is through Dasein (our own way of being-in-the-world) that we are able to make sense of the world, as Dasein is able to “discover beings”(BAT p65) as it is in the world. Dasein makes it possible to discover the world, as “worldliness is an ontological factor and designates structure”(BAT p65) of being-in-the-world. As world is a “characteristic of Dasein itself”(BAT p65). As for Heidegger “The “essence” of Dasein lies in its existence.”(DD p11) due to Dasein being present within the world, it makes it accessible. Hence why Heidegger explains that we miss the phenomenon of the world if no one “see[s] the constitution of Dasein as being-in-the-world”(BAT p65). Heidegger sees Dasein as the most important concept within his phenomenology as it accounts for us “being-in-the-world” and why we are then able to understand and comprehend the notions of phenomena, as “the closest world of everyday Dasein is the surrounding world”(BAT p66).
We seek the worldliness of the surrounding world by an “ontological interpretation”(BAT p66) of encountering the surrounding world. This notion of encountering the surrounding world is done “under the guidance of everyday being-in-the-world”(BAT p66) — also referred to as Dasein — which Heidegger refers to as “dealings in the world with innerworldly beings”(BAT p66) . It is then stated that “pre-thematic beings”(BAT p67) what is used and produced in the world, become accessible to us when we take card in the world. Dasein however, is “alive in everyday dealing with beings”(BAT p67). Heidegger believes that due to Dasein already being present within the world, we do not need to put ourselves in to take care of it, unlike other beings. Dasein allows us to make use of things in the world, by understanding how innerworldly objects relate to Dasein.
Heidegger argues that things in the world have a referential structure, how the things show themselves to us. Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a “useful thing”(BAT p68), there is just a “totality of useful things”(BAT p68) which useful things can be what they are. We call how useful things reveal their kind of being to us, their “handiness”(BAT p69). Heidegger argues that there can be no one single useful thing, as their character of utility is “in terms of their belonging to other useful things”(BAT p68), hence why no one single thing shows itself, they all relate to a series of networks of utility. Dasein links into this process, as Dasein is able to discover the world by experiencing individual things which become part of greater things, due to the structure of innerworldly things being in the world. Nature is also discovered in the “use of useful things”(BAT p70), as the surrounding world is discovered and everything else along with it. Studying the “handiness” enables an “categorical definition of beings as they are in themselves”(BAT p71), and it is through “this totality, world makes itself known”( BAT p74).