Heidegger Journal #7

Journal # 7 (3/5/04)

A “fore-having” as Heidegger uses the term here is what you bring with you to an experience that allows you to interpret it. In the most general terms, “all interpreting is an interpreting with respect to something, on the basis of it, and with a view to it” (p.60, emphasis added). As personal, historical I’s, Beings each with a particular ‘having-been’, we bring things with up to the table of our experience, every moment refreshed as the trajectory from out of our past towards our future continues on. These fore-havings, based upon ever more refined understandings of our having-been, are linked with the idea of “formal indications” in that, once we see Philosophy as a path to be traveled rather than a stationary position to be defended, these two ideas can help guide us onto the right ‘path of looking’ (p.62). As the project itself must be subject to its own content, we see Heidegger’s work illustrates the provisional character it projects.

The “everyday world”, as laid out in section 19 of Ontology: The Hermeneutics of Faticity, is purposefully described inaccurately “in order to bring an authentic analysis into sharper relief,” among other things (p. 67). Heidegger makes use of a table as an example here and says that where it has certain qualities in nature like smoothness or roughness, the ability to be burned etc, and that as you walk around it and experience it from different angles, different aspects show themselves to you. However this “being-there-in-such-a-manner… provides the possibility of determining something about the meaning of the being of such objects and their being-real… [the table] is furnished with definite valuative predicates: beautifully made, useful” etc. as well (p.68). In this exposition of the ‘everyday world’, “the total domain of what is real can… be divided up into two realms: things in nature and things of value. Heidegger says these results are not false, but are only apparently true. A better description of ‘everyday world’ is offered in section 20 where he says that the table is not simply a table but the table, a particular table “at which one sits in order to write, have a meal, sew, play… [and] this characteristic of “in order to do something” is not merely imposed upon the table by relating and assimilating it to something else which it is not” (p.69). Section 19’s description of the everyday world maps on very well to the theoretical attitude brought out in the “Worldview” lectures, grasping those ‘things’ nearest and most immediate to us and ascribing to them various qualities– not something Heidegger wants to summarily dismiss or reject, just something he wants to take a step back from and put a ground to, find the ‘from-out-of-which’ that we need in order to engage in the theoretical attitude’s activities at all. Section 20’s exposition of the ‘everyday world’ fits extremely well with the idea of environmental experience in those same previous lectures in that it shows how Dasein is bound up in its experience and absorbed in its Umwelt. There must be a reference back, a tying back into that personal, historical I, in every piece of that world which enfolds Being, making it whole with itself by giving it access to its having-been.

c. Mary Kathryn Gough
Katie Huffman (married, Gough) / Philosophy 340 / Professor Halteman

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