Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beings vs. Being

I particularly liked Heidegger's concept of focusing on the greater being instead of an individual being. "And yet the question should not be about some particular, individual being Given the unrestricted range of the question, every being counts as much as any other... we must avoid emphasizing any particular, individual being, not even focusing on the human being For what is this being, after all!" (p. 104). First, I think that too many philosophers put an undue importance on the individual. There are so many amazing similarities and things common to humans as a race that I find it foolish to focus on a microcosm of our species (a single human) instead of looking at us on a bigger scale. I don't believe that you'll ever be able to find any overarching truth in looking at a singular being. That being said, I don't think that the individual should be discounted entirely so here I disagree a bit with Heidegger. Finding patterns or themes in beings should be looked at on an individual scale to see how they compare, that only makes sense to me.

Secondly, I like that Heidegger doesn't limit "being" to existing in only humans. The idea of "being" or maybe even "spirit" or "will" existing in more than humans is an old idea and one that I think deserves merit. Humans are conceited if they truly believe that they are the only thing in the world or universe with a unique spirit or "life" running through them so I am glad that Heidegger doesn't limit himself to this idea. To me, it seems as though he sees the question of "being" being so big that there is no way to limit it all.


  1. Kat, I agree that he does a pretty good job at looking at beings at whole, but he does keep coming back to the idea of humans. As much as he tries to stay away from it, he continues to return to it. I would say it is impossible for any human to stop entirely from being bias and look at the big picture without some regard to humans. This is just a hypothesis though. What do you think?

  2. I agree that it is nearly impossible to set the bias toward humans aside, especially since Heidegger is a human being, and so are we. What I think sets us (human beings) apart from other beings, and perhaps even other human beings, is our freedom and intelligence to inquire our surroundings, ourselves, and other beings. What makes each individual unique is his/her perception of his/her surroundings, him/herself, and other beings, after all. Perhaps this is why philosophers tend to stress the importance of the individual, because every individual has different potential and perspective. Therefore, I also agree that in order to answer questions about human beings, they must first be compared and contrasted on an individual scale in order to come across overarching truths about the species entirely.

  3. To chime in, I would have to say that I agree with Kat that Heidegger does a good job of not limiting "being" to just human beings. I believe that by talking about the Dasein spirit provides evidence that Heidegger is not just referring to human beings because we are not the only living species on Earth with spirits. He does often talk about being in relation to human beings but, to answer your thought Marie, I think that he does that because it makes the concept easier for the reader (human beings) to relate to.