Sunday, January 29, 2012


Heidegger is careful about the way he uses the word "human" throughout this section of the reading. He begins talking about beings in general and doesn't introduce the concept of human beings until the third page. He emphasizes the fact that his question is about all beings and should not be misconstrued to focus on humans. He shows that humans are ultimately insignificant when he says, "And what is a human lifespan amid millions of years?" (104). And so Heidegger tries very hard to be objective and not focus on his question in regard to humans. However, he continues to use the term "human-historical" and does make observations about humans. I think as a human it is impossible for him to be completely objective and put the role of humans behind in his answering of the question. It is human tendency to be self-centered, that is to be centered around humans, not necessarily individuals. The fact that he reiterates multiple times the importance of not focusing on humans shows his focus on humans. Not even Heidegger, who sees himself as an objective philosopher can fully remove himself from the obsession with humans.


  1. I would argue that Heidegger is actually very subjective, at least in his "Intro to Metaphysics." He does indeed explain that in exploring beings the human is no more important than any other being, but he also spends many pages explaining the phenomenon of being able to ask the "extraordinary" question of "why are there beings in the world instead of nothing?" and explains that this questioning is unique to humans, specifically to Dasein.

    He does say that "if we properly pursue the question ... we must avoid emphasizing any particular, individual being, not even focusing on the human being." But he does not yet pose the question; he explores the nature of the question itself, and in that exploration, the questioning Dasein must be distinctly recognized.

    1. This question about the relationship of Dasein to other kinds of beings is really key, I think, and also quite difficult for me to wrap my head around. I think Heidegger's concept of "care" comes in here, and perhaps that's something we can look at more closely tomorrow. "But Desein means: care of the Being of beings as such that is ecstatically disclosed in care, not only of human Being" (116).