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Now, according to Heidegger, although Husserl had used phenomenological reflection to get at the domain of pure consciousness in a manner far in advance of any other philosopher, nevertheless, he had passed up an opportunity to examine the ontological nature of the intentional acts and objects themselves. The anti-psychologistic thrust in Husserl, which laid so much emphasis on the discovery of ideal objectivities, had the drawback that the being of acts themselves has been neglected, leaving open the possibility that they would be treated merely as psychological facts.
As Heidegger points out, there is both the light of the fire in the cave and the light of the Sun above, thus these two sources of illumination must have two different meanings attached to them. Consequently, though what emanates from these two sources is referred to as light in both cases, "light" here must itself be capable of having two different meanings. Hence just as truth can be understood as either adequatio and correspondence or as aletheia and unhiddenness, so too can light bear within itself a conceptual distinction.
Philosphy is still a primal science for Heidegger that uncovers the a priori categories of factic life. With his concern for avoiding a philosophy of consciousness that leads to the solitariness of a disembodied cogito, Heidegger substitutes a broader conception of Dasein as a finite being-in-the-world.
"To the things themselves" is not to be confused with the reductionist search for things-in-themselves. On the contrary, it means the search for the "whatness" of things as manifested on the stage of everyday life (Lebenswelt). It means the search for the manifold of meanings dynamically impressed on our "compromise" with the world. It means, as we shall see later, to study things "distinguishing" them from what they are not.
Of all of Heidegger's distinctions penetrating into the impact of information technology on society, calculative thinking and essential thinking has become one of his most incisive. By considering the precious shadows cast by this distinction it is suggested that Heidegger's phenomenology is neither individualistic nor strictly idealist. Furthermore, these shadows cast deeper implications: phenomenology implicitly attempts to reconcile the ideal with the real. An approach to expand on Heidegger's contribution - that of perspectival thinking - is discussed in relation to calculative thinking and essential thinking.
In the background, we engage in silent thought. What is most significant in our lives is not easily accessible to reflection - it is not visible to intentionality. Being is self-interpreting and is necessarily involved in and dependent upon the world. We exist amid a world of shared meanings and understandings in the social context as a mode of being human which exists factically.
Heidegger says that we live in, and in fact are nothing but, a "clearing" (Lichtung) in the midst of Being, which seems to imply that around this clearing Being is still a dark jungle. What is more, it is not given to human being or thinking to force its way into Being, but it is primarily Being itself which reveals itself to thinking by its own initiative, its speaking to us (Zuspruch).
Heidegger sought to unveil the nature of thinking of the earth-bound man who is ruled not by the image of the sun, not by the light of reason per se, but by the logic of life depending on idiosyncratic circumstances of the moment for insight and practical wisdom.
On Heidegger's account, then, when anxiety brings Dasein face to face with death, it realizes that its being is being-towards-death, that its life, and all the decisions it makes, are haunted by the indeterminate yet certain possibility of its impossibility, and moreover that its life is its life, its decisions its decisions. All my plans and projects can be annihilated at any time and will be annihilated at some time.
'Heidegger points out that primarily and for the most part we are engaged with the world, actively dealing with and interacting with the world, while the characteristically theoretical comportment of merely "looking at" the world is a relatively exceptional occurrence in lived-experience.'
'Heidegger was able to stress very sharply the finitude within the basic structure of our living, the finitude of reflection flowing from our original preoccupation with things and with ourselves and from the need to react against it. Reflection is grounded in the innermost finitude of being human and in its relation to truth. Those, ultimately, are the reasons for reflection.'
'Heidegger (1962) insisted that the transcendental is always and already grounded in the ongoing existence in the life-world. He expressed this with his rather strange formulation that every thing is always and already a being-in-the-world. For him the external horizon of ongoing situated activity-the world-is where the original source of all meaning (being-ness) is ultimately located and to which we must finally return.'
From Metaphysical Review, Vol. 2, Dec. 1, 1995, No. 5.