GA 29/30

Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt-Endlichkeit-Einsamkeit

The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude

In this Winter Semester 1929–30 lecture course, Heidegger determines the origin of philosophy as metaphysics. Metaphysics is not an overstepping of the sensible world to another and higher world; it is a revolution in our everyday way of questioning. In metaphysics our own being-there should become a question for us, and in this sense metaphysics is a fundamental occurrence in our lives. Heidegger addresses the question concerning world, finitude, and individualization (Vereinzelung).

In the first part, Heidegger shows how philosophy springs from a fundamental mood. The fundamental mood of his time is deep boredom, which expresses itself in the attempt to control and satisfy all needs. The defense against need makes it impossible for us to experience our need as a whole. As being-there, we no longer experience our being as the task of having-to-be. The mystery of being-there, which gives being-there its greatness, remains hidden. Heidegger tries to evoke the mood of deep boredom in his students. After an extensive analysis of boredom, Heidegger addresses in the second part the fundamental question of metaphysics concerning world, finitude, and individualization. As usual, Heidegger will not have enough time to address all three questions. He only discusses the question of the world.

What is world? Heidegger distinguishes between the stone that has no world and is worldless, the animal that is world-poor, and being-there that shapes its world or is world-forming. He formally indicates world as the manifestation (Offenbarkeit) of entities in the whole and analyzes its structural constitution. In the exposition of the essence of life, Heidegger shows how the manifestness of entities, as such, is the “there” of the openness of the world. The manifestness of entities, as such, and the openness of the world are intertwined. Only because being-there exists in the midst of entities can it get close to the essence of life. In our nearness to life, the phenomenon of nature shows itself.

Heidegger shows next how being-there and nature belong together. The nearness of being-there and nature manifests itself in the intertwining of thrownness and projection. Nature can only be disclosed in the clearing of an understanding of world. In understanding, the openness of the world is opened up. The phenomenon of world is formally indicated in the fundamental character of the manifestness of entities, as such, and in the whole. As a structural moment of manifestness, the “as” refers to the structure of the λόγος. This explains why metaphysics took the λόγος as its starting point. In a destruction of logic, Heidegger takes a step back into the ground of the structure of λόγος as assertion. This original dimension is the triple structure of world-formation, as the fundamental occurrence of being-there in the depths of its freedom and finitude. This triple structure is, as the holding sway of world, at the same time the manifestation of the being of entities, and thereby the letting hold sway of being-there’s projection of world.

Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik (GA 29/30)