9. The Theme of the Analytic of Dasein

WE are ourselves the entities to be analysed. The Being of any such entity is in each case mine.1 These entities, in their Being, comport themselves towards their Being. As entities with such Being, they are delivered over [42] to their own Being.2 Being is that which is an issue for every such entity.3 This way of characterizing Dasein has a double consequence:

1. The 'essence' ["Wesen"] of this entity lies in its "to be" [Zu-sein]. Its Being-what-it-is [Was-sein] (essentia) must, so far as we can speak of it at all, be conceived in terms of its Being (existentia). But here our ontological task is to show that when we choose to designate the Being of this entity as "existence" [Existenz], this term does not and cannot have the ontological signification of the traditional term "existentia"; ontologically, existentia is tantamount to Being-present-at-hand, a kind of Being which is essentially inappropriate to entities of Dasein's character. To avoid getting bewildered, we shall always use the Interpretative expression "presence-at-hand" for the term "existentia", while the term "existence", as a designation of Being, will be allotted solely to Dasein.

The essence of Dasein lies in its existence. Accordingly those characteristics which can be exhibited in this entity are not 'properties' present-at-hand of some entity which 'looks' so and so and is itself present-at-hand; they are in each case possible ways for it to be, and no more than that. All the Being-as-it-is [So-sein] which this entity possesses is primarily Being. So when we designate this entity with the term 'Dasein', we are expressing not its "what" (as if it were a table, house or tree) but its Being.

2. That Being which is an issue for this entity in its very Being, is in each case mine. Thus Dasein is never to be taken ontologically as an instance or special case of some genus of entities as things that are present-at-hand.4

1 'Das Seiende, dessen Analyse zur Aufgabe steht, sind wir je selbst. Das Sein dieses Seienden ist je meines.' The reader must not get the impression that there is anything solipsistic about the second of these sentences. The point is merely that the kind of Being which belongs to Dasein is of a sort which any of us may call his own.

2 'Als Seiendes dieses Seins ist es seinem eigenen Sein überantwortet.' The earlier editions read '... seinem eigenen Zu-sein ...'

3 See note 2, p. 28, H. 8 above.

4 '... als Vorhandenem'. The earlier editions have the adjective 'vorhandenem' instead of the substantive.

Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger page 67