14. The Idea of the Worldhood of the World1 in General

BEING-IN-THE-WORLD shall first be made visible with regard to that item of its structure which is the 'world' itself. To accomplish this task seems easy and so trivial as to make one keep taking for granted that it may be dispensed with. What can be meant by describing 'the world' as a phenomenon? It means to let us see what shows itself in 'entities' within the world. Here the first step is to enumerate the things that are 'in' the world: houses, trees, people, mountains, stars. We can depict the way such entities 'look', and we can give an account of occurrences in them and with them. This, however, is obviously a pre-phenomenological 'business' which cannot be at all relevant phenomenologically. Such a description is always confined to entities. It is ontical. But what we are seeking is Being. And we have formally defined 'phenomenon' in the phenomenological sense as that which shows itself as Being and as a structure of Being.

Thus, to give a phenomenological description of the 'world' will mean to exhibit the Being of those entities which are present-at-hand within the world, and to fix it in concepts which are categorial. Now the entities within the world are Things—Things of Nature, and Things 'invested with value' ["wertbehaftete" Dinge]. Their Thinghood becomes a problem; and to the extent that the Thinghood of Things 'invested with value' is based upon the Thinghood of Nature, our primary theme is the Being of Things of Nature—Nature as such. That characteristic of Being which belongs to Things of Nature (substances), and upon which everything is founded, is substantiality.

1 'Welt', 'weltlich', 'Weltlichkeit', 'Weltmässigkeit'. We shall usually translate 'Welt' as 'the world' or 'a world', following English idiom, though Heidegger frequently omits the article when he wishes to refer to 'Welt' as a 'characteristic' of Dasein. In ordinary German the adjective 'weltlich' and the derivative noun 'Weltlichkeit' have much the same connotations as the English 'worldly' and 'worldliness'; but the meanings which Heidegger assigns to them (H. 65) are quite different from those of their English cognates. At the risk of obscuring the etymological connection and occasionally misleading the reader, we shall translate 'weltlich' as 'worldly', 'Weltlichkeit' as 'worldhood', and 'Weltmässigkeit' as 'worldly character'. The reader must bear in mind, however, that there is no suggestion here of the 'worldliness' of the 'man of the world'.