120 I. 3
Being and Time

But as yet our analyses have done no more than lay bare the horizon within which such things as the world and worldhood are to be sought. [87] If we are to consider these further, we must, in the first instance, make it still more clear how the context of Dasein's assigning-itself is to be taken ontologically.

In the act of understanding [Verstehen], which we shall analyse more thoroughly later (Compare Section 31), the relations indicated above must have been previously disclosed; the act of understanding holds them in this disclosedness. It holds itself in them with familiarity; and in so doing, it holds them before itself, for it is in these that its assignment operates.1 The understanding lets itself make assignments both in these relationships themselves and o f them.2 The relational character which these relationships of assigning possess, we take as one of signifying.3 In its familiarity with these relationships, Dasein 'signifies' to itself: in a primordial manner it gives itself both its Being and its potentiality-for-Being as something which it is to understand with regard to its Being-in-the-world. The "for-the-sake-of-which" signifies an "in-order-to"; this in turn, a "towards-this"; the latter, an "in-which" of letting something be involved; and that in turn, the "with-which" of an involvement. These relationships are bound up with one another as a primordial totality; they are what they are as this signifying [Be-deuten) in which Dasein gives itself beforehand its Being-in-the-world as something to be understood. The relational totality of this signifying we call "significance". This is what makes up the structure of the world—the structure of that wherein Dasein as such already is. Dasein, in its familiarity with significance, is the ontical condition for the possibility of discovering entities which are encountered in a world with involvement (readiness-to-hand) as their kind of Being, and which can thus make themselves known as they are in themselves [in seinem An-sich] . Dasein as such is always something of this sort; along with its Being, a context of the ready-to-hand is already essentially discovered: Dasein, in so far as it is, has always submitted4 itself already to a 'world' which it encounters, and this submission1 belongs essentially to its Being.


1 'Das ... Verstehen ... hält die angezeigten Bezüge in einer vorgängigen Erschlossenheit. Im vertrauten Sich-darin-halten hält es sich diese vor als das, worin sich sein Verweisen bewegt.' The context suggests that Heidegger's 'diese' refers to the relationships (Bezüge) rather than to the disclosedness (Erschlossenheit), though the latter interpretation seems a bit more plausible grammatically.

2 'Das Verstehen lässt sich in und von diesen Bezügen selbst verweisen.' It is not entirely clear whether 'von' should be translated as 'of', 'from', or 'by'.

3 'be-deuten'. While Heidegger ordinarily writes this word without a hyphen (even, for instance, in the next sentence), he here takes pains to hyphenate it so as to suggest that etymologically it consists of the intensive prefix 'be-' followed by the verb 'deuten'-to 'interpret', 'explain' or 'point to' something. We shall continue to follow our convention of usually translating 'bedeuten' and 'Bedeutung' by 'signify' and 'signification' respectively, reserving 'significance' for 'Bedeutsamkeit' (or, in a few cases, for 'Bedeutung'). But these translations obscure the underlying meanings which Heidegger is emphasizing in this passage.

4 'angewiesen'; 'Angewiesenheit'. The verb 'anweisen', like 'verweisen', can often be translated as 'assign', particularly in the sense in which one assigns or allots a place to something, or in the sense in which one gives an 'assignment' to someone by instructing him how to proceed. The past participle 'angewiesen' can thus mean 'assigned' in either of these senses; but it often takes on the connotation of being dependent on' something or even 'at the mercy' of something. In this passage we have tried to compromise by using the verb 'submit'. Other passages call for other idioms, and no single standard translation seems feasible.