335 II. 2
Being and Time

authentic potentiality-for-Being which has thus been attested? But now that we have exhibited a potentiality-for-Being which is attested in Dasein itself, a preliminary question arises: can we claim sufficient evidential weight for the way we have exhibited this, as long as the embarrassment of our Interpreting the conscience in a one-sided manner by tracing it back to Dasein's constitution while hastily passing over all the familiar findings of the ordinary interpretation of conscience, is one that is still undiminished? Is, then, the phenomenon of conscience, as it 'actually' is, still recognizable at all in the Interpretation we have given? [289] Have we not been all too sure of ourselves in the ingenuousness with which we have deduced an idea of the conscience from Dasien's state of Being?

The final step of our Interpretation of the conscience is the existential delimitation of the authentic potentiality-for-Being which conscience attests. If we are to assure ourselves of a way of access which will make such a step possible even for the ordinary understanding of the conscience, we must explicitly demonstrate the connection between the results of our ontological analysis and the everyday ways in which the conscience is experienced.


59· The Existential Interpretation of the Conscience, and the Way Conscience is Ordinarily Interpreted1

Conscience is the call of care from the uncanniness of Being-in-the-world—the call which summons Dasein to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-guilty. And corresponding to this call, wanting-to-have-a-conscience has emerged as the way in which the appeal is understood. These two definitions cannot be brought into harmony at once with the ordinary interpretation of conscience. Indeed they seem to be in direct conflict with it. We call this interpretation of conscience the "ordinary" one [Vulgar] because in characterizing this phenomenon and describing its 'function', it sticks to what "they" know as the conscience, and how "they" follow it or fail to follow it.

But must the ontological Interpretation agree with the ordinary interpretation at all? Should not the latter be, in principle, ontologically suspect? If indeed Dasein understands itself proximally and for the most part in terms of that with which it concerns itself, and if it interprets all its ways of behaving as concern, then will not there be falling and concealment in its interpretation of that very way of its Being which, as a call, seeks to bring it back from its lostness in the concerns of the "they"?2


1 'Die existenziale Interpretation des Gewissens und die vulgare Gewissensauslegung'.

2 '... wird es dann nicht gerade die Weise seines Seins verfallend-verdeckend auslegen, die es als Ruf aus der Verlorenheit in die Besorgnisse des Man zurückholen will.' While we feel that the meaning of this sentence is probably as we have represented it, the grammar is quite ambiguous.


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger