the measure of survival) but to act in light of it as a measure, that is, to take my measure by it. But Division I’s account of intelligibility cannot capture this distinction. To the extent that I act as “one” does, I cannot essentially be distinguished from an entity who acts in conformity to norms though not in light of them. As Heidegger puts this point, the “one … deprives the particular Dasein of its answerability” (GA 2, p. 170/127/165). “I myself” do not take responsibility for the norms according to which I act. And if I subsequently come to answer for myself – the “existentiell modification of the ‘one’” which Heidegger calls “authentic” being one’s self – this is only because I have been led to do so by the disclosure of my being answerable in the breakdown of my everyday self.6 This disclosure constitutes the ontological irreducibility of the first-person point of view.
3 The liminal condition of the care structure
In determining the existential meaning of conscience, Heidegger begins with the ordinary phenomenon. Everyday Dasein is “in thrall” (hörig) to others, and in conscience this “listening” to others is “broken off” (GA 2, pp. 360/271/316). Since as everyday Dasein I do not distinguish myself from these others, conscience calls my everyday self into question. But more technically, as a mode of discourse (Rede) conscience is an “articulation of intelligibility,” and intelligibility refers back to Dasein’s practical identity. Now if, as we have seen, such identities derive from das Man , what sort of practical identity remains for conscience – discourse in breakdown – to articulate? A proper understanding of what conscience “talks about” and “gives to understand” turns on the answer to this question.
To every self-understanding there belongs a certain affectedness (Befindlichkeit) or mood, and the “distinctive mood” of breakdown is Angst. Thus Heidegger writes that the “caller of the call of conscience” is “Dasein, which finds itself in the very depths of its uncanniness” (GA 2, p. 367/276/321), because uncanniness is the hallmark of the world as revealed in Angst. “The world has the character of completely lacking significance” (GA 2, p. 247/186/231); neither things in the world nor “the Dasein-with of others” matter to me (GA 2, p. 249/187/232). To no longer feel “at home” in the world does not mean that I am no longer able
6 Of course, everyday being-in-the-world already includes a “game” of being responsible, in which we take responsibility as “one” does, more or less in the manner of idle talk. However, what Heidegger elucidates in the phenomenon of breakdown, and what I am trying to highlight here, is the ontological condition for such a game, that which allows us to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic playing.