behavior). Thus, to understand myself as suspended between success and failure – to exist in a normative space – is possible only because my being is care. Here I shall posit a second thesis: all normative force depends on care.

Making (poiesis) rests upon this sort of existential possibility. Doing something in just the way I do exhibits my skill, my know-how. I know how a table is made; that is, I am able to make one. Such know-how is not necessarily something I can articulate theoretically, but it is not wholly mechanical either; it is techne or art. What distinguishes a carpenter from a carpenter ant is art, a kind of mindedness that stems from the way I understand myself in trying to be a carpenter. Carpenter ants can succeed or fail at making something, but only the carpenter can succeed or fail at what he is trying to be. The carpenter’s skill or techne is an intellectual virtue, not mere instinct, because to try to be a carpenter is to act in light of the norms that govern the practice. The intelligibility of making, then, depends on norms that govern not only the product but the process, norms that govern what it is to be whatever Dasein is able to be.

This shows that Heidegger’s analysis of everyday Dasein includes not only the principles of making but the principles of acting (praxis) as well. For being a father or a friend is a practical identity, but no one – least of all Heidegger – will confuse these with modes of making something. Being a good friend is not just knowing how to write a congratulatory letter but knowing when to write it, in what sort of medium, the character of the one to whom it is addressed, and so on. I may be able to write a congratulatory letter, but if I do so too late, or by email, or with rhetorical flourishes when its recipient dislikes verbosity, then, even if I have succeeded in making something, I have failed at being a friend. Being a friend is praxis – not a property of a subject but an existential project. Like poiesis, it involves a kind of know-how, an intellectual virtue; it is minded. Even if I don’t think about it thematically, being a friend – that is, trying to be one – is not something I do mechanically; in understanding myself as a friend I act not merely in accord with the norms of friendship, but in light of them.9 For Aristotle, the intellectual virtue that grasps the normative “light” that governs praxis is not techne but phronesis. Practical wisdom is the ability to carry out some project in the way that it is supposed to be

9 To speak of acting “in light of norms ” does not entail that these norms are formulated anywhere; they are not rules. Thus acting “immediately” (i.e., without explicit deliberation) is not incompatible with acting in light of norms rather than merely in accord with them. See section 3 below, and note 12.

Steven Crowell - Normativity and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger