When we say 'self' we usually think first of all of 'I myself'. We take the self as our own ego, as subject, consciousness, self-consciousness. And to that extent we find ourselves on the point of ascribing an 'I' or a 'soul' to the organism on the basis of the self-like character we have seen it to have.
And yet, there is no avoiding the self-like character of capacity, i.e., its instinctual and intrinsic self-proposing. This lies in the structure of capacity as such. What does this self-like character initially imply? The capacity diverts itself—intrinsically driving itself forward—into the accomplishment of its wherefore. At the same time, the capacity does not leave itself behind, it does not escape itself as it were. On the contrary: in this instinctual 'toward', the capacity as such becomes and remains proper to itself—and does so without any so-called self-consciousness or any reflection at all, without any relating back to itself. That is why we say that on account of this essential being proper to itself the capacity is properly peculiar. We shall reserve the expression 'self' and selfhood to characterize the specifically human peculiarity, its particular way of being proper to itself. Thus we shall say that every self-like being, every being that possesses the character of personality in the broadest sense (every personal being) is properly peculiar, but not everything that is properly peculiar is self-like or possessed of an ego. The way and manner in which the animal is proper to itself is not that of personality, not reflection or consciousness, but simply its proper being [Eigentum].1 Proper peculiarity [Eigen-tümlichkeit] is a fundamental character of every capacity. This peculiarity belongs to itself and is absorbed [eingenommen] by itself. Proper peculiarity is not an isolated or particular property but rather a specific manner of being, namely a way of being proper to oneself [Sich-zu-eigen-sein]. Just as we speak of the kingdom [Königtum] which belongs to the king, i.e., speak of what it means to be a king, so we also speak here of the proper being [Eigentum] of an animal in the sense of its specific way of being proper to itself. It seems as if this is a purely linguistic device for distancing ourselves from the self-like character of animal being and thus obviating a source of crude misunderstandings. The proper being of the animal means that the animal, and in the first place its specific capability for . . ., is proper to itself. It does not lose itself in the sense that an instinctual impulse to something would leave it itself behind. Rather it
1. [fr: the German Eigentum commonly means "property," in the sense of whatever one owns. Heidegger here explains that he is using the word to mean the animal's way of owning, having, or "being proper to itself' (Sich-zu-eigen-sein). We have rendered Eigentum as "proper being," and shall translate the words eigentümlich (normally meaning "peculiar") and Eigentümlichkeit (normally: "peculiarity") as "properly peculiar" and "proper peculiarity" respectively, in order to bring out this sense of ownness and the "proper." Throughout the translation, we have generally rendered the term eigentlich as "proper" or "properly." Eigentlich, together with its correlate uneigentlich—which is much less common in this course—is used in Being and Time to refer to a possibility of the selfhood of Dasein. There Macquarrie and Robinson translate it as "authentic."]