§11. Transcendence of Dasein [216-217]

among other beings, within the totality of other beings. This is all so clear that one cannot see at all what the problem is supposed to be; one could at best say that the statement, "Dasein is constitutionally, according to its essence, in a world," is evidently false. since it is just as evident that it is not essentially necessary that this or that human being exist; it is not contained in the idea of human being that a human actually exist, i.e .• be in a world; but to say the essence of Dasein resides in its being-in-the-world is ostensible nonsense.

Now this is correct, it is not intrinsic to the essence of Dasein as such that it factually exist; it is, however. precisely its essence that in each case this being can also not be extant. The cosmos can be without humans inhabiting the earth, and the cosmos was long before humans ever existed.

But then how can we maintain that being-in-the-world belongs to the essence of Dasein? If this statement is nevertheless supposed to be true, then being-in-the-world must mean something else. And what it does mean is in principle asserted when we emphasize: being-in-the-world is the basic constitution of Dasein. For the crucial aspect lies in the negative: If I say of Dasein that its basic constitution is being-in-the-world, I am then first of all asserting something that belongs to its essence, and I thereby disregard whether the being of such a nature factually exists or not. In other words, the statement, "Dasein is, in its basic constitution, being-in-the-world," is not an affirmation of its factual existence; I do not, by this statement, claim that my Dasein is in fact extant, nor am I saying of it that, in accord with its essence, it must in fact exist. Rather. I am saying: If Dasein in fact exists, then its existence has the structure of being-in-the-world, i.e., Dasein is, in its essence, being-in-the-world, whether or not it in fact exists.

Dasein is therefore not a being-in-the-world because it in fact exists, but conversely. It can only exist in fact as Dasein because its essence is being-in-the-world. It is accordingly important to distinguish sharply and in principle between: 1) the existential statement of fact, that this particular Dasein exists now. What is crucial here is whether a Dasein in fact exists or not, and with regard to its existing; 2) the metaphysical statement of essence, that being-in-the-world belongs to the essence of Dasein as its constitution, whether it in fact exists or not. Crucial here is not whether or not it in fact exists, but what is presented is that which belongs to the intrinsic possibility of Dasein, if it should be able to exist. Being-in-the-world characterizes the basic mode of being, the existence of Dasein, and does not say whether or not it exists.

The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic (GA 26) by Martin Heidegger