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in the first place. This “withdrawal” or self-concealment of be-ing does not make be-ing independent of being-there. To the contrary, be-ing requires being-there just as much as being-there requires it—which is precisely why we can never control or survey be-ing, as we can control and survey objects from which we can separate ourselves and to which we have no essential relation (251, 254).32

The Contributions refer to the mutual need of be-ing and being-there as die Kehre, “the turn” (407). This should not be confused with the same expression as commonly used by scholars to mean the change from the earlier to the later Heidegger, although the two issues are not unrelated. Being and Time described being-there as the entity who understands the being of beings, but faltered in the attempt to describe how being-there’s temporality serves as the “horizon” for being. In such a description, everything would have been “reversed,” but “thinking failed in the adequate saying of this turning.”33 The limitations of Being and Time, as we saw in chapter 1, lie in the danger of taking being-there as a quasi-subject whose limits transcendentally determine being. The Contributions try to overcome transcendentalism by thinking of being-there as a thrown thrower whose very thrownness is part of its belonging to the event of be-ing. In this way, as Heidegger puts it in the “Letter on ‘Humanism,’” his later thought “arrives at the locality of that dimension out of which Being and Time is experienced, [i.e.] the oblivion of being.” Heidegger’s marginal note clarifies that “oblivion” here is linked to the “withdrawal” or “expropriation” that is part of appropriation.34 In short, the selfconcealing event of be-ing is involved in a reciprocal “turn” with being-there; the thinking of this turn fulfills the “turn” in Heidegger’s development, which is best understood not as a turn away from Being and Time but as a deeper insight into issues in the background of that text.35

What exactly happens in the turn? Be-ing “requires” (braucht) being-there or man (251, 262, 264, 317, 342). Brauchen means both to use and to need,


32. It can be misleading to say that there is “something about being itself, about its very event, its happening or unfolding, that strangely fails to touch us, that withdraws from us, that remains indifferent to us”: William McNeill, “The Time of Contributions to Philosophy,” in Scott et al., Companion, 134. Heidegger would reply that withdrawal is precisely a kind of “touch”— a distinctive relation, not the absence of all relations. (Mourners, for example, are intimately related to the departed dead.) Be-ing cannot happen in a way that is indifferent to “us,” if “us” means being-there.

33. “Letter on ‘Humanism,’” in Pathmarks, 250.

34. Ibid.

35. On the senses of Kehre cf. Fried, Heidegger’s Polemos, 66–79; von Herrmann, Wege ins Ereignis, chap. 1, sec. 4; Louis J. Schiano Jr., “The Kehre and Heidegger’s Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis)” (Ph.D. diss., Marquette University, 2001); Sheehan, “A Paradigm Shift,” 195–96; Sheehan, “Kehre and Ereignis.” In “Das Ereignis,” the term Kehre is used in yet another way, to mean the essential happening of the truth of be-ing as the be-ing of truth.


Richard Polt - The Emergency of Being