Phenomenology and the Formulation of the Question

as thrown-open) within which alone reason can synthesize disparate things. This prior openness is “the realm a person traverses every time he or she, as a subject, relates to an object.”74

Apprehension and presence—in order for both to be possible and at the same time to be for one another—require a free space and an open domain, within which they pertain to one another.75

But we are able to do such “traversing of an open space” in existentiel knowledge and action only because we already are such an open space in our existential essence (a priori and structurally, of course, and not of our own volition). Our essence is to be the existential wiggle-room required for existentiel acts of taking-as.

We [erroneously] think that a thing becomes accessible when an “I” as subject represents an object. But in fact prior to that, there must be already operative an open region within whose openedness something can become accessible as an object for a subject and in which the accessibility itself can be traversed and experienced.76

Over the course of Heidegger’s career this open domain would ride under various titles: the clearing, ἀλήϑεια-1, the thrown-open realm (Entwurfbereich) for being, and so on. This open region—along with the opening of it by our being thrown-open or “brought into our own” (ap-propri-ated)—is the core fact, die Sache selbst, of all Heidegger’s philosophizing.

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To return to the question of the being of things: As we have seen, Heidegger never understood it as the raw existence of things out there in space and time. That was what he called existentia, the ontological “substance” of things when they are considered apart from human involvement with them, which is to say, before the enactment of a phenomenological reduction. It is wrong to think that Heidegger refused the phenomenological reduction and instead conducted his early investigations of the everyday world within the natural attitude. Husserl, however, thought that was the case, and he always accused

74. GA 7: 19: 11–13 = 18.31–33. See GA 15: 380.5–7 = 68.42–44: “die für das Menschenwesen grundlegende Möglichkeit, eine offene Weite zu durchgehen, um bis zu den Dingen zu gelangen.”
75. GA 15: 401.24–27 = 93:23–25: “Beide . . . bedürfen . . . eines Freien und Offenen.” See GA 34: 59.22 = 44.20: “Durchgang.”
76. GA 48: 177.21–28 (also at GA 6, 2: 121.12–19) = 93.17–23.

Thomas Sheehan - Making Sense of Heidegger