wonders what sort of entities these may be (entities that will grant us access to Dasein’s understanding of being as displayed in its concernful dealings). His response tells us all we need to know about the role of “things” in Being and Time:

One may answer: “Things.” But with this obvious answer we have per-haps already missed the pre-phenomenal basis we are seeking. For in addressing these entities as “Things” (res), we have tacitly anticipated their ontological character. When analysis starts with such entities and goes on to inquire about being, what it meets is thinghood and reality. Being as substantiality, materiality, extendedness, side-by-side-ness, and so forth. But even pre-ontologically, in such being as this, the entities which we encounter in concern are proximally hidden. When one designates things as the entities that are “proximally given,” one goes ontologically astray, even though ontically one has something else in mind. What one really has in mind remains undetermined. (GA 2: 91/SZ 67–68)

Being and Time would thus already think the particular beings of the world and rebut any attempt to simply cast these beings as “things” as itself overlooking their fundamental status as ready-to-hand.

But it is precisely for this reason that we cannot speak of any “things” in Being and Time at all—not in the sense that Heidegger will develop the thing in his later work. A thing is no simple presence, nothing that can be understood as an independent and relationless unit of objective presence. Things concern us and appeal to us, we care for them and live with them. We leave our marks upon them, even wear them out, and they leave their marks upon us. They are nodes of a relation, not inert and dumb objects. Yet when Being and Time recognizes this and offers the ready-to-hand as an alternative to such objective presence, it changes nothing. To think of things in terms of tools is only to subordinate them to the purposes of a user. They serve as means to an external end. But things do not serve, they are. Heidegger’s reflections through the thirties lead to an understanding of the history of philosophy as a history of the will (as a 1945 dialogue expresses it, “with the word ‘will’ I do not in fact mean a faculty of the soul, but rather that wherein the essence of the soul, mind, reason, love, and life is based, according to a unanimous yet hardly thought through doctrine of occidental thinkers,” GA 77: 78/49). Approaching the world in terms of use and utility, in terms of tools, is part and parcel of this metaphysical world of the will. It culminates in Nietzsche, or more precisely in that last avatar of Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, who understands all of reality in terms of the worker (Der Arbeiter). The worker

Andrew J. Mitchell - The Fourfold

Page generated by FourfoldSteller.EXE