The Taxonomy     7

brightness. He allows that there is a proper brightness: a way of making sense of being and its self-concealing. That is what I pursue here. I attempt to shed the proper brightness on the self-concealing of being.

2. The Taxonomy

There are multiple phenomena of concealing and concealment in Heidegger’s thought, and there are so in part because there are multiple phenomena of unconcealing. Any phenomenon of unconcealing entails a correlate phenomenon of concealment. To distinguish various phenomena of concealing and concealment, then, one good place to start is by distinguishing the different types of unconcealing. Unconcealing is one of Heidegger’s words for being, and there are two primary ways in which to be is to be unconcealed.

First, to be an entity is to be unconcealed or to show up as there rather than not and as this rather than that. To be a pair of scissors, for example, is to show up as available to use (rather than not) and as for cutting (certain sorts of things in certain sorts of ways) (rather than as for something else). Paradigmatically, a pair of scissors shows up in this way when I pick it up and start cutting something with it. Using items of equipment uncovers those items of equipment in their being there as what they are. More broadly, any type of comporting towards entities uncovers them as that and what they are. Comporting uncovers entities in their that-being (or, existing) and their what-being (or, essence). Heidegger calls this ‘discovering’. To be an entity is to be so discovered or unconcealed by us.

But we do not only uncover particular entities one at a time. We are open to entities as such and as a whole—to everything that is for us, and to the very fact that all those things are. This more global uncovering of entities in their being is the showing up of entities as a whole and as such. This is also a phenomenon of being—not the being of a particular entity, such as a pair of scissors, but being as such. Our openness to being as such is a version of what might have traditionally been discussed under the heading of ‘consciousness’, in contrast to our openness in intentional acts in which we discover


Heidegger on Being Self-Concealing by Katherine Withy