Martin Heidegger constructed new words to express his philosophy which focuses on Dasein. The word may seem mysterious to us, but it is simply the German word, das sein, or Being. In our text’s discussion of this, we find that Heidegger uses the following words to express his vision of Being: Being-in-the-world; present-at-hand; and ready-to-hand. He uses these terms to illustrate the world and our activities in it in a dramatically new way–a way which he says is closer to reality than the way we usually think. Heidegger is a difficult philosopher to understand, but we can make an attempt at it by first, explaining the terms he uses, and second, seeing how those terms relate to his discussion of everyday objects, in his case a hammer.
So the assignment this week is to do a close reading of the pages in our reading that have to do with Dasein. Heidegger uses the method of phenomenology to help him with this question. So begin by explaining what phenomenology is. Our reading continues with a discussion of “Being-in-the-World” which explains his conception of ready-to-hand and his famous example of a hammer. Why does he use an example like that? What is he getting at? Then finally the chapter deals with “The ‘Who’ of Dasein.” It is here that he explains the difference between living an authentic or an inauthentic life. Explain what he means about that and “averageness.”
Once you have finished looking at these individual aspects of his thinking, write a paragraph explaining your overall impression of what Heidegger has to say.
Hammer. Source: Flickr. Creative Common.
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