Heidegger on Death: A Critical Theological Essay

Heidegger on Language and Death
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His analysis of human existence proves an inexhaustible ground for thinkers of all backgrounds who seek answers for their specific questions left open or opened up by our times. This book explores the intrinsic connection between two fundamentally human traits, language and death. Heidegger addresses each of these traits in depth, without ever explicitly outlining their relationship in a separate theory.

maisonducalvet.com/olite-para-solteros.php Oberst uncovers a connection in three basic steps. Ultimately the author argues that the human invention of language is motivated by the drive towards immortality - language emerges from the experience of mortality as a response to it. This is a refreshing look at one of the most challenging and influential philosophers of our times. The Question of Authenticity and Inauthenticity Revisited 3. The book is divided into a Preview, six sections or "joinings," and a final section on "Be-ing the translators write "be-ing" to translate ' Seyn ,' which Heidegger opposes to the metaphysical ' Sein'.

What links these six joinings together is the theme of Ereignis , here translated somewhat awkwardly as "enowning," but elsewhere rendered as event, or event of appropriation. The appropriation or enowning of being is the event of its self-revelation and self-concealment.

Βιογραφία συγγραφέα: Pattison George

The mistake is to think that humans or any other entities beings, Seiendes can own or appropriate being Sein or be-ing, Seyn itself. Being is self- en owned, appropriates itself in its event, which is historical according to Heidegger's specific philosophical determination. History is epochal, or what used to be called metaphysical before Heidegger disowned the term, but only if metaphysical does not mean eternal as opposed to temporal.

The structure of reality is temporality, and temporality implies not only history as development, but above all the possibility of a beginning.

According to Heidegger there are two historical beginnings, philosophically speaking. The first was the original unveiling of being in Greek philosophy, which then immediately misunderstood being in terms of a determinate being. The second beginning is the beginning which Heidegger's philosophy announces, which takes its cue from Nietzsche's visionary work, although Nietzsche himself was not able to emancipate himself from metaphysics the first beginning pp.

The theme of the two beginnings is essential to understand the progression of the six joinings. The echo refers to the call of being, which is subtle and difficult to perceive, primarily because being occurs as refusal or not-granting. Being refuses human attempts at manipulation. Human science and technology goes hand in hand with classical metaphysics, and its goal is the manipulation of beings in order to capture being itself.

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

Paradoxically, however, the more beings are manipulated in a calculative technological grasping, the more being recedes, or refuses to show itself to human efforts. The thinker who discerns the echo of being also hears the playing forth of the other or second beginning as a minor key underneath the predominant or major key of the first beginning. The tension of the playing-forth accumulates, gathering strength in preparation for the leap. The leap is the transition from the first beginning to the other beginning. The leap away from the first beginning metaphysics initially takes the form of an "abground," or an abyss, as the solid ground of the first beginning disappears under one's feet, prompting intense disorientation.

The goal of the leap, however, is the other beginning, which is a grounding of the truth of being. Even in Being and Time , Heidegger was never primarily interested in human being as such, but only insofar as it provided as opening towards being itself.

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This is the mistake Sartre and other French existentialists make when they read Heidegger as a humanist. On the other hand, the turn away from Dasein is neither as radical nor as thorough as readers of the later Heidegger assume, because Dasein grounds the truth of being. The grounding of the other beginning is Dasein , which is the essence, or sway wesen of truth.

This then gives voice to the constructive intention of the book as it "works its way towards the hope and gratitude with which a Christian response to death must begin" 7.

The specifically Christian perspective and the constructive intention that proceeds from it is marked further by declarations such these: "Read in the perspective of Christian ethics, this is problematic" 94 , and "For Christian faith such words of faithfulness and hope also anticipate and are, in their own way, expressive of another Word" Such phrases indicate that Pattison is speaking from a position already defined by truths presented in Christianity.

Pattison's invocation of Christianity thus affords him a fair amount of critical leverage and power, as it gives him knowledge and terms in which to level such a critique. I have no objections to speaking from a perspective, and I have no criticism to make of Christian truths. Someone lacking in Pattison's commitment to established truths, or someone who does not have secure access to knowledge of what it means to be a Christian or, more generally, of what it means to be, finds herself in want of the language and knowledge that would settle, put to rest, or resolve the question as it is raised by Heidegger.

Pattison notes that these Christian authors are the ones Heidegger was reading in the early formative years when he developed the account of human existence as "mortal anxiety" The theologians' account of the sinful condition of human existence culminating in death provided Heidegger with ontic evidence for developing his own account of human being-in-the-world as abandonment to death. But, Pattison contends, Heidegger omits from his reading of these authors precisely what would make the meditation on death and human nothingness into a transformative event, one generative of human meaning.

These omissions concern chiefly reference to the divine and a theology of Creation, making for what Pattison calls "a secularized version of radical Protestant theology" 86 -- evidence again of Heidegger's secular turn. This change in the event in which authentic selfhood is realized has important consequences for the determination of the fundamental mood of human being: whereas the resolute taking up of human existence as Dasein thrown toward death happens in a mood of anxiety Heidegger , the authentic realization of the human condition as creature happens in a mood of hope and gratitude Luther, Kierkegaard, and Pattison , for the creature realizes her own nothingness in the face of the one who saves her and to whom she is therefore thankful.

This, I think, makes the realization of authentic nothingness somewhat convenient in that it is at once redeemed.

Heidegger on Death

At least for the Christian it is, but Heidegger's secular turn has omitted from his reading of Christian sources precisely what Pattison contends makes it possible for existence to be affected in such hopeful and thankful ways. This difference is at the heart of Pattison's theological critique of Heidegger: existence thrown toward death gives no ground for hope, while Christian existence created by and for God does include hope.

But is hope really a secular impossibility? And is hope Christian or otherwise so sure of its future? To my ears, the hope Pattison describes sounds at times more like the expectation of what it knows will come -- a future present, indeed a good one life after death, a God who saves, and so on , expected with certainty because founded on an encounter already experienced the God who saved.

The worry or anxious concern that accompanies hope often seems pressed out of Pattison's account.

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But one might want to distinguish hope from expectation and contend that hope becomes meaningful when the future is unknown and indeterminate, that the nothingness of death is therefore the ground of hope, not its opposite but what calls for it: only a being aware of future nothingness hopes to be. The second perspective from which Pattison objects to Heidegger is not explicitly theological or religious, but aspires to a phenomenological legitimacy that would be of general or perhaps universal human significance.

Pattison points out that the resolution required for taking up our thrown existence in running ahead toward death is rare, indeed foreign to our human condition. We come to authentic existence not in running ahead toward our own death, but in our desire "just to remain, to stay alive" 57 and in the love and pity we show to our fellow men who suffer the same fear and share the same desire. Human weakness in the face of death does not condemn existence to inauthenticity and insignificance, according to Pattison, for our being is constituted most fundamentally in connection with others whose pain we feel as ours and whose death we suffer as our own loss.

Works of love, rituals of grieving, and words of consolation in which the existence of the self is bound up with others thus realize authentic selfhood, according to Pattison, without demanding the heroism of the isolated, reticent I running ahead resolutely toward death without the community of others. For what religious life teaches us is that "even life's decisive moments turn out to be not so decisive after all" Life remains to be lived after the moment of decision, and the temptations to stray must be resisted again and again.

And, Pattison adds, "the same might be said of the face to face with death" He intends this remark to be critical of Heidegger -- who Pattison claims argues that, in resolute anticipation of death, Dasein gains "a conclusive view of its own life" 54 and comes to be itself finally and definitively, as it truly is as a whole.

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For Heidegger, the existence of such a self, though void of divine aspiration, is not without significance; indeed hearing the call to authentic existence represents a turning toward the networks of significance that Heidegger believed was the world and human inherence in it. Being-in-the-world organizes and presents itself in time, the horizon of Being, but not merely in clock time. When Husserl retired as Professor of Philosophy in , Heidegger accepted Freiburg's election to be his successor, in spite of a counter-offer by Marburg. Gilbert Ryle wrote a critical yet positive review of Being and Time. It has been postulated that Heidegger believed the Western world to be on a trajectory headed for total war, [71] and on the brink of profound nihilism [72] the rejection of all religious and moral principles , [73] which would be the purest and highest revelation of Being itself, [74] offering a horrifying crossroads of either salvation or the end of metaphysics and modernity ; [75] rendering the West a wasteland populated by tool-using brutes, characterized by an unprecedented ignorance and barbarism [76] in which everything is permitted.

This supposed Heideggerian selfsame self-constancy, being-as-a-whole, is not true to life or human existence, Pattison objects, for resoluteness will always unravel in time, leaving Dasein doomed to inauthentic existence. There is no triumphant act of resolution in which I would decide myself once and for all and then maintain myself as myself throughout the whole of my life.