Geschiedenis van de Filosofie, Uncategorized, Vrije Academie

Being is not beings qua beings: some textual evidence

Is teaching Heidegger fun? There is no consensus on anything, and the main point (the question of being) is something which it seems we cannot just talk about (Compare Dr. Johan de Jong‘s, Movements of Thinking, Amsterdam University Press).

The Heidegger literature is therefore littered with conflicting statements, or worse still – many a consensus which clearly are not in line with the actual main project of Heidegger. It almost seems as if the clearer the statement gets, the more it is forced to contradict the texts

(For instance, by presenting Being and Time as an anthropological work on human existence or consciousness, we do something understandable and present Heidegger in an agreeable manner, but we clearly go against the intend of the book (Heidegger, Wegmarken)).


Notes and Text

I don’t pretend to be able to talk on Heideggers behalf. But I will make some public notes to myself, and present some preliminary translation:

  1. Heidegger (1949) thought metaphysics does not involve being but only beings, or beings qua beings. This is a reason to go beyond metaphysics.
    1. “Because metaphysics questions beings qua beings, it is held to beings and doesn’t turn towards being as being” (Was ist Metaphysik? Einleitung 8)
    2. “Metaphysics says what the beings are as beings. She is a Logos (statement) about the On (the beings). A later word like ‘ontology’ marks her being […]” (Was ist Metaphysik? Einleitung 20)
    3. “It almost seems as if metaphysics, because of the way she thinks beings – and without even knowing it – is destined to be the barrier which denies  the commencing relation of being and humanbeing” (very hard to translate, Was ist Metaphysik? Einleitung 13)
  2. The issue of being is not the issue of the sum of all beings, and neither is it the issue of beings qua beings
    1. “[ Metaphysics]  doesn’t ask about [being] , because she only thinks it as far as she represents the beings as beings.” (Was ist Metaphysik? Einleitung 12)
    2. “She mentions beings as a whole and calls it being. She mentions being and she intends to talk about the beings qua beings. The speaking of metaphysics always moves, in a peculiar way, from start to finish, in an all pervasive swapping of beings and being” (Was ist Metaphysik? Einleitung 12)
  3. Beings include things which do not ‘exist’
    1. “The title [Being and Time]  cannot be thought in the sense of other common titles: being and becoming, being and appearing, being and thinking, being and ought. Because in all these cases, being is thought as a limited thing, as if ‘becoming’, ‘appearing’, ‘thinking’, ‘ought to’ would not belong to being, while clearly these are not nothing and so must belong to being” (Was ist Metaphysik? Einleitung 18)



Heidegger, Was ist Metaphysik?, 15th edition 1998, Klostermann Frankfurt am Main






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