ISGN (Intellectual Society of Greater Nashville)

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hi All,



We had a fascinating session this past Saturday on Kierkegaard’s most famous work, Fear and Trembling – fascinating thanks to the author, who has once been called the most original thinker that Scandinavia has ever produced. Thanks also to everyone who contributed fabulously to it.



After discussing with those present, I give you the revised list of readings for the remainder of 2019.







Existential Philosophy


Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling (1843) [Oct 5] - completed

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) [Oct 19]

Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (1927) [Nov 2 and Nov 16]

Jean Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (1943) [Dec 7 and Dec 21]





Note that we have dropped Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand from the list, for now. If there is a demand, we could come back to them in a Literature Series - more on that later. Their best works happen to be literary or fictional works rather than philosophical, non-fictional works). The more immediate reason is that, given our time constraints, we cannot cover all six thinkers as we had originally intended. It is our aim to complete this current Series on Existential Philosophy by the end of the year. We can do all six, in a rushed manner, or focus on four of them. We have decided that the latter approach is the better part of valor - at ISGN, we like to go deep on works of depth. In addition, since our general rule is to do an individual author’s most important work, and since Heidegger’s and Sartre’s most important works are extremely long, we would have to spent more than one session on them. The revised list includes only the most important works of the four thinkers.



Please note also that there are three Saturdays in November. Since we do not meet on the third Saturday of a month, if there is one, we will in effect have a total of five weeks to read Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, which is by far the longest work in this Series.



So, go ahead and order your personal copies of Heidegger’s and Sartre’s tomes.

And, as previously announced, our reading for October 19 is Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
2. It has been maintained secondly that the concept of ‘Being’ is indefinable. This is deduced from its supreme universality,(iv) and rightly so, if definitio fit per genus proximum et differentiam specificam. ‘Being’ cannot indeed be conceived as an entity; enti non additur aliqua natura: nor can it acquire such a character as to have the term “entity” applied to it. “Being” cannot be derived from higher concepts by definition, nor can it be presented through lower ones. But does this imply that ‘Being’ no longer offers a problem? Not at all. We can infer only that ‘Being’ cannot have the character of an entity. Thus we cannot apply to Being the concept of ‘definition’ as presented in traditional logic, which itself has its foundations in ancient ontology and which, within certain limits, provides a justifiable way of characterizing “entities”. The indefinability of Being does not eliminate the question of its meaning; it demands that we look that question in the face. 3. Thirdly, it is held that ‘Being’ is of all concepts the one that is self-evident. Whenever one cognizes anything or makes an assertion, whenever one comports oneself towards entities, even towards oneself,(1) some use is made of ‘Being’; and this expression is held to be intelligible ‘without further ado’, just as everyone understands ‘The sky is blue’, ‘I am merry’, and the like. But here we have an average kind of intelligibility, which merely demonstrates that this is unintelligible. It makes manifest that in any way of comporting oneself towards entities as entities—even in any Being towards entities as entities—there lies a priori an enigma.(2) The very fact that we already live in an understanding of Being and that the meaning of Being is still veiled in darkness proves that it is necessary in principle to raise this question again. Within the range of basic philosophical concepts—especially when we come to the concept of ‘Being’—it is a dubious procedure to invoke self-evidence, if indeed the ‘self-evident’ (Kant’s ‘covert judgments of the common reason’)(3) is to become the sole explicit and abiding theme for one’s analytic—‘the business of philosophers’. By considering these prejudices, however, we have made plain not only that the question of Being lacks an answer, but that the question itself is obscure and without direction. So if it is to be revived, this means that we must first work out an adequate way of formulating it.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time . Kindle Edition.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Nietzsche seems to me a petulant child. He appears to advocate for the STS pathway by way of condescension of self development through self discipline, introspection, subduing one's carnal nature, etc. He's intelligent enough to write with some artistic flare and at first I felt some credit was due based on the fact that he's seeing something true enough abut our STS environment, however it doesn't seem to amount to much more than just his perspective.

The reader will already have conjectured what took place on the stage and behind the scenes of this drama. That will for self-torture, that inverted cruelty of the animal man, who, turned subjective and scared into introspection (encaged as he was in "the State," as part of his taming process), invented the bad conscience so as to hurt himself, after the natural outlet for this will to hurt, became blocked—in other words, this man of the bad conscience exploited the religious hypothesis so as to carry his martyrdom to the ghastliest pitch of agonised intensity. Owing something to God: this thought becomes his instrument of torture. He apprehends in God the most extreme antitheses that he can find to his own characteristic and ineradicable animal instincts, he himself gives a new interpretation to these animal instincts as being against what he "owes" to God (as enmity, rebellion, and revolt against the "Lord," the "Father," the "Sire," the "Beginning of the world"), he places himself between the horns of the dilemma, "God" and "Devil." Every negation which he is inclined to utter to himself, to the nature, naturalness, and reality of his being, he whips into an ejaculation of "yes," uttering it as something existing, living, efficient, as being God, as the holiness of God, the judgment of God, as the hangmanship of God, as transcendence, as eternity, as unending torment, as hell, as infinity of punishment and guilt. This is a kind of madness of the will in the sphere of psychological cruelty which is absolutely unparalleled:—man's will to find himself guilty and blameworthy to the point of inexpiability, his will to think of himself as punished, without the punishment ever being able to balance the guilt, his will to infect and to poison the fundamental basis of the universe with the problem of punishment and guilt, in order to cut off once and for all any escape out of this labyrinth of "fixed ideas," his will for rearing an ideal—that of the "holy God"—face to face with which he can have tangible proof of his own unworthiness. Alas for this mad melancholy beast man! What phantasies invade it, what paroxysms of perversity, hysterical senselessness, and mental bestiality break out immediately, at the very slightest check on its being the beast of action! All this is excessively interesting, but at the same time tainted with a black, gloomy, enervating melancholy, so that a forcible veto must be invoked against looking too long into these abysses. Here is disease, undubitably, the most ghastly disease that has as yet played havoc among men: and he who can still hear (but man turns now deaf ears to such sounds), how in this night of torment and nonsense there has rung out the cry of love, the cry of the most passionate ecstasy, of redemption in love, he turns away gripped by an invincible horror—in man there is so much that is ghastly—too long has the world been a mad-house.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Genealogy of Morals . Digireads.com. Kindle Edition.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The word Dasein refers specifically to the type of Being belonging to us. (human)

But what does it mean to say that that for which(3) entities within-the-world are proximally freed must have been previously disclosed? To Dasein’s Being, an understanding of Being belongs. Any understanding [Verständnis] has its Being in an act of understanding [Verstehen]. If Being-in-the-world is a kind of Being which is essentially befitting to Dasein, then to understand Being-in-the-world belongs to the essential content of its understanding of Being. The previous disclosure of that for which what we encounter within-the-world is subsequently freed,(4) amounts to nothing else than understanding the world—that world towards which Dasein as an entity always comports itself.
1. ‘Aus dem Wobei des Bewendenlassens her ist das Womit der Bewandtnis freigegeben.’ 2. Here we follow the newer editions in reading: ‘Sofern sich ihm überhaupt ein Seiendes zeigt...’. The older editions read ‘Sofern sich mit ihm...’, which is somewhat ambiguous but suggests that we should write: ‘To the extent that with what is ready-to-hand any entity shows itself…’. 3. ‘worauf’. The older editions have ‘woraufhin’. 4. ‘Das vorgängige Erschliessen dessen, woraufhin die Freigabe des innerweltlichen Begegnenden erfolgt...’
Whenever we let there be an involvement with something in something beforehand, our doing so is grounded in our understanding such things as letting something be involved, and such things as the “with-which” and the “in-which” of involvements. Anything of this sort, and anything else that is basic for it, such as the “towards-this” as that in which there is an involvement, or such as the “for-the-sake-of-which” to which every “towards-which” ultimately goes back(1)—all these must be disclosed beforehand with a certain intelligibility [Verständlichkeit]. And what is that wherein Dasein as Being-in-the-world understands itself pre-ontologically? In understanding a context of relations such as we have mentioned, Dasein has assigned itself to an “in-order-to” [Um-zu], and it has done so in terms of a potentiality-for-Being for the sake of which it itself i s—one which it may have seized upon either explicitly or tacitly, and which may be either authentic or inauthentic. This “in-order-to” prescribes a “towards-this” as a possible “in-which” for letting something be involved; and the structure of letting it be involved implies that this is an involvement which something has—an involvement which is with something. Dasein always assigns itself from a “for-the-sake-of-which” to the “with-which” of an involvement; that is to say, to the extent that it is, it always lets entities be encountered as ready-to-hand.(2) That wherein [Worin] Dasein understands itself beforehand in the mode of assigning itself is that for which [das Woraufhin] it has let entities be encountered beforehand. The “wherein” of an act of understanding which assigns or refers itself, is that for which one lets entities be encountered in the kind of Being that belongs to involvements; and this “wherein” is the phenomenon of the world.(3) And the structure of that to which [woraufhin] Dasein assigns itself is what makes up the worldhood of the world.
1. ‘…wie das Dazu, als wobei es die Bewandtnis hat, das Worum-willen, darauf letztlich alles Wozu zurückgeht.’ The older editions have ‘...als wobei es je die Bewandtnis hat...’ and omit the hyphen in ‘Worum-willen’. 2. ‘Dieses zeichnet ein Dazu vor, als mögliches Wobei eines Bewendenlassens, das strukturmässig mit etwas bewenden lässt. Dasein verweist sich je schon immer aus einem Worum-willen her an das Womit einer Bewandtnis, d. h. es lässt je immer schon, sofern es ist, Seiendes als Zuhandenes begegnen.’ 3. ‘Das Worin des sichverweisenden Verstehens als Woraufhin des Begegnenlassens von Seiendem in der Seinsart der Bewandtnis ist das Phänomen der Welt.’
That wherein Dasein already understands itself in this way is always something with which it is primordially familiar. This familiarity with the world does not necessarily require that the relations which are constitutive for the world as world should be theoretically transparent. However, the possibility of giving these relations an explicit ontologico-existential Interpretation, is grounded in this familiarity with the world; and this familiarity, in turn, is constitutive for Dasein, and goes to make up Dasein’s understanding of Being. This possibility is one which can be seized upon explicitly in so far as Dasein has set itself the task of giving a primordial Interpretation for its own Being and for the possibilities of that Being, or indeed for the meaning of Being in general.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time . Kindle Edition.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I find this interesting. Reminds me of the concept of 'the general law'

We have shown earlier how in the environment which lies closest to us, the public ‘environment’ already is ready-to-hand and is also a matter of concern [mitbesorgt]. In utilizing public means of transport and in making use of information services such as the newspaper, every Other is like the next. This Being-with-one-another dissolves one’s own Dasein completely into the kind of Being of ‘the Others’, in such a way, indeed, that the Others, as distinguishable and explicit, vanish more and more. In this inconspicuousness and unascertainability, the real dictatorship of the “they” is unfolded. We take pleasure and enjoy ourselves as they [man] take pleasure; we read, see, and judge about literature and art as they see and judge; likewise we shrink back from the ‘great mass’ as they shrink back; we find ‘shocking’ what they find shocking. The “they”, which is nothing definite, and which all are, though not as the sum, prescribes the kind of Being of everydayness. The “they” has its own ways in which to be. That tendency of Being-with which we have called “distantiality” is grounded in the fact that Being-with-one-another concerns itself as such with averageness, which is an existential characteristic of the “they”. The “they”, in its Being, essentially makes an issue of this. Thus the “they” maintains itself factically in the averageness of that which belongs to it, of that which it regards as valid and that which it does not, and of that to which it grants success and that to which it denies it. In this averageness with which it prescribes what can and may be ventured, it keeps watch over everything exceptional that thrusts itself to the fore. Every kind of priority gets noiselessly suppressed. Overnight, everything that is primordial gets glossed over as something that has long been well known. Everything gained by a struggle becomes just something to be manipulated. Every secret loses its force. This care of averageness reveals in turn an essential tendency of Dasein which we call the “levelling down” [Einebnung] of all possibilities of Being. Distantiality, averageness, and levelling down, as ways of Being for the “they”, constitute what we know as ‘publicness’ [“die Offentlichkeit”]. Publicness proximally controls every way in which the world and Dasein get interpreted, and it is always right—not because there is some distinctive and primary relationship-of-Being in which it is related to ‘Things’, or because it avails itself of some transparency on the part of Dasein which it has explicitly appropriated, but because it is insensitive to every difference of level and of genuineness and thus never gets to the ‘heart of the matter’ [“auf die Sachen”]. By publicness everything gets obscured, and what has thus been covered up gets passed off as something familiar and accessible to everyone. The “they” is there alongside everywhere [ist überall dabei], but in such a manner that it has always stolen away whenever Dasein presses for a decision. Yet because the “they” presents every judgment and decision as its own, it deprives the particular Dasein of its answerability. The “they” can, as it were, manage to have ‘them’ constantly invoking it.(1) It can be answerable for everything most easily, because it is not someone who needs to vouch for anything. It ‘was’ always the “they” who did it, and yet it can be said that it has been ‘no one’. In Dasein’s everydayness the agency through which most things come about is one of which we must say that “it was no one”.
1. ‘Das Man kann es sich gleichsam leisten, dass “man” sich ständig auf es beruft.’ H. 128 Thus the particular Dasein in its everydayness is disburdened by the “they”. Not only that; by thus disburdening it of its Being, the “they” accommodates Dasein [kommt... dem Dasein entgegen]
if Dasein has any tendency to take things easily and make them easy. And because the “they” constantly accommodates the particular Dasein by disburdening it of its Being, the “they” retains and enhances its stubborn dominion. Everyone is the other, and no one is himself. The “they”, which supplies the answer to the question of the “who” of everyday Dasein, is the “nobody” to whom every Dasein has already surrendered itself in Being-among-one-other [Untereinandersein]. In these characters of Being which we have exhibited—everyday Being-among-one-another, distantiality, averageness, levelling down, publicness, the disburdening of one’s Being, and accommodation—lies that ‘constancy’ of Dasein which is closest to us. This “constancy” pertains not to the enduring Being-present-at-hand of something, but rather to Dasein’s kind of Being as Being-with. Neither the Self of one’s own Dasein nor the Self of the Other has as yet found itself or lost itself as long as it is [seiend] in the modes we have mentioned. In these modes one’s way of Being is that of inauthenticity and failure to stand by one’s Self.(1) To be in this way signifies no lessening of Dasein’s facticity, just as the “they”, as the “nobody”, is by no means nothing at all. On the contrary, in this kind of Being, Dasein is an ens realissimum, if by ‘Reality’ we understand a Being that has the character of Dasein.
1. ‘Man ist in der Weise der Unselbständigkeit und Uneigentlichkeit.’ On ‘Ständigkeit’ and ‘Unselbständigkeit’ see our note 1, H. 117 above.
Of course, the “they” is as little present-at-hand as Dasein itself. The more openly the “they” behaves, the harder it is to grasp, and the slier it is, but the less is it nothing at all. If we ‘see’ it ontico-ontologically with an unprejudiced eye, it reveals itself as the ‘Realest subject’ of everydayness. And even if it is not accessible like a stone that is present-at-hand, this is not in the least decisive as to its kind of Being. One may neither decree prematurely that this “they” is ‘really’ nothing, nor profess the opinion that one can Interpret this phenomenon ontologically by somehow ‘explaining’ it as what results from taking the Being-present-at-hand-together of several subjects and then fitting them together. On the contrary, in working out concepts of Being one must direct one’s course by these phenomena, which cannot be pushed aside. H. 129 Furthermore, the “they” is not something like a ‘universal subject’ which a plurality of subjects have hovering above them. One can come to take it this way only if the Being of such ‘subjects’ is understood as having a character other than that of Dasein, and if these are regarded as cases of a genus of occurrents—cases which are factually present-at-hand. With this approach, the only possibility ontologically is that everything which is not a case of this sort is to be understood in the sense of genus and species. The “they” is not the genus to which the individual Dasein belongs, nor can we come across it in such entities as an abiding characteristic. That even the traditional logic fails us when confronted with these phenomena, is not surprising if we bear in mind that it has its foundation in an ontology of the present-at-hand—an ontology which, moreover, is still a rough one. So no matter in how many ways this logic may be improved and expanded, it cannot in principle be made any more flexible. Such reforms of logic, oriented towards the ‘humane sciences’, only increase the ontological confusion. The “they” is an e x i s t e n t i a l e; and as a primordial phenomenon, it belongs to Dasein’s positive constitution. It itself has, in turn, various possibilities of becoming concrete as something characteristic of Dasein [seiner daseinsmässigen Konkretion]. The extent to which its dominion becomes compelling and explicit may change in the course of history. The Self of everyday Dasein is the they-self,(1) which we distinguish from the authentic Self—that is, from the Self which has been taken hold of in its own way [eigens ergriffenen]. As they-self, the particular Dasein has been dispersed into the “they”, and must first find itself. This dispersal characterizes the ‘subject’ of that kind of Being which we know as concernful absorption in the world we encounter as closest to us. If Dasein is familiar with itself as they-self, this means at the same time that the “they” itself prescribes that way of interpreting the world and Being-in-the-world which lies closest. Dasein is for the sake of the “they” in an everyday manner, and the “they” itself Articulates the referential context of significance.(2) When entities are encountered, Dasein’s world frees them for a totality of involvements with which the “they” is familiar, and within the limits which have been established with the “they’s” averageness. Proximally, factical Dasein is in the with-world, which is discovered in an average way. Proximally, it is not ‘I’, in the sense of my own Self; that ‘am’, but rather the Others, whose way is that of the “they”.(3) In terms of the “they”, and as the “they”, I am ‘given’ proximally to ‘myself’ [mir “selbst”]. Proximally Dasein is “they”, and for the most part it remains so. If Dasein discovers the world in its own way [eigens] and brings it close, if it discloses to itself its own authentic Being, then this discovery of the ‘world’ and this disclosure of Dasein are always accomplished as a clearing-away of concealments and obscurities, as a breaking up of the disguises with which Dasein bars its own way.
1. ‘…das Man-selbst...’ This expression is also to be distinguished from ‘das Man selbst’ (‘the “they” itself’), which appears elsewhere in this paragraph. In the first of these expressions ‘selbst’ appears as a substantive, in the second as a mere intensive. 2. ‘Das Man selbst, worum-willen das Dasein alltäglich ist, artikuliert den Verweisungszusammenhang der Bedeutsamkeit.’ It is also possible to construe ‘alltäglich’ as a predicate adjective after ‘ist’; in that case we should read: ‘Dasein is everyday for the sake of the “they”.’ 3. ‘Zunächst “bin” nicht “ich” im Sinne des eigenen Selbst, sondern die Anderen in der Weise des Man.’ In the earlier editions there are commas after ‘ “ich” ’ and ‘Anderen’, which would suggest a somewhat different interpretation.
With this Interpretation of Being-with and Being-one’s-Self in the “they”, the question of the “who” of the everydayness of Being-with-one-another is answered. These considerations have at the same time brought us a concrete understanding of the basic constitution of Dasein: Being-in-the-world, in its everydayness and its averageness, has become visible.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time . Kindle Edition.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hiedegger on conscience

In the call of conscience, what is it that is talked about—in other words, to what is the appeal made? Manifestly Dasein itself. This answer is as incontestable as it is indefinite. If the call has so vague a target, then it might at most remain an occasion for Dasein to pay attention to itself. But it is essential to Dasein that along with the disclosedness of its world it has been disclosed to itself, so that it always understands itself. The call reaches Dasein in this understanding of itself which it always has, and which is concernful in an everyday, average manner. The call reaches the they-self of concernful Being with Others. H. 273 And to what is one called when one is thus appealed to?(1) To one’s own Self. Not to what Dasein counts for, can do, or concerns itself with in being with one another publicly, nor to what it has taken hold of, set about, or let itself be carried along with. The sort of Dasein which is understood after the manner of the world both for Others and for itself, gets passed over in this appeal; this is something of which the call to the Self takes not the slightest cognizance. And because only the Self of the they-self gets appealed to and brought to hear, the “they” collapses. But the fact that the call passes over both the “they” and the manner in which Dasein has been publicly interpreted, does not by any means signify that the “they” is not reached too. Precisely in passing over the “they” (keen as it is for public repute) the call pushes it into insignificance [Bedeutungslosigkeit]. But the Self, which the appeal has robbed of this lodgement and hiding-place, gets brought to itself by the call. 1. ‘Und woraufhin wird es angerufen?’ When the they-self is appealed to, it gets called to the Self.(1) But it does not get called to that Self which can become for itself an ‘object’ on which to pass judgment, nor to that Self which inertly dissects its ‘inner life’ with fussy curiosity, nor to that Self which one has in mind when one gazes ‘analytically’ at psychical conditions and what lies behind them. The appeal to the Self in the they-self does not force it inwards upon itself, so that it can close itself off from the ‘external world’. The call passes over everything like this and disperses it, so as to appeal solely to that Self which, notwithstanding, is in no other way than Being-in-the-world. But how are we to determine what is said in the talk that belongs to this kind of discourse? What does the conscience call to him to whom it appeals? Taken strictly, nothing. The call asserts nothing, gives no information about world-events, has nothing to tell. Least of all does it try to set going a ‘soliloquy’ in the Self to which it has appealed. ‘Nothing’ gets called to [zu-gerufen] this Self, but it has been summoned [aufgerufen] to itself—that is, to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. The tendency of the call is not such as to put up for ‘trial’ the Self to which the appeal is made; but it calls Dasein forth (and ‘forward’) into its ownmost possibilities, as a summons to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-its-Self.(2) H. 274 The call dispenses with any kind of utterance. It does not put itself into words at all; yet it remains nothing less than obscure and indefinite. Conscience discourses solely and constantly in the mode of keeping silent. In this way it not only loses none of its perceptibility, but forces the Dasein which has been appealed to and summoned, into the reticence of itself. The fact that what is called in the call has not been formulated in words, does not give this phenomenon the indefiniteness of a mysterious voice, but merely indicates that our understanding of what is ‘called’ is not to be tied up with an expectation of anything like a communication. Yet what the call discloses is unequivocal, even though it may undergo a different interpretation in the individual Dasein in accordance with its own possibilities of understanding. While the content of the call is seemingly indefinite, the direction it takes is a sure one and is not to be overlooked. The call does not require us to search gropingly for him to whom it appeals, nor does it require any sign by which we can recognize that he is or is not the one who is meant. When ‘delusions’ arise in the conscience, they do so not because the call has committed some oversight (has miscalled),(3) but only because the call gets heard in such a way that instead of becoming authentically understood, it gets drawn by the they-self into a soliloquy in which causes get pleaded, and it becomes perverted in its tendency to disclose.
1. ‘Auf das Selbst wird das Man-selbst angerufen.’ 2. ‘Der Ruf stellt, seiner Ruftendenz entsprechend, das angerufene Selbst nicht zu einer “Verhandlung”, sondern als Aufruf zum eigensten Selbstseinkönnen ist er ein Vor-(nach- “vorne”-)Rufen des Daseins in seine eigensten Möglichkeiten.’ The verbs ‘anrufen’, ‘aufrufen’, and ‘vorrufen’ can all be used in the legal sense of a ‘summons’. 3. ‘...ein Sichversehen (Sichver-rufen) des Rufes...’
One must keep in mind that when we designate the conscience as a “call”, this call is an appeal to the they-self in its Self; as such an appeal, it summons the Self to its potentiality-for-Being-its-Self and thus calls Dasein forth to its possibilities. But we shall not obtain an ontologically adequate Interpretation of the conscience until it can be made plain not only who is called by the call but also who does the calling, how the one to whom the appeal is made is related to the one who calls, and how this ‘relationship’ must be taken ontologically as a way in which these are interconnected in their Being. 57. Conscience as the Call of Care H. 275 Conscience summons Dasein’s Self from its lostness in the “they”. The Self to which the appeal is made remains indefinite and empty in its “what”. When Dasein interprets itself in terms of that with which it concerns itself, the call passes over what Dasein, proximally and for the most part, understands itself a s. And yet the Self has been reached, unequivocally and unmistakably. Not only is the call meant for him to whom the appeal is made ‘without regard for persons’, but even the caller maintains itself in conspicuous indefiniteness. If the caller is asked about its name, status, origin, or repute, it not only refuses to answer, but does not even leave the slightest possibility of one’s making it into something with which one can be familiar when one’s understanding of Dasein has a ‘worldly’ orientation. On the other hand, it by no means disguises itself in the call. That which calls the call, simply holds itself aloof from any way of becoming well-known, and this belongs to its phenomenal character. To let itself be drawn into getting considered and talked about, goes against its kind of Being.(1) The peculiar indefiniteness of the caller and the impossibility of making more definite what this caller is, are not just nothing; they are distinctive for it in a positive way. They make known to us that the caller is solely absorbed in summoning us to something, that it is heard only as such, and furthermore that it will not let itself be coaxed. But if so, is it not quite appropriate to the phenomenon to leave unasked the question of what the caller is? Yes indeed, when it comes to listening to the factical call of conscience in an existentiell way, but not when it comes to analysing existentially the facticity of the calling and the existentiality of the hearing.
1. ‘Es geht wider die Art seines Seins, sich in ein Betrachten und Bereden ziehen zu lassen.’
But is it at all necessary to keep raising explicitly the question of who does the calling? Is this not answered for Dasein just as unequivocally as the question of to whom the call makes its appeal? In conscience Dasein calls itself. This understanding of the caller may be more or less awake in the factical hearing of the call. Ontologically, however, it is not enough to answer that Dasein is at the same time both the caller and the one to whom the appeal is made. When Dasein is appealed to, is it not ‘there’ in a different way from that in which it does the calling? Shall we say that its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-its-Self functions as the caller? Indeed the call is precisely something which we ourselves have neither planned nor prepared for nor voluntarily performed, nor have we ever done so. ‘It’ calls,(1) against our expectations and even against our will. On the other hand, the call undoubtedly does not come from someone else who is with me in the world. The call comes from me and yet from beyond me and over me.(2) These phenomenal findings are not to be explained away. After all, they have been taken as a starting-point for explaining the voice of conscience as an alien power by which Dasein is dominated. If the interpretation continues in this direction, one supplies a possessor for the power thus posited,(3) or one takes the power itself as a person who makes himself known—namely God. On the other hand one may try to reject this explanation in which the caller is taken as an alien manifestation of such a power, and to explain away the conscience ‘biologically’ at the same time. Both these explanations pass over the phenomenal findings too hastily. Such procedures are facilitated by the unexpressed but ontologically dogmatic guiding thesis that what is (in other words, anything so factual as the call) must be present-at-hand, and that what does not let itself be Objectively demonstrated as present-at-hand, just is not at all.
1. ‘ “Es” ruft...’ Here the pronoun ‘es’ is used quite impersonally, and does not refer back to ‘the call’ itself (‘Der Ruf’). 2. ‘Der Ruf kommt aus mir und doch über mich.’ 3. ‘…unterlegt man der festgelegten Macht einen Besitzer…’ H. 276
But methodologically this is too precipitate. We must instead hold fast not only to the phenomenal finding that I receive the call as coming both from me and from beyond me, but also to the implication that this phenomenon is here delineated ontologically as a phenomenon of Dasein. Only the existential constitution of this entity can afford us a clue for Interpreting the kind of Being of the ‘it’ which does the calling. Does our previous analysis of Dasein’s state of Being show us a way of making ontologically intelligible the kind of Being which belongs to the caller, and, along with it, that which belongs to the calling? The fact that the call is not something which is explicitly performed by me, but that rather ‘it’ does the calling, does not justify seeking the caller in some entity with a character other than that of Dasein. Yet every Dasein always exists factically. It is not a free-floating self-projection; but its character is determined by thrownness as a Fact of the entity which it is; and, as so determined, it has in each case already been delivered over to existence, and it constantly so remains. Dasein’s facticity, however, is essentially distinct from the factuality of something present-at-hand. Existent Dasein does not encounter itself as something present-at-hand within-the-world. But neither does thrownness adhere to Dasein as an inaccessible characteristic which is of no importance for its existence. As something thrown, Dasein has been thrown into existence. It exists as an entity which has to be as it is and as it can be. That it is factically, may be obscure and hidden as regards the “why” of it; but the “that-it-is” has itself been disclosed to Dasein.(1) The thrownness of this entity belongs to the disclosedness of the ‘there’ and reveals itself constantly in its current state-of-mind. This state-of-mind brings Dasein, more or less explicitly and authentically, face to face with the fact ‘that it is, and that it has to be something with a potentiality-for-Being as the entity which it is’.(2) For the most part, however, its mood is such that its thrownness gets closed off. In the face of its thrownness Dasein flees to the relief which comes with the supposed freedom of the they-self. This fleeing has been described as a fleeing in the face of the uncanniness which is basically determinative for individualized Being-in-the-world. Uncanniness reveals itself authentically in the basic state-of-mind of anxiety; and, as the most elemental way in which thrown Dasein is disclosed, it puts Dasein’s Being-in-the-world face to face with the “nothing” of the world; in the face of this “nothing”, Dasein is anxious with anxiety about its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. What if this Dasein, which finds itself [sich befindet] in the very depths of its uncanniness, should be the caller of the call of conscience? Nothing speaks against this; but all those phenomena which we have hitherto set forth in characterizing the caller and its calling speak for it.
1. ‘Dass es faktisch ist, mag hinsichtlich des Warum verborgen sein, das ‘Dass’ selbst jedoch ist dem Dasein erschlossen.’ (Cf. H. 135 above.) 2. ‘Diese bringt das Dasein mehr oder minder ausdrücklich und eigentlich vor sein “dass es ist und als das Seiende, das es ist, seinkönnend zu sein hat”.’ H. 277
In its “who”, the caller is definable in a ‘worldly’ way by nothing at all. The caller is Dasein in its uncanniness: primordial, thrown Being-in-the-world as the “not-at-home”—the bare ‘that-it-is’ in the “nothing” of the world. The caller is unfamiliar to the everyday they-self; it is something like an alien voice. What could be more alien to the “they”, lost in the manifold ‘world’ of its concern, than the Self which has been individualized down to itself in uncanniness and been thrown into the “nothing”? ‘It’ calls, even though it gives the concernfully curious ear nothing to hear which might be passed along in further retelling and talked about in public. But what is Dasein even to report from the uncanniness of its thrown Being? What else remains for it than its own potentiality-for-Being as revealed in anxiety? How else is “it” to call than by summoning Dasein towards this potentiality-for-Being, which alone is the issue? The call does not report events; it calls without uttering anything. The call discourses in the uncanny mode of keeping silent. And it does this only because, in calling the one to whom the appeal is made, it does not call him into the public idle talk of the “they”, but calls him back from this into the reticence of his existent potentiality-for-Being. When the caller reaches him to whom the appeal is made, it does so with a cold assurance which is uncanny but by no means obvious. Wherein lies the basis for this assurance if not in the fact that when Dasein has been individualized down to itself in its uncanniness, it is for itself something that simply cannot be mistaken for anything else? What is it that so radically deprives Dasein of the possibility of misunderstanding itself by any sort of alibi and failing to recognize itself, if not the forsakenness [Verlassenheit] with which it has been abandoned [Überlassenheit] to itself? Uncanniness is the basic kind of Being-in-the-world, even though in an everyday way it has been covered up. Out of the depths of this kind of Being, Dasein itself, as conscience, calls. The ‘it calls me’ [“es ruft mich”] is a distinctive kind of discourse for Dasein. The call whose mood has been attuned by anxiety is what makes it possible first and foremost for Dasein to project itself upon its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. The call of conscience, existentially understood, makes known for the first time what we have hitherto merely contended:(vii) that uncanniness pursues Dasein and is a threat to the lostness in which it has forgotten itself. vii. Cf. Section 40, H. 189. H. 278 The proposition that Dasein is at the same time both the caller and the one to whom the appeal is made, has now lost its empty formal character and its obviousness. Conscience manifests itself as the call of care: the caller is Dasein, which, in its thrownness (in its Being-already-in), is anxious(1) about its potentiality-for-Being. The one to whom the appeal is made is this very same Dasein, summoned to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being (ahead of itself...). Dasein is falling into the “they” (in Being-already-alongside the world of its concern), and it is summoned out of this falling by the appeal. The call of conscience—that is, conscience itself—has its ontological possibility in the fact that Dasein, in the very basis of its Being, is care.
1. ‘…sich ängstigend...’ The older editions have ‘sich ängstend’, which has virtually the same meaning, and is more characteristic of Heidegger’s style.
So we need not resort to powers with a character other than that of Dasein; indeed, recourse to these is so far from clarifying the uncanniness of the call that instead it annihilates it. In the end, does not the reason why ‘explanations’ of the conscience have gone off the track, lie in the fact that we have not looked long enough to establish our phenomenal findings as to the call, and that Dasein has been presupposed as having some kind of ontological definiteness or indefiniteness, whichever it may chance? Why should we look to alien powers for information before we have made sure that in starting our analysis we have not given too low an assessment of Dasein’s Being, regarding it as an innocuous subject endowed with personal consciousness, somehow or other occurring? And yet, if the caller—who is ‘nobody’, when seen after the manner of the world—is interpreted as a power, this seems to be a dispassionate recognition of something that one can ‘come across Objectively’. When seen correctly, however, this interpretation is only a fleeing in the face of the conscience—a way for Dasein to escape by slinking away from that thin wall by which the “they” is separated, as it were, from the uncanniness of its Being. This interpretation of the conscience passes itself off as recognizing the call in the sense of a voice which is ‘universally’ binding, and which speaks in a way that is ‘not just subjective’. Furthermore, the ‘universal’ conscience becomes exalted to a ‘world-conscience’, which still has the phenomenal character of an ‘it’ and ‘nobody’, yet which speaks—there in the individual ‘subject’—as this indefinite something. But this ‘public conscience’—what else is it than the voice of the “they”? A ‘world-conscience’ is a dubious fabrication, and Dasein can come to this only because conscience, in its basis and its essence, is in each case mine—not only in the sense that in each case the appeal is to one’s ownmost potentiality-for-Being, but because the call comes from that entity which in each case I myself am. With this Interpretation of the caller, which is purely in accord with the phenomenal character of the calling, the ‘power’ of conscience is not diminished and rendered ‘merely subjective’. On the contrary, only in this way do the inexorability and unequivocal character of the call become free. This Interpretation does justice to the ‘Objectivity’ of the appeal for the first time by leaving it its ‘subjectivity’, which of course denies the they-self its dominion. H. 279 Nevertheless, this Interpretation of the conscience as the call of care will be countered by the question of whether any interpretation of the conscience can stand up if it removes itself so far from ‘natural experience’. How is the conscience to function as that which summons us to our ownmost potentiality-for-Being, when proximally and for the most part it merely warns and reproves? Does the conscience speak in so indefinite and empty a manner about our potentiality-for-Being? Does it not rather speak definitely and concretely in relation to failures and omissions which have already befallen or which we still have before us? Does the alleged appeal stem from a ‘bad’ conscience or from a ‘good’ one? Does the conscience give us anything positive at all? Does it not function rather in just a critical fashion? Such considerations are indisputably within their rights. We can, however, demand that in any Interpretation of conscience ‘one’ should recognize in it the phenomenon in question as it is experienced in an everyday manner. But satisfying this requirement does not mean in turn that the ordinary ontical way of understanding conscience must be recognized as the first court of appeal [erste Instanz] for an ontological Interpretation. On the other hand, the considerations which we have just marshalled remain premature as long as the analysis of conscience to which they pertain falls short of its goal. Hitherto we have merely tried to trace back conscience as a phenomenon of Dasein to the ontological constitution of that entity. This has served to prepare us for the task of making the conscience intelligible as an attestation of Dasein’s ownmost potentiality-for-Being—an attestation which lies in Dasein itself. But what the conscience attests becomes completely definite only when we have delimited plainly enough the character of the hearing which genuinely corresponds to the calling. The authentic understanding which ‘follows’ the call is not a mere addition which attaches itself to the phenomenon of conscience by a process which may or may not be forthcoming. Only from an understanding of the appeal and together with such an understanding does the full Experience of conscience let itself be grasped. If in each case the caller and he to whom the appeal is made are at the same time one’s own Dasein themselves, then in any failure to hear the call or any incorrect hearing of oneself, there lies a definite kind of Dasein’s Being. A free-floating call from which ‘nothing ensues’ is an impossible fiction when seen existentially. With regard to Dasein, ‘that nothing ensues’ signifies something positive.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time . Kindle Edition.
 
Top Bottom