Heidegger Explained: From Phenomenon to Thing (Ideas Explained)

Heidegger Explained: From Phenomenon to Thing (Ideas Explained)

Graham Harman

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0812696174

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Martin Heidegger’s (1889-1976) influence has long been felt not just in philosophy, but also in such fields as art, architecture, and literary studies. Yet his difficult terminology has often scared away interested readers lacking an academic background in philosophy. In this new entry in the Ideas Explained series, author Graham Harman shows that Heidegger is actually one of the simplest and clearest of thinkers. His writings and analyses boil down to a single powerful idea: being is not presence. In any human relation with the world, our thinking and even our acting do not fully exhaust the world. Something more always withdraws from our grasp. As Harman shows, Heidegger understood that human beings are not lucid scientific observers staring at the world and describing it, but instead are thrown into a world where light is always mixed with shadow. The book concludes with a comprehensible discussion of the philosopher’s notoriously opaque concept of the fourfold.




















organ at all. Here, Heidegger agrees with Aristotle’s remark that what hears, smells, and tastes is the soul (whatever it may be), not the ears, nose, or tongue. Tools are serviceable, in the sense that we can grab any pen off any table and use it. This is not true of organs: we need our own eyes and ears to sense anything. If we someday receive an organ transplant, this simply means that we are making the new organ our own. Organs are not serviceable for the organism, but subservient to it. What

things in its own forceful way. When philosophy lets things be, this is not just an opening, but also a concealment. The proper relation to concealment is always tact. Having a sense of tact is often more important than having an abundance of knowledge. Tact cannot be taught, since it amounts to having the right touch or feel for a specific subject matter. The essence of truth is nothing human. Essence shows itself, which means that being shows itself. Heidegger now switches to an older German

fire in relation to each other. The fire affects the paper only in a certain sense (flammable object), while never coming into contact with its other properties at all (blue, fragrant, and smooth object). In this sense, even inanimate objects objectify each other. Dasein’s conscious awareness is not relevant at this level of the analysis, and only becomes relevant later, if at all. Heidegger needed to recognize that there is a sense in which objects withdraw from one another even in the absence

deeply. By rapidly shifting between different interests, curiosity distracts us from our own being-in-the-world. Dasein. A normal German word that usually means existence or presence. Heidegger redefines the term to refer solely to human existence. de-severance and directionality. These two terms describe the spatiality of beings. De-severance translates the German Ent-fernung, which implies that distance is both increased and eliminated. When I view a distant building, for example, I am letting

Example: playing-forth/the last god/grounding & echo/the ones to come/the leap. (Better translations of some of these terms are possible; for convenience I deliberately use those found in the existing English translation. The German words are Zuspiel/der letzte Gott/Gründung & Anklang/die Zukünftigen/Sprung. See the diagram on page 121 above.) What It Means: The sixfold is found only in the mysterious Contributions to Philosophy. It results from placing two threefold temporal structures in

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