Philosophy Notes

My philosophy notes

Published 2021-03-18
Updated 2021-11-17

Heidegger’s Being and Time

The Ontological Priority of the Question of Being

Ontological = rigid, factual, scientific, observational

“Being is always the being of being”

Heidegger expresses the need not to simply advance, in a linear fashion, the science, but to also be open to “redefinition”.

In relation to Da-sein, this means viewing it as a site of investigation rather than simply treating the being as a representational abstraction of being.

Heidegger talks of “fundamental concepts” developed within the sciences. “movement” occurs when these are questioned and revised.

Finally, and in conclusion, the being of beings needs to be questioned itself to try to develop a foundational ontology that the sciences can lead from.

In other words: how can one use the sciences to understand “being” without first defining what “being” means.

The Ontic Priority of the Question of Being

“Da-sein is a being that does not simply occur among other beings”

“Da-sein is ontically distinguished by the fact that in its being this being is concerned about it’s very being”

Dasein in its ontic nature is ontological.

Existential Angst - (Notes from Emmy van Deurzen presentation)

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live” - Marcus Aurelius

Simone de Beauvouir - Ethics of ambiguity

Freedom = Anxiety - Kierkegaard (Nobody will sort things out for us)

Anxiety is part of life

Human existance = limits - temporality - gravity - entropy

Jaspers - way to freedom

Sleep = very important

Sisyphus - pushing boulder up the hill only for it to roll down again

Albert Camus - The Plague

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

R.D. Laing

Ontological insecurity / identity is a major facet of mental illness.

“Break through instead of breakdown”


But there is something in me that I call courage: it has always destroyed every encouragement in me”


Learning to live is a moral and ontic struggle: a daily and dynamic challenge.


Unheimlichkeit: “not being at home”

Starting to make decisions towards overcoming a crisis is the beginning of its resolve.

Fear /= Anxiety

Anxiety is about “nothing”

Fear is about something known

Panic = overwhelming sense of incapacitation

We cannot be free without anxiety

Existential courage

Closing off from freedom to keep anxiety at bay: - closing off from the world - the un-owned existance - Sartrean concept of “living in bad faith”

Death is the possibility of the absolute impossibility of Da-sein


“Man is condemned to be free”

Four dimensions of life / existential space

  1. Spiritual: Uberwelt
  2. Personal: Eigenwelt
  3. Social: Mitwelt
  4. Physical: Umwelt

Baumeister (1991) Meanings of life

  1. Need for efficacy (physical)
  2. Need for value (social)
  3. Need for self-worth (personal)
  4. Need for purpose (spiritual)

Heidegger - What is Metaphysics

Twofold character of metaphysical integration

  • Every metaphysical question encompases entire range of metaphysical problems

  • Every metaphysical question can be asked only in such a way that the questioned as such is present with the question. i.e is placed in the question.

Da-sein is special because we engage in metaphysics.

Heidegger - The Question Concerning Technology

A clearing is a region of Being in which things are revealed as mattering in some specific way or another.

To identify the essence of technology is to lay bare technology as a clearing, that is, to describe a technological mode of Being.

quotes: “In the context of the being-question, this word [machination, technology] does not name a human comportment but a manner of the essential swaying of Being”