Heidegger, fenomenologia, hermenêutica, existência

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Sheeham: Sein

domingo 23 de abril de 2017

Throughout his fifty-year career Heidegger was scandalously inconsistent in how he employed the word Sein  , and that has thrown off the scholarship for over eighty years. Nonetheless, he does insist that whatever form the word “being” takes in a given philosopher (for example, as είδος in Plato  , or ενέργεια in Aristotle  , or esse in Aquinas), the term always bespeaks what that philosopher thinks constitutes the “realness” of things, or what Heidegger calls the Sein or Seiendheit   of entities. In his clearer moments Heidegger reads das Sein (“being”) and die Seiendheit (“beingness”) as the same: co-equal, formally indicative names for whatever a given philosopher thinks the realness of things consists in. But in his less clear moments he also uses das Sein to name the thrown-open clearing. To avoid the confusion generated by these two very different uses of Sein, I will reserve the word Sein exclusively for the being of things.

That brings us to the next step. As a phenomenologist, Heidegger understands Sein in all its historical incarnations as the meaningful presence (Anwesen  ) of things to human beings — that is, as the changing significance of things within various contexts of human interests and concerns. Sein as the meaningful presence of things holds both for metaphysics, which generally was unaware of this fact, and for Heidegger’s own philosophical work. Hence throughout this book the terms “being,” “beingness,” “meaningful presence,” [xv] “significance,” and “intelligibility” (Sein, Seiendheit, Anwesen, Bedeutsamkeit  , Verständlichkeit  ) will be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing — namely, the “realness” of things in the way Heidegger the phenomenologist understands that heuristic term. For him things are real to the extent that they are meaningfully present (anwesend) to human beings. (See chapter 2: Heidegger’s interpretation   of Metaphysics IX 10.) Even though this position — being = realness = meaningfulness — is Heidegger’s own, it may not   make all Heideggerians happy. But at least it will obviate the hair-pulling confusion caused by Heidegger’s extraordinary carelessness in his use of the word Sein.

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