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Sheehan (2015:3-5) – qual o questionamento de Heidegger?

quinta-feira 21 de dezembro de 2023, por Cardoso de Castro


O tema central e final de Heidegger era o "ser"? Nos seus últimos anos, disse que não era. Quando se trata da "coisa em si" (die Sache   selbst  ) da sua obra, declarou que "já não há espaço nem para a palavra ’ser’". Então o seu tema era algo "ser-a-mais do que ser" (wesender als das Sein  )? E poderia talvez ser o "ser em si", das Sein selbst, entendido como "algo que existe por si mesmo, cuja independência é a verdadeira essência do ’ser’"? E se assim for, como é que exatamente o "ser em si" difere (se é que difere de todo) do "ser" como o ser dos seres (das Sein des Seienden  ) ou o ser como o ser dos seres (die Seiendheit des Seienden)? Ou será que o seu tema não era Sein mas talvez Seyn? Ou seria antes Seyn qua Seyn– e se assim for, o que é que isso significa?


What, after all, was Heidegger’s philosophy about? The usual answer has been “being” (das Sein), at least since the early 1960s when William J. Richardson   and Otto Pöggeler crafted their brilliant and still dominant paradigms for understanding Heidegger. But the uncertainty of Heidegger scholarship is nowhere more evident than with that key term. What, in fact, does Martin Heidegger mean by “being”? This is the first question we must take up.

To show that the problem of being has troubled Western philosophers from ancient times, Heidegger opens his major work, Being and Time  , by citing a passage from Plato  ’s Sophist, where the Eleatic Stranger asks his dialogue partners Theaetetus and Theodorus:

How are we to understand this being (τὸ εἶναι  ) of yours? . . . We are at an impasse, so explain to us what you mean when you say “being” (ὄν). It’s obvious that you have long known what you mean by these things, whereas we who formerly imagined we knew are now baffled. [1]

Much the same thing might be said about Heidegger. He may have known what he meant by “Sein,” but he did not   always make that clear to the rest of us. In fact, we might well make our own the plea that the Eleatic Stranger expresses in the next sentence of The Sophist: “So first teach us this very thing so that we won’t seem to know what you told us when in fact we do not.” [2] Heidegger’s remark on Heraclitus  ’ fragment 72 articulates that same problem in yet other terms. Without naming who the “they” might be, he says, “They say ‘is’ without knowing what ‘is’ really means.” [3]

This puzzlement goes to the heart of Heidegger’s project. So, as Aristotle   advises, “Let us make some distinctions.” Was Heidegger’s central and final topic “being”? In his later years he said it was not. When it comes down to “the thing itself” (die Sache selbst) of his work, he declared “there is no longer room even for the word ‘being.’” [4] Then was his topic something “being-er than being” (wesender als das Sein)? [5] And could that perhaps be “being itself,” das Sein selbst, understood as “something that exists for itself, whose independence is the true essence of ‘being’”? [6] And if so, how exactly does “being itself” differ (if it differs at all) from “being” as the being-of-beings (das Sein des Seienden) or being as the beingness-of-beings (die Seiendheit des Seienden)? Or was his topic not Sein but perhaps Seyn? Or was it rather Seyn qua Seyn [7]—and if so, what might that mean?

Or was his topic not “being” in any of its instances or spellings but rather the meaning of being (der Sinn   vom Sein)? But according to Heidegger we already know what the meaning of being is. From the ancient Greeks onward, the terms εἶναι, οὐσία  , esse, das Sein (and so on) have all meant the “constant, steadfast presence” of things. [8] And whereas the theme of presence occupies much of Heidegger’s thought, it was not his final focus. In that case, was he after the essence of being (das Wesen   des Seins)? Or was it, rather, the essencing of the truth of being, die Wesung der Wahrheit   des Seins? [9] Or was it the truth of the essencing of being, die Wahrheit der Wesung des Seyns? [10] Or was Heidegger’s topic none of the above but, instead, the clearing (die Lichtung  )? Or “appropriation” (Ereignis  )? Or ἀλήϑεια? Or perhaps the Λήϑη that lurks within ἀλήϑεια? Or was it the ontological difference? [11]

There is, in fact, considerable confusion at the heart of the Heideggerian enterprise, and it may not be the fault of Heidegger scholars. Heidegger himself said that “it remains unclear what we are supposed to think under the name ‘being.’” [12] In the partly fictitious “Dialogue on Language,” based on a 1953–1954 conversation, Heidegger’s interlocutor, Professor Tomio Tezuka of the Imperial University of Tokyo, lays most of the blame for the muddle at Heidegger’s own doorstep.

Tezuka: [The problem is due] mainly to the confusion that was created by your ambiguous use of the word “Sein.”

Heidegger: You are right. [Nonetheless, my thinking] knows clearly the distinction between “Sein” as the “Sein des Seienden” and “Sein” as “Sein” with regard to its own proper sense, which is dis-closedness (clearing).

Tezuka: Then why didn’t you immediately and decisively hand   back the word “Sein” exclusively to the language of metaphysics? Why didn’t you immediately give your own name to what you were seeking as the “meaning of Sein” on your path through the essence of time?

Heidegger: How can I give a name to what I’m still searching for? Finding it would depend on assigning to it the word that would name it.

Tezuka: Then we have to endure the confusion that has arisen. [13]

And indeed, for some eighty years Heidegger’s readers have had to endure an avalanche of confusion (needless confusion, as I hope to show) in trying to sort out exactly what Heidegger meant by Sein and its cognates. Consider the number of German terms that Heidegger himself gathers around the term “being.” How are we to distinguish (if we are to distinguish) one from the other?

Ver online : Thomas Sheehan

SHEEHAN, Thomas. Making Sense of Heidegger. London: Rowman, 2015

[1Sophist 243e2, 244a4–8. All citations from Plato in Greek are taken from Platonis opera, ed. John Burnet.

[2Sophist 244a8–b1

[3GA15: 277.17–18 = 5.7–8

[4GA15: 365.17–18 = 60.9–10, my emphasis: “ist sogar für den Namen Sein kein Raum mehr.” For “the thing itself” as τὸ πράγμα αὐτό: Plato, “Seventh Letter” (ἐπιστολή Z), 341c7; Protagoras, 330d5, cited at GA14: 76.1–2 = 61.9. Husserl always used the plural: for example, Logische Untersuchungen, Husserliana XIX/1,10.13–14 = I, 252.11, where a “thing” is what is given in direct intuition.

[5GA73, 2: 1319.23.

[6GA 33: 31.9–10 = 25.12–13: “etwas für sich Bestehendes und in dieser Eigenständlichkeit das wahre Wesen des Seins?” See also GA 66: 340.13–14 = 303.18–19.

[7GA73, 2: 997.20: “Seyn ist nicht .” Further on : ibid., 968.7; 1033.10; 1039.10; 1122.7; etc.; also GA9: 306 (g) = 374 (a): “ ist . . . das Ereignis.” But cf. loc. cit., “Sein qua Ereignis.” At GA81: 76.18, Sein and Seyn are equated, but at GA76: 49.15–19 they are contrasted.

[8GA31: 113.22–23 = 79.18: “Anwesenheit und Beständigkeit.”

[9GA65: 73.21 = 58.35–36.

[10GA65: 78.26 = 63.4–5.

[11The ontological difference is “the central thought of Heideggerian philosophy” according to John Haugland, “Truth and Finitude,” I, 47. Compare that with GA 15: 366.27–28 = 60.44–61.1: “Mit dem Sein verschwindet auch die ontologische Differenz” and GA 73, 2: 1344.13–14: “‘Ontologische Differenz’ . . . von Seiendem und Sein, was der Onto-Logie das Thema gibt” (my emphasis). On the two senses of the ontological difference, see chapter 7.

[12GA 40: 34.34–35 = 35.23–24

[13GA 12: 104.16–105.3 = 20.14–32.