Author

Thomas Akpen

Defense Date

5-16-2006

Availability

Worldwide Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Philosophy

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Wilhelm S. Wurzer

Committee Member

George Yancy

Committee Member

James Swindal

Keywords

authenticity, Befindlichkeit, being-in-the-world, conscience, Dasein, destiny, everydayness, guilt, inauthencity, Mitsein, thrownness

Abstract

In the history of Western philosophy, Martin Heidegger is the only philosopher after Plato and Aristotle to have seriously investigated the question of being. Instead of dwelling on particulars as previous philosophers did, Heidegger probes the question of being by investigating the being of the investigator of being. This being is Dasein, understood as human existence. Dasein is not just a thinking thing (res cogitans) or a political animal (politicus animalus), but essentially a being-in-the-world. Dasein has two modes of existence in its being-in-the-world -- inauthentic existence and authentic existence.

To exist inauthentically is to reject the clarion call of conscience to own up the guilt that characterizes the being of the human being. To acknowledge the self-insufficiency that is the lot of every Dasein plunges Dasein into its authentic mode of existence. Therefore, to exist authentically is to be resolute, decisive, or to use Friedrich Nietzsche's terminology, it is to will radically in Dasein's being-in-the-world-with-others. Willing radically is not utopian, it is demonstrated in the political process when the individual delegates another to represent him in the community of selves for the construction of a State that enhances, not only the disclosure of the meaning of being, but also the being of the investigator of being. It is this kind of exposition of Heidegger's ontology that marks the epiphany of the political vibration of Heidegger's Being and Time.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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