Revisiting The Philosophy Of Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger was one of the renowned faces of the German phenomenological school. His concept of Dasien, Existentialia, and temporality were some of the unique contributions to phenomenological and Existentialist schools. He published his famous work ‘Sein and Zeit’ or ‘Being and Time’ in 1927, when he was serving as Assistant professor at the University of Marburg, marked a significant turning point in his academic carrier. Moreover, ‘Sein and Zeit’ can be divided into two parts: the first part of the book expresses the ‘preparatory fundamental analysis of Dasien’ and the second part deals with ‘Dasien and Temporality’, which elaborates the significance of ‘Time’ within the existential horizon.

Exclusively, his work remained influential among the popular philosophical circles across Germany throughout the course of the twentieth century. It is because, his approach to German idealism was radical, which was indeed the result of his disenchantment with the neo-Kantians, who were ruling over the German philosophical departments. In ‘Sein and Zeit’, Heidegger represented the transformation of being from human existence or ‘existential temporality’ to the time of being. In addition, it was the genuine philosophical impression of ‘Sein and Zeit’, which has re-invented the German idealism by bringing forth the Hegelian tradition.

The concept of Dasien was central to Heideggerian phenomenology, as an ontological look into the existence of ‘Being’—what Heidegger said; the human being exists throughout the stretch of its existence between birth and death, from end to end—here the birth resembles the ontological end. Moreover, it is a deep-rooted fact that in the study of philosophy, the formation of the concept is a principal object. Then comes the methodology, which produces the content, and hence, shapes the nature of the concept.

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Martin Heidegger, 1955

On the contrary, the landscape of language also determines the strain of ideas and in this regard, the landscape of language pugnaciously contemplates the relevance of the philosophy. In contrast, the expression of language is principal to delineate philosophical essentials such as Ontology, episteme-logy, theo-logy, metaphysics and meta-logy. Consequently, it was the nature of language of the Heideggerian philosophy that paved the way for new great awakening in the field of natural philosophy and political philosophy.

For instance, Existentialism, before Heidegger, it was Danish born philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who contemplated the problem of existence as the existential one—the existentialistic or existentilia. Basically, Soren Kierkegaard explored the problem of existence, from the standpoint of the Hegelian ontology. Unfortunately, there is a severe ontological difference between existential and existentialistic—that is why, during the Hegelian interpretation, Kierkegaard criticized Hegel for subjecting the problem of ‘existence’ to his speculative philosophy. In contrast, Hegel considered the problem of existence as a common idea of the philosophy with altered content.

As an illustration, Hegel rested his major focus on the theoretical philosophy instead of existential philosophy. Nevertheless, he had developed his existential illumination in the Jasperian context with an aim of giving direction and meaning to people’s life. Conversely, the Heideggerian Dasien stresses on the actual conduct of existence because the phenomenon of existence is central to individual identity and distinction. For Heidegger, existence is inherently relevant to human essence; ontologically, existence is the fundamental aspect of Dasien. In this regard, in the Heideggerian domain, the actual insight and conduct of philosophy is ‘Ontic’, to analyze the phenomenon both theoretically and existentially.

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Gothic cathedral, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1813

On the contrary, since the time of Plato, it has been the conduct of philosophy to analyze the grounded patterns and structure of certain idea and concept. Thence, the tradition of ontological study of the phenomenon dates back to the ancient Greek era. For Heidegger, Greeks failed to analyze the ontological basis of existence and being. In this regard, the whole discourse of the Heideggerian philosophy is based on the occidental tradition especially those of the Greeks. However, the Heideggerian phenomenology differed from that of Husserl, Dilthey, and Karl Jasper. Perhaps, when Heidegger’s major work ‘Sein and Zeit’ got published in the year 1927, Husserl refrained from making any argument on his work—it is because, the Heideggerian phenomenological method differed from that of his contemporaries especially, who was the founding father of phenomenological school.

Though, Heidegger as junior philosopher admired Husserl’s phenomenology but he used Husserlian methodology for his own philosophical end. Moreover, by using his method, Heidegger attempted to dodge the ‘Transcendental subjectivity’ in the study of ontology. In this regard, the major objective of overcoming the Husserlian subjectivity was to analyze the subject of Dasien—which determines the phenomenon of being-in-the-world. Consequently, Heidegger applied the methodology of Husserl, but to serve his own purpose to radically analyze the concept and meaning of Dasien—his phenomenology. For Heidegger, the question of being was the inherited Greek philosophical dilemma, which should be studied not only ontologically but in its temporal context too—here the term ‘temporality’ refers to present or existence and the concept of ‘being’ with the phenomenon of ‘time’.

Correspondingly, within the human being, the world has its own consciousness and its existence for itself. But, the fact cannot be denied that human within their beings are cosmic little and hapless creature, that only stretches his metaphysical greatness—which refers to his superiority over other lower form of beings. In the regard, though Heidegger attempted to overcome the subjectivity but the fact cannot be denied that man is the actual subject among the object and he is the mirror of being and the world, which gives meaning to everything. Moreover, without man as a subject and as a conscious being, the world would have been meaningless—perhaps, it is and will be without the phenomenon of ‘Being and Time’.

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5 Comments
  1. Heidegger, phenomenology, and post modernism is the ultimate bitter fruit of Kant’s divorce of the noumena and the phenomena.
    The noumena IS knowable in part as a new discovery of principle, such as Einstein making a unique discovery. And the proof that the discovery is effective, and is part of the real universe as it is, is the change in the actual Universe that mankind causes when such discoveries are applied. Humans are born with con creative powers of judgement which the post modernists like yourself wish to surgically remove from the human species. This bitter fruit and attack on the human powers of discovery and creative reason is coherent with Heidegger profound love of the German Fuhrer, I have no doubt that Heidegger would have sent Einstein to the gas chamber for that reason. Why is Heidegger so promoted today, it is because he is anti-human, and that serves the elite which want to oppress, and enslave the human race.

  2. Throughout the article, “Dasien” should be Dasein.

  3. After reading this report of his writings, I come away with no additional knowledge. Either he writes so poorly he doesn’t communicate, or he has nothing meaningful to say. Either way, his membership in the Nazi party (1933-1945), his comments on Jews, and his failure to repent, undercut his credibility as a thinker.

  4. This article was undoubtedly a good one.

    I, as an Islamic Theologian and Researcher, would recommend the study of Muslim Philosophy.
    Due to It’ richness and depth, I recommend three major authors:

    – Mulla Sadra;
    – Ibn Sina (Avicenna);
    – Suhravardi.

    Both Mulla Sadra and Ibn Sina, promote the Doctrine of the Primacy of Existence, while Suhravardi promotes the Primacy of Essence (the whatness of a thing) over Existence!!

    It is very interesting, specially because the West currently lacks the Knowledge of THE ABSOLUTE,
    THE BEYOND-BEING WHO IS THE CAUSE of both Existence and Essence.

    If you feel these Masters of Philosophy are to dificult, then I recommend that you should read what
    Seyyed Hossein Nasr has written about them.
    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a Contemporary Muslim Master who teaches Islám and Islamic Sciences at Georgetown University in Washington DC, in the United States of América.

  5. Riaz, you are correct. The West at once had its Ibn Sina in Nicolas of Cusa, whose tradition ends with Leibniz. Einstein is in that tradition. Kant is the break point against that tradition which has since been lost. This is crucial to understanding where the West went wrong. One modern group trying to revive this tradition in the Schiller Institute. Also the translations of Cusa by Jasper Hopkins would delight you greatly.

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