Being There
Dr William Large
In this lecture we shall return
to a topic that was the subject of our second
on Heidegger, ‘being-in’. The first time that we  treated
this topic we were only interested in this phenomenon in terms of the structure
of the world and the everydayness of Dasein. But even these phenomenon
refer to a fundamental way of ‘being-in’ which we so far have said nothing

Let us remind ourselves of how we
already have spoken of the ‘being-in’ of Dasein. If we remind ourselves,
Heidegger argues that the ‘being in’ of Dasein is not same ‘in’
of the water in the glass, or the chair in the room. The ‘being in’ of
Dasein is not to be understood in terms of spatiality, but as lived,
as when, for example, I speak of being in love with someone. The notion
of the existential ‘in’ as opposed to the categorical, speaks of familiarity
or intimacy. 

This notion of ‘in’ Heidegger argues
cannot be grasped in terms of traditional epistemology, where one speaks
of the interiority of the subject as opposed to the exteriority of the
object, and the whole problem of philosophy becomes that of how one gets
from the inside to an outside (in this case one is understanding existence
inappopriated through a categorical image of space), rather Heidegger argues
the ‘being-in’ of Dasein must be understood through the notion of

‘The entity which is essentially
constituted by Being-in-the-World is itself in every case its ‘there’ [BT
We must again be careful of not understanding
this ‘there’ in terms of categorical space; that is to say, as the there
of an object, when for example we speak of a table being over ‘there’ near
the door. Dasein is its there, in the way that we could never say
that a table is. Rather, Heidegger says, the ‘there’ of Dasein is
to be understood as ‘disclosure’ (Erschlossenheit). How are we to
understand this notion of disclosure as the ‘there being’ of Dasein?
Heidegger says that disclosure must be understood in two ways, one of which
we have already met in the last lecture on anxiety: through moods and the
understanding.  Heidegger writes: In Understanding and Moods, we shall
see the two constitutive ways of being the ‘there’ [BT 133].

Let us first look at briefly what
Heidegger has to say about moods as a kind of disclosure. Dasein,
Heidegger writes, is always in some mood  or other. These moods cannot
be understood in terms of cognition, because what cognition makes sense
of of falls short of what is manifest in moods. What does a mood manifest?
It manifests how one is: ‘A mood makes manifest ‘how one is, and how one
is faring’. In this ‘how one is’, having a mood brings Being to its ‘there’
[BT 134].

‘How one is’ is what one is thrown
into. One gets into a mood, or it overwhelms one. Thus, what a mood reveals
is the ‘facticity’ of Dasein. Facticity means that one is what one

In having a mood, Dasein is always disclosed moodwise as that entity to which it has been delivered over in its Being; and in this way it has delivered over to the Being which, in existing, it has to be [BT 134].
We should not, however, understand this
disclosure of what one is in terms of cognition, that now one knows what
one is. Dasein confronts itself not as some kind of object that,
but as that which is made manifest in a mood and moods reveal just as much
as they conceal. In cognition, Dasein might have some rational plan
about its life, but a mood reveal the ‘fact’ of one’s live in a very different
way. A mood reveals the ‘there’ of Dasein, the world in which it
exists as an enigma, and one that cannot be solved. What moods reveal is
that Dasein is thrown, and for the most part it relates to
its thrownness evasively. Take for example the case of a bad mood. Such
a mood reveals the ‘thereness’ of my being more fundamentally than any
cognition, but at the same time it covers over my world in its heavy presence.
What the mood reveals is the world as a whole, not something in the world,
but my attunement or lack of attunement to my world, but none the less
this world, precisely because it is not an object of cognition, remains
an enigma. This is despite the fact that moods are primarily the way that
Dasein encounters the world. The world first of all must matter
to me, before I can seek to know it. We cannot separate, in an abstract
manner, taking an interest in something and representing something, as
though thought and feeling were separate faculties – we would not think
if we did not feel, and thinking always involves feeling, even it tries
to conceal it.

Understanding, Heidegger argues,
always accompanies a mood. This existential type of understanding must
be distinguished from its ontic form. In the latter understanding
means simply understanding something. Existential understanding has nothing
at all to doing with knowing something, rather it belongs to Dasein’s
relation to the world as a whole. Rather than knowing something, this understanding
must grasped in terms of possibilities in which Dasein exists. Possibilites
here must not be understood as kind of free floating ability to choose
anything. I already exist within a certain range of possibilities. This
is what it means to say that Dasein is what it is. It is always,
Heidegger says, delivered over or thrown into its being:

Dasein, as essentially
having a mood, has already got itself into definite possibilities. As the
potentiality-for-Being which it is, it has let such possibilities pass
by; it is constantly waiving the possibilities of its Being, or else it
seizes upon them and makes mistakes. But this means that Dasein is Being-possible which has been delivered over to itself – thrown possibility through and through [BT 144].
The world is not disclosed as an object
that stands outside with this or that properties or attributes, but as
having possibilities which are already given. The understanding throws
itself forward into these possibilities. This being a head of oneself in
the possible, Heidegger calls projection (Entwurf). Again ‘projection’
is not to be understood cognitively as some kind of plan which one has
rationally decided, rather ontologically and existentially speaking, every
Dasein is already ahead of itself in what is possible, and this
is how it understands itself, and it is only from this ‘understanding’
that something like a plan could be made. This is why Dasein is
always ‘more’ that what it factually is. Dasein lives or exists
in its future possibilities, but precisely as something possible and not
something that is actual or factual. 

If understanding is a projection
into possibilities, then interpretation (Auselegung) is the working
out of these possibilities. But this working out of possibilities is never
something that takes place in  isolation. Any interpretation of something
takes place within the context of understanding. Here Heidegger is trying
to move away from the abstract model of perception that has been philosophy’s
model of how Dasein relates to the world. Any relation to something
is already a relation to understanding. Heidegger uses the example of textual
interpretation. The common sense attitude thinks that interpretation stands
before the text and the meaning is just present in it. But if one looks
at interpretation, we can see that the meaning of the text is what the
interpreter  brings to it. This should not be understood negatively,
but belongs to the very structure of interpretation. Dasein never
comes to any being in the world without already a pre-understanding of
that world. This pre-understanding has three directions: a ‘fore-having’,
a ‘fore-sight’ and a ‘fore-conception’:

Whenever something is interpreted
as something, the interpretation will be founded essentially upon fore-having,
fore-sight, and fore-conception. An interpretation is never a presuppositionless
apprehending of something presented to us [BT 150]. 
What Heidegger is trying to displace
here is the idea that it is assertion or judgement that reveals
first of all the truth of something. Rather, Heidegger argues,
assertion must
be seen as a derivative mode of interpretation
. In itself, assertion
must be thought as having three forms:
  • Pointing out – this is the original
    sense of logos as letting something be seen in itself and is not to be
    understood in terms of representation 
  • Predication – This is a narrower sense
    of assertion that is dependent of the primary sense of  ‘pointing
  • Communication – That which is pointed
    out is done so to share with others.
First of all things are there for us
in our involvement in the world. We interpret the world in relation to
this practical existence. If we make an assertion about something then
this changes. It becomes something present-to-hand, rather than something
ready-to-hand. We talks about it as a ‘what’ with so many attributes, but
it ceases to part of the environment of everyday involvement with the things.
The latter, Heidegger describes as belonging to the hermeneutical ‘as’;
that is to say, it belong to interpretation is grounded in the understanding,
whereas the former belongs merely to the apophantic ‘as’ of logical
statements. In the Western tradition, the latter has been seen as the primary
way into the truth of things, but ontologically speaking it must be secondary.
For I first of all live in a world whose understanding I interpret and
only then can I make statements about it.

All this means that the ontological
analysis is bring us to the question of what we mean by ‘truth’. Heidegger

The phenomenon of truth
is so thoroughly coupled with the problem of Being that our investigation,
as it proceeds further, will necessarily come up against the problem of
truth [BT 154].
Again we normally think about truth
in terms of judgement. Is such and such a statement true or not. But this
idea of judgement, Heidegger argues, is actually dependent on a more primordial
notion of truth that is a kind of showing or manifesting. The essence of
the traditional notion of truth as judgement lies is adequation or correspondence.
Truth is the agreement between a statement and a state of affairs. Heidegger
does not disagree with this, rather he ask a different question. Not what
is the form of a true statement, but what is the ontological condition
of making such statements? Heidegger takes the example of a man who has
his back turned to the wall and who makes the true assertion that ‘the
picture on the wall is hanging askew.’ [BT 217]. The truth of this statement
is verified when the man turns around and the picture really is askew.
Truth then is a relation to things and the demonstration or proof
is that the thing shows itself as it is. The two ontological conditions
for the making of judgements, therefore, is that things show themselves
and that there is a being that relates to things. 

Ontologically speaking, truth is
to be defined as ‘uncovering’ that goes back to the Greek sense of truth
as aletheia, which literally meaning un-forgetting, un-concealing
or un-hiddenness. Uncovering only has a sense in relation to Dasein’s
being-in-the-world. When we say that things first of all must be uncovered
in order for us to make judgements about them, we mean that they first
of all must be ‘there’. But this ‘there’ is dependent on a more primordial
‘there’ which is the ‘there’  of Dasein. The ‘there’ of Dasein is the space of disclosure. This space is not a thing, but the world in which things have their place. This place is the space in which they come to presence. This coming to presence, which is the ‘there’ of Dasein is condition of that which is present. Presencing is the disclosedness of Dasein. Such as such can only be true, because in some sense
Dasein already exists in the truth. This does not mean that Dasein already knows everything, rather it means that Dasein’s being is
the place in which things come to presence and upon this logical truth

There is truth only in so
far as Dasein is and so long as Dasein is. Entities are uncovered
only when Dasein is; and only as long as Dasein is, are they
disclosed. Newton’s laws, the principle of contradiction, any truth whatever
– there are true only as long as Dasein is. Before there was any
Dasein, there was no truth [BT 226].
This of course is also true of the question
of being. The meaning of Being is not something that lies outside of Dasein as some kind of mysterious phenomenon behind things, rather
it belongs to the very way that Dasein understands these beings.
Being is Dasein’s understanding.

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