Existentialism & Heidegger

Philosophy lecture notes  24/1/13

Just to begin and not lose you completely:
Dasein is a German word which literally means being here (German: da - here; sein - being) often translated in English with the word "existence".

“it’s existence precedes essence” You’re existence is not the result of anything. reject old fashion beliefs. You’re here but your existence doesn't matter. (Jean Paul Stare book Being and Nothingness.)

(Simone ‘second sex’ Modernism partner of Jean Paul.) We’ll look at this in more detail another time. 

Existentialism is the rejection of Descartes: “I Think therefore i am” 
The phrase would more rather become ‘I am therefore i exist”- there is no need to prove it. This is a Cartesian dualism rejection. 

Existentialists are prepared to say “there are thoughts’- But that is it, nothing more. 

They see everybody as a composite. Illusion- Wittgenstein. (The sea of language)
Isolation tanks would make you go insane- verification principle. 

Where does thinking come from? We do not know and IT DOESN’T MATTER. 

This journey being with Kant, “Critique of pure reason.” Existence is not a predicate. It is not a conclusion or result of something else. 
We must exist before we can think. 

Consciousness does not prove existence. Existentialists are against Descartes and Plato thoughts. Contra Descartes. 

How does consciousness arise? It is a metaphysical, religious or poetical question. How could there not be consciousness? You cannot stand outside consciousness. 

Just examine consciousness as a phenomena. There is no ‘I’
The cartesian ego cannot be found anywhere. Freud tried to find the ego through psycho analysis. But existentialists said there is no’ i’.

In cartesian terms it could be that all life is actually a “dream”- a dream is a sub category of consciousness. 

Dreams are simply a difference mode of consciousness. It is superstitious to see the various levels of consciousness in sleep. There are many states of consciousness. its superstitious to say being a wake is a different level of consciousness. 


The founder of modern phenomenology His book- “psychology from an empirical Standpoint. ‘measure of a skull. De-mystify psychology which had its origins in Hegelian pseudo science such as phrenology. 
Psychoanalysis is to find the essence within the person. 
Tried to just examine phenomena as they are presented to consciousness. Trying to see objects as they are without any reference to context to the essence of the person. Without any essence of meaning. 
For Husserl there is no difference whether the ideas I am having represent the real world or whether they are fiction or hallucinations. There is a phenomenon of a table- it doesn't matter if it is real. Its irrelevant. 

The text itself, Being and Time 1927- Sein und Zeit. 
Heidegger proclaims end of the metaphysical age form plato to Husserl, though the change began in the 1790’s with Kant and the French revolution. The Logical Positivists in Vienna and Cambridge at the same time were saying the same things. 
He is obsessed with Kant and wife. They see in Kant the start of the person that destroyed metaphysics. 

French revolution used in democracy. The aristocratical ideal. We need to get back to ancient Greece, living on farms. 
He’s hatred of mass civilization, cities and transport. 
If anything he thought Hitler didn't go far enough. 

In the metaphysical age objects exist independently of mind, they ‘subsist’ and the role of the mind is to understand the structure of reality as a kind of mirror. The mission of philosophy was to establish the ‘reality’ of the existence of hte ego as an object within an external world and to describe the nature of this reality (science) 

Objects are only in the mind, whether it is hallucination or not.
Before Husserl people believed objects were really there and they found the nature of an object. 

The primary idea of the metaphysical age was to make thoughts correspond with an underlaying or hidden substra of independently subsisting reality such as descartes ‘god’ or Schopenhauer’s ‘will’ or even Wittgenstein's facticity. He rejected himself from all of these. This is unlike Nietzsche’s rejection, he just didn’t quite get there. 
Thoughts which correspond with reality are ‘truth statements’ even subjects aesthetic intuitions. The poet truth is beauty beauty is truth. Beethoven the noumena of the universe. The will Schopenhauer. 
Heidegger was bitterly against the romantics. 

There is correspondence theory of truth whereby truth is a matter of matching the mind with independent reality. 

Truth is the agreement of knowledge with objects. Objects are eternal and prior to mind (Aristotle) or can be mind dependent (Kant) but they exist either way according to the metaphysicians, even Kant. Kant’s project was not the rejection of metaphysics but its a re-foundation on the basics of active mind by the use of the noumena and phenomena. 

Husserl and Heidegger dispense with the noumena and keep the phenomena, hence phenomenology. I suppose you might call religion and art ‘noumenology.’ Kant was refuted and Schopenhauer’s theory was also disapproved by Heidegger. 
There is no will noumena of the universe as a thing in itself there is only a representation- For example the subjective appearance of things, “the data of consciousness.” 

There is no ‘will’ there is only representation.... which is ‘the idea of an object... which is phenomena! 

After Heidegger there is no absolute or highest truth, existence as a thing in itself objectively. There is only subjective ‘weak truths’ and practical truths or convenient truths. which are necessary to being and being is always concrete and specific for Heidegger, “always being in the world” or “being there”- the problem with truths. The truth is grounded in verifiable facts “so called facts.”

Where is Dasein? It is in ‘mood.’ Your mood is you- according to Heidegger. 

God knows i am miserable now. At that moment your mood is you. 
Emotion by metaphysics is seen by an imperfection, to emote is bad its non-verifiable. 

Heidegger says emotion is important it is known now as emotional intelligence. But it used to be called stupidity. 

Truth is therefore no longer a matter of matching thought to reality. But of making reality which is seen as true post-hoc. There is no idea of a correct truth to which one teacher or one culture has access. There are many truths specific to the desires and moods of each individual.

Mood is not a trivial matter for Heidegger but the concrete aspect of being.

Heidegger’s project: 

To clear away all philosophical terminology and throw away all the philosophical concepts and systems since Socrates. He wrote in plain non technical language. In tune with George Orwell and Wittgenstein. We needed to invent a new language. Thinkers and writers in the tradition of Heidegga was completely new. 

To liberate himself from constraints of objectivation and Metaphysics - he doesn't care if you do this though. 

Live an ‘authentic life’ in practical terms to live a simple life in the forest. As a Nazi he had a rousseau-esque loathing of industrial civilization, of cities and sought 

You are what you eat’- a good Heidegger quote. Ecology is Heidegger. Organic is authentic. New ageism. ‘I'm doing my thing’ vegetarianism- anti modern. He wants to live in a ‘wooden hood.’ Folk music, lots of music, wife at home- this is very Dasein.

Like Nietzsche, Heidegga believes Socrates corrupted Western civilization. We wasted thousands of years thinking about things rather than enjoying things.

Dasein- Being there. like Husserl, Heidegger is not interested in consciousness.

Being is not an abstract idea being at a particular time and place and being engages in practical task, This is our Dasein. ‘The river keeps moving’ We never stop. This is unsettling to Heidegger. We are just thrown into things. Thrown into lectures etc. Constantly thrown into things, like a roller coaster ride. Freedom for Heidegger is complete absorption in a task such absorption in a task makes existence go away. Like the function of music for Schopenhauer but actually makes your existence go away. When you are fully engages in  a task you no longer exist. His advise would be to find you’re dasein.

Existence boredom. Boredom is the problem of being. The opposite of boredom is Dasein. Lack of boredom (engagement in Darien) is non existence. 

Existence requires time. Without the time there would be no boredom. With the infinite time there would be infinite boredom. The perception of lack of time creates a sense of urgency and forces a choice of Dasein. Whatever your Dasein is whether is it a hobby it saves you from boredom. 
Dasein is not thinking it is ‘caring’. Anti thinking. 

Judgments, choices and decisions and formulation of concepts are ways of caring and coping.

PART ONE OF THE BOOK (Being and Time)- Dasein. 

“time is the boundary for the problem of being’ time is boundary of Dasein. 
time is not a thing in itself. Kant discovered the problem of non linear time, and Einstein confided the mutability of time as ‘space time’. So “Space time is the horizon/boundary of being.”

The preparatory analysis of Dasein (“being there”) 

The difference between the hammer and the carpenter is that the hammer has ‘being for’ They have bad faith, they are just used. People that are just being for others is terrible according to Heidegger, un social philosophy.

There are three aspects of time, this Heidegger shares from Kant ( 12 types of time) and the mutability of time obviously references Einstein relative and modernity generally: 

Three aspects of time:

1: Attunement- What causes your mood. The reflection of the time. “Don’t look back” Reflection on the past produces mood. If you think about the past it will usually give you ‘guilt’ He would say Get over it! 

2: Being for itself or ‘Being there”- caring about the task in hand. The is the present mode of the Dasein.

3: Directedness- reflection on the Future. the mood created is ‘dread’ eg- death. do not think about it. This is the ‘Fear of the future.’ Ignore death. 

Rector of Freiburg University in the 1930’s, was a dedicated member of the Nazi party- sanctioned book burning, and the removed of all the Jews from the university including Husserl who had been his teacher. 

Post war never recanted his Nazi’sim and was banned from teaching. Thus he was not read until the 1960’s when he was popularised by his French follower Jean Paul Sartre
Sartre- Being and Nothingness’ attempts to remove the boundary of space and time from being. It takes the same structure as Heidegger. 

Present=Boredom unless obliterated by Dasein
Future= Fear

Albert Camus’ novel ‘The Outsider’- we’ll look at this in more detail in the future. 

Existentia  (being for/by yourself) vs Existence (objective,objetified being for others)

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