Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being and Time

Heidegger’s philosophy of being and time is a central concept in contemporary philosophical debates. The idea of ‘Dasein’ is presented as a starting point, offering an alternative to the Cartesian subject. With no presuppositions regarding man, the world, or reality, Dasein offers the possibility of ontology. This in turn raises the question of ‘What is Being?’ (Heidegger, 1977).

Heidegger’s influence on other philosophers

Heidegger’s early work was conceived as universal analysis, but as the years went by, he realized that time period affected the way people live. Ancient Greeks were more rooted and naturalistic than modern people, while medieval Christians believed that God’s plan for the world could be discerned. Modern society sees itself as active subjects with desires and objects to be used. Heidegger wrote a history of Western philosophy that includes the work of Plato, Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Anaximander.

Heidegger was born in Messkirch, a town in south-west Germany. He grew up in a Catholic family and was initially being ordained by the church. In 1903, he was admitted to high school in Konstanz, where the church encouraged his studies. In 1906, he moved to Freiburg. Heidegger first became interested in philosophy while attending high school. He attributed his interest to Franz Brentano’s book On the Manifold Meaning of Being According to Aristotle.

Heidegger’s relationship to Nazism

If you’ve ever read Heidegger, you’ve probably heard that he held anti-Semitic views and endorsed the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, the famous forgery of a Jewish conspiracy theory. While there’s no evidence that Heidegger endorsed the conspiracy theory, his stance seems to be emblematic of his views.

While many scholars have argued that Heidegger was sympathetic to the Nationalsozialist regime, many scholars disagree about how he felt. Marcuse argued that Heidegger’s repressive stances at the time made him sympathetic to the Nationalsozialist movement. Yet, it was his sense of crisis and his opposition to Nazism that connects the two. However, this debate continues to linger on.

While Heidegger’s association with Nazism has long remained controversial, many Heideggerians have come to accept some facts as factual. Heidegger became a member of the Nazi party in 1933, despite his professional obligations as rector of Freiburg University. His Nazi sympathies went beyond the political stances, however, and he often wore a Hitler moustache during this time.

Heidegger’s analysis of temporalizing

Heidegger’s analysis of temporalization reveals that the past, present, and future are interdependent and, as such, cannot be separated. He calls this phenomena Wiederholung, which Macquarrie and Robinson translate as repetition. Although the translation is correct, the word is misleading in Heidegger’s view. The “re-” in his term is not a typology, but rather a phenomenological misunderstanding.

Heidegger criticizes the linear time model of Aristotle, which defines the future as not-yet-now and the past as not-yet-no-longer-now. This ordinary conception of time gives priority to the present and Heidegger believes that the Aristotelian conception of time has dominated philosophical inquiry. In contrast, he sees ‘being’ as a conceptual construct, based on the ‘present’.

Being and Time, though long, does not have a clear definition of “being.” The book contains neologisms and linguistic constructions that reveal hidden meanings of everyday speech. Because the language is complex, Heidegger’s attempt to explain himself is evident. Although it is difficult to follow Heidegger’s language, his effort to say something clearly is a reward in itself.

Heidegger’s concept of ‘god’

Heidegger’s concept of God is fundamentally different from Kant’s in that it places human beings, such as God, in a spatial realm. This distinction is significant, because it explains why human beings are so deeply involved in the world. As such, they are embodied, or “dwelling” in the world. This in-ness is not only spatial; it is also involved in the world.

Heidegger’s concept of God is in contrast to most contemporary conceptions of the divine. His concept of God is negative in appearance, and he does not name it as God. Instead, he describes God as existing in all things, and not as an absolute source. His concept of God is a representation of the relation between Being and the ultimate reality. Thus, it is not a name, but rather a description of Being, which is the basis of his metaphysics.

Heidegger’s concept of God is ultimately in conflict with what the Bible has to say about the divine, as Luther argues for a non-divine Being, and against the enclosing of beings within the realm of self-instituted subjectivity. Heidegger wants to preserve the irreducible history of Being, as he calls it. But it is important to note that Heidegger rejects both of these options.