четверг, 31 марта 2016 г.

from Hubert Dreyfus "Being In The World" chapter 5 'Worldliness'

I.The Worldliness of the World

In chapter 3 we saw that Heidegger criticizes the idea of a selfcontained subject directed toward an isolable object and proposes to redescribe intentionality as the ontic transcendence of a socially defined "subject" relating to a holistically defined "object," all on the background of a more originary transcendence. Then in chapter 4 we followed Heidegger's attempt to do justice to the insights of the epistemological tradition while avoiding its distortions by giving a detailed description of various modes of ontic transcendence from pure coping, to the thematically conscious practical subject, to the thematizing theoretical knower. We saw how Heidegger uses against traditional epistemology with its subject/ object relation the ontological observation that our transparent everyday way of coping with the available can be carried on independently of the emergence of a thematically conscious subject with mental content, which must then be related to an object. With all this in mind we can finally turn to Heidegger's main concern in Chapter III-originary transcendence or the worldliness of the world.

In describing the phenomenon of world Heidegger seeks to get behind the kind of intentionality of subjects directed towards objects discussed and distorted by the tradition, and even behind the more basic intentionality of ever yday coping, to the context or background, on the basis of which ever y kind of directedness takes place. Against traditional ontology, Heidegger will seek to show that all three ways of being we have considered-availableness, unavailableness, and occurrentness-presuppose the phenomenon of world (with its way of being, worldliness), which cannot be made intelligible in terms of any of these three. The description of the world as having a distinctive structure of its own that makes possible and calls forth Dasein's ontic comportment is the most important and original contribution of Being and Time. Indeed, since worldliness is another name for disclosedness or Dasein's understanding of being, worldliness is the guiding phenomenon behind Heidegger's thought in Being and Time and even in his later works.

Heidegger begins by distinguishing the traditional from the phenomenological sense of "world." These two senses of the term are generalizations of the categorial and existential senses of "in" discussed in chapter 3.

II. Four Senses of World

On page 93 [64-65 in the original] Heidegger lays out the categorial and existential ways in which the term world is used, distinguishing an ontical sense (which relates to entities) from an ontological sense (which relates to the way of being of those entities). Heidegger lists four senses of "world. "We can lay them out more perspicuously as two senses of "universe" and two of `world."

A. Inclusion

1. The Ontical-Categorial Sense (Heidegger's number 1)

"World" can be used to mean a universe, conceived of as a totality of objects of a certain kind. For example, the physical universe as the set of all physical objects, or a universe of discourse, such as mathematics, as the realm of all objects studied by mathematicians.

2. The Ontological-Categorial Sense (sense number 2)

A set of particulars specified in terms of the essential characteristics of the entities that make up the set. For example, what defines the "physical world," i.e., what all physical objects have in common. The same goes for the world of abstract entities. This is what Husserl called the eidos defining each region of being, and what Heidegger calls each region's way of being.

B.Involvement

3. The Ontical-Existentiell Sense (sense number 3)

The world is "that `wherein' a factical Dasein as such can be said to `live'" (93) [65]. This sense of world is reflected in such locutions as "the child's world," "the world of fashion," or "the business world" (this, as opposed to one's place of business, is what one is "in" when one is in business). What Kuhn calls a "disciplinary matrix" - "the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques, and so on shared by the members of a given community"-would be a world in this sense. Thus we can appropriately talk, for example, of the world of mathematics being shaken by Godel's proof. It helps here to contrast the physical world (sense number 1)as a set of objects-with the world of physics-a constellation of equipment, practices, and concerns in which physicists dwell. Another way to see the radical shift in senses is to note that we can speak of the sins of the world, but not the sins of the universe. Such worlds as the business world, the child's world, and the world of mathematics, are "modes" of the total system of equipment and practices that Heidegger calls the world. Their way of being given, Heidegger calls the "phenomenon of world" (119) [86].

Among the various possible modes of the world, Heidegger includes "the `public' we-world, or one's `own' closest (domestic) environment" (93) [65]. It is important to note that all such "special worlds," as he also calls them, are public. There is no such thing as my world, if this is taken as some private sphere of experience and meaning, which is self-sufficient and intelligible in itself, and so more fundamental than the shared public world and its local modes. Both Husserl and Sartre follow Descartes in beginning with my world and then trying to account for how an isolated subject can give meaning to other minds and to the shared intersubjective world. Heidegger, on the contrary, thinks that it belongs to the very idea of a world that it be shared, so the world is always prior to my world.

Dasein is with equal originality being-with others and being-amidst intraworldly beings. The world, within which these latter beings are encountered, is... always already world which one shares with the others. (BP, 297)

Our understanding of the world is preontological. We dwell in the equipment, practices, and concerns in some domain without noticing them or trying to spell them out.

The world as already unveiled in advance is such that we do not in fact specifically occupy ourselves with it, or apprehend it, but instead it is so self-evident, so much a matter of course, that we are completely oblivious of it. (BP, 165)

4. The Ontological Existential Sense (sense number 4)

The worldliness of the world. This is the way of being common to our most general system of equipment and practices and to any of its subregions. (When we try to imagine another reality, as in science fiction, we can only imagine our world changed in certain details. Likewise, when we try to imagine what it is like to be a cat or a dolphin, we can only understand them as having a sort of impoverished version of our world. Thus Heidegger says, "The ontology of life is accomplished by way of a privative Interpretation" (75) [50].)

World in this existential sense has been passed over by the tradition.

The concept of world, or the phenomenon thus designated, is what has hitherto not yet been recognized in philosophy. (BP, 165)

So the general structure of the world must be laid out by Heidegger in his ontological investigation. Nonetheless, the structure of the world is not, strictly speaking, a structure that can be spelled out completely and abstracted from all instances, so as to be understandable to a rational being who does not inhabit our world, nor can this structure be shown to be necessary for any world as such. Thus we cannot achieve the a priori knowledge concerning the world traditionally claimed for propositions about essential structures. The structure of the world is "a priori" only in the weak sense that it is given as already structuring any subworld. The best we can do is point out to those who dwell in the world with us certain prominent structural aspects of this actual world. If we can show a structure to be common to the world and each of its modes, we shall have found the structure of the world as such. (In Division II Heidegger will seek to show that this structure is isomorphic with the structure of temporality.)

III. The Structure of the World

A. Involvement

We have seen that equipment is defined by its function (in-order-to) in a referential whole. Heidegger now adds that, to actually function, equipment must fit into a context of meaningful activity. Heidegger calls this fitting in involvement (Bewandtnis). (The word could equally well be translated as "bearing upon" or "pertinence to." "Involvement" has unfortunate associations, but it will do, as long as a chair's involvement in my activity of eating is not confused with the sort of existential in-volvement human beings have with each other and in their world, discussed in chapter 3.) The involvement whole is that in which particular involvements make sense.

Whenever something available has an involvement [is relevant]..., what involvement this is [how it is relevant], has in each case been outlined in advance in terms of the whole of such involvements [relevance relations]. In a workshop, for example, the whole of involvements which is constitutive for the available in its availableness, is "earlier" than any single item of equipment. (1 16, HD gloss in brackets) [84]

Putting this important point more generally and relating it to world, we can say:

An involvement is itself discovered only on the basis of the prior discovery of an involvement-whole. So in any involvement that has been discovered ..., the "worldly character" of the available has been discovered beforehand. (118) [85]

Hammers make sense by referring to nails, etc. But how does the activity of hammering make sense? Equipment makes sense only in the context of other equipment; our use of equipment makes sense because our activity has a point. Thus, besides the "in-order-to" that assigns equipment to an equipmental whole, already discussed, the use of equipment exhibits a "where-in" (or practical context), a "with-which" (or item of equipment), a "towards-which" (or goal), and a "for-the-sake-of-which" (or final point). To take a specific example: I write on the blackboard in a classroom, with a piece of chalk, in order todraw a chart, as a step towards explaining Heidegger, for the sake of my being a good teacher.

We shall return in a moment to the for-the-sake-of-which but first we must pause to consider the "towards-which." It is a mistake to think of the toward-which as the goal of the activity, if one thinks of this goal intentionalistically as something that Dasein has in mind.

The awaiting of the "towards-which" is neither a considering of the "goal" nor an expectation of the impendent finishing of the work to be produced. It has by no means the character of getting something thematically into one's grasp. (405) [353]

Heidegger would object to traditional accounts of everyday activity such as those found in Aristotle's discussion of the practical syllogism and in contemporary philosophies of action such as Donald Davidson's, which hold that we must explain an action as caused by the desire to reach some goal. Heidegger, as we have seen, would also reject John Searle's claim that even where there is no desire, we must have in mind conditions of satisfaction, so that the experience of acting contains within itself a representation of the goal of the action. According to Heidegger, to explain everyday transparent coping we do not need to introduce a mental representation of a goal at all. Activity can be purposive without the actor having in mind a purpose.

Phenomenological examination confirms that in awide variety of situations human beings relate to the world in an organized purposive manner without the constant accompaniment of representational states that specify what the action is aimed at accomplishing. This is evident in skilled activity such as playing the piano or skiing, habitual activity such as driving to the office or brushing one's teeth, unthinking activity such as rolling over in bed or making gestures while one is speaking, and spontaneous activity such as jumping up and pacing during a heated discussion or fidgeting and drumming one's fingers anxiously during a dull lecture. In general, it is possible to be without any representation of a near - or long-term goal of one's activity. Indeed, at times one is actually surprised when the task is accomplished, as when one's thoughts are interrupted by one's arrival at the office. Or take Boston Celtics basketball player Larry Bird's description of the experience of the complex purposive act of passing the ball in the midst of a game: "[A lot of the] things I do on the court are just reactions to situations.... I don't think about some of the things I'm trying to do.... A lot of times, I've passed the basketball and not realized I've passed it until a moment or so later."

Such phenomena are not limited to muscular responses, but exist in all areas of skillful coping, including intellectual coping. Many instances of apparently complex problem solving which seem to implement a long-range strategy, as, for example, making a move in chess, may be best understood as direct responses to familiar perceptual gestalts. After years of seeing chess games unfold, a chess grandmaster can, simply by responding to the patterns on the chess board, play master level chess while his deliberate, analytic mind is absorbed in something else. Such play, based as it is on previous attention to thousands of actual and book games, incorporates a tradition that determines the appropriate response to each situation and therefore makes possible long range, strategic, purposive play, without the player needing to have any plan or goal in mind.

Thus a description of nondeliberate action shows that we often experience ourselves as active yet are not aware of what we are trying to do. Such unthinking comportment seems to be at least as typical of the activities in a normal day as its opposite. In fact, it provides the nonsalient background that makes it possible deliberately to focus on what is unusual or important or difficult.

Yet, according to Heidegger, the tradition is right about something: Such skilled behavior is not an undifferentiated flow. One can make sense of it as having a direction and recognizable chunks. For example, I leave home, drive to the campus, park, enter my office building, open my door, enter my office, sit down at my desk and begin working. We make sense of our own comportment, or the comportment of others, in terms of such directedness towards long-range and proximal ends. But this should not mislead us into postulating mental intentions in action, since there is no evidence that this division into intelligible subsets of activity need be in the mind of the person who is absorbed in the activity any more than an athlete experiencing flow is purposefully trying to achieve a basket or a touchdown. The "towards-which" is Heidegger's nonintentionalistic term for the end points we use in making sense of a flow of directed activity. (My underscore)

Heidegger next spells out the end of the line of towards-whichs - that for the sake of which the activity is done:

The primary "towards-which" is a "for-the-sake-of-which." (116) [84]

With hammering, there is an involvement in making something fast; with making something fast there is an involvement in protection against bad weather; and this protection "is" for the sake of [um willen] providing shelter for Dasein - that is to say, for the sake of a possibility of Dasein's being. (116) [84]

The "for-the-sake-of always" pertains to the being of Dasein, for which, in its being, that very being is essentially an issue. (116-117) [84]

Making a shelter, however, is an unfortunate example of a for-the-sake-of-which, since it suggests an instinctual necessity built into the organism by nature, rather than a possible way in which Dasein's being is an issue for it. In Heidegger's defense we should note that he speaks of providing a shelter as a possibility of Dasein's being. The idea may be that people are not caused to build houses the way birds are caused by their instincts to build nests. Being a homemaker is a possible way for Dasein to be. In some cultures one can, for example, interpret oneself as being a hermit and live outdoors on a mountainside.


Heidegger's uses the term "the for-the-sake-of-which" to call attention to the way human activity makes long-term sense, thus avoiding any intimation of a final goal. A for-the-sake-of-which, like being a father or being a professor, is not to be thought of as a goal I have in mind and can achieve. Indeed, it is not a goal at all, but rather a self-interpretation that informs and orders all my activities.

As a first approximation, we can think of the for-the-sake-of-whichs to which Dasein "assigns itself" as social "roles" and "goals," but Heidegger never uses the terms "roles" and "goals." When I am successfully coping, my activity can be seen to have a point, but I need not have any goal, let alone a long-range life plan as AI researchers like Roger Schank suppose.

"Role" is not quite right either. Role talk is the end-stage of a movement from transparent coping to thematization. If I run into trouble in the way my life hangs together, my for-the-sake-of-whichs can show up intentionalistically as unavailable goals I am striving to reach. I can shift my stance to deliberating about aspects of my life such as my relationships (student, lover, father, etc.), and I can think about my occupation and whether I should change it for another. As a parent or a teacher, I must conform to a whole set of norms concerning my responsibilities, which can be laid out in ceteris paribus rules if, for example, ongoing interactions break down and I have to go to court. Only at the occurrent level, however, does one observe, from outside (so to speak), roles. These are context-free features of people's lives corresponding to function predicates describing objective features of equipment, and just as function predicates, as we shall soon see, cannot capture the holistic character of equipment, role predicates cannot capture what one simply knows how to do and be when one is socialized into some of the for-the-sake-of-whichs available in one's culture.


Remember, however, that strictly speaking we should not speak of Dasein's being socialized. Human organisms do not have Dasein in them until they are socialized. Dasein needs "for-the-sake-of-whichs" and the whole involvement structure in order to take a stand on itself, i.e., in order to be itself. That is why Heidegger says Dasein has always already assigned itself to an in-order-to in terms of a for-the-sake-of-which.

Dasein has assigned itself to an "in-order-to," and it has done so in terms of an ability to be for the sake of which it itself is-one which it may have seized upon either explicitly or tacitly. (119) [86]

As "tacitly" suggests, for-the-sake-of-whichs need not be intentional at all. I pick up my most basic life-organizing self-interpretations by socialization, not by choosing them. For example, one behaves as an older brother or a mama's girl without having chosen these organizing self-interpretations, and without having them in mind as specific purposes. These ways of being lead one to certain organized activities such as being a teacher, nurse, victim, etc. Each such "role" is an integrated set of practices: one might say "a practice," as in the practice of medicine. And each practice is connected with a lot of equipment for practicing it. Dasein inhabits or dwells in these practices and their appropriate equipment; in fact Dasein takes a stand on its being by being a more or less integrated subpattern of social practices.

Dasein finds "itself" primarily in what it does, uses, expects, avoids-in the environmentally available with which it is primarily concerned. (155) [119]

B.The Interdependence of Dasein and World

The idea that Dasein has a preontological understanding of the world or involvement whole allows us to understand a particularly dense passage. Bear in mind that, in dealing with equipment, "letting something be" or "freeing something" means using it. This is ontical. Ontologically such letting be requires already knowing how the thing fits into the involvement whole, and in this sense "previously freeing" it for all particular ontical uses:

Ontically, "letting something be involved" signifies that within our factical concern we let something available be so-and-so as it is already [e.g., be a hammer by hammering with it].... The way we take this ontical sense of "letting be" is, fundamentally, ontological. And therewith we Interpret the meaning of previously freeing what is proximally available within-the-world. Previously letting something "be" does not mean that we must first bring it into its being and produce it; it means rather that something which is already an "entity" must be discovered in its availableness, and that we must thus let the entity which has this being encounter us [i.e., show itself]. This "a priori" letting-something-be-involved [i.e., knowing how to use it and how it fits in with other equipment and purposes] is the condition for the possibility of anything available showing up for us, so that Dasein, in its ontical dealings with the entity thus showing up, can thereby let it be involved [use it] in the ontical sense. (117, HD gloss in brackets) [84-85]

Heidegger thus equates the involvement whole-the "wherein" of the available-with the world, and the structure of the "wherein" with the being of the world:

The "wherein" of an understanding which assigns or refers itself, is that on the basis of which one lets entities be encountered in the kind of being that belongs to involvements; this "wherein" is the phenomenon of the world. And the structure of that on the basis of which Dasein assigns itself is what makes up the worldliness of the world. (119) [86]

In laying out world, Heidegger seems to shift without explanation from speaking of the workshop, to the referential whole (Verweisungsganzheit) to the equipmental whole (Zeugganzes), to the involvement whole (Bewandtnisganzheit), to the phenomenon of world, to worldliness. The equipmental whole, I take it, describes the interrelated equipment; the referential whole its interrelations; and the involvement whole adds human purposiveness. The workshop is a specific example of all these wholes; the phenomenon of world is the special way the world manifests itself; and worldliness is the way of being of the world and of all its subworlds.

Heidegger next introduces the notion of significance:

The "for-the-sake-of-which" signifies an "in-order-to"; this in turn, a "towards-this"; the latter, an "in-which" of letting something be involved; and that in turn, the "with-which" of an involvement. These relationships are bound up with one another as a primordial whole; they are what they are as this signifying in which Dasein gives itself beforehand its being-in-the-world as something to be understood. The relational whole of this signifying we call "significance." This is what makes up the structure of the world - the structure of that wherein Dasein as such already is. (120) [87]

Significance is the background upon which entities can make sense and activities can have a point.

Significance is that on the basis of which the world is disclosed as such. To say that the "for-the-sake-of-which" and significance are both disclosed in Dasein, means that Dasein is the entity which, as being-in-the-world, is an issue for itself. (182) [143]

"Subject" and "object," Dasein and world, are ultimately so intimately intertwined that one cannot separate the world from Daseining. "With equal primordiality the understanding projects Dasein's being both upon its "for-the-sake-of-which" and upon significance, as the worldliness of its current world" (185) [145]. As Heidegger later says of this discussion:


The upshot of that analysis was that the referential whole of significance (which as such is constitutive for worldliness) has been "tied up" with a "for-the-sake-of--which."The fact that this referential whole of the manifold relations of the "in-order-to" has been bound up with that which is an issue for Dasein, does not signify that a "world" of objects which is occurrent has been welded together with a subject. It is rather the phenomenal expression of the fact that the basic makeup of Dasein... is primordially a whole. (236) [192]

To understand the above passage, we must remember that any given piece of equipment, e.g., a hammer, is what it is in a referential whole which connects it with other equipment, and any use of equipment, e.g., hammering, takes place in an involvement whole that connects it with many ways of being human. The involvement whole and Dasein's life are both organized by the same for-the-sake-of-whichs. It helps to distinguish something like an "objective" and a "subjective" side of this phenomenon only to see that in the end they cannot be distinguished. On the "objective" side we would have equipment defined by its in-order-to, which in turn gets its point in terms of for-the-sake-of-whichs. On the "subjective" side we would have Dasein's self-interpretation which is accomplished by "assigning itself' to for-the-sake-of-whichs. But obviously this separation will not work. On the one hand, Dasein needs the referential whole and the involvement whole to be itself. On the other hand, the "objective" or equipment side is organized in terms of for-the-sake-of-whichs that are ways of being Dasein. The referential whole only makes sense because it all "hangs," so to speak, from for-the-sake-of-whichs that are Dasein's ways of taking a stand on itself, and Dasein exists and makes sense only because it takes over the for-the-sake-of-whichs that are built into and organize the involvement whole.

The shared familiar world, then, is what makes individual human beings possible.

Dasein itself, ultimately the beings which we call men, are possible in their being only because there is a world.... Dasein exhibits itself as a being which is in its world but at the same time is by virtue of the world in which it is. Here we find a peculiar union of being in the world with the being of Dasein which itself can be made comprehensible only insofar as that which here stands in this union, Dasein itself with its world, has been made clear in its basic structures. (HCT, 202)

This is not to deny that the world also depends on Dasein's way of being. Rather it shows that Dasein is nothing like what philosophers have thought of as a "subject." In his course the year after Being and Time, Heidegger addresses the question directly:

There is world only insofar as Dasein exists. But then is world not something "subjective"? In fact it is! Only one may not at this point reintroduce a common, subjectivistic concept of "subject." Instead, the task is to see that being-in-the-world,... fundamentally transforms the concept of subjectivity and of the subjective. (MFL, 195)

IV. Two Ways in Which the Phenomenon of World Is Revealed


A.Disturbance

The world, i.e., the interlocking practices, equipment, and skills for using them, which provides the basis for using specific items of equipment, is hidden. It is not disguised, but it is undiscovered. So, like the available, the world has to be revealed by a special technique. Since we ineluctably dwell in the world, we can get at the world only by shifting our attention to it while at the same time staying involved in it. Luckily for the phenomenologist, there are special situations in which the phenomenon of world is forced upon our awareness:


To the everydayness of being-in-the-world there belong certain modes of concern. These permit the beings with which we concern ourselves to be encountered in such away that the worldly character of what is intraworldly comes to the fore. (102) [73]

The discovery that a piece of equipment is missing, on Heidegger's account, reveals the workshop as a mode of the world. The disturbance makes us aware of the function of equipment and the way it fits into a practical context.


When an assignment to some particular "towards-this" has been... circumspectively aroused, we catch sight of the "towards-this" itself, and along with it everything connected with the work-the whole "workshop"-as that wherein concern always dwells. The nexus of equipment is lit up, not as something never seen before, but as a whole constantly sighted beforehand in circumspection [i.e., as already taken account of in our transparent everyday coping]. With this whole, however, the world announces itself. (105, HD gloss in brackets) [74-75]

If we can't get back to work, we are left helpless, and in asking if we can abandon our project, the point of our activity becomes apparent to us.


Our circumspection comes up against emptiness, and now sees for the first time what the missing article was available with, and what it was available for. (105) [75]

B. Signs

Can we become aware of the relational whole of significance that makes up the world, without a disturbance? Can we be simultaneously absorbed in the successful functioning of things and notice the context in which they function?

Heidegger's answer is that there are, indeed, functioning entities whose function it is to show their practical context. Such entities are called signs. All equipment is serviceable, only signs indicate. Heidegger discusses signs at some length partly because he is rejecting Husserl's account of indication in Logical Investigations, i.e., that the indication relation of signs to what they are signs of is a causal relation based on some sort of spatial proximity. Also Heidegger wants to reject the semiotic view that signifying is an ontologically basic relation. But Heidegger is mainly interested in signs as illuminating the way equipment is what it is only in a context and only when it is actually taken up and used.


Signs are a type of equipment that in their functioning reveal their way of being and the context into which they fit.

A sign is something ontically available, which functions both as this definite equipment and as something indicative of the ontological structure of availableness, of referential wholes, and of worldliness. (114) [82]

Signs always function against a practical background that they presuppose and to which they direct our attention. Heidegger uses as example an automobile's turning signal:


This sign is an item of equipment which is available for the driver in his concern with driving, and not for him alone: those who are not traveling with him-and they in particular-also make use of it, either by giving way on the proper side or by stopping. This sign is available within-the-world in the whole equipment nexus ofvehicles and traffic regulations. (109) [78]

Although Heidegger does not say so, it would be in keeping with his account of circumspection to note that we can cope with signs without becoming thematically aware of them. We often act appropriately with respect to the turning signal of the car in front of us without being any more thematically aware of it than we are of the doorknob which we turn in order to enter the room. Still, Heidegger's point is that to cope with such signs is to cope not just with them, but with the whole interconnected pattern of activity into which they are integrated. If they are to function as signs for us we certainly cannot just stare at them, and we cannot use them in isolation. `"The sign is not authentically `grasped' if we just stare at it and identify it as an indicator-thing which occurs" (110) [79]. Moreover the sign does not simply point to other objects occurrent in the situation-e.g., the street or the direction the car will takeit lights up the situation itself.


Even if we turn our glance in the direction which the direction signal indicates, and look at something occurrent in the region indicated, even then the sign is not authentically encountered.... (110) [79] Such a sign addresses itself to the circumspection of our concernful dealings, and it does so in such a way that the circumspection which goes along with it, following where it points, brings into an explicit "survey" whatever aroundness the environment may have at the time. (110) [79]

Thus signs point out the context of shared practical activity, i.e., the world.


A sign is not a thing which stands to another thing in the relationship of indicating; it is rather an item of equipment which explicitly raises an equipmental whole into our circumspection so that together with it the worldly character of the available announces itself. (110) [80]

It follows that a sign cannot be understood as a mere relation of one thing to another. This is Heidegger's implicit critique of semiotics.

Being-a-sign-for can itself be formalized as a universal kind of relation, so that the sign-structure itself provides an ontological clue for "characterizing" any entity whatsoever.... [But] if we are to investigate such phenomena as references, signs, or even significations, nothing is to be gained by characterizing them as relations. Indeed we shall eventually have to show that "relations" themselves, because of their formally general character, have their ontological source in reference. (107-108) [77]

Signs can do their job only because we already know our way about in the world.

Signs always indicate primarily "wherein" one lives, where one's concern dwells, what sort of involvement there is with something. (111) [80]


A sign's signifying must take place in a context, and it signifies, i.e., it can be a sign, only for those who dwell in that context.

V.Disclosing and Discovering - Размыкание и раскрытие у Бибихина

Disclosing and discovering are two modes of revealing. Disclosedness of the world is required for what Heidegger calls Dasein's discovering of entities.

[The environment] is itself inaccessible to circumspection, so far as circumspection is always directed towards entities; but in each case it has already been disclosed for circumspection. "Disclose" and "disclosedness" will be used as technical terms in the passages that follow, and shall signify "to lay open" and "the character of having been laid open." (105) [75]


The basic idea is that for a particular person to be directed toward a particular piece of equipment, whether using it, perceiving it, or whatever, there must be a correlation between that person's general skills for coping and the interconnected equipmental whole in which the thing has a place. On the side of Dasein, originary transcendence (disclosing) is the condition of the possibility of ontic transcendence (discovering), and on the side of the world, disclosedness is the condition of the possibility of anything being discovered.

We are now in a position to understand (1) what sort of activity disclosing is and (2) how it is related to discovering.


A.Disclosing as Being-in-the-World

The clue to (1) is found in what we have said about the comportment in which Dasein uses the available. A particular piece of equipment can be used only in a referential whole. In his lectures, Heidegger calls Dasein's understanding of the referential whole familiarity. He explains:


My encounter with the room is not such that I first take in one thing after another and put together a manifold of things in order then to see a room. Rather, I primarily see a referential whole... from which the individual piece of furniture and what is in the room stand out. Such an environment of the nature of a closed referential whole is at the same time distinguished by a specific familiarity. The... referential whole is grounded precisely in familiarity, and this familiarity implies that the referential relations are well-known. (HCT 187)

This is a very important passage. Notice first that Heidegger is rejecting the Kantian idea that in order to see the whole room I have to synthesize a "manifold" of things, perspectives, sense data, or whatever. I just take in the whole room. I do it by being ready to deal with familiar rooms and the things in them. My "set" or "readiness" to cope with chairs by avoiding them or by sitting on them, for example, is "activated" when I enter the room. My readiness is, of course, not a set of beliefs or rules for dealing with rooms and chairs; it is a sense of how rooms normally show up, a skill for dealing with them, that I have developed by crawling and walking around many rooms.


Thus the sort of background familiarity that functions when I take in a room full of furniture as a whole and deal with it is neither a specific action like sitting in a chair, nor is it merely a capacity in the body or brain for carrying out specific actions. It is neither subjective intentionality nor objective muscle machinery (Searle's two alternatives). It is being ready in particular circumstances to respond appropriately to whatever might normally come along. Heidegger describes this background readiness as "the background of... primary familiarity, which itself is not conscious and intended but is rather present in [an] unprominent way" (HCT, 189). In Being and Time Heidegger speaks of "that familiarity in accordance with which Dasein... `knows its way about' [sich `auskenntI in its public environment" (405) [354].

Of course, we do not activate this most general skill on only certain occasions; it is active all the time. In Basic Problems Heidegger calls it the "sight of practical circumspection.... our practical everyday orientation" (BP, 163) . We are masters of our world, constantly effortlessly ready to do what is appropriate.

Circumspection oriented to the presence of what is of concern provides each setting-to-work, procuring, and performing with the way to work it out, the means to carry it out, the right occasion, and the appropriate time. This sight of circumspection is the skilled possibility of concerned discovery. (HCT, 274)

On analogy with the way our eyes are constantly accommodating to the light, we might call the way we are constantly adapting to our situation "accommodation." But Heidegger needs no specific term for this most basic activity. It is so pervasive and constant that he simply calls it being-in-the-world.

Any concern is already as is is, because of some familiarity with the world. ... Being-in-the-world... amounts to a non thematic circumspective absorption in the references or assignments that make up the availableness of an equipmental whole. (107, HD italics) [76]

It is this holistic background coping (disclosing) that makes possible appropriate dealings in particular circumstances (discovering). Only because, on entering the workshop, we are able to avoid chairs, locate and approach the workbench, pick out and grasp something as an instrument, etc., can we use a specific hammer to hit a specific nail, find the hammer too light or too heavy, etc.


In his lectures Heidegger extends this account of Dasein's beingin-the-world to a phenomenological theory of perception that implicitly criticizes Husserl (and Searle).

Why can I let a pure thing of the world show up at all in bodily presence? Only because the world is already there in thus letting it show up, because letting-it-show-up is but a particular mode of my being-in-the-world and because world means nothing other than what is always already present for the entity in it. I can see a natural thing in its bodily presence only on the basis of this being-in-the-world.... (HCT, 196, my italics)

In then referring to absorbed being-in-the-world or background coping as the "founding steps" of perception, Heidegger uses the Husserlian intentionalist terminology he is criticizing in order to replace it.

I can at any time perceive natural things in their bodily presence directly, that is, without running through the founding steps beforehand, because it belongs to the sense of being-in-the-world to be in these founding steps constantly and primarily. I have no need to go through them because Dasein, which founds perceiving, is nothing but the way of being of these very founding steps, as concerned absorption in the world. (HCT, 197)

In response, then, to Husserl and Searle and their exclusive concern with subject/object intentionality, Heidegger points out that in order to reveal beings by using or contemplating them, we must simultaneously be exercising a general skilled grasp of our circumstances. Even if there were an experience of effort or acting accompanying specific acts of hammering (which Heidegger does not find in his experience) there would seem to be no place for an experience of acting with its conditions of satisfaction accompanying the background orienting, balancing, etc., which, as being-in-the-world, makes using specific things possible. It is hard to make sense of what a Husserlian/Searlean intentionalistic account of being-in-the-world would be. Searle would seem to have to make the implausible claim that one's being-in-the-world, which is "not conscious and intended" (HCT, 189), is still somehow caused and guided by intentions in action. To avoid this claim, Searle thinks of the background not as constant coping, but merely as a capacity. But the notion of a capacity leaves out the activity of disclosing-precisely what leads Heidegger to think of the background as an originary kind of intentionality.


Dasein 's background coping, although not itself accompanied by a feeling of willing or effort, does make possible the experience of acting on those occasions when it occurs. But then, this experience cannot be the only kind of intentionality, but presupposes background intentionality.

Willing and wishing are rooted with ontological necessity in Dasein as care; they are not just ontologically undifferentiated experiences (Erlebnisse) occurring in a "stream" which is completely indefinite with regard to the sense of its being. (238) [194]

Precisely because the care-structure, which we shall later see is the structure of disclosedness, stays in the background, philosophers like Husserl and Searle overlook it in their account of mental states.

Care is ontologically "earlier" than the phenomena we have just mentioned, which admittedly can, within certain limits, always be "described" appropriately without our needing to have the full ontological horizon visible, or even to be familiar with it at all. (238) [194]

We are now in a position to understand how Dasein's activity of disclosing is related to the world as disclosedness. Just as in specific cases of coping with the available Dasein is absorbed in its activity in such a way that its experience does not have any self-referential intentional content, so, in general, Dasein is absorbed in the background coping that discloses the world as familiar in such away that there is no separation between Dasein's disclosing comportment and the world disclosed. "We define [concerned being-in-the-world] as absorption in the world, being drawn in by it"(HCT, 196). Just as "dealings with equipment subordinate themselves to the manifold assignments of the `in-order-to"' (98) [69], so "Dasein, in so far as it is, has always submitted itself already to a 'world'*" which shows up for it, and this submission belongs essentially to its being" (120-121) [87] 

B.The Identity and Difference of Disclosing and Discovering

Heidegger stresses the interconnection between Dasein's disclosing and discovering comportments. On the one hand, disclosing as skillful dealing with ways of being of entities in whole situations is more basic than discovering:


We must now manage to exhibit more precisely the interconnection between the discoveredness of a being and the disclosedness of its being and to show how the disclosedness... of being founds, that is to say, gives the ground, the foundation, for the possibility of the discoveredness of entities. (BP, 72)

In Being and Time the related passage reads, "`A priori' letting-something-be-involved is the condition for the possibility of encountering anything available" (117) [85]. Disclosing as letting something be involved is originary transcendence. Heidegger speaks of such transcendence in a passage that needs a lot of interpreting (HD gloss is in brackets):


We must hold that the intentional structure of comportments is not something which is immanent to the so-called subject and which would first of all be in need of transcendence; rather, the intentional constitution of Dasein's comportments [disclosing, originary transcendence] is precisely the ontological condition of the possibility of every and any [discovering, ontic] transcendence. [Ontic] transcendence, transcending, belongs to the essential nature of the being that exists (on the basis of [originary] transcendence) as intentional, that is, exists in the manner of dwelling among the [available and the] occurrent. (BP, 65)

But, on the other hand, originary transcendence (being-in-the-world, disclosure) is not something radically different from ontic transcending (transparent coping with specific things, discovering) ; rather, it is the same sort of coping functioning as the holistic background for all purposive comportment. "The intentional constitution of Dasein's comportment is precisely the ontological condition of the possibility of every and any transcendence" (BP, 65). One needs to be finding one's way about in the world in order to use equipment, but finding one's way about is just more coping. Any specific activity of coping takes place on the background of more general coping. Being-in-the-world is, indeed, ontologically prior in Heidegger's special sense, a priori-as the ontological condition of the possibility of specific activities, yet being-in-the-world is just more skilled activity.

The previous disclosure of that on the basis of which what shows up within-the-world is subsequently freed, amounts to nothing else than understanding the world-that world towards which Dasein... always comports itself. (118) [85-86]

Our general background coping, then, our familiarity with the world, is our understanding of being.

That wherein Dasein already understands itself... is always something with which it is primordially familiar. This familiarity with the world... goes to make up Dasein's understanding of being. (119) [86]


Thus Heidegger conceptualizes the difference between specific coping (ontic transcendence) and world-disclosing background coping (originary transcendence) as the difference between our relation to beings and our understanding of being. This is presumably the original version of the famous ontological difference, which, according to the later Heidegger, the tradition sought mistakenly to capture in its various accounts of the being of beings.


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