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Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I

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ISBN-13: 978-0262540568
ISBN-10: 0262540568
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Dreyfus has for many years lectured on Heidegger's Being and Time in courses at the University of California at Berkeley, and his explanations of that gnomic work have won wide acclaim, which this book shows was justified. He presents a detailed account of Division I of Being and Time , never lapsing into the incomprehensible. Heidegger repudiated the view that meaning is a mental phenomenon. Instead, he argues, human life is governed by practices that can never be fully articulated but only studied through interpretation. The theory of knowledge, as it has been pursued by Descartes and his successors, therefore rests on a false assumption. Human beings never live in the world as minds isolated from objects: the problem of skepticism arises through ignoring the inextricable immersion of human beings in practical activities. Dreyfus does not offer much argument that Heidegger's views are correct. Readers will, however, learn with crystal clarity the nature of Heidegger's position.
- David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Mainstream philosophers...have never come up with a satisfactory account that translates Heidegger into their own language...That should change very soon, with the publication this year of Hubert Dreyfus's Being-in-the-World. The fruit of 25 years of teaching the subject at Berkeley, it is undoubtedly one of the clearest accounts of Heidegger's thought to date.

(Anthony Gottlieb New York Times Book Review)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (December 14, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262540568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262540568
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hubert Dreyfus is Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he taught at MIT, before coming to Berkeley in l968. Dreyfus has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has received research grants from both the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He holds a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
You can follow him on Twitter @hubertdreyfus; or on Facebook at "All Things Shining".

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
BEING-IN-THE-WORLD : A Commentary on Heidegger's 'Being and Time,' Division I. By Herbert L. Dreyfus. 370 pp. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, Eighth Printing 1999 (1991). ISBN 0-262-54056-8 (pbk.)
Anyone who attempts to study Heidegger's commentators will quickly discover that many of them can be even more difficult than Heidegger himself. One notable exception is George Steiner, whose 'Martin Heidegger' (1989) is such an interesting book that one wishes it had been two or three times longer. As a general introduction to Heidegger's life and thought, however, it can only take one so far, and those wishing for a fuller treatment would be well advised to take a look at the present equally lucid and stimulating study by Dreyfus.
He explains that he has limited detailed treatment of 'Being and Time' to Division I of Part One (i.e., the first half), because he considers this "the most original and important section of the work, for it is [here] that Heidegger works out his account of being-in-the-world and uses it to ground a profound critique of traditional ontology and epistemology" (p.vii). Division II, though containing important material, is marred by "some errors so serious as to block any consistent reading" (p.viii), though it is taken up in a 57-page Appendix.
In his brief but extremely interesting Introduction, Dreyfus sets out to answer the question, 'Why study Heidegger?' If I have understood Dreyfus correctly, what he seems to be saying is that Western thought has been fundamentally in error since the time of Plato : "Plato and our tradition got off on the wrong track by thinking that one could have a theory of everything.... Heidegger is not against theory. He thinks it powerful and important, but limited" (p.2).
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I am amazed that this book has not been reviewed. For 30-odd years Hubert Dreyfus has been the beloved guide to Heidegger and Continental philosophy for thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, first at MIT and then at Berkeley. This book is constructed from the courses he taught on Heidegger's work, Kierkegaard, and especially that difficult centerpiece of Heidegger's opus, Being and Time. For the beginner and the expert, he opens Heidegger's questions and claims in distinctive, poignant, simple, accessible ways. I cannot imagine attempting to grasp Heidegger's thought without Dreyfus at my side. Dreyfus' account shows Heidegger in the middle of the struggle with those who came before him as he attempts to make sense of the question of what a human being is. I strongly recommend this book as a helpmate. If you are interested in confronting Heidegger's thought and work, get and read Dreyfus.
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Format: Paperback
I got to this book after reading "Disclosing New Worlds" by Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores, and Hubert L. Dreyfus, a very profound work that tries to recover our abilities to make sense of each of us as historical beings, helping us to "live life at its best."
Reading Being-in-the-World has had a great impact on the way I now understand our everyday life in terms of the practices that we pick up -as Heidegger puts it- from the society we are brought up in and not in terms of abstract theories that try to relate our specific actions to mental states. As a management consultant, it guides me away from trying to specify precisely, say, the 'things' a salesman should say and do in a conversation with a client. I'd be better off if I can find another salesman that exhibits the results I'm interested in, and managing a "learning-in-action" program, so that the first salesman learns from the more experienced salesman. As a father, it guides me away from getting my son to hold on to vast amounts of information -the purpose of our modern educational system- but to situating him in an environment where he can pickup successful practices for dealing with diverse situations- including technical and interpersonal problems.
Being-in-the-World was not an easy read for me, since my background is in Computer Science and Management (I had to do some research in the philosophical traditions and problemas that Heidegger was attacking). However, Dreyfus' commentary is most relevant to people in Computer Science and Management - guiding them away from the utopias of Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support Systems.
I recommend this book to anyone willing to make an effort in understanding one of the deepest thinkers on what it means to be a human being "living life at its best."
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I have gone through this book at least three times and I find it to be the clearest and most easily understandable companion to Heidegger's magnum opus. One of the things that makes this book so special is that Dreyfus' is giving us his class notes and updating them every year until after some 25 years we have a very refined and distilled product . I have yet to find anyone who can equal the clarity here.
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Not only an introduction, but a constant companion. I'm on my third copy of this book; the first two literally fell apart from constant use. Whenever I'm reading Heidegger,or any commentary or other work on Heidegger, Dreyfus is always close by. Whatever he may think of his own shortcomings, there's really no one else like him. One reason is that he thinks about Heidegger the way Heidegger would think about himself. Using Dreyfus as a guide, you don't have to worry about being led down the wrong road to a dead end. Dreyfus writes with all the clarity of any analytic philosopher, but is not hagridden by the ontological biases inherent in analytic philosophy as an ideology. And make no mistake about it: in Anglo-American philosophy, the analytic tradition does define an ideology. It offers a worldview which Heidegger (correctly, I submit) rejected. To try to translate Heidegger into the jargon of analytic philosophy is to misunderstand him from the start.

Before you even begin to read "Being and Time," or any other work by Heidegger, read this book by Dreyfus first, even if not from cover to cover. Then get a copy of "Being and Time"; either the Macquarrie & Robinson or the Stambaugh translations will do, but I would recommend getting both. If you do German, then try to get the Max Niemeyer edition of "Sein und Zeit." Then go through Dreyfus again, this time along with "Being an Time," so that you can put Heidegger's dense and sometimes convoluted prose into context. When you've finished this phase of your study of Heidegger, then I would recommend moving back in time, and reading Heidegger's earlier works. You will then see "Being and Time" in its formative stages.
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