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

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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)

The philosophical world has been waiting for this book for a long time. It is an indispensable book for anyone who wants to understand Being-in-Time, one of the great path-breaking works of 20th century philosophy. Dreyfus's commentary, unsurpassed for its philosphical grasp and clarity of detail, has made Heidegger accessible to the English-speaking reader as never before.

(Charles Taylor, Professor of Philosophy, McGill University)

Hubert Dreyfus is without equal at explaining Heidegger's philosophy without distorting it. If only Heidegger had made himself as clear as Dreyfus makes him he would long ago have established himself in the English-speaking world as one of the greatest philosopher's of the twentieth century.

(Bryan Magee, Hon. Senior Research Fellow in the History of Ideas, King's College, University of London)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; unknown edition (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: #58,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Professor Dreyfus has rendered a valuable service to readers of Being and Time. Why do I think this? For two reasons: Dreyfus has selected abundant quotations directly from Being and Time most pertinent and comprehensible to the topic at hand; and Dreyfus provides extensive commentary clarifying further the arguments made by Heidegger in each section of text.

Including the introduction there are 16 chapters in Being-in-the-World. In the Introduction Professor Dreyfus provides rationale for why anyone should even "care" about studying Being and Time. The following 15 chapters deal with particular aspects of the Being of beings and Being in the world.

As an example of Dreyfus's ability to make Heidegger comprehensible I have selected a section from Chapter 4 in Being-in-the-World. In this chapter labeled Availableness and Occurrentness Dreyfus quotes Heidegger:

"In everyday terms, we understand ourselves and our existence by way of the activities we pursue and the things we take care of. (BP, 159). To Exist then means, among other things, relating to oneself by being with beings. (BP,157).

A fairly clear statement by Heidegger in itself. But Dreyfus buttresses this with discussion of Heidegger's two modes of being. One mode of being is called "availableness" and "occurrentness." And the other mode of being called "comportment and cognition." According to Heidegger these two modes reveal the implausibility of Cartesian-like accounts of "knowing objects" through disinterested, self-sufficient, context-free contemplation of things as substance. Instead, Dasein knows things (i.e., entities and Beings) by existing, or interacting with them to accomplish some task or goal of especial importance to Dasein.
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