- Series: Studies in Continental Thought
- Hardcover: 138 pages
- Publisher: Indiana University Press; First Edition/Second Printing edition (July 30, 1999)
- Language: German
- ISBN-10: 0253335078
- ISBN-13: 978-0253335074
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hardcover – July 30, 1999
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One of the critical themes previewed here is Heidegger's claim that the disclosure of things such as tables in an interconnected web of significance is prior, both in experience and in ontological order, to disclosures of those things as "objects" or "mere things." On pages 68-69 here, he makes a strong contrast between the table in his home, as a table for writing, sewing, or eating -- disclosed to us in a structure of such "in-order-to" relations, with the same table as "mere thing." The example mirrors his example of the hammer in Being and Time, but in more personal terms because the table he describes is one in his own house, used by himself, his own wife, and his children. I think the example comes across as more authentic and less abstract than the hammer, which reads in Being and Time, to me anyway, as an imagined rather than lived example.
That the table as "mere thing" is a construct, founded on the basis of the table as part of a web of significance, goes to the heart of Heidegger's early philosophy and to his reversal of the traditional search for a metaphysics of pure objectivity, one accounting for objects from no point of view, without interpretation. For Heidegger, the "question of being" is never one asked by no one, to be answered by an account of objects as disclosed to no one, but one that is necessarily asked by us ("Dasein"). Thus, we and the way in which the world is disclosed to us are unavoidable at the start of our investigation. That world, he claims, is the world characterized by "care" and through relations of significance -- the "in order to" of those things (e.g., tables) disclosed to us.
Reading this book won't take the place of reading the much longer, fuller account provided in Being and Time. In fact, if you started by reading only this book, I would think it would spur you on to want to read Being and Time to fill out the compressed insights and accounts given here. What remains distinctive is a freshness of insight and, sometimes, a less restrained and less formal critique of the state of philosophy in Heidegger's time.