Heidegger's Being and Time: A Reading for Readers

Heidegger's Being and Time: A Reading for Readers

Heidegger's Being and Time: A Reading for Readers

Heidegger's Being and Time: A Reading for Readers

Excerpt

the question will not be postponed.

Why write a commentary on a text first published in 1927 and since rejected by the majority of English-speaking philosophers as one of the monumental errors in the history of philosophy? A closer and perhaps more critical look at the recent history of the discipline, including the part played by the various interpretations of the text, may give a clue toward an appropriate, if not quite satisfactory, answer.

Sixteen years after the first publication of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time, Jean-Paul Sartre published his own Being and Nothingness. The year was 1943, and the new text was perhaps the most thoroughgoing interpretation yet given the Heideggerian philosophy, in Germany or abroad. The world was at war, and no one had yet heard of existentialism, either as a philosophy or as a literary style. Sartre had spent an extended period of time in Berlin, in the calmer thirties, studying the philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger. He was aware of Heidegger's adaption of the Husserlian phenomenology into a fundamental ontology, the purpose of which was to recover the firstness of first philosophy. But the readers of Sartre's text called themselves existentialists; and he was above all a practical, even humble, man. Once written, a text belongs to its readers, and not to its author.

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