Sludds, Kevin. the Incurious Seeker's Quest for Meaning: Heidegger, Mood and Christianity

By Mulhall, Stephen | The Review of Metaphysics, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Sludds, Kevin. the Incurious Seeker's Quest for Meaning: Heidegger, Mood and Christianity


Mulhall, Stephen, The Review of Metaphysics


SLUDDS, Kevin. The Incurious Seeker's Quest for Meaning: Heidegger, Mood and Christianity. Bern: Peter Lang, 2014. 232 pp. Paper, $64.95--This book's overarching aim is to argue that the significance of affect within the fundamental ontology of Martin Heidegger's early philosophy has been misunderstood and so underestimated, and that a proper appreciation of its importance will help us to appreciate the intimacy of the relation between Sein und Zeit's existential analytic of Dasein and Christian faith and theology.

The volume consists of eleven chapters, the first being a lengthy introductory summary of the remaining ten, and the second offering a brief account of the close ties between Heidegger's family and early life and the Catholic Church. Chapter three offers an initial characterization of Dasein's self-questioning search for meaning, and thereby for transformation from inauthenticity to authenticity; chapter four shows how an understanding of Dasein's being as care unfolds a particular conception of the world and our relations to everything within it, according to which we exist as thrown projection (always-already situated and transcending that situation). Chapters five and six focus specifically on our thrownness: the first treats affective states as they appear on an ontic level (the level of empirical actuality open to investigation by empirical sciences); the second treats them ontologically, arguing that ontic emotions and moods must be underpinned by aspects of Dasein's ontological structure (that which makes its distinctive ways of being possible), and that guilt is particularly helpful in that it discloses the fact that our Being is Being-guilty--that is, subject to a fundamental lack. Chapter seven shifts the focus to anxiety, arguing that many commentators (including Lyons and Taylor) treat it solely as an ontic phenomenon, and thereby occlude its ontological significance--its ability to reveal our uncanniness, our not-being-at-home in the world, which thus potentially discloses God as a possible ground or regrounding of our Being. Chapter eight uses this analysis to grasp the role of death in the existential analytic, as the anxiety it provokes offers us a way of overcoming our everyday inauthenticity. Chapter nine offers a detailed critique of other commentators (including this reviewer), whose grasp of this transformative process as Heidegger conceives it is said to be distorted by their persistent focus on the ontic and the cognitive. Chapter ten brings the argument to a climax, offering the author's preferred account of the relation between the call of conscience, resoluteness, and the achievement of authenticity, and arguing for an internal relation between this account and the one central to Christian religious thought. …

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