Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction

By Michael Inwood | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
Heidegger's Philosophy

Heidegger's admirers differ over whether he produced a second great work, and if so, which it is; the Nietzsche lectures or the Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event), drafted between 1936 and 1938, but published only in 1989, as well as other works, are often nominated. But there is general agreement that he wrote one great work, and that it is Being and Time.

Being and Time bears comparison with Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, if not with Plato's Republic or Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. It is by far the most influential of his writings: it has made its mark on theologians, psychologists, and sociologists as well as philosophers. It crystallizes the results of his reading, lecturing, and thinking over the previous decade, and it points the way ahead to his later works, which even if they differ considerably from Being and Time cannot be understood independently of it. It is at the same time one of the most difficult books ever written. Both its overall structure and the language in which it is composed present great problems to the reader, especially to the non-German reader.

The argument of the work, in rough outline, is this: It is important to ask the question 'What is Being?', a question which was once asked but has long been forgotten. To do this we need to consider some being or entity, and the obvious choice is the human being or 'Dasein',

-9-

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Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • References viii
  • Chapter 1 - Heidegger's Life 1
  • Chapter 2 - Heidegger's Philosophy 9
  • Chapter 3 - Being 13
  • Chapter 4 - Dasein 20
  • Chapter 5 - The World 31
  • Chapter 6 - Language, Truth, and Care 47
  • Chapter 7 - Time, Death, and Conscience 64
  • Chapter 8 - Temporality, Transcendence, and Freedom 87
  • Chapter 9 - History and World-Time 98
  • Chapter 10 - Art 116
  • Chapter 11 - St Martin of Messkirch? 129
  • Further Reading 135
  • Glossary 137
  • Index 142
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