Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Alfred Denker's dictionary on Ereignis.
APPROPRIATION (Ereignis). Appropriation is the central formal indication of Heidegger's entire path of thinking. It identifies the very source and primal leap (Ur-sprung) of the dynamic relationship between Being and being-there. In the dictonary sense Ereignis is the event, the happening or occurence. Heidegger makes use of the 'own' meaning of 'eigne' to read the sense of the verb 'ereignen' as to make one's own appearance, to appropriate. However, entities do not appropriate being for themselves; Being appropriates entities in their being. The verb 'ereignen' is derived from the German 'eräugnen', that means to place before the eyes, to show. Appropriation is also 'Eräugnung', the placing before the eyes, that is, the unconcealment of Being. The Appropriation of Being is the clearing in which everything becomes visible.

Heidegger introduced appropriation in his 1919 course, The Idea of Philosophy and the Problem of Worldviews, as the most intense lived experience of the meaning-bestowing dynamics of the It which worlds. The I is fully there in the "It worlds" of the primal something such that I myself properize (ereigne) It to myself and It properizes (ereignet) itself according to its essence. The intimate involvement with the primal "It gives" of Being thus prompts the distinction between events which matter to myself personally and move me by situating me, and processes which pass before me objectively and do not concern me personally. In Being and Time appropriation returned to its mundane sense of historical events past and gone. After a decade of dormancy Heidegger returned to its originally intimate sense in 1928.

Appropriation became the central topic of Heidegger's later thought. Here it means a unique process of appropriating (aneignen) and assigning (zueignen). Being calls for the authenticity of commemorative thinking. With his conception of appropriation Heidegger's thought no longer transcends being-there to Being; he tries to let Being speak out of itself and make being-there heed its claim. This turning away from being-there to Being implies a change in the essence of truth. Heidegger leaves the identity of Being and thinking and fundamental ontology behind. His thought is now enacted in a region appropriation addresses as 'aletheia', that is, the clearing of self-revealing concealment from which the relationship between Being and being-there is thought in a more original way.

Heidegger's second main work, Contributions to Philosophy, written between 1936 and 1938, is a careful meditation on Being as appropriation in which he attempts the turning away from metaphysics towards the commemorative thinking of Being. The turning of appropriation is the turning point and appropriation is the ruling middle in which that which is can be itself and thus can return to its property as its proper place. The propriation (Ereignung) of appropriation is the assigning (Zueignung) of Being to being-there and the surrender (Übereignung) of being-there to Being.

Heidegger's new conception of appropriation leads to three fundamental changes in his thought. 1. He determines language no longer as apophantic assertion, but as the appropriation that brings being-there to its essence and makes it the 'there' of Being. Appropriation grants to mortals their abode within their essence, so that they may be capable of being those who speak. Language is the saying of Being from the region of its essence: the dynamic process of self-revealing concealment. Appropriation by way of saying and language thus always speaks according to the mode in which appropriation as such reveals itself or withdraws itself into concealment. 2. The temporal determination of appropriation can neither be ontological nor existential. Appropriation temporalizes itself suddenly and unexpectedly. In this respect it is like lightning; we never know when and where it will strike. The history of Being is the sequence of such flashes of lightning. Every appropriation is a clearing. 3. Heidegger determines appropriation in its being as the fourfold and its nearness to things. The unity of the fourfold comes to presence as the worlding of the world, that is, the region and time where sky and earth and the divinities and the mortals meet. Of groundless appropriation holds: It - appropriation - propriates.
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For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

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The Fourfold

Reading the
Late Heidegger

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March 27-29, 2017
Redmond, Washington