Sunday, July 29, 2007
Frank Schalow on freedom and the ontological difference.
In resolute decision making, Dasein experiences freedom through the facticity of its taking action (i.e., as a form of praxis). As Heidegger states in his 1930 lectures on Kant: "The factuality corresponding to the idea of freedom is that of praxis." In its facticity, freedom pertains directly to the authentic self. But what about the possibility of Dasein's understanding of being? Is there not corresponding to this development a specific instance of freedom? But how is it possible to understand being except through its differentiation from beings? As Heidegger states in his 1928 lectures on logic, "We thus term this distinction that first enables something like an understanding-of-being the ontological difference." In On the Essence of Ground, Heidegger suggests that Dasein first experiences the ontological difference by projecting the world as the horizon of possibilities. He reserves the term transcendence to describe this act of "world-making." Through transcendence, the ontological difference becomes factical. The enactment of transcendence, the projecting of "that for the sake of which," he calls "freedom."

In this context, freedom implies Dasein's ability to distinguish between being and beings and to abide within that difference. The differentiation between being and beings defines the dynamic character of that openness by making explicit, in a way only presupposed in the phenomenon of resoluteness, the difference between the openness as such and what emerges (to become manifest and be encountered) within the space of opening forth. In the Kant book, which Heidegger discusses at length Dasein's transcendence, he calls this area of openness a "free-space" or "play-space" (Spiel-Raum). Not only must various beings emerge in this free-space so Dasein can encounter them, but, because it is a being, the self must also depend on this openness in order to benefit from its own capability of "awareness." Thus self-reflexivity is not a given, but, as Raffoul illustrates, it must depend upon a prior openness. Accordingly, Heidegger emphasizes that the self, because it must be surpassed along with beings-as-a-whole, comes to be constituted in the act of transcendence itself. On the one hand, the self projects "that for the sake" over beings-as-a-whole, and hence a primordial sense of willing remains intact. On the other hand, the freedom of the initiating act (of will) only becomes determinate and factical through the accomplishment of transcendence, in which the self benefits from the abundance of possibilites emerging at the periphery of the world toward which the self transcends.

Pp. 122-123
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