enowning
Thursday, January 10, 2008
 
{10} The Western Tradition of Philosophy continued.
There are several reasons why this becomes so, one of them being the factor of the "twofold" and hence the ambiguity contained in this very "presence of the presenting"; however, Heidegger also offers a linguistic reason as to how being (das Sein) could become just another thing (seiend). According to Heidegger the infinitive is the last form in the linguistic development of the verb. But because of its indefinite, one might also say its abstract, character it communicates the least of any of the verb's meanings. And this, Heidegger maintains, is one of the reasons why being has become one of the emptiest of all words. For the verbal substantive is the emptiest of all forms expressing the meaning of the verb. And to the indefiniteness of the already indefinite infinitive is added the further stabilizing factor, the article (τό, das); and thus is the verbal substantive das Sein formed. And thus also does being become just another thing. Heidegger warns that we must beware of the abstraction of being which the substantialization of the infinitive naturally brings along in its wake. For in this fashion has being become abstract in our language, becoming a word which does nothing but name the indeterminate. The question becomes whether a sufficiently basic view of language can bring out the true meaning of this word being, the ground word (Grundwort) of our whole philosophical tradition.

Nevertheless, Heidegger does not think that the word being is as empty as some of the more recent philosophers have made it our to be. After all, he says, we can tell the difference between being and non-being. Non-being is not. In another equally valid sense, then, being is a most determinate word, in that what is not being is nothing.
Continued.
 
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