Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Marx Club on shared space.
Heideggerian notion of “Being-in-the-world (Dasein) stresses that existence, rather than occurring in space […] is fundamentally spatial.” In order to unpack Heidegger’s thought on space one has to tackle the word Dasein itself. Coward argues that Dasein is not merely a term that identifies human beings as things which exist in the world. Rather than tell us what human existence is, Dasein informs us of the “the way in which human beings exist.” The finer details of his philosophy are not important here. What is important however, is noting that Heidegger’s intervention constituted a major departure from the way space had been conceptualised until then. For Newton space was an “absolute, metaphysical entity” independent of Being, in which beings were located. Such an understanding of space sees it as an essentially non-aligned element of the physical world, a world where individuals just exist. Heidegger on the other hand is referring not to the space described by distance, but, rather, to a spatiality constituted through the interrelationship of Dasein, equipmental wholes and regions. Such spatiality is not a matter of extension, but rather of relation. It is a matter of the constitution of places that comprise a nexus in a network of relationships. Moreover, this spatiality is not something that simply unfolds from, and for, a single Dasein. Rather, insofar as the region that gives each place overall intelligibility vis-à-vis other places is public, it is a spatiality in which many Daseins co-appear and co-exist. It is thus a shared spatiality constituted in Dasein’s everyday encounter with things.
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