Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mormon Metaphysics on humans and language.
One thing that has long been of interest to me in Heidegger is that he doesn’t really talk about people normally. Rather he talks about dasein. Without getting into the technical debate about what he means by dasein let’s just say it is a way of talking philosophically about human consciousness without talking about human consciousness. I think, as time has gone on, that this has proved quite wise. There isn’t, for instance, the problem of human vs. animal consciousness. (Or all the baggage that consciousness as a term has) If an animal fits the analysis Heidegger provides then it is a dasein.
And no one mention the soul, psyche, nor the subject. There's so much to talk about without talking about it.

Traditionally philosophers have tended to separate humans from animals by noting that humans have language and reason. With 20th century biological understanding I think saying only humans have reason is problematic at best. However it seems much more reasonable to say only humans have robust language.
The question then becomes how to distinguish language from what animals do.
Well, humans talk in order to talk about philosophy. My dog has never expressed an interest in why there's something rather than nothing, or how the open opens up. Philosophy, without it dasein would be indistinguisable from animals.
I think that's fair. (Humans do philosophy) But the question then simply becomes why are humans able to do philosophy. I think it is because we can consider being in a way animals can't.
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