Monday, June 04, 2012
Irene McMullin on four features of Dasein's time-determinations.
Dasein’s interpretive expression of its temporal structure is not an occasional activity but the subtext of all its activities: "Time is constantly there in such a way that…in all our comportments and all the measures we take, we move in a silent discourse" of now-saying. According to Heidegger, the now is "nothing but the ‘expression,’ the ‘speaking out,’ of original temporality in its ecstatic character." Time as we understand it in an everyday way is only a derivative of temporality’s self-disclosure: "The making present that interprets itself, that is, what has been interpreted and addressed in the ‘now,’ is what we call ‘time’." Temporality expressed is time, and this expression—the fact that Dasein ‘utters itself’—is the very way Dasein exists its Being-in-the-world.

Dasein’s self-expressive time-determinations are characterized by four features: spannedness, datability, publicity, and significance. All of these features will be essential for understanding how Heidegger characterizes the shift from originary time to ordinary time, and both publicity and significance will demonstrate the fundamental role that other Dasein must play in this shift. What is essential about all four features of originary temporality, however, is that they demonstrate its ecstatic nature—that in ‘speaking itself out,’ Dasein is constituted by certain types of relationality. As Heidegger notes in The Basic Problems of Phenomenology,
Temporality as unity of future, past, and present does not carry the Dasein
away just at times and occasionally; instead, as temporality, it is itself the original outside-itself, the ekstatikon. For this character of carrying-away we employ the expression the ecstatic character of time. [P. 267]
Each of the four features of ecstatic temporality demonstrates a particular type of ‘outside itself,’ of ecstatic relation to otherness. In the case of spannedness, the present maintains itself in terms of a relation to past and future. In datability, the now is ecstatically related to a pragmatically-weighted thing or event. In publicity, it is the originary temporality of the other Dasein to which the now is ecstatically related. And in significance, the now speaks itself out into relation with the significance-constituting norms or measures that characterize what Heidegger calls ‘world.’
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