In NDPR, Daniel L. Tate reviews Scott M. Campbell's The Early Heidegger's Philosophy of Life: Facticity, Being, and Language.
Campbell's basic aim, then, is to pursue Heidegger's early attempts to analyze the facticity of life and language. In such analyses Campbell sees a sustained attempt to return philosophy from the abstractions of metaphysical conceptuality to the factical world of living and speaking human beings by means of which "these retrievals of factical living and speaking open life to Being in the world." In so doing, he elaborates several substantial theses. First, he shows that, from the outset, Heidegger was interested in the facticity of life as a dynamic context of meaningful relationships that admit different levels of intensity. Accordingly, the world is not just the source of fallenness and inauthenticity, but it also provides the basis for the fulfillment of meaning in retrieval and authenticity. Second, Campbell holds that Heidegger's interest in life permeates his philosophical engagement. Philosophizing is an activity that seeks to understand life and language from the experience of being an active participant in living and speaking. "To catch life in the act of being lived and language in the act of being spoken was Heidegger's project from early on." At stake in this project is not just the return of life to its factical origin, but also the revitalization of philosophy. Third, Campbell emphasizes the ambiguity in Heidegger's description of factical life. On the one hand, the world distracts us with worldly concerns that block us off from ourselves; on the other hand, it is replete with meaningful contexts that constitute our openness to the world. Campbell argues that this ambivalence regarding factical life simply reflects the human condition in its inherent ambiguity. On his reading, "Heidegger presents a realistic description of life, one that is prone to mistakes, and even perversity, but which is nonetheless open to meaning."