Thursday, June 20, 2013
Sarah Bakewell picks five books on existentialism.
In his view, the language — of human subjectivity, of human consciousness — embodies a tradition in philosophy since Plato that presupposes a separation from the world, from the Being that we find ourselves in. So, when he talks about human beings, he uses the phrase “Dasein” which literally means “Being there” in German. It seems a bizarre thing to do. Why deliberately frustrate our desire to talk about human beings or human consciousness? He does it precisely to break those habits, to break the connection that language seems to try to make, almost by itself, between human being and some sort of floating consciousness separated from the world. He wants to put the emphasis on Being, on Dasein. So the language almost is the philosophy, to understand the language is to understand Heidegger’s philosophy to a large extent.
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