Thursday, June 22, 2017
Jussi Backman on finitude.
It is only with Heidegger that finitude returns to the center of the philosophical stage in full force and in a radicalized form. At issue in his Being and Time is a reconsideration of human receptivity and discursivity, no longer in the Kantian sense as structural limitations of the human cognitive capacity to know beings from a hypothetical absolute viewpoint but rather as fully positive conditions of the “understanding of being” (Seinsverständnis) that characterizes Dasein, the human being insofar as she constitutes the finite and dynamic “there” (Da) of sense and meaningfulness. By overcoming the Kantian gap between the in-itself and the phenomenal and the Neo-Kantian separation of ontology and epistemology, Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology is able to reappropriate critical philosophy as a preparatory groundwork for a new metaphysics—as a point of departure for a “fundamental ontology” whose “foundation” is nothing other than Dasein’s finitude. This finitude of Dasein is the inherently temporal structure of its existence, more precisely, the temporal dynamic that contextualizes Dasein’s understanding of being by situating all access to a meaningful present (Gegenwart) within an interplay of the intertwining dimensions of the future (Zukunft) and “having-been” (Gewesenheit), that is, of futural possibility—limited by death as the constant and ultimate possibility of impossibility—and already established facticity. This temporality or timeliness (Zeitlichkeit) of Dasein’s understanding of being correlates structurally with temporality (Temporalität) as the meaning-horizon of being itself, and this temporally articulated correlation between finite and contextual access to meaningfulness and finite and contextual givenness of meaningfulness is the core, the fundament, of fundamental ontology. As the later Heidegger emphatically points out, no metaphysics in the classical sense can be built upon such a radically de-absolutized and desubstantivized “foundation.” The temporal correlation between Dasein and being cannot be an absolute point of reference, in the literal sense of being “absolved” from all essential references and relations to anything other than itself. On the contrary, it is to be conceived as a dynamic event (Ereignis) of contextualization in which accessible, meaningful presence, the temporal present, is ceaselessly reconfigured in terms of temporal background dimensions.
From: The End of the World after the End of Finitude : On a Recently Prominent Speculative Tone in Philosophy.
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