Friday, October 07, 2011
Making sense of how we find ourselves.
In the act of understanding [Verstehen] . . . the relations . . . must have been previously disclosed; the act of understanding holds them in this disclosedness. It holds itself in them with familiarity; and in so doing, it holds them before itself, for it is in these that its assignment operates. The understanding lets itself make assignments both in these relationships themselves and of them. The relational character which these relationships of assigning possess, we take as one of signifying. In its familiarity with these relationships, Dasein 'signifies' to itself: in a primordial manner it gives itself both its Being and its potentiality-for-Being as something which it is to understand with regard to its Being-in-the-world. The "for-the-sake-of-which" signifies an "in-order-to"; this in turn, a "towards-this"; the latter, an "in-which" of letting something be involved; and that in turn, the "with-which" of an involvement. These relationships are bound up with one another as a primordial totality; they are what they are a s this signifying [Be-deuten] in which Dasein gives itself beforehand its Being-in-the-world as something to be understood. The relational totality of this signifying we call "significance". This is what makes up the structure of the world-the structure of that wherein Dasein as such already is. Dasein, in its familiarity with significance, is the ontical condition for the possibility oj discovering entities which are encountered in a world with involvement (readiness-to-hand) as their kind of Being, and which can thus make themselves known as they are in themselves [in seinem An-sich]. Dasein as such is always something of this sort; along with its Being, a context of the ready-to-hand is already essentially discovered: Dasein, in so far as it is, has always submitted itself already to a 'world' which it encounters, and this submission belongs essentially to its Being.

But in significance itself, with which Dasein is always familiar, there lurks the ontological condition which makes it possible for Dasein, as something which understands and interprets, to disclose such things as 'significations'; upon these, in turn, is founded the Being of words and of language.

The significance thus disclosed is an existential state of Dasein-of its Being-in-the-world; and as such it is the ontical condition for the possibility that a totality of involvements can be discovered.

Pp. 120-1
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