A Conversation with Martin Heidegger by Raymond Tallis (auth.)

By Raymond Tallis (auth.)

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The ontology you advanced in Being and Time liberated me from several different kinds of prison of the mind. Your beginning not with mind-andmatter, nor with the subject and the object, but with Da-sein – that being whose being is an issue for itself, that being whose being is already ‘[out] in the world’ – was like the opening of a window from a stuffy, sound-proofed room on to a busy, sunlit street. Alas, however, I think that you have evaded the problems rather than solved them. Even so, something of profound value remains from the wreck of your system.

Look at it with the eyes of the philosopher and artist for whom an old pair of boots is a revelation of the world, a tor on the endless plain of Da-sein’s average everydayness! Enter – our subject! Da-sein This is the heart of the matter isn’t it? To talk to you, to try to see what your thoughts amounted to, to try to see past you, and not to address this central concept head on, would be absurd. At the risk of boring you, I shall try to set out what most people (‘one’, ‘they’) see as the meaning of this term to you.

Descartes argues that we cannot know for certain whether a world exists: we must therefore sort out the epistemology 32 A Conversation with Martin Heidegger and identify what we can know with certainty, before we start holding forth about ontology. You dismiss this and give priority to ontology. Knowledge, you insist, presupposes being-in-the-world: ‘Knowing is a mode of Da-sein which is founded in being-in-the-world. Thus, beingin-the-world, as a fundamental constitution, requires a prior interpretation’ (BT 58).

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