Humans as the most finite beings in Hegel and Heidegger

Both Hegel and Heidegger go to great length in addressing the question: why does Dasein, "dieses [endlichen] Geisterreich", constitute a decisive break from being that is not equally to be found among other finite beings? They answer, on the one hand, that human beings know of their finitude in a way that is unique. Therefore Heidegger's name for the being of human beings: "Sein zum Tode". On the other hand, the being of human beings is not fixed as something merely "vorhanden": human beings have an understanding of being ("Seinsverständnis") which includes multiple possibilities of being and therefore of their own being. On the basis of this complex Seinsverständnis and of the freedom which is an essential aspect of it, humans can radically alter who they are. Not only does such an understanding constitute a break from our usual activities in the world (since it concerns the root-possibilities of these activities), it also implicates those abysmal breaks which alone ("nur") can define, and differentiate between, fundamental possibilities. (See original complexity and original difference)

August 16, 2004 in Hegel, Heidegger, MH/'nur', Original difference | Permalink