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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Heidegger: Man’s Understanding of Being

Heidegger begins his book Being and Time by talking about the historical interpretation of the way “we in our time” have become disoriented with regard to an understanding of our own being. He posits that our understanding of the basic question of our being is thwarted by two things: first, the classical Greek conception of man as zoon echon logon (animal rationale, Aristotle’s definition of man); second, Christianity’s conception of man in god’s image. These classical and medieval conceptions of being, he says, continue to be in place in modern philosophy, since Descartes too conceived human existence in terms of presence—a presence to which he ascribed certain unique and distinctive traits. According to Heidegger, this twofold humanist anthropology is what is hindering us from gaining a significant understanding of our being.

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