Being, Opened-ness, and Unlimited Technology.
« Être, ouverture et technologie illimitée. Dix thèses sur Heidegger »
Pour Heidegger die Sache selbst n’est pas das Sein mais ce qui rend possible das Sein, c’est-à-dire das Sein fini, qui consiste en notre être approprié (ereignet) à la tâche de soutenir le Welt/Lichtung/Da, c’est-à-dire la possibilité de comprendre des entités dans leur Sein/Bedeutsamkeit. En générant Welt/Lichtung, notre finitude donne aussi naissance à la science illimitée et à l’ouverture sans fin de la technologie. Heidegger échoue à proposer une bonne raison philosophique pour limiter le développement mondial de la technologie.
11. Das Sein = das “ist.”
2a. The guiding question (Leitfrage) of Western metaphysics is the question about the being of entities, das Sein des Seienden.1 But the being of entities is the “is” of entities – in Heidegger’s words, “das ist, d.h. das Sein”2 or as William J. Richardson puts it, “the Is of what-is.”3 “Being” shows up only as what, that, and how an entity is (das Was-sein, Wie-sein, Daß-sein des Seienden). It is also called the “is-ness” of what-is, die Seiendheit des Seienden (GA 9, 260.6-7).
3b. For Heidegger, however, unlike the classical tradition of metaphysics, Sein or ist is not an ontic characteristic of entities in themselves and does not occur on its own apart from human beings.4 To be sure, Sein/ist is always the “being/is” of an entity. But in Heidegger’s phenomenological view, such “being” appears only within a human enactment of legein (= hermeneuein, Seinsverständnis), a synthetic-differential act of taking-an-entity-as (ti kata tinos legein = etwas auf etwas entwerfen). The original manifestation of Sein or ist occurs as the “as” of an act of taking-something-as. In theoretical objectivity we take an entity as this-or-that; in practical engagement we take the tool as-suitable-for a task. Thereby, whether thematically or unthematically, we understand that the entity is this-or-that, and that the tool is for a certain purpose. Only in this way do we know an entity’s “being.”
4c. Heidegger, both early and late, holds that “being” is phenomenological. It occurs only in a synthetic-differential act of taking-as; only as the what-ness, how-ness, and that-ness of the entities we encounter; and only as the sense or meaningfulness of those entities. To say “This entity is...” is to say that this entity “makes-sense-as.” Das Sein = das Anwesen-als = die Bedeutsamkeit [sc., des Seienden].
52. For Heidegger die Sache selbst is not Sein but that which makes possible the phenomenological occurrence of Sein.
6a. Heidegger designates the basic question about his focal topic (= die Grundfrage that pursues die Sache selbst) as die Frage nach dem Sein selbst or nach dem Sein als solches. This question moves beyond the Leitfrage (which asks what/how/that entities are and what the highest entity is) as well as beyond all takings-as in which such “being” occurs. The Grundfrage asks what it is that makes possible all such takings-as and thus all instances of “being.”5
7b. If “being” shows up only in a Seinsverständnis, Heidegger’s central topic is “die Bedingung der Möglichkeit des Seinsverständisses” (GA 24, 405.12-13).
8c. If “being” is the is-ness we ascribe to entities, Heidegger is after what allows for such ascribed is-ness: “Grund und Zulassung der Seiendheit” (GA 68, 51.5).
9d. If “being” is the presence/accessibility of entities, Heidegger asks how such presence/accessibility comes about: “Die Frage, inwiefern es Anwesenheit als solche geben kann” (SD 77.17-18).
10e. If “being” is the manifestness/availability of entities, Heidegger’s focal topic is the prior possibilizing of that manifestness/availability: “die vorgängige Ermöglichung der Offenbarkeit von Seiendem” (GA 9, 114.26-27).
113. Die Sache selbst = die Welt, die Lichtung, das Da, etc.
12a. The “as” of taking-an-entity-as underlies all instances of the “is” that we ascribe to the entity. In turn, what underlies the “as” of such taking-as are the human concerns that make an entity interesting, relevant, and significant, whether those concerns be practical, theoretical, aesthetic, or whatever.
13b. Heidegger calls the realm of such concerns and interests “the world” or “the clearing” or “the open”6 (Welt = Lichtung = das Da7). None of these titles refers to the “being of entities” or to “being itself.” They refer, rather, to what makes possible all taking-as and hence all instances of “being.”
144. Welt/Lichtung/Da occurs only with and as Da-sein, our a priori opened-ness.
15a. Heidegger, both early and late, holds that the human essence consists in necessarily (= a priori) being-the-Da.8 Da-sein = “being-the-open” in the double sense of “always already having been opened” and “having to be that already-opened-ness.”
16b. Being-the-open = being die Sache selbst.
175. Thus, in one formulation die Sache selbst is the a priori (= always already) opened-ness of the open-that-we-are, which makes possible all takings-as and attributions of “is.”
18a. In Heidegger’s earlier terminology the a priori status of our opened-ness is called the Geworfenheit or thrown-open-ness of the Da-that-we-necessarily-are (GA 2, 74.25). Thrown-open-ness makes possible all taking-as (entwerfen). Our openness is called “thrown” because it arises from and is grounded in our groundless (“hidden,” “withdrawn,” relatively absential) finitude. (See no. 7, below.)
19b. In Heidegger’s later terminology the a priori status of our opened-ness is called the Ereignetsein or drawn-open-ness of the Lichtung-that-we-necessarily-are (Lichtung-sein: GA 69, 101.12). Our Da-sein/Lichtung-sein makes possible die Geschick des Seins, i.e., the groundless – because grounded in our finitude – givenness (= Geschick...) of the ability to understand and affirm that anything is (=...des Seins).
206. Heidegger scholarship should abandon the word “Sein” as a marker for die Sache selbst, for at least the following reasons:
21a. Heidegger’s focal topic is not “being” in any form (“das Sein [ist] nicht mehr das eigens zu Denkende,” SD 44.6-7). Rather, his topic is that which makes possible all Seinsverständnis and thus any appearance of Sein/ist.
22b. Even when die Grundfrage is designated as “the question of being-itself,” the crucial distinction between das Ermöglichte (= das Sein selbst) and das Ermöglichende (= das Woher und Wodurch des Seins selbs 9) is all too frequently overlooked.
23c. Heidegger scholarship tends to hypostasize das Sein into a non-phenomenological, quasi-metaphysical Something (“Big Being”) that we can allegedly pursue and relate to, an “X” that performs such mythical task as revealing and concealing itself, dispensing epochs of itself, and so on.
247. What brings about Welt/Lichtung/Da is human finitude – the hidden, withdrawn not-ness that generates the open.
25a. What generates (zeitigt) and sustains the open, and thus makes possible all takings-as and attributions of “is,” is the finitude or lack-of-full-self-presence that defines the human essence as Zeitlichkeit. This not-ness is responsible for the fact that human being is “im-perfect” (not pure presence but pres-abs-ence), a finite openness within which things are known not with the immediacy of intellectual intuition but only via the indirection of Seinsverständis (cf. GA 3, 280.30-3). One’s finitude/not-ness clears a “place of dif-ference” wherein synthesis becomes possible. This “place” is Welt/Lichtung/Da as the realm of possible relation (“as”), thanks to which entities can be taken as being this or that and thus can be understood as what and how they currently are. Our groundless finitude grounds the “e-mergence” (a-letheia, Wahrheit) of all forms of being.
26b. Insofar as human finitude/not-ness is a non-presence, Heidegger describes it as “hidden,” i.e., as the usually overlooked lethe or mystery that constitutes the essence of Da-sein (das vergessene Geheimnis des Daseins: GA 9, 195.23).
27c. Insofar as human finitude/lack is a relative absence, Heidegger likewise describes it as a withdrawing from presence (der Entzug or das Sichentziehende: GA 8, 10.30, 11.12, 13, 16, 17).
28d. The hiddenness/withdrawal that is our finitude “appropriates” or “draws” us into opened-ness and thus into the possibility of understanding the current being of whatever we encounter. Our finitude is our appropriation into opened-ness. (Der Entzug ist des Daseins: GA 65, 293.9; Entzug ist Ereignis: GA 8, 10.30 with 11.6-17.)
29e. Thus the Vor-frage nach der Wahrheit selbst – the question about the whence and whereby of emergence itself – finds its answer in human finitude.
308. What Heidegger calls Seinsvergessenheit is the forgottenness not of Sein but of what makes possible Sein and Seinsverständnis.
31a. It is impossible for human beings to forget “being” without ceasing to be human. Indeed, metaphysics has never forgotten “being” or the ontological difference.11 Even the failure to thematize one’s unthematic awareness of “is” does not count as what Heidegger means by Seinsvergessenheit (cf. GA 9, 263.28-30).
32b. Seinsvergessenheit is shorthand for “the forgottenness of what allows for taking-as and thus ‘being’” (cf. SD 40.6, 18-24). Seinsvergessenheit means overlooking our hidden-withdrawn finitude and the Welt/Lichtung/Da that it holds open.
33c. This not-ness is already intrinsically hidden and withdrawn (= the lethe), but its hiddenness is “redoubled” (doubly and improperly hidden) when it is overlooked or forgotten in Seinsvergessenheit (SD 44.14-19, 26-30).
34d. However, one can also understand and embrace that intrinsically hidden finitude – as one’s own essence, as what generates the open clearing, and as the source of all taking-as and occurrence of “is.” In the early Heidegger the act of understanding and embracing one’s finitude is called “resolve” (Entschlossenheit: GA 2, 393.26). In the later work it is described as returning to and settling into one’s opened-ness (die Einkehr in das Ereignis: SD 44.16-17, 26).
359. The intrinsically hidden not-ness/finitude that is responsible for the a priori opened-ness of the open guarantees both the groundlessness and the in-principle unlimitedness of our ability to take-things-as – for example, in theoretical-scientific knowing.
36a. The in-principle unlimitedness of such theoretical-cognitive takings-as and occurrences-of-being is the positive gift of our finitude and of the Welt/Lichtung/Da that it holds open. The universe is endlessly knowable and should be known as such.
37b. Such unlimited knowing need not stand in inverse proportion to the understanding and embrace of one’s essential finitude, nor need it entail the overlooking or forgetting of die Sache selbst.
3810. The in-principle unlimitedness of takings-as and occurrences-of-being likewise makes possible unlimited global technology.
39a. One form of unlimited taking-as is unlimited using-for – for example, the adapting and reshaping of entities into commodities, into means for achieving human ends, etc., ad infinitum.
40b. As with scientific knowing, such in-principle unlimited using-for need not entail Seinsvergessenheit or stand in an inverse relation to Entschlossenheit, Eigentlichkeit, die Einkehr in das Ereignis, or die Überwindung/Verwindung der Metaphysik.
41c. Overlooking human finitude and the Welt/Lichtung/Da that it holds open is not the cause, or even a contributing cause, of the globalization of technology.
42d. Heidegger’s published thought provides no good philosophical arguments for limiting (much less opposing) the endless spread of technology. While such arguments might well be made, Heidegger’s philosophy fails to do so.
43e. There is no necessary connection between the self-assertion of the technologically efficient self (sc., Jünger’s “worker-dominating-the-world”) and Seinsvergessenheit. Aquinas could just as easily have overlooked and forgotten the Welt/Lichtung/Da during his mystical vision at Fossanova, as Stalin could have understood and embraced his essential finitude while industrializing the Soviet Union.
. Martin Heidegger, “Die Frage nach dem Sein,” Heidegger Studies 17 (2001), 9.3 and 11.4-5.
Pour citer cet article
Thomas Sheehan, « Being, Opened-ness, and Unlimited Technology. », Le Portique [En ligne], 18 | 2006, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2009, consulté le 29 mars 2017. URL : http://leportique.revues.org/801Haut de page
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