[xmca] Human Being as Dasein as Therebeing

From: Tony Whitson <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Edu>
Date: Thu Jun 28 2007 - 15:30:05 PDT

Let me just try to share something I get out of Heidegger, and how I see
it relating to the toolforthoughts discussion. I'm not presenting this as
the way to read H -- just as something I myself find there.

The Being that is Human Being is not to be understood essentialistically.
Indeed, the most essential thing about it is its (non-essentialist)
historicity, or situatedness, as Being-in-the-world. Although "Dasein"
designates other specific problematics in H, for present purposes, can we
consider "Dasein" as a way of saying "Being-in-the-world"? Then let's
think of Dasein not as Being-there, but rather Therebeing. It is more
literal: like "toolforthoughts," "Therebeing" is a one-word nominal term,
not a gerund (Being) _modified_ by an adverb (there), as if it ("Being")
were something apart from its modification ("there"). Therebeing is not
Being (there): It is There from the beginning in Existence, as Therebeing.

  In the ongoing formation of an Activity System, Human Being is being
formed socially-historically: In Therebeing, the Being of the Community of
Practice, and its participants, is emerging in the emergence of the forms
of practice that is what they (the social group and its members) do, hence
what they are. A diagnostic protocol, for example, participates in the
formation of the health care practices of a community. As the protocol,
the instruments used, and the practices develop and change, the human
community and its participants (their practices, their competencies, their
habits, their expectations, their identities) emerge part-and-parcel in
this formative activity.

If the protocol and instrumentation are considered toolforthoughts, then
the term "toolforthoughts" makes sense to me in that way. Still, I'm not
sure what the new term adds to what we are able to understand by looking
at the protocols and instruments in terms of triadic semiosis, and (again)
the Peircean formulation does not raise the problem of the dualism that
then needs to be reconciled in terms of "symmetry."

Wherethinking, you?

On Thu, 28 Jun 2007, Martin Packer wrote:

> Michael,
> My reading of Heidegger differs from yours. I see him as articulating one of
> the first non-essentialist ontologies, in which historical epochs involve
> different ways of being. His focus on being-in-the-world, for example,
> rejects any essentialist characterization of what it is to be human. Humans
> are constituted, and constitute themselves, in terms (actually, in
> practices) provided by a specific contextual milieu. This specific way of
> being human he referred to as 'ontic.' The 'difference' between beings and
> being was 'ontological,' to be found in all times and cultures. Heidegger
> has been criticized (by Derrida and others), for this 'onto-theo-logical'
> analysis, and in his later work he abandoned the effort to specify such
> existential structures, opting instead to describe the particular, and
> distinct, relations between 'world' and 'thing' in different epochs.
> It's a bit dated, but I have a simple intro to heidegger on my web pages
> <http://www.mathcs.duq.edu/~packer/IR/IRphil.html>
> For much more detail, Bert Dreyfus' pages are the place to go:
> <http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~hdreyfus/html/papers.html>
> Martin
> On 6/28/07 11:35 AM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <mroth@uvic.ca> wrote:
>> Martin, but it is "anti-" Heideggerian because it does not begin with
>> an ontic "Being", but rather, Levinas grounds Being in something that
>> is beyond essence and prior to Being. And one day, when the first
>> human being opened his/her mouth to say something to another, he or
>> she already presupposed intersubjectivity. How is this possible?
>> Without this presupposition, however, we cannot even begin speaking
>> let alone philosophizing, theorizing, constructing Selves, etc.
>> Heidegger essentializes Being, and Levinas works against it, and so
>> many others that follow in his footsteps or next to them. Read the
>> fascinating discussion Derrida devotes to Levinas and, incidentally,
>> Nancy Michael
>> Derrida, J. (1997). Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas. Stanford, CA: Stanford
>> University Press:
>> Derrida, J. (2005). On touching‹Jean-Luc Nancy. Stanford, CA:
>> Stanford University Press.
>> On 28-Jun-07, at 9:27 AM, Martin Packer wrote:
>> Michael,
>> I will confess that I struggle to grasp Levinas. This is a request for
>> clarification: what you've said [below] sounds very similar to
>> Heidegger's
>> notion that the being of an entity is always constituted on the basis
>> of a
>> background of cultural practices, which he called (rather
>> confusingly) 'the
>> meaning of being,' or (better in my view) 'the upon-which of being.'
>> The
>> 'difference that makes a difference,' then, is the difference between a
>> being (an entity: that it is) and the being of that entity (what it is:
>> constituted culturally/historically).
>> Martin
>> On 6/28/07 10:59 AM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <mroth@uvic.ca> wrote:
>>> think Being as being grounded, historically, in
>>> something that is "Otherwise than Being."
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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education


"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)

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Received on Thu Jun 28 15:38 PDT 2007

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