Being & Time, intro

Being & Time



I’ve decided to embark on a reading of Being & Time. This will be my second meeting with the book. The first time I abandoned the study at page 106, in The Worldhood of the World. During that first reading, about two years ago, I had been taking notes as I read…

As a way to begin again, I’m typing up the notes from the notebook as both a personal exercise and in distant hope of these notes being useful or interesting to someone else who may be engaging with Being & Time. The notes in this post refer only to the Introduction section of the book. There will be more posts to follow, corresponding to successive chapters.




Interpretation of time as the possible horizon for any understanding of Being.

Being as most universal & empty of concepts, as such resists every attempt at definition.

Every inquiry is a seeking.

Every seeking gets guided beforehand by what is sought.

[Out of this understanding]

What we seek when we inquire into Being is not something entirely unfamiliar, even if at first we cannot grasp it at all.

The Being of entities is not itself an entity.

Being lies in the fact that something is, and in its Being as it is;

in Reality;
in presence-at-hand;
in validity;
in Dasein;
in the ‘there-is’

“Thus to work out the Q. of Being adequately, we must make an entity – the inquirer – transparent in his own Being. The very asking of this question is an entity’s mode of Being; and as such it gets its essential character from what is inquired about – namely, Being.”

An entity: Dasein

Inquiry as mode or possibility of its Being

Laying bare the grounds for it & exhibiting them.

There is no ‘circular reasoning’ but rather a remarkable ‘relatedness, backward or forward’.

Dasein as primary investigation of Being.

How to restate the Q.

Being is always the Being of an entity.

Totality of entities can become a field for defining areas of subject matter.

Grounding, Ontology

pg. 31 Blindness of ontology to its own aim if it takes for granted its system of categories without clarifying the meaning of Being.

Curtain over the void.

Dasein is an entity whose Being is an issue for it.

Dasein in its Being, has a relationship towards that Being, a relationship which is itself one of Being.

Ontology is the theoretical inquiry devoted to the meaning of entities.

Dasein’s “Being-ontological” is pre-ontological.

Dasein always understands itself in terms of a possibility of itself; to be itself or not itself.

Taking hold, neglecting.

What constitutes existence? Existentiality as the state of Being that is constitutive for those entities that exist.

“Man’s soul is, in a certain way, entities.”


Immediately, farthest

Concealed from itself, Dasein is ontically ‘closest’ to itself & ontologically farthest.

Show itself in itself & from itself


Investigation to bring out the Being of this entity without Interpreting its meaning.

Once we arrive at horizon, analytic will be repeated.

Temporality as the meaning of the Being of Dasein.

Time as horizon for all understanding of Being.

Temporal entities: natural processes, historical happenings
Non-temporal entities: spatial & numerical relationships
Supra-temporal: Eternal

The central problematic of all ontology is rooted in the problem of time.

Even non-temporal & supra-temporal are temporal with regard to their Being.

Temporality of Being: the way in which Being & its modes & characteristics have their meaning determined primordially in terms of time.

Answer cannot be a blind & isolated [standpoint]

Positive character must be Ancient, or within the possibilities the Ancients made ready for us.

Research as ontical possibility of Dasein

Historicality is prior to History

Dasein grows into & in a traditional way of interpreting itself — regulation of its Being its past already goes ahead of it.

Dasein is inclined to fall back upon its world & to interpret itself in terms of that world by its reflected light.

Tradition as confining of interest,

veil over groundlessness,

Dasein no longer understands the most elementary conditions which alone enable it to go back to the past in a positive manner & make it productively its own. (thinking of Kandinsky taking art to elementary color and shape)

When Dasein understands either itself or Being in general, it does so in terms of the ‘world’

By taking the Q. of Being as our clue, we are to destroy the traditional content of ancient ontology, until we arrive at those primordial experiences in which we achieved our first ways of determining the nature of Being — the ways which have guided us ever since.

Stake out the positive aspects of tradition, keep it within its limits. Possible field for investigation is bounded off, or framed.

The way the Q. is formulated — the possibility of the formulation of the Q.

Problematic of Temporality — (Kant) — brings the phenomenon of time back to the subject — but he misses the subjectivity of the subject.

Createdness & the uncreated

God as ens infinitum, was the end increatum (in Descartes)

The ancient way of interpreting the Being of entities is oriented towards the ‘world’ or ‘Nature’ in the widest sense, & that it is indeed in terms of ‘time’ that its understanding of Being is obtained.

Entities are grasped in their Being as ‘presence’

Definite mode of time: present


Making-present of something

‘The thing itself is deeply veiled’

* * * * * * * * * * *

phenomenon – that which shows itself

phenomenon <—> semblance

‘Symptoms of a disease’ —> occurrences in the body show themselves & in showing themselves ‘indicate’ something which does not show itself.

Appearance, as the appearance ‘of something’, does not mean showing itself, it means rather announcing-itself by something which does not show itself, but which announces itself through something which does show itself.

Appearing is a not-showing-itself —> ‘appearing’ is never a showing-itself, in the sense of ‘phenomenon’, appearing is possible only by reason of a showing-itself of something.

The showing-itself which makes possible the appearing is not the appearing itself.

[Appearing is an announcing-itself through something that shows itself]

Phenomena are never appearances, every appearance is dependent on phenomena

Appearing: 1 announcing-itself

                   2 not-showing-itself

                  3 that which does the announcing, that which in its showing-itself indicates                             something that does not show itself.

Phenomenon – showing-itself-in-itself signifies a way something can be encountered

                         – that which shows itself in itself

Appearance – a reference-relationship which is an entity itself, what does the referring.

We leave indefinite which entities we consider as “phenomena”, and leave it open whether what shows itself is an entity or rather some characteristic which an entity may have in its Being, then we have merely arrived at a formal conception of “phenomena”.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Logos —> discourse

to make manifest what one is talking about

[letting something be seen] —> [togetherness]

discourse —> speaking

Being-true means the entitities of which one is talking must be taken out of their hiddenness,

unhidden, discovered

Being-false is deceiving in the sense of covering-up

‘truth of judgments’ as secondary phenomenon of truth with more than one kind of foundation

relatedness, relation, relationship

* * * * * * * * * * *


To let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself

“To the things themselves.”

The transcendence of Dasein’s Being is distinctive in that it implies the possibility & necessity of the most radical individuation.

Chapter 4, Section 7 of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


About Michael Johnson

One comment

  1. Pingback: Being & Time, ch. 1-3 | view from a burrow

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