The Meaning Of Being Part 3

The Meaning Of Being Part 3

Now, back to Heidegger.

The question of Being is the most basic question of all philosophical inquiry. It is what Heidegger calls, “philosophically primary” (B&T, pg 10). All investigations by all sciences have their foundation in the question of the meaning of Being. Before a scientist can study something, there are certain a priori assumptions that must be made. Now, scientists need not concern themselves with these questions prior to their studies, but a philosopher must.

For a philosopher, the underlying question, “How is knowledge even possible?” must be answered. Immanuel Kant, for instance, showed that an inquiring mind can discover certain categories and principles that underlie all human questioning (Critique Of Pure Reason). The manner in which the human mind organizes our experience through these categories (e.g. space, time, etc.) have to do with how a human “is.” In other words, “to be” human means to posses these innate mental structures, such as space and time. These a priori conditions make science possible.

To further elucidate, in front of me is a computer monitor. I am experiencing it. Space and time are like lenses through which I experience the monitor. They are innate and prior to my experience. I perceive the monitor in space and time. I am able to think of space and time devoid of the monitor, but I cannot think of the monitor devoid of space and time. This example demonstrates a manner in which I exist, a mode of existence, if you will. The question of the manner in which I exist is prior to all my experiences and inquiries, therefore the question of Being is the primary question of all inquiry.

Through this analysis, I have discovered that “being me” entails the possession of these innate conditions through which I experience the world. This brings me closer to understanding Being.


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