- Paperback: 487 pages
- Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr (Oct. 1 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0791426785
- ISBN-13: 978-0791426784
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3 x 22 cm
- Shipping Weight: 703 g
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,499,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Being and Time: A Translation of Sein Und Zeit Paperback – Oct 1 1996
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Martin Heidegger paved the road trod on by the existentialists with the 1927 publication of Being and Time. His encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy from ancient to modern times led him to rethink the most basic concepts underlying our thinking about ourselves. Emphasizing the "sense of being" (dasein) over other interpretations of conscious existence, he argued that specific and concrete ideas form the bases of our perceptions, and that thinking about abstractions leads to confusion at best. Thus, for example, "time" is only meaningful as it is experienced: the time it takes to drive to work, eat lunch, or read a book is real to us; the concept of "time" is not.
Unfortunately, his writing is difficult to follow, even for the dedicated student. Heidegger is best read in German: his neologisms and other wordplay strain the talents of even the best translators. Still, his thoughts about authentic being and his turning the philosophical ground inspired many of the greatest thinkers of the mid 20th century, from Sartre to Derrida. Unfortunately, political and other considerations forced Heidegger to leave Being and Time unfinished; we can only wonder what might have been otherwise. --Rob Lightner
From Library Journal
One of the landmarks of 20th-century philosophy, Heidegger's 1927 treatise is thought to have been the inspiration for such subjects as psychoanalysis, existentialism, ethics, hermeneutics, and more. This new translation by one of Heidegger's students offers the text in a more precise and understandable English than earlier editions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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As for Being and Time itself, this is not a beginner's book. If you were just attracted to the title and have no background in philosophy, I do not recommend this book--you will be lost and hate it. This is not to say you are not an intelligent person, the problem is the language and understanding of Heidegger's worldview. This is not to say he doesn't have good ideas, they just take much time to acquire, a lifetime really. The language is difficult not because Heidegger is arrogant and not because German is generally that hard to translate into English. The true reason why Heideggerian text is so hard to comprehend is because there are no words that explain the thoughts that Heidegger is dealing with. He had to invent his own language becuase language was itself to confining to what Heidegger was conceiving. If you're serious about this fellow, it would be worthwhile to learn the major word-concepts one at a time: Dasein, authenticity, inauthenticity, care (Sorge), ontic/ontical vs. ontological, existentiell vs. existential, thrownness, being-in-the-world, fallenness, being-with, idle talk, disclosure, discoveredness, hermeneutic circle, ontic-ontology, Being of beings, being-in, pre-ontological, call of conscience, et cetera. This is not to discourage but to prepare for the huge undertaking that this book demands.
Personally I love this book. It is extremely hard and Americans in particular struggle with this German philosopher. Philosophy majors and even professional philosophers can find Heidegger to be extraordinarily difficult so be patient and reserve any judgment stemming from your frustration of the language. You will find many of Heidegger's books much easier than this one. I recommend George Stenier's book "Martin Heidegger" if you're new to him. Dreyfus' book Being-in-the-World is alright for terminology, but it is too epistemological and often misrepresents Heideggerian thinking. Skip over chapter 4 and the stuff on A.I. and "expert systems" et cetera. The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger is excellent for undergrad. philosophy students. Look at chapters 4-7 in particular and the Introductory section. Re-read these chapters several times for it all to sink in, or else you'll miss stuff.
If you're still interested in Being and Time at this point and recognize the historical significance of Heidegger, here are some introductory remarks on the book itself. The book is broken down into two Divisions. Division I is often referred to as the "hermeneutics of everydayness"; meaning that humans interpret their existence through the way the world is disclosed to them via their day-to-day lives. As Heidegger says on page 42: "What is ontically nearest and familiar (i.e. our day-to-day lives) is ontologically the farthest, unrecognized and constantly overlooked in its ontological (i.e. existential) significance." Thus in order to understand the abstract existential problems of Being, we must first realize our human being essentially is. Heidegger uses the German phrase Da-sein (German for "being-there) to signify human being, or more specifically, the possibility of understanding Being through the disclosure of the "There".
Division II is often referred to as the "hermeneutics of suspicion" because this is Heidegger's attempt to break out of our everydayness and explain primoridally the existential underlying constructs of Dasein. The road to this understanding passes through death, because death is the ultimate possibility for all Dasein, for we are essentially temporal. The temporality of our being-in-the-world forces us to realize the fundamental truths of our existence. It should be noted that Later Heidegger rejected Division II of his book. Sartre and the existentialist movement misreads Division II and it eventually forced Heidegger to abandon that half of the work. But unlike what Dreyfus thinks, I still see the importance and relevance of that Division. But readers may want to note that most contemporary Continentalists emphasize Division I a heck of a lot more than Division II.
Hopefully this was useful. Best of luck friends.
Rather than add my own semi-detailed interpretation of this work and its historical importance to this list [which would just further frustrate others, I am sure], I would just like to recommend to anyone approaching this book for the first time that they keep in mind the central inquiry that Heidegger is engaging in: the meaning of Being... and, as he explicitly states, this book is a preparation for further exploration, and not to be read as a completed "system" in itself. While the influence of Kierkegaard is obvious, relating this work to Dostoevsky (as another reviewer has) I think misses the point entirely. For all of the talk of "authenticity" and the "psychologizing" of this work that later commentators have engaged in, Heidegger is intersted in re-grounding all philosophical inquiry... not in explicating some mere existential-humanistic outlook. Whether he suceeds or not is, to say the least, debatable.
I would also recommend giving a _very_ close and thorough reading to his essay "What is Metaphysics" before approaching _Being and Time_.
A final note on this translation-- I had already wrestled with the previous translation from beginning to end before purchasing this one. This translation was more than worth the price of purchasing the book again. Stambaugh's translation is simply masterful.
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