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Heidegger Explained (book review) Graham Harman

From Phenomenon to Thing

051010: this one makes up for all the difficulty in reading heidegger. this one i think i understand. this focus on heidegger’s original question- on being and beings- shows how phenomenology bequeathed from husserl was just not up to the questions he had in mind. wonderfully extracts the core concerns of existence and things and dasein and reveals why he is considered so significant. I had read various other authors (sartre and merleau-ponty etc) but only now can I see why they refer back to him and being and time.

as Nathan "N.R." Jan 22, 2015 06:13AM,says:

'Ready-to-hand is the hammer building a house, swinging, nailing, hitting nails and thumbs. The skilled carpenter doesn't think much about the hammer but about this and this going there and here and up top over there. Present-at-hand is the hammer being weighed (23 oz.) measured (long-handled) preened over (plastic handle vs. wooden handle). Ready-to-hand it is part of a larger frame of relations oriented at some that-for-the-sake-of-which (a house for Dasein) while as present-at-hand it's fallen out of any such relation and is only there to be treated as a mere thing for measurement etc.

The two are not different things or concepts, but ways in which a thing (the famous hammer) presences itself or comes forward or appears -- as ready-to-hand the hammer appears as hammering while as present-at-hand it appears merely as a hammer. They are to manners of taking or interpreting a thing. Frequently, when we take a thing as ready-to-hand we don't even notice it or 'see' it, like we typically relate to our eyeglasses, looking through them as we use them rather than looking at them and considering them.

Dasein is neither ready-to-hand nor present-at-hand but has its own way of Being. If you take Dasein as ready-to-hand you are treating Dasein as a tool and not an end in itself ; if you take Dasein as present-at-hand you are treating it as a thing to be studied under a microscope (basically all the human sciences employing quantitative methods) ;; it's not so much that these two mis-takings of Dasein are unethical as that they miss the Being of Dasein.'

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