Volume 26, Issue 2, Autumn 2021
Only a God Can Save Us ("Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten")
Being-toward-death in the Anthropocene
On the possibility of contributing-toward-the-death-of-others
“No one can take the other’s dying away from him,” as Martin Heidegger famously claimed, but what he was significantly silent about was that beings, both human and non-human, can mutually contribute to each other’s death. By focusing on the interrelatedness of deaths, this paper presents a reversal of the Heideggerian perspective on the relation between Dasein’s mineness and “being-toward-death.” Drawing upon the structural meaning of death, which consists in the fact that no one can replace me in that I will die, I show that the phenomenon of contributing-toward-the-death-of-others individuates Dasein as well. This will allow us to reread the threat of the They in the context of the Anthropocene, elucidating the non-transferable character of my share in others’ death. Finally, the paper aims to deepen our understanding of the change in the character of death which has been brought about by technology in the Anthropocene.