Heidegger Circle Proceedings

Volume 44, 2010

Technology, Science, and Heidegger

Jussi Backman
Pages 179-193

The Singularity of Being and the Fourfold in the Later Heidegger

The paper studies the notion of the unique singularity (Einzigkeit, Einmaligkeit) of Being in Heidegger’s work, first and foremost in Contributions to Philosophy. I argue that whereas the Aristotelian metaphysical tradition regards Being as the most universal or “transcendental” notion that comprehends all instances of “to be,” Heidegger, by contrast, addresses Being in a “postmetaphysical” sense as the singularization of each meaningful situation into a unique configuration of a multidimensional meaning-context. I show that the theme of singularity was present in Heidegger’s thinking all the way from his 1915 dissertation on Duns Scotus and the notion of the singular instant (Augenblick) in Being and Time. Finally, I suggest an interpretation of the fourfold (Geviert) as Heidegger’s most developed articulation of the structure of this context-specific singularity of meaningfulness.