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Phenomenology 2010

Volume 1, 2010

Selected Essays from Asia and Pacific

Wong Yiu-Hong
Pages 345-365
DOI: 10.7761/9789731997643_16

Temporality, Death and History: A Reflection after Heidegger

Temporality, death and history: a reflection after Heidegger. This paper aims to evaluate how Heidegger deals with the problem of time in Being and Time. The fundamental issue in that magnum opus is to explain the question of the meaning of Being under the horizon of time. But what kind of philosophical resource could make Heidegger be capable to resolve the problem in the most effective way? The phenomenological interpretation of time takes the first priority in consideration. Although in Being and Time Heidegger has literally made a very little reference to Husserl, the influence of Husserl is too obvious to be denied. Heidegger, however, finds Husserl’s elucidation of time has ever dissolved the dimension of time into the immanence sphere of subjectivity. By making the position of the subject in an all too mighty status, the phenomenon of time has not been rendered faithfully in a phenomenological sense, the motto “zu die Sache selbst”. And, Heidegger would regard Husserl’s working on time has not fully observed this highest norm. Bearing the problem in mind when starting to compose Being and Time, Heidegger has to find a new way to avoid the same “mistake” as his master, and the overall contribution of his great work could in turn be assessed under the same evaluative principle. Has Heidegger successfully saved up “time” from the over dominance of the subject? Has he re-disclosed time as objectively as time itself (die Sache selbst)? This paper focus especially on how Heidegger’s thinking of the past and the future moments in Being and Time. Then, we can see that, when comparing with two other phenomenologists’ treatments on the same issue, Gadamer and Levinas, Heidegger resolutions on “past” and “future’ obviously show their weakness. And, the promise of removing the dominance of the subject is doomed to failure. Moreover, the underlining structure of organizing Being and Time has not fully escaped the way of metaphysical thinking. In his later period, which is so called the “turning”, Heidegger attempts to break down the metaphysical thinking about “foundationalism”, behind this thinking is the presupposition of dichotomy between founding and founded. Judging from this perspective, Being and Time has found no way out of the labyrinth.