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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 13, 2018

Existential Philosophy

Maximilian Gregor Hepach
Pages 23-27

Dasein as an Answer from Nothingness

In Being and Time Heidegger analyses the structure of Dasein, making transparent how and what we are in the world. Yet Heidegger’s writing becomes increasingly vague the closer he comes to describing what Dasein actually is. It seems the possibility of authentic Being grounds in the state-of-mind of anxiety, confronting us with a meaningless world and making Dasein transparent to itself. In three grammatically ambiguous sentences Heidegger explains that we experience nothingness, yet not ‘total’ nothingness, in moments of anxiety. This short passage seems of utmost importance to me. I argue that only in experiencing nothingness are we able to lead an authentic and self-owned life, independent of interpretations of others. From this insight I turn to Bernhard Waldenfels’ work Phenomenology of the Alien, my idea being that experiencing nothingness is an alien experience par excellence. Waldenfels analyses how we answer to alien expiereinces, and what type of answers we can give. My thesis is that the possibitly of authentic Being lies in an answer from nothingness, which does not just repeat what has already been said but must give new answers.

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