Heidegger (2007). The Concept of Time.

Heidegger, M. (2007). The Concept of Time. In T. Kisiel & T. Sheehan (Eds.), Becoming Heidegger: On the Trail of His Early Occasional Writings, 1910-1927 (pp. 196–213). Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press.

[NOTE “Heidegger argues that describing experience properly entails finding the being for whom such a description might matter. Heidegger thus conducts his description of experience with reference to ‘Dasein’, the being for whom Being is a question. In everyday German, ‘Dasein’ means ‘existence.’ It is composed of ‘Da’ (here/there) and ‘Sein’ (being). Dasein is transformed in Heidegger’s usage from its everyday meaning to refer, rather, to that being that is there in its world, that is, the being for whom being matters. In later publications Heidegger writes the term in hyphenated form as Da-sein, thus emphasizing the distance from the word’s ordinary usage.” (from Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Heidegger#Being,_time,_and_Dasein)]

[There is no time without events …]

“‘Time too is nothing. It exists only as a consequence of the events occurring in it. There is no absolute time, nor is there absolute simultaneity.’5” (p 201)

[Relationship of motion to time …]

“‘Since time itself is not movement, it must somehow have to do with movement.’7” (p 202)

[Clocks and time instruments are arbitrary …]

“The clock provides a constantly recurrent equal duration, a duration to which one can always refer. The division of this stretch of duration is arbitrary.” (p 202)

[Now is unique but not privileged …]

“And yet no now-point of time is privileged over any other. As a ‘now,’ it is the possible earlier of a later, and as a ‘later,’ it is the later of an earlier.” (p 202)

[How does one resolve self as time? …]

“This time now, as I look at my watch, what is this now? … What is the now? Is the [page break] now at my disposal? Am I the now? Is every other [person] the now? Then time would indeed be I myself, and every other [person] would be time.” (p 202-203)

[Time devices are external to time experience …]

“What relevance is there in the fact that human Da-sein has already provided itself with a clock before all pocket watches and sun dials?” (p 203)

[Characterization of “Da-sein” …]

“1. … Da-sein as being-in-the-world means: being in the world in such a way that this be-ing means: having to do with the world, sojourning within it in the routines of working, of managing and taking care of things, but also of examining, interrogating, and determining them by way of examination and comparison. Being-in-the-world is characterized as _concern_.

“2. As this being-in-the-world, Da-sein is simultaneously _being-with-one-another_; being with others: having the same world there with others, encountering one another, being with one another in the manner of being-for-one-another. Yet this Da-sein is at the same time a being present-at-hand for others, just as a stone is there without a world or a concern for it.

“3. Being with one another in the world, having this world as being with one another, is defined by a distinctive determination of be-ing. The fundamental way of the Da-sein of the world, having it there with one another, is _speaking_. Fully considered, speaking is: oneself speaking _out_ in speaking _with_ another _about_ something. … How Da-sein in its world speaks about its way of having to do with its world already includes a _self-interpretation of Da-sein_. It expresses how Da-sein understands itself in each instantiation for the time being [_jeweilig_], how it takes itself to be.

“4. Da-sein is an entity that defines itself as ‘I am.’ _Each particular while_ [_Jeweiligkeit_] of the ‘I am’ is constitutive for each Da-sein. Just as primarily as it is being-in-the-world, Dasein is therefore also _my_ Da-sein. It is _in each [page break] instantiation its own and, as its own while, each its own time_. …

“5. In so far as Da-sein is an entity that I am, and is simultaneously determined as being-with-one-another, I for the most part and on average am not myself my Da-sein, rather I am the others; I am with the others, and the others are likewise with the others. …

“6. The entity thus characterized is one to whom _its be-ing matters_ in its everyday being-in-the-world in its particular while. … I myself am to a certain extent that with which I have to do, that with which I occupy myself …

“7. The averageness of everyday Da-sein does not imply a reflection [_Reflexion_] upon the ego or the self, and nevertheless Da-sein has itself. …

“8. Da-sein cannot be proven as an entity, it cannot even be pointed out. The primary relation to Da-sein is not that of seeing but of ‘being it.'” (p 204-205)

[Existence is ongoing …]

“I am always still under way with my Da-sein. It is still always something that is not yet finished, at an end. In the end, if it has really gone that far, it is no more.” (p 206)

[Resolving time and existence …]

“What does this have to do with our question, ‘What is time?’ and especially with the initial question, ‘What is Da-sein in time?'” (p 207)

[Anticipation of the future, a preoccupation in the now …]

“_This forerunning is_ nothing other than _the proper and singular future of one’s own Da-sein_. In forerunning Da-sein _is_ its future, in such a way that in this being futural it comes back to its past and present. Da-sein, conceived in its most extreme possibility of be-ing, _is time itself_, not _in_ time. Being futural characterized in this way, as the proper how of being temporal, is Da-sein’s way of be-ing, in which and out of which it gives itself its time.” (p 208)

[Shared existence …]

“In everydayness Da-sein is not the be-ing that _I_ am [in each proper instantiation], the everydayness of Da-sein is rather that be-ing that _everyone_ is [the generic common ‘all’]. … The clock that _everyone_ has, every clock, shows the time of being-with-one-another-in-the-world.” (p 210)

[Identifying time as a series of ‘nows’ …]

“If one tries to derive what time is from the time of nature, then the νῠν [now] is the μέτρον [measure] of the past and future. Then time is already interpreted as the present, the past is interpreted as the no-longer-present, the future as the indeterminate not-yet-present: the past is irretrievable, the future indeterminate.” (p 210)

[Measure and sequence is arbitrary …]

“In the series of numbers, for example, the 3 is before the 4, the 8 after the 7. Yet the 3 is not earlier than the 4 on this account. Numbers are not earlier or later, because they are not in time at all. Earlier and later are a quite determinate before and afterwards. Once time has been defined as clock time then there is no hope of ever arriving at its original meaning.” (p 211)

[Time as a process of coming into being/existence …]

“In being futural Da-sein is [page break] its past; it comes back to it in the how. The manner [how] of coming back to it is, among other things, conscience. Only the how is repeatable.” (p 211-212)

[Time is its own passing …]

“In summing up, we can now say: time is Da-sein. Da-sein is my particular while, and this instantiation can be this whileness of being futural by forerunning to the certain yet indeterminate being gone.” (p 212)

[We come into being through time …]

“If time is thus understood as Da-sein, then for the first time the meaning of the traditional assertion about time becomes clear: time is the proper _principium individuationis_ [principle of individuation].” (p 212)

[Time as a process …]

“Time is the how. When we inquire into what time is, we should not prematurely latch onto an answer (time is such and such), which always implies a what.” (p 213)

Selected Notes

  • 5. Heidegger’s condensed formulation. Compare here Albert Einstein, “Die Grundlage der allgeme inen Relativitätstheorie,” Annalen der Physik 49 (1916). See also Einstein, Über die spezielle und allgemeine Relativitätstheorie, 7th ed. (Brunswick: Vieweg, 1920), 90ff. and 95ff. See finally Einstein, Vier Vorlesungen über Relativitätstheorie (Brunswick: Vieweg, 1922), 2.
  • 6. See Aristotle, Physics, IV.11.219a ff.
  • 7. Ibid., IV.11.219a9-10.
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