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Freedom and the “choice to choose oneself” in being and time

Han-Pile, B (2009) 'Freedom and the “choice to choose oneself” in being and time.' In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger's Being and Time. UNSPECIFIED, 291 - 319. ISBN 9780521895958

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What Heidegger means by “freedom” in Being and Time is somewhat mysterious: while the notion crops up repeatedly in the book, there is no dedicated section or study, and the concept is repeatedly connected to a new and opaque idea – that of the “choice to choose oneself.” Yet the specificity of Being and Time’s approach to freedom becomes apparent when the book is compared to other texts of the same period, in particular The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, The Essence of Grounds, and The Essence of Freedom. Although there are some differences, the definition of freedom that can be found there identifies it with “existence” or “transcendence,” Dasein’s ek-static opening onto the world. Thus “being in the world must also be primordially bound up with or derived from the basic feature of Dasein’s existence, freedom… Dasein’s transcendence and freedom are identical! Freedom provides itself with intrinsic possibility: a being is, as free, necessarily in itself transcending” (GA 26: 238; Heidegger’s italics). Note the apodictic modality of the claim: it is not simply the case that Dasein, as transcending, is free. Anything that has the structure of being in the world must be free: freedom is co-extensive with Dasein. Yet Dasein is often pictured in Being and Time as anything but free: it “ensnares itself” (268), is “lost” (264), “alienated” (178), and needs to be “liberated” (264, 303). Thus comparison between Being and Time and other texts on freedom yields an important paradox: although by definition it transcends toward the world, the Dasein of Division I is deprived of freedom. It must be free, and yet phenomenological analysis shows that it is not free. To understand the specific meaning of freedom in Being and Time, one has to square this circle.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 09 May 2013 12:43
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 11:15

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