For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Being and Time

by Heidegger, Martin (1962)

Key Passage

The structure of the Being of what is ready-to-hand as equipment is determined by references or assignments. In a peculiar and obvious manner, the 'Things' which are closest to us are 'in themselves' ["Ansich"]; and they are encountered. as 'in themselves' in the concern which makes use of them without noticing them explicitly-the concern which can come up against something upusable. When equipment cannot be used, this implies that the constitutive assignment of the "in-order-to" to a "towards-this" has been disturbed. The assignments themselves are not observed ; they are rather 'there' when we concernfully submit ourselves to them [Sichstellen unter sie] . But when an assignment has been disturbed-when something is unusable for some purpose-then the assignment becomes explicit. Even now, of course, it has not become explicit as an ontological structure; but it has become explicit ontically for the circumspection which comes up against the damaging of the tool. When an assignment to some particular "towards-this" has been thus circumspectively aroused, we catch sight of the "towards-this" itself,  and along with it everything connected with the work-the whole 'workshop'- as that wherein concern always dwells. The context of equipment is lit up, not as something never seen before, but as a totality constantly sighted beforehand in circumspection. With this totality, however, the world announces itself. (p.105)


Heidegger, Skills, Meaning, Twentieth Century, Dasein, Being, Phenomenology


Being and Time [1927], Heidegger Citations



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