For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Being-in-the-world: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I

by Dreyfus, Hubert L (1991)


Being-in-the-World is a guide to one of the most influential philosophical works ofthis century: Division I of Part One of Being and Time, where Martin Heidegger works out an originaland powerful account of being-in-the-world which he then uses to ground a profound critique oftraditional ontology and epistemology. Hubert Dreyfus's commentary opens the way for a newappreciation of this difficult philosopher, revealing a rigorous and illuminating vocabulary that isindispensable for talking about the phenomenon of world.The publication of Being and Time in 1927turned the academic world on its head. Since then it has become a touchstone for philosophers asdiverse as Marcuse, Sartre, Foucault, and Derrida who seek an alternative to the rationalist Cartesian tradition of western philosophy. But Heidegger's text is notoriously dense, and hislanguage seems to consist of unnecessarily barbaric neologisms; to the neophyte and even to thoseschooled in Heidegger thought, the result is often incomprehensible.Dreyfus's approach to thisdaunting book is straightforward and pragmatic. He explains the text by frequent examples drawn fromeveryday life, and he skillfully relates Heidegger's ideas to the questions about being and mindthat have preoccupied a generation of cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind.Hubert L.Dreyfus is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Key Passage

In laying out world, Heidegger seems to shift without explanation from speaking of the workshop, to the referential whole (Verweisungsganzheit), to the equipmental whole (Zeugganzes), to the involvement whole (Bewandtnisganzheit), to the phenomenon of world, to worldliness. The equipmental whole, I take it, describes the interrelated equipment; the referential whole its interrelations; and the involvement whole adds human purposiveness. The workshop is a specific example of all these wholes; the phenomenon of world is the special way the world manifests itself; and worldliness is the way of being of the world and of all its subworlds. (p.97)


Heidegger, Skill, Technology, Space, Dasein



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