Monday, May 26, 2014

Reading Heidegger - a simple guide to being and time

The work of Heidegger occurs regularly in the literature I work with. Some years ago, I have worked my way through two of his books. The books were hard work, something I attributed firstly to reading Heidegger’s work via translations from German to English and secondly, to my patchy conceptualisation of philosophical thought and my unfamiliarity with the presentation of philosophical writing. I am not the only one who finds Heidegger difficult to relate to or get into.

Heidegger’s books are part of this year’s on-going ‘catch up’ reading on things philosophical and neurobiological. I put off re-encountering Heidegger’s work until after I had attained a better grip on mind / body philosophical issues as a way of becoming more attuned to how philosopher’s write.
So, when I came across this book for the kindle, I downloaded to have a look through to see if it would help make the work of Heidegger more accessible. A simple guide to being and time (2012) is one of a series of books by NZer Steven Foulds. 

The concepts used by Heidegger – being, disclosedness, there-being, existential are introduced in the getting started chapter, setting up the scaffold to proceed with a lay person’s version of Being and Time. Then there is an overview of the there-being concepts.

The following chapters explain concepts of being in the world, being a whole and temporality. Appendices are included to further unpack occidental ontology, Edmund Husserl, Heidegger and the Nazis and Heidegger’s methods. A glossary of Heidegger’s terms used in the guide completes the book.

Overall, I found it useful to read the guide as it clarified many of the confusions I found through reading Heidegger ‘raw’. Now, I am better prepared to re-read ‘Being and Time’ and then attempt another of Heideggers’ work without recourse to a guide. Will report back on whether this strategy works!

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