Being and Time by Martin Heidegger

Being and Time

One of the most important philosophical works of our time, a work that has had tremendous influence on philosophy, literature, and psychology, and has literally changed the intellectual map of the modern world....

Title:Being and Time
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0060638508
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:589 pages

Being and Time Reviews

  • James
    Oct 18, 2008

    This book will change your life...if you can understand it. Heidegger is a brilliant man who sees the world in a way that is very different, yet very familiar at the same time. This work laid the foundation for a lot of modern philosophy. If you aren't familiar already with the concept of "being-in-the-world", then it's suggested you take a class on Heidegger, or read a beginning or companion guide. You know how sometimes when you're driving a car, you forget that you're driving, and think to yo

    This book will change your life...if you can understand it. Heidegger is a brilliant man who sees the world in a way that is very different, yet very familiar at the same time. This work laid the foundation for a lot of modern philosophy. If you aren't familiar already with the concept of "being-in-the-world", then it's suggested you take a class on Heidegger, or read a beginning or companion guide. You know how sometimes when you're driving a car, you forget that you're driving, and think to yourself, how did I end up here? If you want to know why that might be, check out Heidegger.

  • Sarah
    Apr 15, 2011

    Is it unreadable? Yes. Were the 17 words I did understand enough to blow my mind and change my life and understanding of philosophy and being? Yep.

  • Arjun Ravichandran
    Aug 30, 2012

    The most important philosophical work of the 20th century, and a text whose influence will still be felt for some centuries to come, I am willing to reckon. Even if you are one of the many detractors, the fact remains that it is simply an outstanding monument to man's ability to think deeply, freshly, terrifyingly, and poetically about himself.

    Heidegger's main focus is on Being ; what does it MEAN to be? This is of course an old question, stemming from the days of Aristotle, but Heidegger is fo

    The most important philosophical work of the 20th century, and a text whose influence will still be felt for some centuries to come, I am willing to reckon. Even if you are one of the many detractors, the fact remains that it is simply an outstanding monument to man's ability to think deeply, freshly, terrifyingly, and poetically about himself.

    Heidegger's main focus is on Being ; what does it MEAN to be? This is of course an old question, stemming from the days of Aristotle, but Heidegger is foremost a phenomenologist (i.e. 'To the phenomena themselves') and therefore refuses any recourse to anything that is outside the scope of what is immediately apparent in the one thing that human beings often overlook, that is to say, human existence itself. This means that the scope of ambition of Heidegger's project is staggering ; he intends to determine WHAT a human being IS, by HOW it is ; and this means that he not only takes on a nearly 2000-year-old philosophical tradition, but also a nearly 2000-year-old deeply embedded conception of what a human being is (and by extension, what a human being should be). It is a provocative assault, which may account for the polarizing reactions that Heidegger seems to evoke. But this also means that Being and Time is a primordially 'humane' book, for it was Heidegger who truly brought the existentialist consciousness to the fore of our developing consciousness as a species. Make no mistake, this is still hard-core philosophy, but it is a book about the many banalities of the average human life, and thus, about the many hidden profundities of the average human life. Appreciate Heidegger's phenomenal (see what I did there) insight into the human condition, and you will never look at life, time, the world, concern, other people, a hammer, language, reality, and death in the same way again.

    Now for the mandatory words of warning. This book is DIFFICULT. But it is difficult in the way the ending stages of a hard-fought chess game is difficult ; Being and Time' may be difficult, but it is NOT 'boring'. Stick with it, make the effort, and you will not be disappointed. You may even (as happened to me) slowly neglect the other distractions of your life and set aside a solid block of time to tackle the text (for me, 3 months), and not even be aware of anything like a sacrifice being made. You just feel like you've decided to venture a few steps deeper into the rabbit hole, is all. And with regards to the language, I actually love the language in 'Being and Time', leave alone finding it something to rail against. It has a kind of an austere beauty to it, a kind of 'mathematical poetry' if you will. For those who complain that Heidegger could have said what he wanted to say in 'easier' language, the answer is that, NO he could not have. Since his project was a radical rethinking of the nature of human existence, he needed a radically new vocabulary to describe the stages of his project. The usual words like 'soul', 'consciousness', and even 'human being' are too embedded in the tradition he is attacking, and have too much baggage. Once you appreciate this, and read the text with 'fresh eyes', then you appreciate the hidden intricacies of his language, as well as to the depths he takes these new terms too.

    And finally, this is most definitely not a book that a casual reader can 'dip into' ; this is hardcore philosophy that was meant to overthrow another philosophical tradition. So, these would (in my opinion) be the absolute prerequisites before any reader wishes to pursue 'Being and Time' ;

    1)A general knowledge of philosophy and the history of philosophy, and at least a surface-level knowledge of what the major philosophers of the Western tradition had to say about life, the universe and everything. This is important, because this tradition represents 'substance metaphysics' or 'the metaphysics of presence' which Heidegger attacks throughout the entire text ; (these terms simply mean the positing of some kind of unit of 'stable timelessness' that 'stands behind' or 'hangs over' human existence, be it the 'soul', 'consciousness', 'God', 'Atman', 'Will', 'Forms' or what have you). A good introductory book on philosophy should do the trick, and in my knowledge, Will Durant's 'The Story of Philosophy' is still the best way to go, though of course, any equivalent book which goes over the main 'theme' of Western philosophy should do the trick

    2)An intuitive understanding of Nietzsche. His influence is present throughout the text of 'Being and Time', because he is the 'bad boy' cousin of Heidegger's who sounded the death knell of traditional philosophy ; a project which Heidegger systematizes, enhances, and pursues. Since Nietzsche is primarily a poet and a cultural critic rather than an actual philosopher (in addition to being a superb writer) a quick crash course of reading his main works (The Gay Science, Beyond Good and Evil, Twilight of the Idols, and if you can stomach the overblown prose, Zarathustra) would do you good here.

    3)A good guide to Being and Time ; predictably, for a work of such complexity and importance, several guides have sprung up of varying quality. The one I used was Gelvin's 'Commentary' which is clear, friendly, excited, and straightforward. Everything that you need.

    4)A surface understanding of phenomenology ; a Wikipedia search should do the trick, or any such introductory article. If you're seriously gung-ho then 'An Introduction to Phenomenology' by Sokolowski will ground you more than you strictly need to be grounded.

    And that's it, you're ready to go. This is not a book that you can read once, and I wonder if 'read' is even an appropriate word. For the same reason that you do not 'read' Finnegans Wake, but 'experience' it as if it wasn't a book but a sentient entity which would get insulted if you labelled it as a book, I think the same would go for 'Being and Time'. It is a profound exploration of the most primordial questions a man can ask about anything, and as such, it demands a steady commitment of your time, energy, your curiosity, and the latent profundities that lie within you and which will be awakened as you thumb through the master piece that is 'Being and Time'.

  • me
    Sep 05, 2012

    I would rate this as the number one philosophical book written in the 1900's. I wish I had read it in my twenties. Given, it is at times frustrating to read, however it is also addicting at the same time. This is one of the books I will keep with me for life.

  • Alexandru Jr.
    Jul 08, 2013

    done.

    it was like losing my philosophical virginity :)

    and it feels like everything i have read until now was a preparation for this. including my "dipping" in it for seven years or so. and i'm glad i read (and discussed) augustine's confessions with a wonderful group of people, during a course - otherwise i would have understood nothing at all from the part about temporality.

    the dynamic of the book is very musical, it seemed to me. drone-like. as if the loooong sounds are repeated and repeated ag

    done.

    it was like losing my philosophical virginity :)

    and it feels like everything i have read until now was a preparation for this. including my "dipping" in it for seven years or so. and i'm glad i read (and discussed) augustine's confessions with a wonderful group of people, during a course - otherwise i would have understood nothing at all from the part about temporality.

    the dynamic of the book is very musical, it seemed to me. drone-like. as if the loooong sounds are repeated and repeated again, creating a texture which changes your "mood" - your "attunement" - making you able to see how a new "ground" is disclosed.

    of course i can't say anything coherent about it. and i don't think anything coherent needs to be said in this review.

    there's no substitute for reading it - if you want to understand where contemporary philosophy is coming from.

  • Kristina
    Jan 30, 2014

    This I will re-read, and re-read, and re-read, until I get all the chapters. This book actually blew me away and made me think differently about a lot.

    My philosophy teacher told us to fall in love with the philosopher we're studying , like he had with Heidegger, and so I did too (completely ignoring the fact he was a nazi).

    I will return to this very soon.

  • Pooja Kashyap
    Mar 04, 2015

    Being and Time by Martin Heidegger is an ocean of infinite gems. It is one of those books, which require re-reading only to discern new motifs surfacing up every time. No single review can fully justify the thoughts running throughout the book. I did try jotting down few thoughts but am sure I still have missed some of them, which I might add later after reading it the second time.

    Coming straight to book, ‘Being’ does not means presence, rather being is time and likewise never really shows its p

    Being and Time by Martin Heidegger is an ocean of infinite gems. It is one of those books, which require re-reading only to discern new motifs surfacing up every time. No single review can fully justify the thoughts running throughout the book. I did try jotting down few thoughts but am sure I still have missed some of them, which I might add later after reading it the second time.

    Coming straight to book, ‘Being’ does not means presence, rather being is time and likewise never really shows its presence. A being is more than what it actually looks like, its limitation is more than its physical dimension. By defining any object or being as per its usefulness or appearance or even concept is to exaggerate a particular character to give it a grotesque effect. Since, there is always more to what one perceives. Defining never captures the essence of being.

    Even if we stare a thing, we do not see its complete picture, the wholeness is always missing. There is some part of the object, which is always hidden; Heidegger uses the term “withdrawal” to this phenomenon.

    Heidegger’s concept of time too is not limited to watch or calendar rather it is a kind of temporality that can be experienced in any single moment.

    For instance, we use our tools without explicitly noticing them, like hammer. Our radar of focus is the thing we are building than tools or hammer we are using. Even if it (the hammer) breaks, it will remain more than what we are seeing, a broken tool. This implies, the being of hammer is always absent, even if it works underneath the entire building operation. However, the hammer or the things around us, be it trees, candles, table or books are not always absent. Had they been in the state of absence, there would have been no relation between these objects and us.

    A book for me is a voyage, a learning expedition but the same book for a baby is nothing more than a rectangular thing with pages to fiddle about, thus, the person who encounters an object determines its presence, which again is not the object’s complete picture.

    Joining the two pieces of the mentioned thought processes together create the two sides of a story. First is, the part of an object that is hidden, to which Heidegger calls “past” and the second, characteristics that make thing present, word used for this is “future”. By combining these two entities, a new form of “present” is born, which is torn between being of things and the physical dimension that is perceived by us. The world is continuously moving back and forth between these two entities; Heidegger has called this endless tossing as “time”.

    It is with this audacious thought, Heidegger questions the credibility of history of philosophy that till then have limited the objects to their mere presence, thus ignoring the other side, which as per him, completes the entire reality. Modern technology too has reduced the objects merely to their presence by focusing only on the utility functions.

    According to Heidegger, concept of time is only relevant to beings and not to any inanimate objects. As indicated by his theory, humans are the only entities that exist in the world, rest of the objects do not have access of the surrounding world. Dasein is the German term that has not been translated, which signifies ‘human existence’ or the ‘state of being’ in his entire work. The term cannot be replaced with ‘human being’ since the word is already saturated with lots of conventional theories and prejudices. For instance, human beings are considered higher mammals with rational abilities, creatures that build up structures with the help of tools, advanced African Apes, curious beings that play around with technologies or mortal bodies encasing immortal souls. Heidegger wanted to minus these theories completely, so he created Dasein, which can only be looked with a single beam of philosophical light and character of which is only temporality.

    Objects like tree, stone, table can have a present-at-hand single physical view but human beings like coin have two-dimensional interplay and this interplay is termed as ‘time’.

    This thought process of Heidegger’s echoes Critique of Pure Reason, the famous 18th century work by Immanuel Kant. As stated by Kant in "first critique," philosophically, discussing things as they are have no bottom line. Limitations of humans with respect to their experiences are one of the major hurdles in defining the actuality. It is beyond the understanding of humans to comprehend something to its completeness. For example, humans cannot comprehend whether space and time can exist independent with respect to themselves (humans). However, they can assert that both are necessary for human survival. It is next to impossible for humans to decipher as to what or how it is to feel outside human experience. The dimension is still unexplored and unfathomable for human beings.

    Thus, Heidegger in B&T refers to the interplay between the actuality of things that is of course hidden on one hand while the oversimplified shimmering appearance of objects on the other.

    His ideas are simple but the Heideggerian terminologies make this work slightly difficult to read. Still the book has its own charm. Writing a thorough review would mean, submitting a thesis on B&T. As mentioned at the beginning, I’m gonna sit again to read the book and this time, and sure more ideas would surface to add to my existing review.

  • Gary
    Jul 30, 2015

    This is the best book I have ever read. I had no problem with the translator, Joan Staumbaugh seemed to have done a very good job. I couldn't imagine reading this book in German even if I spoke fluent German because the way Heidegger appropriates words. This edition provides Heidegger's added footnotes and the edition provides a much needed and used by me Lexicon for the Latin and Greek phrases.

    I had no idea what "Being and Time" was going to be about before I read it. Every synopsis that I had

    This is the best book I have ever read. I had no problem with the translator, Joan Staumbaugh seemed to have done a very good job. I couldn't imagine reading this book in German even if I spoke fluent German because the way Heidegger appropriates words. This edition provides Heidegger's added footnotes and the edition provides a much needed and used by me Lexicon for the Latin and Greek phrases.

    I had no idea what "Being and Time" was going to be about before I read it. Every synopsis that I had ever come across through my Great Course lectures, history of philosophy books and youtube videos were completely off the mark.

    The book was a template on how I've approached my life up until now and I didn't realize that somebody else thought as similarly (but in formal philosophical structures) as I do about the nature of the human experience. (There is an incredibly nuanced presentation of the nature of science that runs through out the book that predates Thomas Kuhn's "The Structures of Scientific Revolutions" but follows it substantially. We are thrown in to the world and must cope by our structure of care (and care is not what you think it means).

    Have no doubt about it this book reads difficulty. I would recommend skipping the introduction and read it after you've read the book. The book reads a lot like Finnegans Wake, but just realize that as in the Wake each sentence and paragraph has a reason for being placed in the book.

    I would strongly recommend listening to the Hubert Dreyfus 2007 course on the book given at University of California (Berkeley) freely available from Itunes before you start reading this book. If I had not, I would not have been able to finish the book.

    I make it a rule that after I have read a book I sell it back to the greatest used bookstore in the known universe, Coas in Las Cruces, NM. This book is the exception. I'll keep a copy for future re readings.


Top Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.