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Continental Philosophy

Martin Heidegger

Why do some people consider Martin Heidegger to be an existentialist?

In Being and Time (1927) Heidegger analyzed the human being or “Dasein,” which in German means “being-there.” Heidegger’s insight was that Dasein cannot be understood as a biological thing because its main objects of concern, which is a fundamental structure of what it is, are always somewhere other than where Dasein itself is. Although Dasein in its being is concerned for its own being (understood in the ordinary sense as “life”), its own being is caught up “in-the-world.” Furthermore, Dasein fails to understand its own being authentically, because in its ordinary existence it accepts the interpretation of its being that has already been constructed by “the they,” or the mass mind. The they is particularly mistaken about the nature of death.



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