Some Terminology in Being and Time

By Prof. W. Blattner

Appearance: something that does not show itself, but which announces itself by means of something else that does show itself. (E.g., a disease appears by means of a symptom.)

Average everydayness: the typical, common, or normal way in which Dasein is. How Dasein is "proximally and for the most part" (or "primarily and usually").

Being-alongside: Dasein's distinctive relation with non-human entities within-the-world.

Being-in: Dasein's distinctive way of being in the world. It is not spatial inclusion (being in), but rather, inhabitation, residence, dwelling.

Being-with: Dasein's relationship with Others (other Daseins, if we may say that).

Categorial: of or pertaining to the being of entities unlike Dasein.

Circumspection: the sight of dealings, that is, the form of intelligence that guides our pretheoretical, prereflective, and mostly precognitive coping with paraphernalia and tasks.

Concern: the mode of care that Dasein has about paraphernalia and the tasks in which paraphernalia is involved. We are concerned with the hammer and the job of hammering, but solicitous toward Others.

Considerateness: the sight of being-with, that is, the form of intelligence that guides our coping with Others. (You should studiously avoid all of the moral overtones of the word in its ordinary usage. He just chooses a word in German that is connected with our dealing with others and that embeds, in German, the word "sight:" Rücksicht, or back-sight, which means considerateness in ordinary German.)

Conspicuousness: the mode of equipmental breakdown in which equipment malfunctions.

Dasein-with: the Others, the other Daseins to whom we are related by being-with.

Dealings: Dasein's everyday business in the world. Proximally and for the most part, Dasein is pursuing dealings in the world and with paraphernalia.

Disclose: to unveil or make manifest either Dasein or being. Contrasts with discover.

Discover: to uncover, unveil, or make manifest a non-human entity. Contrasts with disclose.

Distantiality: Dasein's innate tendency to be concerned with, and to be disturbed by, deviation from social norms (the behavioral prescriptions of the one).

Environment: The subworld that is in each case "closest to" or "primary for" Dasein. It is Dasein's local subworld.

Equipment: the entities that are "closest" to (or primary for) Dasein in its average everydayness. I usually refer to equipment as "paraphernalia" (following John Haugeland), because the latter term better describes the full range of entities that fall into this category. Anything that is defined by its involvement in human tasks and practices is "equipment" or paraphernalia, perhaps even art and romantic sunsets. (This last example at least makes clear that not all paraphernalia is artificial; raw materials, according to ch. 3 of div. one are paraphernalia. Romantic sunsets are defined by their role in human life, in contrast to, say, dusk defined astronomically.) Readiness-to-hand is the being of paraphernalia, and for that reason MH often refers to paraphernalia as "the ready-to-hand."

Existence: the being of Dasein.

Existential: of or pertaining to the being of Dasein. Contrasts with categorial.

Existentiale: an essential feature of Dasein, i.e., an element of the being of Dasein. (Contrasts with categories, which are essential features of non-human entities.)

Existentialia: the plural form of "existentiale."

Existentiell: of or pertaining to Dasein as an entity, in contrast with the being of Dasein. (It is an existential feature of Dasein that it understands, but an existentiell feature of Jones that she understands herself as a baseketball player, say.)

Facticity: The determinateness or "factuality" of Dasein. MH reserves the term "factuality" for the determinateness of entities unlike Dasein.

Fore-conception: the set of concepts that articulate the as-which of interpretation and link it up with other, related as-whiches.

Fore-having: what one has in advance, whenever one sets out concretely to interpret something. It is the background understanding that provides the context in terms of which one approaches the thing to be interpreted.

Fore-sight: the guiding "angle of approach" in terms of which one approaches what is to be interpreted. I think, though MH does not make this so clear, that the fore-sight is the sight that brings the "as" into focus: when one interprets this a hammer, one aims one's fore-sight at the cultural role, hammer.

Fore-structure: the structure of fore-having, fore-sight, and fore-conception.

For-the-sake-of-which: That as which Dasein understands itself, that is, the self-understanding, or existential possibility (two terms trying to name the same thing) for the sake of which Dasein acts. A for-the-sake-of-which is not a goal, some definite project that Dasein can complete, but rather something deeper and less well-defined, such as being a student, being a mother, being the black sheep in the family. The distinction becomes really important in division two.

In-order-to: sometimes MH uses this term to name the general relation between paraphernalia and what it is involved in, but I think the term best suits the relation between equipment and its tasks. "In-order-to" suggests functionality, and therefore, does not well suit non-functional paraphernalia, perhaps such as art, or a romantic sunset. The latter, nonetheless, are probably paraphernalia.

Interpretation: The way of in which understanding develops so as to cope with breakdown or felt difficulty. Interpretation explicitly takes things as being things of such and such a sort. E.g., when the hammer breaks, you stop and look at it and take it explicitly as a hammer.

Involvement: the relation of something ready-to-hand to its defining role in human life.

Leveling down: The result of subjection, in which behavior is "averaged out," normalized. Leveling down is a "postivie" or existential feature of Dasein, in that it makes mutually intelligibility possible (think of what it would be like, if we didn't speak English the same way: we wouldn't be able to understand one another; in fact, there'd be no English as such). But leveling down, in so far as it trends over from instituting conformity into causing conformism, levels life down in the same that it "dumbs it down," makes everything the same, and closes off innovation and eccentricity. In this way, positive, existential leveling down becomes a negative, authentic phenomenon.

Meaning: that in terms of which one understands entities. That upon which one projects entities in understanding them. That as which one casts entities in understanding them. Note that MH uses a different term, "signification," to name linguistic meanings. "So, what is the relation between meaning and signification?" Good question!

Mood: An affective condition. According to MH, it is distinctive of "moods" that they attune Dasein to what matters and how it matters. E.g., being in a silly moods attunes you to the laughable dimension of things. Something that might show up as aggravating, when you're angry, shows up as comical, when you're feeling silly. Note that "mood" is too narrow, since it is meant to cover all of Dasein's affective states (emotions, passions, and even, I think, important aspect of character traits and sensibilities). I prefer "attunement" as a translation.

Mineness: the existential feature of Dasein that it is "in case mine." What exactly this amounts to is unclear, but I am inclined (this month) to understand it to mean that Dasein is always a person.

Obstinacy: the mode of equipmental breakdown in which something acts as an obstacle.

Obtrusiveness: the mode of equipmental breakdown in which something is missing. Officially, if one piece of equipment, say, chalk, is missing, its "co-equipment," say, the chalk board, is obtrusive.

One: Dasein's average everyday style selfhood, which is anonymous and public. The one is everyone and no one in particular -- not a community, for example -- because it is a mode or style of selfhood, not a particular self or collective self or anything along those lines.

One-self: the self in the mode of the one, that is, the self in its average everyday manner of being.

Ontical: of or pertaining to entities.

Ontological: of or pertaining to being.

Ontology: a conceptually developed account of what it is to be.

General ontology: an account of what it is to be (period!).

Regional ontology: an account of what is to be some general sort of entity. The three most general regions of being described in B&T are the present-at-hand, the ready-to-hand, and Dasein (the existent). It may be (it's not clear in B&T), moreover, it is philosophy's business also to offer ontologies of what we might call various "subregions" of the present-at-hand, such as the material, the mathematical (e.g., an ontology of numbers), life, etc.

Others: another, more suggestive, name for Dasein-with. Note that MH says that in our average everyday existence we mostly do not distinguish ourselves from the Others, but rather, belong to them.

Phenomenon: something that shows itself, something manifest.

For more on phenomena, semblance, and appearance, see my notes on sect. 7 of B&T.

Pre-ontology: our implicit understanding of being. Whereas an ontology is explicitly developed, in a theoretical, philosophical account, a pre-ontology is merely implicit in the way in which we relate to entites.

Presence-at-hand: the being of non-human entities that are not defined by their involvement in human tasks and practices. Presumably, quarks and leptons, volcanoes, and numbers are present-at-hand. More controverisally, living things (not pets as pets, which might well be paraphernalia). Far more controversially, the human body, as an object of physiology or physics, might also be merely present-at-hand.

Projection: Officially, the structure of understanding. I think it best to place projection thus: projection is to understanding as mood is to affectivity. To understand something concretely is to project it. To project something is to relate to it in terms of some "meaning ," which MH calls the "upon-which of projection." We understand ourselves in terms of the possibilities of human life made available by our culture. We understand paraphernalia in terms of its cultural roles. And we understand the present-at-hand in terms of a system of concepts sketched out by our disengaged reflection on them.

Publicness: the result of distantiality, subjection, and leveling down: social practices in which a background, anonymous conformity makes intelligibility possible, constitutes the public sphere, the social world in terms of which we understand ourselves, Others, and paraphernalia.

Readiness-to-hand: the being of the ready-to-hand, that is, of paraphernalia.

Self: who is in-the-world (according to me: MH officially says that the one is who is in-the-world in an average everyday way, but it sounds better to my ear to say that the self is in-the-world, and that self is either an average everyday self -- the one-self -- or occasionally, an authentic self).

Semblance: is something that shows itself as what it is not, in disguise. (E.g., Cindy goes to the party dressed as Carol.)

For more on phenomena, semblance, and appearance, see my notes on sect. 7 of B&T.

Sight: The intelligence that guides understanding. Since understanding is in general ability, MH's basic point here is that ability involves a kind of intelligence. We should not associate intelligence only with the stunts performed by intellectuals, but extend it to cover the reasonableness (including the average everyday reasonableness that is common-sense) of ordinary skills, such as driving a car and opening a door, and any other facet of human life in which we would say that Dasein is competent or able.

Significance: The relational whole of "signifying" relations. Signifying relations are the relations that bind together the many different sorts of entity that show up or make sense in terms of the world. Paraphernalia makes sense in terms of its role in human life; those roles make sense in terms of further roles; and all these items ultimately make sense in terms of the human possibilities for the sake of which Dasein acts. Thus, paraphernalia, cultural roles, and for-the-sakes-of-which are all bound together by a set of relations that makes up the structure of the world. That relational system is significance. The difference between significance and the world as such is an eggregiously philosophical one: the world is a set of entities (paraphernalia, tasks, roles, for-the-sakes-of-which) bound together by a set of relations. The relations (abstracted from the entities) make up significance. Thus, significance is the "webbing" that holds the web of the world together. It is the internal structure of the world. It is the worldhood of the world.

Solicitude: The mode of care that Dasein has about Others. Coordinate with concern, which is Dasein's mode of care about paraphernalia and tasks.

State-of-Mind: [note: bad translation — I prefer "affectivity"] The existential feature of Dasein that it has moods (or attunements).

Subjection: Dasein's innate censoriousness that leads it spontaneously to correct deviation from social norms. Note that one oneself belongs to the Others who subject one, in that one is usually disturbed by one's own deviation and spontaneously corrects oneself.

Thrownness: "The facticity of Dasein's being delivered over." That is, Dasein is delivered over to its being, in that it is subject to its moods, which reveal what matters and how. Moods are not under our direct control; they are not objects of our projection. (In division two, chapter two he'll characterize this as the "nullity of Dasein's being-the-basis.") this means that Dasein is always situated by its moods. This situatedness is its thrownness.

Totality of assignments (signifyings): the interrelated system of all the in-order-to and for-the-sake-of relations. In other words, significance.

Totality/Context of equipment: the interrelated system of pieces of equipment.

Totality/Context of involvements: the interrelated system of roles that define paraphernalia.

Towards-which: the "in which of an involvement." Yes, there is a reason for the abstractness of that formulation! A a piece of paraphernalia is involved in a task (the hammer is involved in driving nails), and tasks are involved in further tasks (driving a nail is involved in bulding a bookshelf).

Understanding: The existential feature of Dasein that it is able. It is able to be who it is (self-understanding), able to manipulate paraphernalia (understanding paraphernalia), and able take account of objects present-at-hand (understanding the present-at-hand).

Within-the-world: An adjective that applies to entities that show up in terms of the world. Paraphernalia, or equipment, is within-the-world, because it is defined by its involvements in human tasks. Sometimes MH categorizes Dasein-with as within-the-world, I guess because Dasein-with shows up in terms of the for-the-sakes-of-which that it pursues. "One is what one does."

World: The social milieu in which Dasein dwells and with which it is always already familiar. This is the third of Heidegger's senses of "world" in sect. 14.

"World": The universe (or totality) of objects. This is the first of Heidegger's senses of "world" in sect. 14.

Worldhood: The being of the world, i.e., what it is to be a world (not a "world"). This is the fourth of Heidegger's senses of "world" in sect. 14.

Worldly: An adjective that applies to Dasein's activity, because it is Dasein who is-in the world. Dasein's activity intrinsically involves a familiarity with the world and is in that sense worldly.