On being social: A reply to Olafson

Inquiry 37 (2):203 – 223 (1994)
Frederick Olafson criticizes Hubert Dreyfus’s interpretation of BEING AND TIME on a number of points, including the meaning of being, the nature of intentionality, and especially the role of das Man in Heidegger’s account of social existence. But on the whole Olafson’s critique is unconvincing because it rests on an implausible account of presence and perceptual intuition in Heidegger’s early philosophy, and because Olafson maintains an overly individuated notion of Dasein and consequently a one-sided conception of the role of das Man. Unfortunately, since Dreyfus confines his commentary exclusively to Division I, he in effect forgoes any attempt to explain how das Man might be understood as playing the simultaneously constitutive and destructive role Heidegger evidently envisioned for it. I conclude by arguing that the conformity and the conformism represented by das Man are bound together by Heidegger’s notion of standoffishness (Abständigkeit).
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