Temporal finitude and finitude of possibility: The double meaning of death in being and time

The confusion surrounding Heidegger's account of death in Being and Time has led to severe criticisms, some of which dismiss his analysis as incoherent and obtuse. I argue that Heidegger's critics err by equating Heidegger's concept of death with our ordinary concept. As I show, Heidegger's concept of death is not the same as the ordinary meaning of the term, namely, the event that ends life. But nor does this concept merely denote the finitude of Dasein's possibilities or the groundlessness of existence, as William Blattner and Hubert Dreyfus have suggested. Rather, I argue, the concept of death has to be understood both as temporal finitude and as finitude of possibility. I show how this reading addresses the criticisms directed at Heidegger's death analysis as well as solving textual problems generated by more limited interpretations of the concept.
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DOI 10.1080/09672550701602916
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References found in this work BETA
Emmanuel Levinas (1969). Totality and Infinity. Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Press.
Martin Heidegger (2000). Introduction to Metaphysics. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).

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