Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 56 (3):427 - 468 (1994)

Heidegger often stressed that the analysis of Dasein in Being and Time should be understood as a mere preliminary investigation. That this analysis indeed prepares the investigation into the relationship between time, the understanding of Being and ontology,can only become clear when some light is thrown on the never published third section ofBeing and Time. In this section Heidegger would have explicated in what sense time can be understood as condition of possibility for every kind of ontology. As ontology is a specific possibility of human beings, this possibility must be based on the same basic structures as Dasein as such. In Heidegger's analysis of Dasein, the distinction between a proper and an improper mode of existence is understood as based on a different temporalisation of temporality. Improperness results from a temporal movement in which presentness takes the upper hand and determines the way Dasein understands beings, other people and itself. In the proper mode of existence on the other hand, not only presence, but the three ecstasies of time as a whole would constitute the openness of Dasein. Heidegger would have demonstrated in the third section that this same temporal difference also forms the condition of possibility for the improper and proper mode of ontology: the so-called metaphysics of presence and Heideggers own temporal ontology respectively.From the rather formal perspective of our interpretation, the different moments of the analysis of Dasein are read in view of their significance for the investigation into the essence of metaphysics. By doing so, the third section appears to be the aim of Heidegger's questioning and the 'missing link' between the analysis oí Dasein and the destruction of traditional metaphysics. When Being and Time is read with such a focus on the third section, the often used distinction between the early and the later Heidegger looses much of its sharpness, if not its relevance: it is already in Being and Time itselfthat Heidegger tries to decenter the human being in behalf of a temporality that constitutes meaningful openness as such
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