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

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (4):541 – 556 (2007)
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Abstract

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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Havi Carel
University of Bristol

Citations of this work

‘Creatures of a Day’: Contingency, Mortality, and Human Limits.Havi Carel - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 90:193-214.
Heidegger on Human Finitude: Beginning at the End.Oren Magid - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3):657-676.

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References found in this work

Totality and infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh,: Duquesne University Press.
Introduction to Metaphysics.Martin Heidegger - 2000 - New Haven: Yale University Press. Edited by Gregory Fried.
The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic.Martin Heidegger - 1984 - Bloomington, IN, USA: Indiana University Press.
Gesamtausgabe.Martin Heidegger - 1976 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.

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