Martin Heidegger on Being Human: An Introduction to Sein und Zeit [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 23 (1):139-140 (1969)
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Abstract

This book is a valuable contribution to the growing list of works appearing in English on Heidegger. Its special merit lies in the fact that its author brings to his discussion of Heidegger a familiarity with Anglo-American analytic philosophy. The author explains Sein und Zeit in a language with which any student of analysis would be comfortable. By way of example, Schmitt refers to Heidegger's idea of fundamental ontology by noting "a reform of talk about being involves a reform of talk about human beings." The book does not attempt to recap all of Sein und Zeit but provides the reader who approaches that work for the first time with the basic concepts needed. The author's basic claim is that in Sein und Zeit Heidegger is making new "conceptual recommendations" for our understanding of man and the world. This represents, Schmitt argues, a break with his earlier, pre-Sein und Zeit and Husserlian conviction of the existence of an a priori and ideal language and its "objective meanings." The whole discussion of Sein und Zeit's idea of language is more original and illuminating than anything yet to appear in English. As the title of the work indicates, the author regards Heidegger's main contribution to lie in the theory of man, and he sees the celebrated "turn" as testimony to the failure of Sein und Zeit to provide a new way of speaking about being. But even as a theory of man, Schmitt warns, Sein und Zeit is blind to the social and the communal. Schmitt's book is a challenging and illuminating introduction of Sein und Zeit for the American reader and one which no Heideggerian can afford to miss.--J. D. C.

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