The Dialogicality of Dasein: Conversation and Encounter with/in Heidegger's "Being and Time"

Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada) (1997)

Authors
Leslie A. MacAvoy
East Tennessee State University
Abstract
The project is to unfold the dialogical aspects of human subjectivity as expressed through the existential phenomenology of Heidegger's Being and Time. The investigation is divided into three parts. ;Part I offers an interpretation of Heidegger's concept of subjectivity with emphasis on the movement from inauthenticity to authenticity. In order to mediate the more traditionally existentialist reading of Dasein's authenticity, I situate Being and Time within Heidegger's larger phenomenological project. This opens up the possibility of thinking about Being-in-the-world and Being-towards-death in terms of a lived intentionality in which Dasein has its own Being as its object. Although Dasein in its everydayness generally only comports toward its own Being in the manner characteristic of empty intentionality, this intention can be fulfilled. This fulfillment constitutes Dasein's authenticity. ;Part II poses the question: What is dialogue? I illustrate that there are two figures of dialogue---conversation and encounter. Conversation is an exchange between participants which maintains a particular flow and thematic unity, and is based on the structure of question and response. Its possibility rests in the otherness of the participants with respect to one another and in their ability to mediate this difference through some shared basis of meaning. Encounter, on the other hand, is an event of meeting between participants in which the alterity of the other is thrown into high relief by the challenge which it poses to the self, thereby throwing into question both the self and the meaning in which it dwells. Nevertheless, both conversation and encounter can be shown to be dialogical relative to a constellation of concepts. Dialogue is an engagement with alterity marked by a simultaneous continuity and discontinuity with the other. This engagement bears a relation to meaning and is the ground of responsibility and questionability . ;In Part III, this notion of dialogue is used to interpret Dasein's subjectivity and its becoming authentic. I argue that Dasein's everydayness can be understood as a conversationality in the third person which is transformed into the first-person conversationality of authentic historizing through an encounter with radical alterity in anxious Being-towards-death
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