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The Incurious Seeker’s Quest for Meaning

Heidegger, Mood and Christianity


Kevin Sludds

The paradox within the title of this book refers to its principal theme, that of elucidating our innate capacity to transform/convert from an inauthentic everyday mode of being to an authentic one. This study provides an analysis of affect as a means of highlighting a number of key points of contact between the disciplines of philosophy and theology when addressing this topic. The author explores Martin Heidegger’s intimate connections with Christianity, firstly, by examining the close ties he and his family had to the Catholic Church and, secondly, from within his fundamental ontology as developed in Being and Time. Finally, he demonstrates through literary and comparative analysis the affinity that exists between a philosophy of facticity and Christian theology in their descriptions of humankind without faith or Dasein’s inauthentic existence.
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Chapter 4: Being-in-the-world, the Make-up of the World and Disclosure


← 58 | 59 → CHAPTER 4

Being-in-the-world, the Make-up of the World and Disclosure

a) Dasein’s Modes of Being

In order that we might fully appreciate Heidegger’s crucial description of how we can move from inauthenticity to authenticity, it is first essential that we understand just what Dasein is moving from (i.e. fallenness) and, also, the milieu in which this mode of being is set (i.e. world). In Being and Time Heidegger tells us Dasein is not just a present-at-hand (Vorhandensein) object in the world, but exists in such a way that the questions posed of it are personal, who, and not impersonal, what. Present-at-hand entities can be thought of as always being an arm’s length away, unhelpful in Dasein’s efforts to deal with the issue of Being. What is ready-to-hand (Zuhandensein), however, as the word suggests, denotes a handiness, a closeness, that Dasein has when encountering entities within-the-world. Zuhandensein literally means ‘to, towards, the hands’ and Heidegger enlivens it by applying it to those things that serve Dasein in some way.

This mode of being, this way of finding entities as handy (or available), is restricted in Being and Time to things, and not people (which would be Mitdasein), to those things that are usable to us in some way, i.e. equipment (Zeug). Examples of such equipment might be deciphered from various German words: ‘footwear’ lit. Schuh-zeug (shoe-equipment), ‘aeroplane’ lit. Flugzeug (flight-equipment), or the famous German pottery ‘stoneware’ lit. Steinzeug (stone-equipment) along with...

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