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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 6: The Importance of Affective States at an Ontological Level and Ontological Guilt


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The Importance of Affective States at an Ontological Level and Ontological Guilt

a) The Significance of Moods in Being and Time

Before being in a position to directly examine the significance of guilt to Heidegger’s fundamental ontology, I must first paint, with some broad brushstrokes, the role played by moods in Being and Time. Moods are, according to Heidegger, nothing less than our most acute and rudimentary form of ‘awareness’ of our Being-in-the-world, of the presence of other Beings and of entities. The word ‘awareness,’ as I have mentioned, is misleading, for Heidegger by this term does not mean any cognitive-laden concept but, rather, an attunement. His idea of attunement is to be understood as an orientation where “Dasein is always brought before itself, and has always found itself, not in the sense of coming across itself by perceiving itself, but in the sense of finding itself in the mood that it has” (BT, 1992, 174). In what follows I will elucidate just how Heidegger’s theory of moods is wholly different from traditional conceptions that regarded them as little more than sensuous states that accompany the higher faculty of reason, and that can be classified according to their qualities of pleasure, pain and desire. The profound contribution made in Being and Time to our understanding of moods is the idea that they are a pre-cognitive means of revealing Dasein’s Being-in-the-world.

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