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The Incurious Seeker’s Quest for Meaning

Heidegger, Mood and Christianity

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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 8: Death and Heidegger’s Secularising of Christian Theology

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← 150 | 151 → CHAPTER 8

Death and Heidegger’s Secularising of Christian Theology

a) Memento Mori or Death as the Ever-present Possibility of Being

According to Heidegger, in authentic ontological-anxiety Dasein’s world is disclosed to it most essentially and it is made intensely aware of its mortality and the ever-present reality of this possibility in its everyday life:

The all-pervasiveness and omnipresence of death’s threat to an individual is captured by Heidegger with the term “indefiniteness” (Unbestimmtheit). The possibility of death is indefinite, for it is not confined to any particular moment or time span. The possibility of death can materialize at any moment … the indefiniteness of death’s ‘when’ implies its lack of connection with any particular ‘here’ or ‘there.’ This is why the threat disclosed in anxiety – the threat of death – is perceived as coming from ‘nowhere’ (Guignon [ed.], 1993, 202).

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