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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 9: Dasein’s Call to Authenticity and Misinterpretations of it


← 180 | 181 → CHAPTER 9

Dasein’s Call to Authenticity and Misinterpretations of it

a) The Ontological Meaning of the Call of Conscience1

In order to better appreciate the links that exist between the major concepts I have focused on throughout this book (i.e. anxiety, fallenness, guilt, death, and care), I need, at this point, to delve further into the meaning of the related terms transformation, resoluteness and the call of conscience. As we know, Heidegger defines mood as “ontologically … a primordial kind of Being for Dasein, in which Dasein is disclosed to itself prior to all cognition and volition, and beyond their range of disclosure” (BT, 1992, 175). Primordial mood is to be understood as the disclosive backdrop against which specific moods and emotions play out their roles. Though moods attune or orientate us, we are often unaware of their presence and individual moods, such as irritation or cheerfulness, emerge out of primordial mood which, figuratively speaking, sets the stage and reveals our world, the arena into which such phenomena play their parts. In this way, mood is Dasein’s means of most fundamentally grasping that it is.

Just as Heidegger describes anxiety as having no distinct object towards which one is anxious, neither is guilt described in terms of the ontic-cognitive types I discussed earlier, and nor does it contain any ethical content, “The primordial “Being-guilty” cannot be defined by morality, since ← 181 | 182 → morality already presupposes it for itself” (ibid., 1992, 332)...

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