Review of Metaphysics 57 (3):619-620 (2004)

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei
Johns Hopkins University
What is factical life, and what sort of philosophical approach is needed to grasp it? Life is for Heidegger a basic phenomenon. Because factical life is immensely rich, evasive, manifold, fluid, and dynamic, one cannot hope to grasp it in static definitions which aim to exhaust its object, to take it as an immediate given. The importance of tailoring one’s mode of access to the subject matter is certainly an Aristotlelian insight, but Heidegger conceives it as a question of phenomenological authenticity. Perhaps the most important contribution is the treatment of the formal indication, which appears often in Heidegger’s early writings, but is given a significant clarification here. Heidegger devises the notion of a formal indication as an alternative to traditional philosophical definition, the latter of which also arises from tendencies of life to grasp reality in static presence. Formal indication remains empty as to its content, but draws out a formal structure through which the categorical movements of life become visible from a certain preserved distance. Despite their formal qualification, it is clear that Heidegger’s interpretation of these movements is existentially oriented, their currents tending toward lostness from which life must be turned around. As in Being and Time, care is identified as life’s relational sense, which manifests four categorical directions: inclination, a pull toward something ; distance, or rather, the tendency to abolish the distance between itself and the things which stand before it; sequestration, wherein life avoids itself, looking away from itself, attempting to escape its worriedness about itself; and the “easy,” where life seeks to lose itself in mundane difficulties and/or carefreeness. Readers of Being and Time will notice characteristics of fallenness, Dasein’s inauthentic self-forgetfulness due to insatiable absorption in the world.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph200457317
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