7 - Heidegger for beginners  pp. 101-118

Heidegger for beginners

By Simon Critchley

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It's not always easy being Heideggerian

Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy?

I have two questions in this essay. Where should one begin with Heidegger? And why should one begin philosophizing with Heidegger rather than elsewhere? I will turn to the second of these questions in detail presently, but let me begin by giving the most formal of indications as to how I answer the first question.

The beginning of Heidegger's philosophy is phenomenological. That is, Heidegger's thought begins as a radicalization of Husserlian phenomenological method. To make good on this claim, I give a reading of the Preliminary Part of Heidegger's important 1925 lecture course, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs, a text that I see as the buried phenomenological preface to Sein und Zeit. Rejoining Heidegger's magnum opus to its phenomenological preface permits one, in my view, to clarify the philosophical presuppositions that are required in order for Sein und Zeit to begin. That is, in order for the question of the meaning or truth of being to be raised as a matter of compelling philosophical interest, and not as some magical and numinous vapour.

My basic premise, to echo one of Heidegger's reported remarks from the 1962 Protokoll to the seminar on Zeit und Sein, is that “In der Tat, wäre ohne die phänomenologische Grundhaltung die Seinsfrage nicht möglich gewesen” (Actually, without the basic phenomenological attitude, the question of being would not have been possible).