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Phenomenology of Death - Thesis Example

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According to the accepted dogma of contemporary physics, ‘entropy’ is one of the more plausible ‘constants’ which we as humans are capable of knowing. That is, in contemporary terms. The history of physics by contrast, was much more secure through the ‘modern era’…
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Phenomenology of Death

‘Entropy’ however, is a ‘constant’ which is preferred by individuals such as Stephen Hawking. As a ‘constant’ it’s highest expression is the ‘second law of thermo dynamics’ [Hawking, 1988: 99ff.]. It can be inferred that he is fairly familiar with the ‘history of the concept of time’, and as such, ‘entropy’ is one of the accepted constants in the universe by some contemporary physicists. The following is an essay and analysis of Heidegger’s concept of time in relation to the self. It will be argued that Heidegger’s concept of ‘temporality’, is inseparable from the concept of ‘finitude’ and ‘death’. Like the constancy of contemporary physics, ‘death’ or ‘entropy’ holds a special place in the heart of Heidegger. While temporality is invariably associated with finitude, the self, however, is problematic. For Heidegger, there is ‘authenticity’, and there is ‘Das Man’ [Gallagher, 1998: 117]. These ‘binaries’ have much to do with the concept of the self in relation to time in the following sense. Heidegger argues that ‘das man’ is ‘being towards death’ and is inauthentic as a result. Conversely, those who do not ‘act’ like ‘das man’ are in some sense authentic? This latter point will be taken up in the later half of the following analysis, and it is going to be argued that ‘determining what qualifies as ‘everydayness’ is a very seriously ambiguous notion. ...
According to Heidegger, the external world of ‘extension’ or as he states the world of the “senses” [Heidegger, 1961: 129] is largely understood as “quantitative modifications of the modes of extensio itself” [Heidegger, 1961: 131]. By contrast, the world can be characterized in qualitative rather than quantitative terms. By quantitative, he is implying the basic units of scientific measurement. However, these discrete units of measurement, and the application of these as a means of both understanding extension along with distinguishing it from the subject, are forms of abstraction. It is a means of treating the external world and of understanding it, as a world of objects or isolated entities. By contrast, he argues that the world of ‘things’ or the ‘ontic’ world is a form of extension that can or could be characterized and therefore understood in terms of how these ‘things’ are used. His term for this is the “ready to hand”, and he claims further that this is “not grasped theoretically at all” [Heidegger, 1961: 99]. Rather, it is a relationship to objects or things that is inseparable from the activity of using them. It might be an obvious example to state that to understood a ‘hammer’, is to understand how it is used, however this form of understanding is a stark contrast to how we really understand objects such as hammers or indeed, the beings or things in nature itself. This form of understanding, is an active engagement or a process typified by our most primordial ways of being involved in the world, so to speak. Heidegger further describes this in terms of a transformation of a thing understood as a sign to a thing understood as a reference. Moreover, such a reference is an “objectification” [Heidegger, 1961: 113], which ... Read More
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