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Martin Heidegger - Article Example

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He practiced phenomenological analysis of human existence in an attempt to access being, with reference to the temporal and historical character. He also discussed the nihilism of modern technology, and its generated society and tried to correlate the thoughts and perspectives of the western philosophical tradition with the question of being. He employed methods of phenomenology to pursue metaphysical goals. The perspective of phenomenology was established by the German thinker Edmund Husserl. Phenomenology is the science of consciousness and the related objects. Husserl tried to analyze the human consciousness. He proposed that consciousness is an intentional act. "Intentional" means that it is directed towards an object. Heidegger tried to analyze the phenomenon of "being" in a different way from which Husserl tried to interpret it.
Heidegger's philosophy has much in similar with the philosophy proposed by Edmund Husserl. Husserl's basic idea was that the mind is directed towards objects under aspects. One orients or directs ones emotions towards an object. Thereby directness becomes a unique feature of the mind. The suggestion was that the mind responds to what is before it in a direct and spontaneous manner. 'Heidegger himself who is supposed to have broken with Husserl bases his hermeneutics on an account of time that not only parallels Husserl's account in many ways but seems to have been arrived at through the same phenomenological method as was used by Husserl' (R Dostal 1993).
The Cartesian tradition has been foundation for phenomenology. Husserl is of the opinion that one can reach the phenomenological attitude, based on the detailed analysis of the content of consciousness, from natural attitude, based on actual world and related affairs by the application of methodological procedure. Freedom from prejudice and achievement of purity is possible through phenomenological reduction. Heidegger believes that phenomenology is based on separate analysis of consciousness.
The Cartesian tradition of depicting reality was something against which Heidegger reacted. Heidegger's equation of subjects and objects was quite different. He suggested that when a subject is totally engrossed in something his mind need not be focused on every action that is going on in the process. S/he can carry on two or three mental activities at the same time. 'Heidegger calls this kind of every day skillful coping 'primordial understanding' and the entities 'ready to hand' (B Magee 1987). But if there is a problem with the routine we will consciously think about it. This is what Heidegger defines as "unready to hand". When we are in the action of closing a door or washing clothes we will do this activity while letting our mind wander in other areas. But if the door becomes suddenly heavy or if a cloth gets torn we will start thinking about the action in which we are involved. So according to Heidegger there is a different equation between subjects and objects at different times. Perception is not a direct, neutral activity. It is embedded in the situations which are an inevitable part of it. When we are in a contemplative mood we are able to perceive objects in a different manner. We see that object not in terms of its use but we see it in terms of its components. The structure of the object becomes apparent to us. This state can be termed 'present at hand'. We see the objects as separate from its function. The hammer we use ...Show more


The German philosopher Martin Heidegger is considered to be among the prominent philosophers of 20th century. His work is considered to be controversial, because he has evolved certain new concepts and perspectives which were previously beyond imagination…
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Martin Heidegger
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