Another Note on Heidegger’s The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics (1929/1930)


Upon entering Part One, metaphysical/comprehensive thinking, metaphysics/philosophy, and “metaphysical questioning” are pivotal to how “our fundamental task now consists in awakening a fundamental attunement in our philosophizing” (59). Heidegger announces, in turn, a “coming preliminary understanding about the significance of awakening a fundamental attunement” (59) constituted on a two-fold relationship of attunement between “being-there” and “not-being-there”: 1.) as a relatedness that cannot be dependent on making a distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness, and 2.) as a relatedness that is grounded on man’s being as being-there and being-away, or being absent. Through this two-fold relationship, Heidegger argues that “an attunement is to be awakened, [to the extent that] this means that it is there and not there” (63). To be sure, Heidegger recognizes that this “attunement” in being-there and not-being-there also “has to do with the innermost essence of man’s being, with his Dasein” (63). What this means, in a narrower sense, is that attunement, as Heidegger particularly conceives of it, “belongs to the being of man” (63)—more importantly, Heidegger describes this attunement, in its most fundamental manner and in a positive terms, carries with/through it “[a] fundamental way in which Dasein is as Dasein” (67). Though Heidegger sees this as a “provisional characterization of the phenomenon of attunement,” he takes time to interpret the meaning of the phenomenon of attunement against an “awakening” of the phenomenon through recognizing “Dasein as Dasein is always already attuned in its very grounds” (68), especially if our contemporary situation, as defined by Heidegger, is pervaded by fundamental attunement. The way in which this fundamental attunement “pervades” our contemporary situation through an “awakening attunement” becomes predicated on “[the] manner and means of grasping Da-sein with respect to the specific ‘way’ in which it is, of grasping Da-sein as Da-sein” (68). This separation of Dasein into the hyphenated Da-sein denotes a highlighting of the “Da-” (“there-ness”) element over and distinctively to “Sein” (Being)—in particular, what connects the “there” of Being to Being itself is a fundamental attunement and it (that is, the fundamental attunement itself) allows Dasein to function as it always already is as Da-sein. Heidegger seems to suggest this, by proposing that the “awakening” of a fundamental attunement “let[s] Da-sein be as it is, or can be, as Da-sein” (68). Not only is it critical, in a general sense, to awaken a fundamental attunement, but it is especially critical, in a narrow sense of how our contemporary situation pervades Dasein, to determine, according to Heidegger, “which attunement we are to awaken or let become wakeful in us” (69). Here, Heidegger emphasizes “which” by asking some of the following questions—specifically as a means to clarify the meaning of the question of which—1.) how can an “attunement pervade us fundamentally,” 2.) who is the “us” that we are referring to, as in “what do we mean here in referring to us,” and 3.) when we say “us,” in what situation does us occurs and how are we to demarcate and delimit this [contemporary] situation?” (69).

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