The Being of Intentionality


The Being of Intentionality

Sean McGovern

My limbs moved with a positiveness and precision
With which I seemed to have
Nothing at all to do.
(Gary Snyder, from John Muir on Mt. Ritter)

The philosophical relationship between Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl is a peculiar one.[1] In the third decade of the twentieth century, Heidegger was Husserl’s protégé, expected to carry on Husserl’s phenomenological project. In 1927, with Being and Time, though a book dedicated to Husserl, Heidegger made his diverging philosophical interests clear to his mentor. Husserl conceived of his phenomenology as the a priori science of consciousness, the ground for the empirical sciences. Tellingly, Heidegger mentions “consciousness” only twice in his magnum opus. Some have seen this as a sharp break with Husserl, although his phenomenological influence clearly looms large. Others see Heidegger as continuing Husserl’s project, however past the limits with which its originator had envisioned. The movement from Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology to Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology is surely a long and complicated evolution of ideas. We will specifically look at the philosophies of these two as articulated mainly in the 1920s. The current paper will attempt to orient this transition towards the revitalization and reinvestigation of the notion of intentionality. We will explore continuities and differences in terms of the methods and aims that each thinker associates with the enterprise of “philosophy.”

               Heidegger claims to be doing phenomenology, though understood in his own way. Heidegger is apparently unconcerned with many of the central concepts of Husserl’s system, e.g. the epoche, consciousness, subjectivity, etc. He writes of Being, Dasein, Being-in-the-world, and other neologisms. An important difference is how they conceive of phenomenology. Husserl thought of phenomenology as the rigorous study of that which is given to us in phenomenological reflection, in order to arrive at the essential features of experience. For Heidegger, phenomenology is a method through which one can apprehend the Being of beings. The uniting concern for both is the problematic of intentionality. Intentionality is the impetus for the birth of transcendental philosophy as well as the key to understanding its evolution under Heidegger’s influence. We will see that it is due to Heidegger’s phenomenological reconception of intentionality in terms of his ontological interests which leads to a fresh understanding of human experience.  

               It will be necessary to first briefly explore Husserl’s phenomenological development. As Husserl was trained as a mathematician, taking his PhD in mathematics at Vienna in 1883, he was philosophically concerned with the foundations of logic. Under the influence of Weierstrass and Bolzano, he initially found psychologism an attractive view. He published Philosophy of Arithmetic in 1891, an attempt to find a psychological grounding for arithmetic. This view was criticized by Frege and the nascent positivist movement. How could a logic based in the operations of the human subject account for the seeming ideality of mathematics and the unquestionable success it has proven to be as the language of the natural sciences? The success of the intersubjective natural sciences seems to demand an underlying philosophy of mathematics that allows mathematics more grip on the world than merely the status of product of the function of human psychology. Psychologism can never escape its own vicious circle and produce a firm foundation for the sciences (inclusive of the mathematical sciences). Husserl took this critique to heart and his project seems to be thereafter a quest for the proper ground of the sciences, aligning himself in this respect with the great modern philosophical tradition. Clearly, however, Husserl was to add his own understanding of the problem and the result was a powerful new turn in philosophy, namely phenomenology. Ever the innovator, Husserl’s philosophy was to continue to change until his death in 1938. Husserl was a very prolific writer who produced many thousands of pages of work. Accordingly, we will limit ourselves to the (traditional) conception of phenomenology as he expounded it in the earlier parts of the 20th century, mainly in the Logical Investigations of 1900/1 and Ideas of 1913.

               His professor in Vienna, Franz Brentano is credited with reviving the concept of intentionality that was to influence Husserl so heavily.  Brentano was interested in descriptive psychology and used intentionality to characterize the mental in the famous following passage from Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint:

Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the Scholastics of the Middle Ages called the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an object, and what we might call, though not wholly unambiguously, reference to a content, direction toward an object (which is not to be understood here as meaning a thing), or immanent objectivity. Every mental phenomenon includes something as object within itself, although they do not do so in the same way. In presentation, something is presented, in judgment something is affirmed or denied, in love loved, in hate hated, in desire desired and so on. (Brentano 88)

Husserl took this notion of intentionality and its consequences in a philosophic direction beyond Brentano, from the earlier stages of a descriptive psychology of consciousness to a full-fledged transcendental phenomenology.  Using Brentano’s characterization of the mental as that which exhibits intentionality, Husserl outlined a picture of phenomenology as the priori science of consciousness. Eager to avoid the previous mistakes of the modern epistemologists, Husserl produced the program and method of phenomenology to study the intentional relations that make up consciousness.

As the name indicates, phenomenology is concerned with the phenomena, specifically as it presents itself in conscious reflection. We can have a wide variety of intentional acts (e.g. perception, recollection, belief) that all have immanent intentional content. With the perception of a die, we have the perceptual content of a certain extension and shape and so forth. If we look at the die from another angle or at another time, then we are dealing with a new perception that has different perceptual content. How do these two sets of perceptual content relate? The phenomena are different in each case, but patently there is still identity of the perceived, the die remains the same. Husserl clearly distinguishes between the intentional content and the intended object. We have immanent access to the phenomenon of perceiving the die, but no access to the die itself. We posit an ideal meaning of the die that fulfills our various perceptual contents. Across different perceptions we can still know the die as die. As we look across the multiplicity of intentional acts that we can direct at the die and examine the contents, we can “see” the essence of the die. “[…] and if now the theoretical eye directs itself to the necessarily enduring invariant in the variation; then there will arise with this systematic way of proceeding a realm of its own, of the ‘a priori’.”(Husserl EB I.4) By painstaking attention to the phenomenon as presented to us in immanent consciousness, Husserl thinks that we can have access to an “objective” sense of the a priori fulfiller of intentional content, an ideal correlate of consciousness.

 In a rigorously theoretically articulated fashion, Husserl proposes a program of transcendental phenomenology that has as its goal phenomenological descriptions of what constitutes our world. “Phenomenology as the science of all conceivable transcendental phenomena and especially the synthetic total structures in which alone they are concretely possible—those of the transcendental single subjects bound to communities of subjects is eo ipso the a priori science of all conceivable beings.” (Husserl EB III.11)

Husserl evidently thought that he had found a method, the transcendental phenomenological method, such that he could overcome the “dogmatism” of previous epistemological and ontological theories. In a very Cartesian vein, he thought that he had found the presuppositionless method from which one can deduce secure knowledge. Husserl employs the phenomenological reduction to filter out unwanted prejudice and preconceptions that come from the “natural attitude” of the human subject. A methodological series of reductions is necessary to take the phenomenologist from the concrete ego to the pure ego, that of transcendental consciousness. He believed that Descartes had made promising steps toward this realization, but had not developed a method rigorous enough to undercut all preconceptions and dogma. In the epoche, we let go of our preconceived notions about what exists and what does not, our natural inclinations towards the world. Thus, having reached the transcendental ego, one simply describes the phenomenon as it appears in itself, as the being of the phenomenon will bring itself into focus for reflection. His phenomenological method eschews a natural vantage point for that of transcendental subjectivity, armed with its apodictic certitude.

It is important to stress that Husserl (and certainly Heidegger) sees the phenomenological method as giving access to beings as beings.  In Logical Investigations, Husserl’s sixth investigation treats of knowledge as a synthesis of fulfillment and its gradations. Meanings can be filled in different ways and to different degrees. A fundamental necessity for meaning is that we are capable to recognize something as something. With a complex form of intuition called the categorial intuition, one can apprehend a being as being. The categorial intuition allows us to differentiate between modes of being. For Heidegger, this was Husserl’s greatest breakthrough and his failure to fully appreciate its possibilities, his greatest failure. The categorial intuition lets us see Being as it is only ever through beings. As Heidegger writes, “Being and the structure of Being lie beyond every entity and every possible character which an entity may possess. Being is the transcendens pure and simple” (BT 62). This is the methodological breakthrough that allows Heidegger to pursue his orienting question of the meaning of Being. Husserl supplies the method, phenomenological analysis.

While laying bare the structure of intentionality with formidable insight, Husserl passes over what was to occupy Heidegger, the question of the meaning of Being. Husserl wants to use his phenomenology with the goal of generating a body of pure ontic knowledge, straightening out the different regional ontologies of science, but with an eye towards the ontic inquiry to follow. In other words, Husserl is more interested in epistemology than ontology. Heidegger clearly inverts this position, one that he claims has been held since the days of Plato and Aristotle, namely making ontology subservient to epistemology. “Ontology can contribute only indirectly towards advancing the positive disciplines as we find them today. It has a goal of its own, if indeed, beyond the acquiring of information about entities, the question of Being is the spur for all scientific seeking.” (BT 77) For Heidegger, Being is the source from which all flows, and fundamental ontology is the way to approach it. “Ontology and phenomenology are not two distinct philosophical disciplines among others. These terms characterize philosophy itself with regard to its object and its way of treating that object.” (BT 62)

Husserl does not ask the important ontological questions. Of particular importance is that he neglects to inquire into the question of the Being of consciousness, taking the ego for granted. This can clearly be seen in his conception of the phenomenological-transcendental reduction. Heidegger makes this explicit in his lectures at Marburg in 1927, published as Basic Problems of Phenomenology.

For Husserl the phenomenological reduction, which he worked out for the first time expressly in the Ideas Toward a Pure Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy (1913), is the method of leading phenomenological vision from the natural attitude of the human being whose life is involved in the world of things and persons back to the transcendental life of consciousness and its noetic-noematic experiences, in which objects are constituted as correlates of consciousness. For us phenomenological reduction means leading phenomenological vision back from the apprehension of a being, whatever may be the character of that apprehension, to the understanding of the being of this being (projecting upon the way it is unconcealed). (BPP 21)

This illustrates how their understandings of the reduction, and so the method of phenomenology, is intimately linked with their goals for what phenomenological analysis is meant to apprehend.

Heidegger was interested in the ontological difference, that between Sein and Seindes, Being and beings. Husserl clearly was not. In fact his method of reduction explicitly put the ontological question to the side. Hence Heidegger’s greatest critique of the tradition, inclusive of his mentor, was that they covered over the question of the meaning of Being, the Seinsfrage. The project of Being and Time was Heidegger’s attempt to consider the question of Being, however he had to first inquire into the Being of Dasein, the being that possesses the capacity to ask the Seinsfrage. The fact that his main ontological project was not completed, that he stopped after only two thirds of the way through the first half of his projected treatise, left many to believe that he was chiefly interested in the philosophy of existence. Even Husserl thought that Heidegger was lost in philosophical anthropology, as we will see. For Heidegger, there was never any doubt that his Daseinanalytik was not primary but just a step on his path to Being. Even if his project of fundamental ontology was ultimately not feasible, a major contribution was to inquire into the Being of what we ourselves are.

               It is this ontological difference which sits at the heart of Heideggerian philosophy. It allows Heidegger to claim that all previous analyses of humans have always been ontic investigations and so have missed the fundamental ontological properties of Dasein that make us special. He claims that ever since Descartes split the world into res cogitans and res extensa, Dasein has been relegated to being an extant being like all others. In Heidegger’s terminology, Dasein has been considered, vorhanden, merely present-at-hand. This does not leave much room for the distinctiveness of Dasein’s Being and so completely misses an adequate phenomenological description of Dasein. Heidegger characterizes Dasein’s mode of being as “existing”, he goes on to elaborate on the differences between an existent and an extant thing.  Heidegger remarks that “a distinguishing feature between the existent and the extant is found precisely in intentionality.”(BPP 64) We will now turn to our attention to intentionality and attempt to gain an appreciation for the role it plays for Dasein.

Heidegger claims that the structure of intentionality is “grounded ontologically in the basic constitution of Dasein” (BPP 59). In contrast to Husserl, Heidegger thinks that intentionality is a feature of Dasein, not of consciousness. It is not a one for one substitution of Dasein for Ego. The move takes a property exclusively associated with mental phenomena and broadens it to a being. This allows intentionality to not only reveal extant things, but allows for Heidegger’s characterization of Dasein as being-in-the-world, and the discovery of the complex network and web of signification in which Dasein dwells. This marks a significant change from the consideration of intentionality in an epistemological light to an ontological one.

In the Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Heidegger outlines two different misinterpretations of intentionality. The first is an “erroneous objectivizing” of intentionality and the second is an “erroneous subjectivizing” of intentionality. The first is the “characterization of intentionality as an extant relationship between two things extant” (60). The subject needs the object in order to have the intentional relationship and vice versa. If we remove one, then the intentional relationship disappears. Heidegger’s problem with this is that this interpretation “takes the intentional relation to be something that at each time accrues to the subject due to the emergence of the extantness of an object.” (60) In line with Husserl, he argues against this view with the example of a hallucination.

If one is having the hallucination that there is a large pink elephant in the room, though the object of perception is not extant, the intentional relationship of perception remains. One is still directed toward the elephant, though it is in an imaginary way. Before one can have an imaginary perception, one must still have perception. So, regardless of whether or not the being of the perceptual object is extant or not, an intentional relation can exist. He reaches the conclusion that the relation of intentionality is a comportmental relationship, belonging to the sphere of the subject. We must think of intentionality as a structure that constitutes the comportmental character of Dasein’s behavior. This emphasizes the practical aspect of relating, a feature that will reveal much about Dasein’s world.

Now, the danger is to assume that the intentional experiences belong exclusively to some private sphere of the subject.  He calls this the “erroneous subjectivizing” of intentionality. However, since Dasein’s comportments are intentional, as soon as Dasein is, then it is always already dwelling with the extant. This is where he critiques the transcendental subjectivity of Husserl. Heidegger accuses Husserl of neglecting to ask the question of the Being of Consciousness.  He maintains that Husserl stays inside the subject and mistakenly takes it as basic. For Heidegger, Being is the primary focus of philosophy, more fundamental than the subject. Since Being can only be seen manifest in beings, Heidegger sees the need for an investigation of the being that can understand Being. He wants to give an account of the Dasein since it alone has the capacity to understand itself and therefore, Being. With Being as our focus, we can no longer pass over the Being of the subject, taking it for granted as some vorhanden being.

For those committing the second misinterpretation of intentionality, the erroneous subjectivizing, the natural question is how the subject with its intentional experiences relates to the world of extant things. Heidegger accuses the tradition of neglecting “the requirement to align theory according to the phenomena rather than the opposite” (BPP 62) and instead doing “violence to the phenomena by a preconceived theory” (BPP 62). It is as a result of this that the question of transcendence is misconstrued. He claims that the intentional comportment is really directed at an object. The idea that it is merely directed at a representation within the subject’s sphere is not phenomenologically accurate and is a result of putting theory in front of phenomenological experience. “Intentional comportment itself as such orients itself toward the extant” (BPP 63). He maintains that when confronted in this manner, it can be seen that transcendence consists in nothing but the intentional comportment. He rejects the misguided problem of transcendence, i.e. how the subject steps out of its private box to relate to the outside world. Heidegger elegantly makes this point in a passage from Being and Time.

When Dasein directs itself towards something and grasps it, it does not somehow first get out of an inner sphere in which it has been proximally encapsulated, but its primary kind of being is that it is always ‘outside’ alongside entities which it encounters and which belong to a world already discovered. Nor is any inner sphere abandoned when Dasein dwells alongside the entity to be known, and determines its character, but even in this ‘Being-outside’ alongside the object, Dasein is still ‘inside’, if we understand this in the proper sense; that is, it is itself ‘inside’ as a Being-in-the-world that knows. And furthermore, the perceiving of what is known is not a process of returning with one’s booty to the ‘cabinet’ of consciousness after one has gone out and grasped it; even in perceiving, retaining and preserving the Dasein that knows remains outside and does so as Dasein. (BT 209)

Intentionality has a bizarre nature in that it is not something that pertains wholly to the object or wholly to the subject, as these are traditionally conceived. The previously discussed two misinterpretations, each relying too heavily on one of the aspects (subjective or objective) of intentionality, lead to the Seinsfrage. When the being of the intentional is construed as an extant thing, we cannot characterize intentionality in a satisfactory manner. Heidegger’s solution is to recognize that the mode of being of Dasein is existence. Intentional comportments belong to Dasein. Unlike Husserl and the erroneous subjectivizers, the intentional relations do not belong to a “worldless subject” split from its intentional objects. The comportmental Dasein is always already dwelling in its world. “It will turn out that intentionality is founded in the Dasein’s transcendence and is possible solely for this reason – that transcendence cannot conversely be explained in terms of intentionality.” (BPP 162)

Heidegger’s reinterpretation of intentionality has led to its dependence on the transcendence of Dasein. Instead of the intentional relation providing for the transcendence from subject to object, originary transcendence is required even for the possibility of intentionality. This transcendence is a fundamental feature of existentiality that Heidegger characterizes as fundamentally being-in-the-world. The world in which Dasein is essentially grounded is a significant “discovery” in the history of philosophy. It is the background upon which things can have significance.

Before elaborating upon the worldhood of the world, it will be instructive to examine Husserl’s critique of Heidegger’s Dasein centered phenomenology. For Husserl, the phenomenological reduction is the cornerstone of his method. It is the way through which one can move from the natural world of objects, cares and concerns to the pure transcendental subjectivity. Without it one cannot do the radical science of phenomenology. Husserl thinks that Heidegger is still trapped in the world of things and persons. His Dasein analysis and existentialism is what Husserl rejects in favor of the transcendental ego and the investigation into the correlates of consciousness. Husserl believes that Heidegger has not fully grasped the radical nature of his phenomenology of consciousness, i.e. he has not seen the breakthrough of the epoche. As such, Heidegger does not do phenomenology in the proper sense, but is mired in philosophical anthropology or psychology.  Heidegger makes it clear that intentionality is possible only through Dasein, an embodied factical agent. It is incoherent to talk of and analyze the intentional relationships of the pure ego when it makes no sense to say that it has intentionality. “Taking up relationships towards the world is possible only because Dasein, as Being-in-the-world, is as it is.”(BT 84) It is clear that Heidegger finds Husserl’s phenomenological position untenable and Husserl finds Heidegger’s position non-philosophical. Each one thinks the other has not gone far enough in phenomenology.

We will now attempt a preliminary characterization of the world and worldly subject. Being-in-the-world is a unitary phenomenon and is an essential feature of Dasein. The hyphenated form is meant to help convey the idea that Dasein is not ‘in’ the world, in the same way as water is ‘in’ a cup. It is not a spatial relation, but more something like the ‘in’ of involvement, as in being ‘in’ love. In our everyday comportments, when we apprehend or encounter something it is never as an atomic unit. It is always already within a context. We do not build up from nothing part by part. “What is primarily given instead – even if not in explicit and express consciousness – is a thing-contexture [ein Dingzusammenhang].” (BPP 163) Many of these things that we encounter we use as equipment. We use them with a purpose, an in-order-to, to accomplish a task. They form an equipmental contexture that surrounds us. We are not necessarily aware of this equipmental totality in our everyday dealings. In our average everydayness, we usually deal with it in a manner that Heidegger calls circumspection, an unobtrusive and unthought awareness, where unthought means “it is not thematically apprehended for deliberate thinking about things.” (BPP 163) When we pass through a door, we do not explicitly think about the door handle. Stairs and corridors are not apprehended thematically, getting from one room to another is the only concern. The equipment is defined by its functionality, its in-order-to. A chair is a chair if one can sit on it. We are always already in an environing world [Umwelt] which is the presupposition for being able to apprehend anything at all.

The world is to be distinguished from a mere collection of things. It is not the universe or nature, a collection of things extant. These are, or at least could be, intraworldly. They can only be apprehended within a world, as our understanding of these extant things presupposes a world.  Heidegger explicitly says that while the world depends on Dasein, nature does not. There could be no world without Dasein, but without Dasein there could be nature. The worldhood of the world is the web of significance, the contexture of the in-order-tos. The world is not something that we build up as a sum of things, but it always already exists for Dasein. “The world as already unveiled in advance is such that we do not in fact specifically occupy ourselves with it, or apprehend it, but instead it is so self-evident, so much a matter of course, that we are completely oblivious to it.” (BPP 165) It is only upon this background that significance can occur. This opens up the possibility of intentionality. It is only with this originary transcendence that any ontic transcendence, any intentional act, can take place.

Heidegger describes a variety of ways in which Dasein comports itself towards entities encountered in the world. When one is involved in accomplishing a task, say hammering a nail in, one does not think about oneself. The concern is placed on the activity, the hammering in relation to the head of the nail. We use the hammer and as such it is a hammer. This absorbed coping is a non-reflective comportment. We do not relate to the hammer as a consciousness beholding its physical properties. We hammer with it. In this, Heidegger wants to give Dasein a primary role as an activity. “Heidegger even goes so far as to proclaim that, in antiquity Dasein was understood as praxis, ‘as genuine action’.” (Moran 59)

Dasein’s mode of comportment changes during an instance of breakdown. If the head of our hammer suddenly breaks, we must interrupt our unreflective hammering. Our absorption is broken until we can fix the tool and return to the task. At this time there is practical deliberation. This representational mode of comporting has the Dasein removed from its tool as that tool no longer functions. Dasein reorients towards its equipmental totality in order to restore functionality. Maybe we will get some duct tape and fix the head of the hammer or simply get a new hammer. This mode of comportment is characterized by reflective states, figuring out how to fix our broken tool, but it is still oriented toward the in-order-to of the equipment, still in relation to the task at hand. We think about fixing the hammer so that we can get that nail in.

The mode of intentionality considered by Husserl, the detached theoretical mode of apprehension, is not discarded by Heidegger. It is clear that this is one of the most powerful and seductive modes of relating to the world. In this mode we find the avenue towards claims of knowledge and theoretical facts. In fact, it is with this that ancient philosophy truly begins as wonder in face of the world. Claims of primacy, fundamentality and privilege are where Heidegger differs with the tradition. This detached mode of reflection does not have any special claim to truth. When we observe something in pure curiosity or just look at something, we have theoretical reflection. When having this kind of theoretical comportment, Dasein is not oriented towards any tasks, there are no in-order-tos involved. Practical action has ceased and theoretical apprehension alone remains. To accomplish this, the object must be severed from its context, must be rendered an extant thing. It is important to note that before it can be considered an extant thing, it must leave its given context. Before we can regard the object as vorhanden and catalogue its extension and mass, we are always already aware of this being as a being. This shows that knowing the world is already founded in the more basic awareness of the world, the being-in-the-world. Husserl’s reductions play the role of isolator.  He breaks the standard relations of things in order to look at the essential properties of the thing. While this might have merit for theory and the formulation of science, it does misconstrue the being of the entity apprehended.  Heidegger acknowledges that this kind of theoretical comportment occurs and has been very important to the philosophical tradition, but at the expense of the more basic being-in-the-world. In fact, this will be the basis for much of his later critique of technology.

Heidegger argues that it is practical activity that is primary to theoretical activity. He is interested in challenging the reigning tradition handed down from the Greeks that theory is purer than practice and as such should be privileged. We have concernful dealings with things that disclose themselves in our world. Practical activity allows us to understand our tools. Only in hammering can we understand something as a hammer. There are so many ways that beings project themselves and disclose their Being. Recognition of this multiplicity will later lead Heidegger to expound a much more robust view of truth than that of the correspondence theory. He goes back to the Greek concept of alethia as the unfolding or revealing of facets of Being. Heidegger does not want to just invert the priority of different types of knowing. He is not just saying that practical knowledge is better than theoretical knowledge. He wants to argue that it is not knowledge at all that is foundational. In order to have knowledge, one must already have an awareness of the world against which the object of knowledge can make itself apprehended. Knowing is a founded mode of being-in-the-world. Husserl, like Descartes before him, never escapes his methodological solipsism. After the bracketing of the external world, it is not clear that we are ever convincingly led back to the shared world of everyday life. For Heidegger the world (in his special sense) is what is basic. The analysis of the worldhood of the world is a major development in our understanding of the beings that we ourselves are. It provides an existential of Dasein and leads towards its characterization as essentially Care.

As we have seen, Heidegger examines the concept of intentionality and sees its traditional interpretations as too limited. They suffer from an inadequate investigation into the being of the intentional. Heidegger grounds intentionality in the existing subject. The intentional subject is not separate from its objects, but always already dwelling alongside them. In contrast to the Husserlian model, intentionality is not a purely mental concept dependent upon representations. By regarding intentionality as a characteristic of a mode of being instead of a characteristic of knowing, a significant portion of human experience is opened up to phenomenological investigation.  A non-representational awareness of the world is discovered to be the basic condition for the possibility of intentionality. We must already have the world in order to encounter things. The major upshot of reconceiving intentionality as Heidegger has done is that he can account for a variety of ways of dealing with the world from practical comportment to theoretical comportment. He argues that the extant nature of things is derivative of their equipmental quality. Cognitive reflection plays a role but it is not primary, as it is in practical activity that Dasein dwells and understands Being. “To intentionality, as comportment towards beings, there always belongs an understanding of the being of those beings to which the intention refers.” (BPP 175)



Hamilton College

Clinton, New York

About the Author


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[1] I would first like to thank the “phenomena”. I would also like to thank the philosophical community at Hamilton College and at large for support and intellectual stimulation.