Being and Time

. . . δῆλον γὰρ ὡς ὐμεῖς μὲν ταῦτα (τί ποτε βούλεσθε σημαίνειν ὀπόταν ὄν φθέγγησθε) πάλαι γιγνώσκετε, ἡμεῖς δὲ πρὸ τοῦ μὲν ᾠόμεθα, νῦν δ' ἠπορήκαμεν . . .

Plato, Sophist

Being and Time (GA 2). Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, New York, Harper & Row, 1962.
This is the first English translation of Heidegger's most famous work, Sein und Zeit.

Sein und Zeit was originally intended to be in two parts, of three divisions each, but it was published with just the first two divisions. Heidegger needed to publish something substantial to get promoted in the German academic world. After much delay he published this work in 1927. Its publication was a sensation, spreading Heidegger's reputation far beyond the circle of philosophy students that had been gathering to hear him lecture. Today it is considered by many to be the most important philosophical work of the 20th century.

The book has two introductions. At the end of the second introduction, Heidegger lays out the plan for the entire work.

[O]ur treatment of the question of Being branches out into two distinct tasks, and out treatise will thus have two parts:

Part One: the Interpretatioon of Dasein in terms of temporality, and the explication of time as the transcendental horizon for the question of Being.

Part Two: basic features of a phenomenological destruction of the history of ontology, with the problematic of Temporality as out clue.

Part One has three divisions
1. the preparatory fundamental analysis of Dasein;
2. Desein and temporality;
3. time and Being.

Part Two likewise has three divisions
1. Kant's doctrine of schematism and time, as a preliminary stage in a problematic of Temporality;
2. the ontological foundation of Descartes' 'cogito sum', and how the medieval ontology has been taken over into the problematic of the 'res cogitans';
3. Aristotle's essay on time, as providing a way of discriminating the phenomenal basis and the limits of ancient ontology.

P. 63-64

Only divisions one and two of part one were published.

Dasein is not an attribute or property of a human entity.

[I]t follows that Being-in is not a 'property' which Dasein sometimes has and sometimes does not have, and without which it could just be just as well as it could be with it. It is not the case that man 'is' and then has, by way of an extra, a relationship-of-Being towards the 'world'--a world with which he provides himself occasionally.

P. 84

This is the passage where Heidegger first describes unheimlich, the uncanny.

In anxiety one feels uncanny. Here the peculiar indefiniteness of that which Dasein finds itself alongside in anxiety, comes proximally to expression: the nothing and nowhere. But here uncanniness also means not-being-at-home . . . as Dasein falls, anxiety brings it back from its absorption in the world. Everyday familiarity collapses. Dasein has been individualized, but individualized as Being-in-the-world. Being-in enters into the existential mode of the not-at-home. Nothing else is meant by our talk about uncanniness.

P. 233

Dasein is a precondition for Being.

Of course only as long as Dasein is (that is, only as long as an understanding of Being is ontically possible), 'is there' Being. When Dasein does not exist, 'independence' 'is' not either, nor 'is' the 'in-itself'. In such a case this sort of thing can be neither understood nor not understood. In such a case even entities within-the-world can neither be discovered not lie hidden. In such a case it cannot be said that entities are, not can it be said that they are not. But now, as long as there is an understanding of Being and therefore an understanding of presence-at-hand, it can indeed be said that in this case entities will still continue to be.

P. 255

Truth is hermeneutic, if it is to be understood philosophically.

"Being-true" ("truth") means to-be-uncovering. But is not this a highly arbitrary was to define "truth"? By such drastic ways of defining this concept we map succeed in eliminating the idea of agreement from the conception of truth. Must we not pay for this dubious gain by plunging the 'good' old tradition into nullity? But while our definition is seemingly arbitrary, it contains only the necessary Interpretation of what was primordially surmised in the oldest tradition of ancient philosophy and even understood in a pre-phenomenological manner.

Philosophy is primordial rhetoric.

[T]he ultimate business of philosophy is to preserve the force of the elemental words in which Dasein expresses itself, and to keep the common understanding from levelling them off to that unintelligibility which functions in turn as a source of psuedo-problems.

P. 262

Dasein is required for truth.

Dasein, as constituted by disclosedness, is essentially in the truth. Disclosedness is a kind of Being whih is essential to Dasein. 'There is' truth only in so far as Dasein is and so long as Dasein is. Entities are uncovered only when Dasein is; and only as long as Dasein is, are they disclosed. Newton's laws, the principle of contradiction, any truth whatsoever--these are true as long as Dasein is. Before there was any Dasein, there was no truth; nor will there be any after Dasein is no more. For in such a case truth as disclosedness, uncovering, and uncoveredness, cannot be. Before Newton's laws were discovered, they were not 'true'; it does not follow that they were false, or even that they would become false if ontically no discoveredness were any longer possible. Just as little does this 'restriction' impy that the Being-true of 'truths' has in any way been diminished.

To say that before Newton his laws were neither true no false, cannot signify that before him there were no such entities as have been uncovered and pointed out by those laws. Through Newton the laws become true; and with them, entities become accessible in themselves to Dasein. Once entities have been uncovered, they show themselves precisely as entities which beforehand already were. Such uncovering is the kind of Being which belongs to 'truth'.

P. 269

Heidegger addresses the issue the matter of relativism in several places.

Because the kind of Being that is essential to truth is of the charcater of Dasein, all truth is relative to Dasein's Being. Does this relativity signify that all truth is subjective? If one interprets 'subjective' as 'left to the subject's discretion', then it certainly does not. For uncovering, in the sense which is most its own, takes asserting out of the province of 'subjective' discretion, and brings the uncovering Dasein face to face with the entities themselves. And only because 'truth', as uncovering, is a kind of Being which belongs to Dasein, can it be taken out of the province of Dasein's discretion. Even the 'universal validity' of truth is rooted solely in the fact that Dasein can uncover entities in themselves and free them. Only so can these entities themselves be binding for every possible assertion - that is, for every possible way of pointing them out.

P. 270

Where skepticism fits into the scheme of truth is described.

A sceptic can no more be refuted than the Being of truth can be 'proved'. And if any sceptic of the kind who denies the truth, factically is, he does not even need to be refuted. In so far as he is, and has understood himself in this Being, he has obliterated Dasein in the desperation of suicide; and in doing so, he has also obliterated truth. Because Dasein, for its own part, cannot first be subjected to proof, the necessity of truth cannot be proved either. It has no more been demonstrated that there ever has 'been' an 'actual' sceptic (though this is what has at bottom been believed in the refutations of scepticism, in spite of what these undertake to do) than it has been demonstrated that there are any 'eternal truths'. But perhaps such sceptics have been more frequent than one would innocently like to have true when one tries to bowl over 'scepticism' by formal dialectics.

P. 271

Being itself transcends both presence-at-hand and readiness-to-hand.

If, however, the thematizing of the present-at-hand within-the-world is a change-over from the concern which discovers by circumspection, then one's practical Being alongside the ready-to-hand is something which a transcendence of Dasein must already underlie."

Such understanding of Being can remain neutral. In that case, readiness-to-hand and presence-at-hand have not yet been distinguished; still less have they been conceived ontologically. But if Dasein is to be able to have any dealings with a context of equipment, it must understand something like an involvement, even if it does not do so thematically: a world must have been disclosed to it. With Dasein's factical existence, this world has been disclosed, if Dasein indeed exists essentially as Being-in-the-world. And if Dasein's Being is completely grounded in temporality, then temporality must make possible Being-in-the-world and therewith Dasein's transcendence; this transcendence in turn provides The support for concernful being alongside entities within-the-world, whether this Being is theoretical or practical.

P. 415

How to think about space, following Hegel.

[S]pace is the abstract multiplicity of the points which are differentiable in it. Space is not interrupted by these; but neither does it arise from them by way of joining them together. Though it is differentiated by differentiable points which are space themselves, space remains, for its part, without any differences. The differences themselves are of the same character as that which they differentiate. Nevertheless, the point, in so far as it differentiates anything in space, is the negation of space, though in such a manner that, as this negation, it itself remains in space; a point is space after all. The point does not lift itself out of space as if it were something of another character. Space is the "outside-of-one-another" of the multiplicity of points [Punktmannigfaltigkeit], and it is without any differences.

P. 481


In 1978 this translation was reprinted in paperback by Blackwell Publishers in the UK.    Google

In 2008 this translation was reprinted in paperback by Harper Perennial Modern Classics, with a helpful introduction by Taylor Carman. The pagination remains the same.


Being and Time (GA 2). Translated by Joan Stambaugh, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1996.
The new, in 1996, translation. This translation includes marginal notes Heidegger wrote in his copy of Sein und Zeit.
Table of Contents


Being and Time (GA 2). Translated by Joan Stambaugh, revised by Dennis J. Schmidt, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2010.
Dennis J. SChmidt's revision is a substantial improvement. Errors have been emended. The German is included after words whose original meaning is ambiguous in English. Greeks passages in the original now appear in Greek. Dasein is printed without a hyphen, as in Sein und Zeit. The font is easier.

Books about Being and Time

Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's "Being and Time," Division I. Hubert L. Dreyfus, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1991.

'Being-in-the-World is a guide to one of the most influential philosophical works of this century; Division I of Part One of Being and Time, where Martin Heidegger works out an original and powerful account of being-in-the-world which he then uses to ground a profound critique of traditional ontology and epistemology. Hubert Dreyfus's commentary opens the way for a new appreciation of this difficult philosopher, revealing a rigorous and illuminating vocabulary that is indispensable for talking about phenomenon of world.'

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A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Revised Edition. Michael Gelven, DeKalb, Illinois, Northern Illinois University Press, 1989.


A Conversation With Martin Heidegger Heidegger on Language and the Human Being. Raymond Tallis, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2002.

An erudite discussion, in the second person singular, about Being & Time.


The Fragile We: Ethical Implications of Heidegger's Being and Time. Lawrence Vogel, Evanston, Illinois, Northernwestern University Press, 1994.

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A Guide to Heidegger's Being and Time. Magda King, Edited by John Llewelyn, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2001.

This includes Magda King's Heidegger's Philosophy [see below], page references updated for the Stambaugh translation of Being and Time, and greatly extended to include Division II.

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Heidegger. Jonathan Rée, New York, Routledge, 1999.


Heidegger's Being & Time A Reader's Guide. William Blattner, London, Continuum, 2006.

I'm not sure what it means that guides to this book, and general introductions to Heidegger, are appearing more frequently, but that is a good thing because usually the quality of the material improves with each new release. This book reinforces that trend. The exposition is excellent and easy to read--as explanations of Heidegger go--and there are many analogies and examples that will appeal to contemporary students. More so than other guides, this one concentrates on a close reading of the text, with an introductory chapter setting the milleau in which the book appeared and a final chapter on the book's influence. Heidegger's text is especially well placed in the context of the philosophy that came before, and there are many footnotes directing readers who want to peruse particular aspects.

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Heidegger's Being & Time. William Large, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2008.

This introduction to Being and Time starts by first placing the book in the context of Husserl's phenomenology, mostly through the History of the Concept of Time lectures. Then Being and Time is explained by examining five major themes. In his introduction the author says this volume is different from the other guides to B&T because it is oriented by Heidegger's reception in France, but the content is mainly about explaining B&T itself, with scattered references to Blanchot, Derrida, and Foucault; the most referenced interpreter is Dreyfus. Study aids in the back include a glossary and a section on further reading that does a good job of summarizing related lectures and essays by Heidegger, and the most popular books in the seconday literature.

Here's an entry from the glossary.

Facticity Faktizität
It does not mean factual in the sense of 2 + 2 = 4, bus describes the way in which our existence is always determined to some extent by our past. The fact that I speak English rather than Japanese, can be an astronaut but not an Aztec warrior, for example, is all part of facticity. The ontological basis of facticity is throwness,w hose temporal horizon is the past.


Heidegger's Being & Time. E.F. Kaelin, Tallahassee, Florida State University Press, 1988.

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Heidegger's Being and Time Critical Essays. Edited and with an introduction by Richard Polt, Lanham, Maryland, Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

This collection of essays is a good introduction to the current scholarship's understanding of this key text, although it is not recommended for beginners--for whom this site continues to recommend Polt's first book. The book has evidently been assembled with care as several strands (temporality as timeliness, and ontology's status as a science) are developed through the essays which begin by examining Being and Time's status, explain its main themes, including the attempt to overcome Cartesian subjectivity, and finally reflects on them with the hindsight of Heidegger's later work.

Daniel Dahlstrom's contribution, Genuine Timeliness, begins by noting the questions about time that Heidegger set for himself in his study of humans' way of being, then examines his answers, and concludes with a neat summary of the Five Aspects of Genuine Timeliness: (1) the integrated character of its modes, (2) the primacy of the future, (3) the finitude, (4) the ecstasis and the horizon, and (5) The unfolding.

Heidegger originally conceived of Being and Time as a work in two parts, with the published volume containing only two thirds of the first part. Here Theodore Kisiel describes part of Heidegger's attempt to elaborate the last third of part one in his summer 1927 lectures.

Temporality (Temporalität) is the temporality (Zeitlichkeit) that is interpreted in the existential analytic, when it is thematized in its function as condition of possibility of the pre-ontological and ontological understanding of being, and thus of ontology as such. In this function, Temporality is "the most original temporalizing of temporality as such". As the most original temporality, it is the most radical--the temporality that is fundamentally factical down to its abyssal ground, that is, the "appropriating event" (Er-eignis), if we may use the later Heidegger's favorite word. But in 1927 Heidegger hesitates to push forward into the concealed depths of temporality, "above all with regard to its Temporality," and even to enter "the problem of the finiteness of time".

P. 195-196

Dieter Thomä describes how Heidegger abandoned the attempt in B&T to derive human spatiality from temporality.

Previously it was declared that this "Temporality [Temporalität]" was a (merely "turned" around) aspect of the temporality (Zeitlichkeit) of Dasein. The failure of this conjunction is now attested to indirectly in that Heidegger in his later self-critique repudiates the derivation of space from the temporality of Dasein and instead acribes it to time as a movement in the "event of appropriation" or "enowning" (Ereignis). He thereby breaks apart the temporality of Dasein and the Temporality of Being--contrary to the programs of Being and Time. The failure to unite these two sides is nothing other than the failure of the completion of Being and Time.

P. 218-219

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Heidegger's Philosophy. Magda King, New York, Dell, 1964.

The first commentary in English. Mainly about Division I.

Martin Heidegger on Being Human An Introduction to Sein und Zeit. Richard Schmitt, New York, Random House, 1969.


On Heidegger's Being and Time. Simon Critchley and Reiner Schürmann, edited by Steven Levine, London, Routledge, 2008.

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Routledge Philosophy Guidebook To Heidegger and Being and Time. Stephen Mulhall, London, Routledge, 1996.

'Heidegger is one of the most controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. His writings are notoriously difficult; they both require and reward careful readings. Being & Time, his first major publication, remains to this day his most influential work.

'Being & Time introduces and assesses:
Heidegger's life and the background of Being & Time
The ideas and text of Being & Time
Heidegger's continuing importance to philosophy and his contribution to the intellectual life of our century.

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Created 1995/5/26
Last updated 2013/4/29