Re: authenticity (fwd)

Christopher Rickey writes:

>As people who can read german (or are familiar with Derrida's objections
>to the french translation) would know, the word translated as "authentic"
>in english as "eigentlich", with the corresponding noun form
>"Eigentlichkeit", contains the word "eigen", or "own" (french: propre).
>As a metaphysical term, those categories designated as eigentlich are
>therefore those that belong (gehoren, another big word in
>Heidegger, even up to "The Principle of Indentity") essentially to
>Dasein; in Aristotle, this would be being understood as ousia, or what is
>the normal greek word for property (Habe, as Heidegger translates it).

>Now the problem. Heidegger assigns even "uneigentlich" ways of being
>to Dasein as "positive constituents," which is to say, properties that do
>not belong to being belong to being.

There is indeed an "eigen" in "Eigentlichkeit," but it has more to do with
"Aneignung" (appropriation) than with "Eigenschaft" (property). What
Heidegger is
trying to get at here is the notion of taking ownership of something, "making
it one's own"
(sich zu eigen machen). In authentic existence, I take ownership of
something that was
somehow already there, already at work in me, though without being fully
Husserl had identified a kind of authenticity to be found in theoretical
life. On his
analysis, when I merely repeat an assertion I have heard or read, I do
express a meaning,
but my meaning intention is empty. To fulfill the empty intention, I must
bring the things
themselves, the very things the assertion is about, to intuitive givenness.
The meaning
itself is the same in both cases, but my relation to it is different. Only
by bringing
fulfilment to my meaning intention can I can take genuine responsibility for
the truth of
what I assert. In doing so I cease to merely parrot what I have picked up
from others. I
make the meaning my own, so to speak; I become an authentic speaker and
Heidegger was trying to show that the structures of intentional
identified by Husserl are in fact derived from analogous but more basic
structures at work
in everyday, pretheoretical life. Why is it that theoretical life is
teleologically oriented
toward the fulfilment of meaning intentions, toward authentic speaking and
Ultimately, Heidegger thought, because everyday, pretheoretical life is
oriented toward
authentic existence, toward taking ownership of what one somehow already is.
I am not a theoretical subject, but rather an existing individual. When I
shift to from my
everyday way of being into a theoretical attitude, my way of comporting
myself toward
the world changes, but the structures that define my comportment are somehow
preserved. Authenticity remains a telos, though it takes on a different
It seems to me that much, maybe all, of Heidegger's existential analytic
needs to be
understood in this light: as an attempt to identify the original structures
of pre-theoretical
life from which the structures of intentional consciousness are derived.

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