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Heidegger is at times very critical / skeptical of later generations inheriting and applying the traditional Greek ontological frameworks. Chaos (χάος), as an unordered void state in cosmogonies in antiquity, were not explicitly addressed in Being in Time, though perhaps we can triangulate Heidegger's position by parsing through some of the core tenets.

On the one hand, all the neologisms: Dasein itself, de-distancing, being-in-the-world and with-Others seem to be necessary for the meta ontology Heidegger appears to be laying out in Being and Time, and would not be viable in "chaos."

On the other hand, I could also interpret chaos as a special case of Being. Heidegger's notion of "concealment" seems relevant here. The universe self-conceals as we go back in time, until everything truncates to chaos. Presumably this would still constitute Being, but not Dasein. Another notion that seems helpful here is Heidegger's fixation on the primordial. It seems odd to me that if Heidegger advocates taking the more primordial approach to experiencing equipment and such, then why does it have to ever stop? As we get more and more primordial, we would again arrive at chaos, if we were to follow the logic ad absurdum.

Question

Based on what Heidegger wrote in Being and Time, is there sufficient logic laid out for us to infer/parse the tea leaves on how Heidegger likely viewed χάος?

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A few indications.

Where MH uses the term χάος, he uses it in the Greek sense: crack, chasm.

Regarding being, what you're searching for is probably what MH refers to as the "oblivion of being."

Regarding MH and the German "Chaos", you could start in his first Nietzsche book (GA 6.1): Der Begriff des »Chaos« on page 506.

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  • “Now how does chaos come to play the aforementioned role of the knowable in determining the essence of knowledge? Where is there an occasion and impetus for reflection on cognition to characterize what cognition encounters as chaos, namely as "chaos" per se, not as any "chaos" in any respect? Is it the opposite of "order"?” - Der Begriff des »Chaos« 507 Aug 22, 2023 at 7:33
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Q. if Heidegger advocates taking the more primordial approach to experiencing … then why does it have to ever stop? As we get more and more primordial, we would again arrive at chaos

What is primordial to Heidegger is the authentic – proper to first-hand existence, so phenomenological – not ordinary consensus (inauthentic) reality. So primordial experience begins with one’s first notion and before that is nothing (experienced), but where potentially anything might occur. In ordinary terms this could be thought of as the biophysical basis for thought, but then that is reaching beyond the pure reasoning of what can be known for sure. Chaos is unlikely to appear in the realm of the known.

From Being & Time H. 338

If, therefore, we demonstrate that the 'time' which is accessible to Dasein's [ordinary] common sense is not primordial, but arises rather from authentic temporality, then, in accordance with the principle, "a potiori fit denominatio" [denomination from the more important], we are justified in designating as "primordial time" the [authentic] temporality which we have now laid bare.

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  • Helpful, but would still would like to delve into what else we could infer about Heidegger's stance on chaos aside from it not being in the realm of the known. Aug 21, 2023 at 9:26

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