Sorge is a concept used by Heidegger. Its defined by Miriam-Webster as:

concern, care; especially : a feeling bordering on anxiety

and is etmologically derived from

from Old High German Sorga

Notably the etymology of the English word Sorrow by the same dictionary points out that its derived from:

Middle English sorow, from Old English sorg; akin to Old High German Sorga.

Whereas Care is derived from:

Middle English, from Old English Caru; akin to Old High German Kara lament

Why is Sorge important in Heidegger? What makes it important for him?

  • cos care is the being of Dasein, and Dasein is the being that has Being as an issue for it, which is the question H. is asking
    – user6917
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 13:28
  • 1
    why does X take interest in Y is a little vague. you would be better placed asking a question from your reading of the book itself
    – user6917
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 19:37
  • @user3293056: maybe; I'm asking how is it different from the usual english meaning if the word; as sorge untranslated - its highlighted as a technical term; as care its not - and then its easy to miss for example the connotation of anxiety; as thats not a value thats usually assigned to that word. Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 21:06
  • to some extent you already answered your own question tho. but likewise, asking for a sufficient definition of a technical term isn't always helpful either. i wish i could help but my understanding of being and time is piecemeal at best. you may want to check one of the few heidegger "encyclopedias" that appear in googlebooks, tho
    – user6917
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 21:19
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    @user3293056: useful suggestion, see the excerpt from Michaels Innes dictionary below; it clarifies the structure of temporality of Sorge that you indicate - the three 'dimensions' of time. Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 15:46

5 Answers 5


"Why is Sorge important in Heidegger? What makes it important for him?"

Care is the focal point of being because without taking care, being careful, nothing can be done. Without taking care to organise thoughts one cannot think. At the cellular level, if the cells of a plant aren't careful in their functioning the plant cannot grow properly. It's a scalable concept, (my interpretation).

"Dasein's facticity is such that its Being-in-the-world has always dispersed [zerstreut] or even split itself up into definite ways of Being-in. The multiplicity of these is indicated by the following examples: having to do with something, producing something, attending to something and looking after it, making use of something, giving something up and letting it go, undertaking, accomplishing, evincing, interrogating, considering, discussing, determining.... All these kind ways of Being-in have concern ('Bersorgen') as their kind of Being."

(Heidegger, - ref: Dasein)

  • Sorge is the structure of Dasein (in/of humans), explicitly not of other beings, like plants (which H. calls 'life')
    – jeroenk
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 9:03
  • I did add that this is my interpretation. I see care as part of the life drive. Care is the central manner in which the drive for mastery over environment proceeds; so basic that it functions on all levels of life, from the cellular to the conscious - thereby including plant life. I include plant life to make the point that care is not the preserve of conscious action, but that basic biological processes are 'careful', albeit in a different way. Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 9:17

The following is a summary/excerpt of Sorge (Care) in Michael Innes Heideggers Dictionary.

Heidegger uses three cognate words in the description of Care:

Sorge - properly the anxiety, worry arising out of apprehensions for the future; and refers as much to the inner state as well asexternal cause.

Besorgen - to get or provide something for oneself or someone

Fursorge - actively caring for someone who needs help; thus welfare (as in organised by charitible bodies or the state); or solicitude

The concepts are distinct in that Sorge pertains to Dasein itself; Besorgen to activities in the world; and Fursorge to being with others.

Sorge is the dominant mode of the triad, but inseperable from the other two; as a concept it distinguishes Heideggers project as phenomenological rather than objective and theoretical; our primary attitude towards the world is not cognitive as in Descartes & Husserls 'concern for known knowledge'; Heidgger indicates a temporal structure to this triad:

Sorge is concern for itself; and thus reflective; and thus concerned with its past.

Besorgen by being concerned with others is concerned with the present.

Fursorge by being directed to others (and not things); it thinks of the future and 'leaps ahead of the other' to give Sorge back to him.

Sorge thus unifies three features (or dimensions) of time: existentiality or being-ahead-of-itself, facticity or being-already-in-a-world and falling or being-alongside with others. Thus future, past and present; thus 'temporality reveals itself to be the sense of authentic care'.

Thus time in Heidgger relates not to the linear Newtonian dimension of ceaselessly regular and objective flow - physical time; nor to the cosmological cyclical time of the Vedas but of being here now, with a past behind us, a present at-hand, and a future ahead of us; and this is understood for an I, a You, a They and We and not for things.


Heidegger says:

the unity of the structure of care lies in its temporality

Being and Time 375, and it is oft noted throughout the 2ndary literature I've encountered that:

the three aspects of care correspond to the three dimensions of time.

Cambridge companion to H. page 156.

I had never seen anyone look at Sorge's etymology as you did in the OP, but it seems to have been linked to the forgetting of the meaning of Being.

Perhaps it would be fine to say that dasein cannot escape its guiltiness, and in the same way noone can be absolved of the question of the meaning of Being, what Heidegger "laments"?

More generally, his famed "authenticity" does not cut off the past or present or future from one another, else it would dissolve care.

  • 1
    not really sure what any of that meant, if your using someone else's stuff, don't just use it, cite it.
    – virmaior
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 5:40
  • What are the three dimensions of time? Physically there is only one; so I don't think Heidegger is relying on this interpretation of dimension; does he mean past - present - future? I agree with virmaior that is general courtesy to cite/link someone if you're using their work. Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 7:31
  • yes he means past present and future
    – user6917
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 8:09

Mozibur Ullah made very relevant comments on the problem of Sorge by referring to the two exactifying concepts used by Heidegger: Besorge and Fürsorge. In the background is lugging Heidegger's basic view of existing, not only as Dasein but be-ing in time and world, which is sometimes discussed as engagement. Then comes important, that Dasein never is existing in a void but always also Mitsein (con-vivir in Spanish) with 'others' and the different shades of Sorge include and express this connection. (Heidegger Sein und Zeit, 1967, unveränderte auflage, pp. 120-121)


care is the structure of the being of Dasein as being-in-the-world.

  • 2
    Welcome to Philosophy.SE. This answer is a little thin for our standards, can you elaborate?
    – user2953
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 7:16

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