I was looking at this

enter image description here

The Origins of Responsibility By François Raffoul

It's not immediately clear what it means to be responsible but not accountable. Is it just the very loud claim that Dasein's responsibility is robust, and immune to determinism etc.?

This only is the grand emancipation: that no one be made responsible any longer, that the mode of being be not traced back to a causa prima, that the world be not regarded as a unity, either as sensorium or as "spirit;" – it is only thereby that the innocence of becoming is again restored

And it's not immediately clear what it means to not hold yourself responsible for anything, without falling into passive nihilism.

What is being said here, either by Heidegger or Nietzsche? All I can think of is the idea, similar to Sartre's, that there is no responsibility without freedom.

1 Answer 1


Please excuse my lack of quotes and perhaps improper terminology. Heidegger is abound with very specific terminology.

To be responsible but not accountable is a very subtle distinction in most concepts of the word. But the difference is clearly defined in Heidegger's definition of Dasein, "This entity which each of us is himself…we shall denote by the term 'Dasein'". Since Dasein is being of and in accordance with its true self "Being-in-the-world", the responsibility is in acting in accordance with this self.

You are therefore not accountable to any rules or demands. You are acting naturally as you should and are taking into account nothing but what is encapsulated in the definition of a Dasein.

Accountability is instead an attribute of an object that is "ready-at-hand", because its purpose is ascribed to it. Since a Dasein has no externally assigned attributes or roles, Dasein is not accountable to anything but itself (and only in terms of being responsible to be itself).

Also look up...

  • "Thingness": This should help add more depth to the foundational concept that helps elucidate the personal nature of Heidegger's concept.

  • "The Them-self": This should give you specific references to better understand difference between Heidegger's definition of one's true self (Dasein) and the general conception that we are agents interacting with and adapting to the world around us.

  • ah yeah good clear answer, shame about the lack of quotes ! i'm going to accept it anyway, but it makes a lot of intuitive sense
    – user6917
    Apr 17, 2016 at 18:02
  • hi i'm chewing on this again, just wondered how you felt this linked up with the ideal of (willing) the eternal return. can't see anyone bearing responsibility for all things, if they have values
    – user6917
    May 25, 2016 at 0:54
  • I can't say I have read Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche, and I don't recall it being discussed in Being and Time. May 25, 2016 at 1:24
  • ok, ta for the reply
    – user6917
    May 25, 2016 at 3:19

You must log in to answer this question.