From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Heidegger”:

Viewed in relation to Being and Time, the central philosophical theme in these early years is Heidegger's complex critical relationship with Husserl's transcendental phenomenology… we find Heidegger arguing that Husserl's view, that philosophy should renounce theory and concentrate on the things given directly in consciousness, is flawed because such givenness is itself a theoretical construct.

Heidegger thinks that the direct perceptions of consciousness are not given (or self-evident), and they cannot be studied without a theoretical framework, because the way Husserl studied them had more assumptions (about categories and so on) than Husserl realized?

For the young Heidegger, then, it is already the case that phenomenological analysis starts not with Husserlian intentionality (the consciousness of objects), but rather with an interpretation of the pre-theoretical conditions for there to be such intentionality.

Why is “consciousness of objects” termed “intentionality”, which commonly has the meaning “to have a plan, goal or expectation”?

This idea will later be central to, and elaborated within, Being and Time, by which point a number of important developments (explained in more detail later in this article) will have occurred in Heidegger's thinking: the Husserlian notion of formal ontology (the study of the a priori categories that describe objects of any sort, by means of our judgments and perceptions) will have been transformed into fundamental ontology (a neo-Aristotelian search for what it is that unites and makes possible our varied and diverse senses of what it is to be);

So Husserl identifies the “components” of consciousness by observing - for example, that any given object has a color, a shape, a size, a texture, an identity, and so on, and therefore these must be aspects of the system of consciousness. Whereas Heidegger wishes to ask if there is any single thing uniting all things which are said to “be”?

Husserl's transcendental consciousness (the irreducible thinking ego or subject that makes possible objective inquiry) will have been transfigured into Dasein (the inherently social being who already operates with a pre-theoretical grasp of the a priori structures that make possible particular modes of Being);

Heidegger’s concept of a “self” or conscious being is someone who exists via a pre-endowed set of capacities for identifying things that exist, i.e., a cognitive system that can recognise objects? Unlike Husserl, Heidegger wants not to identify what the structure of conscious experience is but how the system of consciousness works to enable such a structure of experience?

and Husserlian intentionality (a consciousness of objects) will have been replaced by the concept of care or Being-in-the-world (a non-intentional, or perhaps pre-intentional, openness to a world).

Heidegger thinks that on the lowest level of consciousness there is no recognition of objects but there is still a kind of inherent sense of primitive existence, i.e. the consciousness of a microorganism for example?

On Heidegger's interpretation (see Sheehan 1975), Aristotle holds that since every meaningful appearance of beings involves an event in which a human being takes a being as—as, say, a ship in which one can sail or as a god that one should respect—

I don’t fully understand this. Aristotle means that every perceived and identified object is interpreted in some way, to have any kind of identity or characteristics, for example?

what unites all the different modes of Being is that they realize some form of presence (present-ness) to human beings.

Aristotle thinks that in spite of the wide variety of forms, of things that exist, what they have in common is the fact that they exist? Or does he mean they are perceivable by humans?

This presence-to is expressed in the ‘as’ of ‘taking-as’. Thus the unity of the different modes of Being is grounded in a capacity for taking-as (making-present-to) that Aristotle argues is the essence of human existence.

Same question, I don’t understand if Aristotle is trivially saying that what all Beings have in common fundamentally is that they at minimum exist, or if he means they have a special property relative to human consciousness, that they have to be perceivable or something.

For Heidegger, taking-as is grounded not in multiple modes of presence, but rather in a more fundamental temporal unity (remember, it's Being and time, more on this later) that characterizes Being-in-the-world (care).

So Heidegger rejects Aristotle’s situating of “presence” as the essential feature of “something existing” and instead prefers “temporal unity”?

Thank you

  • 2
    Heidegger mainly argues Husserl's judgement bracket (epoche) is still theory-laden albeit much less than most other metaphysics, whose theory is to concentrate on the things given directly in consciousness, so Heidegger basically rejects the essence of Husserlian earlier phenomenology, no objective thing given in consciousness can be attained or dreamed of. And this is consistent with the root structure of Husserl and Brentano's concept of intentionality, that all consciousness is consciousness about something and there is no consciousness cut off from an object. Thus his later Dasein... Feb 13, 2022 at 2:40
  • I have somehow still never had a spark with the concept of “intentionality”. It has yet to befall me as either true, if interpreted in one way, or interesting at all, if interpreted another. I would like to know what people think the opposite is, and if a school of thought exists behind the denying of intensionality? Then at least I could see better what the claim/argument even is. As of now I find it meaninglessly un-disagreeable. May 23, 2023 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


The OP quotes

Husserlian intentionality (a consciousness of objects) will have been replaced by the concept of care or Being-in-the-world (a non-intentional, or perhaps pre-intentional, openness to a world)

on which he comments

Heidegger thinks that on the lowest level of consciousness there is no recognition of objects but there is still a kind of inherent sense of primitive existence, i.e. the consciousness of a microorganism for example?

This is, critically, how Heidegger moves on from Husserl. Care is with Dasein, and Dasein is not any part of consciousness, which is cast more as an unreliable epiphenomenon of Dasein. Dasein is rather more esoteric, as indicated in this quote from Being & Time (Macquarrie & Robinson trans.), page 426

The 'between' which relates to birth and death already lies in the Being of Dasein. On the other hand, it is by no means the case that Dasein 'is' actual in a point of time, and that, apart from this, it is 'sur­rounded' by the non-actuality of its birth and death. Understood exis­tentially, birth is not and never is something past in the sense of something no longer present-at-hand; and death is just as far from having the kind of Being of something still outstanding, not yet present-at-hand but coming along. Factical Dasein exists as born; and, as born, it is already dying, in the sense of Being-towards-death. As long as Dasein factically exists, both the 'ends' and their 'between' are, and they are in the only way which is possible on the basis of Dasein's Being as care.

  • Yeah, that is one hell of a passage. I’m actually surprised I can come back to this after so much time and learn more from it. I am getting the idea that Heidegger thinks there is a way more fundamental category from which to analyze everything, than mere consciousness. That is an interesting idea, but I haven’t been convinced of it yet. I also have no idea why he calls Dasein “care”. May 23, 2023 at 0:42
  • 1
    @hmltn It's care as in Dasein's own concern (Sorge) for its interconnected reality of concerns spanning into the future. Every life-form 'takes care' to function viably at any number of levels, from cellular to city, although Dasein is aimed at the lntelligent, sentient organism level. May 23, 2023 at 7:49
  • Thanks. I love your answer and decided to accept it, but I feel like you know a lot on this, so if you could add more, expand on what you said, I’d love it even more. Thank you. Jun 28, 2023 at 10:17
  • 1
    There is still plenty to consider. Might be a while though. I heard Heidegger said he ‘didn’t have time’ to delve into the subject of consciousness. Too busy with Being I suppose. Jul 21, 2023 at 8:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .