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Does "Being-with-others" have an antonym?

If I, you or it did not have "Being-with-others" then what would that be? Just to illustrate what the phrase can mean, here's two quotes on Being-with

“So far as Dasein is at all, it has Being-with-one-another as its kind of Being” (Being and Time 26: 163)

and others

By ‘Others’ we do not mean everyone else but me—those over against whom the ‘I’ stands out. They are rather those from whom, for the most part, one does not distinguish oneself—those among whom one is too… By reason of this with-like Being-in-the-world, the world is always the one that I share with Others. (Being and Time 26: 154–5)

I'm asking because I am trying to make sense of what that phrase ("Being-with-others") means outside Heidegger's existential analytic; meaning, I doubt Heidegger explicitly asks this question.

Does being an individual and without another mean we are two or one; εγώ ἔστι και εσύ μη εργένης?

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    @Johan so I can think about the the neologism, what it has going for it etc., without just repeating phrases from Heidegger.
    – user64727
    Feb 13, 2023 at 20:00
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    Oh alright, you meant outside of the text/language of Heidegger and not outside of its thought, as I first interpreted it. It's indeed the first step to better understand his thought. Note that it might also help others answer the question if you could add a particular excerpt from Heidegger that puzzles you in which the term "Being-with-others" is used.
    – Johan
    Feb 13, 2023 at 20:34
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    I'm not trying to redefine Being-with-others to mean something different to Heidegger, if that's the question@Johan I don't have a specific instance of it I want help to understand, but I can find a quote that mentions it if you like?
    – user64727
    Feb 13, 2023 at 20:38
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    @identicon if you are not sure at anything, how it is possible to answer something that you ll understand or what? i think at first you need something that make you sure of something. Feb 15, 2023 at 11:55
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    I feel it's aall so confusing @άνθρωπος
    – user64727
    Feb 15, 2023 at 14:57

6 Answers 6

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Before any attempt at answering this question, one should address the unfortunately too common misconceptions that comes from those neologisms that are in appearance easy to understand. Namely, Being-with-others refers to an existential characteristic of the Dasein and not to an existentiell description (i.e. a description of how the Dasein lives).

Here is the relevant excerpt (SuZ, §26, p.164) followed by the translation of Stambaugh (correcting usages of "Da-sein" that should read "Dasein", a strange choice from Stambaugh):

Nach der jetzt durchgeführten Analyse gehört aber zum Sein des Daseins, um das es ihm in seinem Sein selbst geht, das Mitsein mit Anderen. Als Mitsein »ist« daher das Dasein wesenhaft umwillen Anderer. Das muß als existenziale Wesensaussage verstanden werden.

But, according to the analysis which we have now completed, being-with-others belongs to the being of Dasein, with which it is concerned in its very being. As being-with, Dasein "is" essentially for the sake of others. This must be understood as an existential statement as to its essence.

Here we see how speaking of being-with-others, and how it relates to the being that the Dasein is, immediately sets the discussion in the domain of existantiality. Whence the next question: what is meant by "existential" and "existentiell"? Heidegger writes (SuZ, §9, p.59):

Alle Explikate, die der Analytik des Daseins entspringen, sind gewonnen im Hinblick auf seine Existenzstruktur. Weil sie sich aus der Existenzialität bestimmen, nennen wir die Seinscharaktere des Daseins Existenzialien.

All explications arising from an analytic of Dasein are gained with a view toward its structure of existence. Because these explications are defined in terms of existentiality, we shall call the characteristics of being of Dasein existentials.

The capital term here is "structure": existential refers to the structures of the Being (Sein) of the Dasein (hence on the ontological side) that express themselves through the existentiel constitution of Dasein as being (Seiende), hence on the ontic side. This distinction should not be conflated with the essence and existence. Indeed, observe that most of the essential feature of a Dasein (having blue eyes, being friendly as a general trait) are existentiell as they can only be ontically meaningful. However, being friendly (or being a recluse) is only possible as an expression of the existential (hence structural) trait of being-with-others, which could also be seen as an essential (ontological) feature of the Dasein. As an illustration of this structural considerations, we could consider what we commonly call "objects". Objects all have some kind of materiality and this is actually a structural and ontological property of objects, as this materiality could be part of the definition of what an object is. Still, this property expresses itself ontically in many different way, taking for example a chair and a sheet of paper.

Further with this example, we could ask ourselves as you did, whether there is an antonym for the structural property of objects that we call "materiality". Obviously, we are tempted to say "immateriality", but there is something very unsatisfying with this answer as "immateriality" is not a structural property of objects and, as such, in the ontological realms of objects, does not mean anything. On the contrary, if we were to look for the antonym of an ontic notion for object like "heavy", we would be satisfied with "light", because it is also an ontic notion that applies to object (in virtue of the structural property of having a weight).

And same goes for the question, which now more precisely reads: "Does the existential property "Being-with-others" have an antonym?" In the domain of the existential structure of the Dasein, there can't be an antonym for it, as this very property determines the existential domain in which it is meaningful and so, where it couldn't coexists with its antonym (which would be a contradictory existential property). In a way, this is simply a more elaborate way to say, as you noted, that "[Dasein] has Being-with-one-another as its kind of Being". And conversely, "Being-with-others" is only meaningful in the context of the existential structure of the Dasein, so we could argue that, strictly sticking with the notion as developed in SuZ, there altogether can't be an antonym for it.

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"trying to make sense of what that phrase ("Being-with-others") means outside Heidegger's existential analytic"

In an absolutely postmodern sense, beyond complications of ideological difference, being-with-others would simply mean the network of all those people you are connected with, to greater or lesser extents. By contrast, in Heidegger's context of 1920's Germany it would have been wrapped up with ideas of Volk.

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  • So only German nationalists have Being-with-others?
    – user64727
    Feb 13, 2023 at 22:05
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    There is the difficulty of extrapolating existential Dasein to the polis. Trench camaraderie of WWI and who-knows-what-else going on, the take in the 1920's would be quite influenced. Today we could take a postmodern view. Feb 13, 2023 at 22:20
  • I always wonder what will come after postmodernism.
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:26
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Perhaps I might suggest "not-being-with-others".

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  • Not-being kind of forecloses any other conditions, eh?
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:25
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    @ScottRowe Ha! Indeed! Feb 14, 2023 at 11:44
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If there is no Heideggerian antonym available then you can do just what Heidegger does, which is just coin one:

Being-with-oneself

This a form of solitude where one is reflecting on oneself. For example, writing in a journal. Its's something that modernity eulogises as the neccesary condition to creativity.

In the Abrahamic religions, or to use an Islamic, the people of the book, thos is imposdible as God/Allah is always there. Thus solitide as eulogised by modernity is impossible. It's an aspect of the athiesm of modernity.

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  • self is not existing if one. self is an other too Feb 14, 2023 at 7:04
  • I think that a question about a particular neologism of an author should be answered inside the scope of the thought of said author.
    – Johan
    Feb 14, 2023 at 10:39
  • @Johan lets ask Heidegger then? Feb 14, 2023 at 11:56
  • both an pleasing and a kinda disappointing answer. i.e. i don't know what to do with any of this
    – user64727
    Feb 15, 2023 at 13:10
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The antonym can only be Being. I mean the implication is 'being'. I know that this is very difficult to comprehent. Yes, it is indeed very difficult to comprehent like other ideas.

The reason is: From our first thought about this question we will imagine that the antonym must be being-without-others. But when the word 'others' begins to give its meaning, at least two things must exist. Then there must be the existence of others. From your explanation even this must not happen in this case.

If you didn't mean this level, just use 'solitary'.

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  • Our first thought will be when you are a baby - no? And babies are generally not left on their own. You are reading back adult thoughts onto a baby which is oxymoronic: babies aren't adult. Feb 14, 2023 at 3:04
  • I was thinking of antonym as non-being, without others, that is: death. But I figured that wasn't what OP meant.
    – Scott Rowe
    Feb 14, 2023 at 11:23
  • @SonOfThought: Our "first thought" is not what you describe it to be. These are adult thoughts and even then most people don't think them even in adulthood. Feb 15, 2023 at 0:15
  • @MoziburUllah: I didn't mean to differentiate anything (about childhood or adulthood). It was about our normal thought process. Feb 15, 2023 at 11:09
  • j@ well I like both of your contributions, but I might agree with @ScottRowe at this juncture.
    – user64727
    Feb 15, 2023 at 14:49
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Being-with-other is a way of saying that there is no being in isolation. It is always against something else that is contrasted.

Being-in-isolation is a possible antonym, but even this can be rephrased as Being-with-other, other being nothingness (eg as in Hegel).

On the basis of such observations, Heidegger argues that to be Dasein at all means to Be-with: “So far as Dasein is at all, it has Being-with-one-another as its kind of Being” (Being and Time 26: 163).

Heidegger's Being-wirh - SEP

We can think of Being here as a concept of pure presence. It is not mediated by any other concept—or is not defined in relation to any other concept—and so is undetermined or has no further determination (EL §86; SL-M 82; SL-dG 59). It asserts bare presence, but what that presence is like has no further determination. Because the thought of pure Being is undetermined and so is a pure abstraction, however, it is really no different from the assertion of pure negation or the absolutely negative (EL §87). It is therefore equally a Nothing (SL-M 82; SL-dG 59). Being’s lack of determination thus leads it to sublate itself and pass into the concept of Nothing (EL §87; SL-M 82; SL-dG 59), which illustrates the dialectical moment.

But if we focus for a moment on the definitions of Being and Nothing themselves, their definitions have the same content. Indeed, both are undetermined, so they have the same kind of undefined content. The only difference between them is “something merely meant” (EL-GSH Remark to §87), namely, that Being is an undefined content, taken as or meant to be presence, while Nothing is an undefined content, taken as or meant to be absence. The third concept of the logic—which is used to illustrate the speculative moment—unifies the first two moments by capturing the positive result of—or the conclusion that we can draw from—the opposition between the first two moments. The concept of Becoming is the thought of an undefined content, taken as presence (Being) and then taken as absence (Nothing), or taken as absence (Nothing) and then taken as presence (Being). To Become is to go from Being to Nothing or from Nothing to Being, or is, as Hegel puts it, “the immediate vanishing of the one in the other” (SL-M 83; cf. SL-dG 60).

Hegel's Dialectics - SEP

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  • I want to accept this answer but I don't know you are right so won't
    – user64727
    Feb 19, 2023 at 20:42
  • See updated answer and references therein
    – Nikos M.
    Feb 19, 2023 at 21:10

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