Chapter IV: Being-in-the-World as Being-With...

Review: We have noted how the task of chapters 2, 3, & 4 is to lay out the existential structure of Being-in-the-world.

Chapter 3 took its phenomenal point of departure from our dealings with the world of entities around us (das Umwelt). We characterized the Being of those entities so encountered in our concernful activity as Readiness-to-hand (Zuhandenheit). And we saw further that these 'entities' (beings, Seiende), conceived of as equipment within an equipmental totality, were assigned to referential contexts which were in turn bound up with a series of involvements. For example, the hammer was 'involved in' hammering in order to fasten a plank, 'in order to' build a shed 'in order to' provide protection from bad weather. But this 'series of involvement's' (in which 'entities' were bound) led to a being of a decisively different character. The involvements led to a 'for-the-sake-of-which' i.e., the hammering was done in order to build a shed for the sake of Dasein.

With this disclosure we saw the dual relation of Dasein and world: for the worldhood of the world was disclosed to be precisely this referential totality of involvements. And so, in one sense, we have Dasein as ground i.e., as constitutive for this totality of involvements. But on the other hand, we saw that Dasein has already been placed in a totality of involvements i.e., that Dasein is in-the-world and, as such, Dasein is grounded in the world.

Today, we are to seek a fuller understanding of how Dasein is a Being-in-the-world by considering an aspect of the world that was 'announced' in the analysis of chapter 3, but not studied on it own.

In the world considered from the perspective of our dealings with entities within the environment, Heidegger noted that we come across other Dasein e.g., in 'making' a shoe (a) the use of the leather and nails points beyond the workshop to the materials used and those others who provided the materials and (b) the user of the shoe i.e., those others who are going to wear the shoe.

Thus the phenomenon of Being-with-others is already contained within the horizon of 'our world of concerns' (Besorge). And so a full analysis of Being-in-the-world must involve an analysis of Being-with-others: this is the task of Chapter 4


But the question of 'others' provokes the question of 'self' (the 'I' who stands over and against the others) and, indeed, the general problem of the 'who' of Dasein. (1) We must see how all these moments go together. And there is a deeper task: (2) The goal of the Dasein Analytic is to uncover the Being of Dasein: what is the significance of an investigation into the 'who' of Dasein in light of this project? (will the 'who' of everyday Dasein tend to conceal Dasein from itself? And if so, how can this be done?)


Section 25 initial characterizations:

(1) The 'who' answers in terms of mine (section 9). Dasein is in each case mine.

Thus, I am Dasein and so it would 'appear' that the 'I', the subject, is the answer to the 'who' of Dasein. But what is this 'I'?

Traditionally the"I" gets conceived of as a kind of 'substratum': a unity of self within a plurality of experiences. Heidegger notes how this tacitly assumes the notion of a substance (and with that something present-at-hand, an abiding unity). Yet the 'essence' of Dasein is not a 'substance', but Existenz.

We must not misled here, the 'obviousness' of the question conceals its ontological problematic.

115/150 Heidegger makes an astounding statement: It just could be that the who of everyday Dasein just is not the "I myself".

Objection: But what of the self-evidence of the "I" ? (Descartes, Husserl)

Heidegger -- within the movement of the phenomenological interpretation we are simply not given an 'I': this does not conform to the 'giveness' of "the things themselves".

We are with-others, this is what first manifests itself: The 'who' does not get its direction from an 'I', rather -- in existing -- Dasein is Dasein-with (Mit-Dasein): This is what must first be investigated with respect to the 'who' of Dasein.

Section 26 Dasein-with and Being-with

In the environment we encounter others: the field that we 'walk by' but do not 'tread upon', the book that we bought at so & so's, etc.

This is to say, we encounter entities (beings, Seiende) like ourselves (i.e., neither ready-to-hand nor present-at-hand).

The sense of 'other' is quite broad and includes ourselves: there is an intimacy with others -- this emphasizes the connectedness of Dasein with others: it is ontologically 'intimate' (but, of course, this need not apply ontically in the ordinary sense of intimate). As an existential structure, Being-in-the-world involves Being-with-others.

On the ontological level, just as Dasein is never without a world (i.e., 'worldless') so too it is never without others (i.e., an 'isolated' "I").

Now it is within this broad sense of Being-with-others that Heidegger wants to deduce the condition for the possibility of such an existential structure: This encounter with others presupposes a being that can encounter others: Being-with-others presupposes the possibility of Being-with.

Being-with (Mitsein) is thus the ontological existential structure that Heidegger wished to disclose in this section.

Being-with is the condition for the possibility of ontically being-with-others (a 'chair' doesn't have this possibility, this structure).

Ontically 'being alone' is merely a privative mode of this structure (Dasein, of course, still has this existential structure even when it is alone). Only because Dasein is Being-with can it encounter others, only because Dasein is Being-with can there 'be' others for it.

Mitsein => Mitdasein


Now, the character of being (towards others) must be different from the character of being towards entities ready-to-hand and present-at-hand (concern, Besorge).

Heidegger calls this character of being Fursorge: we comport ourselves to others in the manner of 'caring for,' 'solicitude.'

'Caring for' is ontologically neutral: it has various modes ranging from the negative (indifference) to the positive. Positive (i.e., 'active') comportment towards others can be (1) 'inauthentic': a leaping in for the other, a 'taking care' of their possibilities for them. (2) 'authentic': a freeing of the other for their possibilities.

Heidegger says that for the most part we exist in a mixture of these modes of fursorge.


This way of showing how Dasein encounters others (i.e., as within das Umwelt) and how Dasein is essentially Being-with will now allow us to re-enter the question of 'the who'.

What is phenomenally most proximate is not the 'I', but rather the concernful activities of our everyday world (which are now seen to essentially include our Being-with-others).

What is the situation of 'the self' within this everyday world? What is the structure of Dasein in its everyday being-with-others? It is an answer to this that will yield an answer to the 'who' of everyday Dasein.

Section 27

Heidegger analyses those structures that characterize Dasein's everyday Being-with-others.

Everyday being with one another is characterized by several structural moments: distantiality, averageness, leveling down, publicness, etc. (Kierkeggard first pointed out these structures in a book called The Present Age.)

Essential to all these moments is the status that one has to others within the world (i.e. the status of 'the self'): it is a status of subjection (or submission) to the plans, goals, desires of others --

But, N.B., the status of these others is not that of a particular group, nor something separate from oneself -- rather, it is the ambiguous "they" (which are everywhere, but nowhere, which are everyone, but no one in particular). This is the structure of Das Man.

This gives us the structure of one's everyday Being-with-others and with that, it gives us the answer to the 'who' of everyday Dasein:

128/166 The 'who' of everyday Dasein is Das Man.
129/167 The self of everyday Dasein is the they-self.


The final pages point to a deeper problem: The they-self and self-understanding: The distinction between the they-self (which is not-mine) and the authentic self (which is mine). There must be an existentiell modification in Dasein's everyday being-in-others if the analysis is to uncover the Being of Dasein: Dasein must be wrested from its dispersal in the they.

Question: How can this be achieved? Is there a phenomenal structure at hand that can 'attest' to such a modification? (These questions will receive an answer in the analysis of Angst).

Return to HomePage

Copyright: Robert Cavalier at
Department of Philosophy / Carnegie Mellon University