Advancing the Debate about Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Death as a Possibility

DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.57051   PDF   HTML   XML   4,319 Downloads   5,378 Views  

Abstract

Heidegger’s understanding of death in terms of possibility has been debated for more than three decades. The main dispute is about the coherence of the concept of possibility. To advance the debate, we analyse the meaning of “death as a possibility” in three steps. Firstly, we delineate the notions of death and possibility in Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. Secondly, we analyse and evaluate the main opposed interpretations of death as a possibility. Thirdly, we discuss Heidegger’s assertion that death is a distinctive [ausgezeignete] possibility of Dasein. On the basis of the results, we claim that Heidegger provides an ontic-ontological and multilayered framework for the understanding of death. We further argue that one of those layers relates to death as a transcendent possibility for Dasein, which can be further characterised in terms of non-genuine, genuine and—what we call—deconstructive [Abbauende] authenticity. Finally, we suggest that deconstructive authenticity refers to Dasein’s authentic relationship to its own ontological annihilation. As this annihilation cannot be phenomenologically depicted, deconstructive authenticity implies that Dasein is, to a certain extent, free to depict the meaning of its death.

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Ettema, E. , Derksen, L. and Leeuwen, E. (2015) Advancing the Debate about Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Death as a Possibility. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5, 445-458. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.57051.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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