Could the Dasein be the brain or an activity of the brain?

Could the Dasein be the brain or an activity of the brain?

Heidegger characterizes Dasein as Being-in-the-World.

He also gives it a set of Equiprimordial modes of Being-in-the-World: Disclosedness, attunement, understanding and discourse.

Studies of the brain have found that if you stimulate certain areas of the brain you can get Dasein to disclose certain things.

For example: If you stimulate the C-fibres of the brain (whatever they are I am no neurologist and this is hear-say) then the subject reports the experience of pain. That is to say that the Dasein discloses the attunement of pain.

When I first began reading “Being and Time” I thought that Heidegger was saying that Dasein was consciousness (awareness) but I now know that consciousness is merely conscious of what Dasein discloses.

Phenomenology, as I understand it, is a method of interrogating reality from the 1st person subjective awareness and Heidegger assumes that reality appears as it is.

(On a side note I’ve noticed that every philosophical system has a starting point that has to be taken on faith and I believe that this is one of the starting points in Heidegger’s system. The other being being-in-the-world. Both of these are starting points that cannot be proven but act as a foundation.)

A problem I see with saying that Dasein is the brain is that the question “Is reality as it appears?” still remains. This is because the brain acts as a kind of radio. It modulates (that is changes) the input into something intelligible to consciousness; rather it changes the input into objects of consciousness.

Maybe the reason why I am so inclined to say that Dasein is the brain is because all the characterizations that Heidegger gives are activities. I think that he even says that Dasein is potentiality-for-being and each being is a kind of activity; that is an enactment of a possibility.

So is he saying that Dasein is possibility and if so then you can make the statement “Possibility enacts one of its possible possibilities.” which seems a bit absurd.

Maybe its just because in language we always have something that acts but here we’re having an activity that acts.

I don’t know – – – I’m in a bit of a shambles over this one!


12 thoughts on “Could the Dasein be the brain or an activity of the brain?

  1. If you are going to analogize Dasein or the brain to a radio or any technological instrument, then you have to be ready for a series of interpretations or replacements: the brain/dasein can be a computer, a telephone, a telescope, a microscope, an air pump, etc.. Not sure if this works but it is common and has been accorded the term reification: to treat as a thing, like stereotyping. Anyway, to get back on track, remember that Heidegger was a student of Husserl’s whose dissertation was written around the time Heidegger was born. Husserl discusses at length the relation between internal perception and external perception (sensory) which does seem to make the brain a giant sensory organ but it is also a processor. Husserl also wrote infinitely on logic and he ended with his text on the “Crisis,” which discusses the problem of technology and science. So, a few must reads here because although Heidegger eschews Husserl, the two are still on the same page. The best text by Husserl is I think his 1934 Judgment which is a culmination of his lifelong anti-psychologism. Heidegger is addressing his subject through the lens of the volk, of customs and beliefs that he thinks stretch all the back to ancient civilization like the Greeks. It is becoming clear that Heidegger uses phrases that could be interpreted as ideological or political statements and in his historical context some people consider them damning. This debate will not end soon especially among those whose first exposure to Heidegger had no relation to German Ideology. Heidegger may become a subject of political philosophy sooner than you think because the Being-Dasein relation smacks of a culture-individual relation which may be why dasein reveals what it does!

    • I picked up “Being and time” because Heidegger was being referred to in a lot of what i had been reading in socialism so i thought I’d go to source – – – already i have in mind reading husserl because he developed phenomenology – – it’s either that or being and nothingness by sartre – depends on how much free moolah I have on pay-day because I already own being and nothingness.

      But yeah when analogize you are forming a kind of map and it brings out certain features but ignores others.

      Anyway thankyou – is “Judgement” the go to text for husserl?

  2. I’ve still not read the ENTIRE book… only parts of it in a couple different undergraduate classes that dealt with Heidegger. However, I personally don’t think he made any assumptions about how reality appears “as it is.” He is only concerned with reality as it appears for Dasein, and it doesn’t seem to me that he ever tries to get outside of the perspective of Dasein. He avoids universals, he’s not attempting to see things “from the aspect of eternity,” but always and only to see things as Dasein sees things– after all, anything else would be impossible for us to see. He is always referring to reality from a very particular perspective, a human perspective, that of Dasein. Nothing else concerns him. So, he doesn’t assume that things appear for Dasein as they do.. he investigates them thoroughly. And I don’t think he assumes anything about how they would appear without Dasein (if thats even possible) at all.

    We must also remember that being-in-the-world isn’t the only definition of Dasein; it is one aspect of a multi-faceted definition. Another aspect is being-in-the-world-with-others. Being-with is as vital an aspect of our thrownness as is being-in. We can compare this to Marx’s theory of “species-being,” and I think it refers to ways in which our sociality is more fundamental to our being than is our individutality. If that is the case, then others are necessary for the very constitution of Dasein as being-with, and so an individual brain wouldn’t be nearly comprehensive enough to account for Dasein’s totality.

    To me Heidegger starts with the subjective experience, since that is the most apparent to Dasein, but he takes his phenomenology further and expands Dasein to include other human beings. So Dasein is always the human perspective as a whole. I would argue that Heidegger made explicit much of the “perspectivism” that has come to be associated with Nietzsche. Nietzsche provided the framework, Heidegger fleshed it out thoroughly and provides an entire metaphysics of the human perspective.

    • I’m still in the process of reading it – i just read a section a day – sometimes more – practice juggling, read a bit of heidegger, play a game of chess (and before read a bit of heidegger but now) read a bit of wittgenstien’s investigations, practice some more juggling, then write a blog post (I just use the blog as an excuse to maintain a writing habit really but it has become more than that) .

      I have to say thankyou for something. Your ideas about the self coming out of and from – or being formed in – the they has led to some truly delightful ideas – or rather articulations of what you’ve said – such as the self-unaware-of-its-own-selfhood is the crucible out in which the self is formed – as in we are born with no self – then we enter the crucible of social conditioning and our reaction to that determines our identity and shifts in identity.

      I think you missed out one of the main points I was trying to make in my critique – or rather attribution of dasein to the brain (remember i didn’t just say that the brain was dasein but that dasein could well be an activity of the brain) was that all the features of dasein that Heidegger delineates are activities – actions done or not done – and it seems bizarre to say that activity is being done by activity.

      The blog I’m just typing up into my word-processor to edit is a critique – or rather not a critique but… well I’ll let you read it and form your own opinions when i post it.

      Hope you’ve had an awesome day and have an awesome evening! I have an interview for an access course tomorrow!!!!!!!

  3. I would also add that based on the way Heidegger was passed on to me by those people (and in particular one single awesome professor) who have most influenced how I read Heidegger, being-in-the-world, being-with-others, being-toward-death, and all of the various other hyphenated terms he uses to characterize Dasein… these things aren’t just things that Dasein does, they are things that Dasein consists of. They are parts of Dasein just like my individual fingers, arms, and all organs are parts of my body. They go to constitute what I am. I think that is how Heidegger uses those terms in reference to Dasein.

    • I’ll give him a watch once I finish the book – then probably read the book again….

      I like to approach philosophical texts as fresh as possible so i don’t even read the introduction or anything about the text so i can see what i see in it before seeing what others see. Of course it’s unavoidable that i won’t hear or read some stuff about it but i try and maintain as clean a slate as possible before and whilst reading a text for the first time

  4. Heidegger writes:

    “I [Dasein] do not imagine a golden mountain within my consciousness or within my brain, but rather
    I relate it to a world, to a landscape, which in turn is again related to
    the world in which I exist bodily. The golden mountain is present as
    something imagined which is a specific mode of presence and which has
    the character of a world.”

    Zollikon Seminars, 162.

    • It went very well. I have to pick five unis and during the first week of the course we’re going to be doing our personal statements so hopefully I should be studying philosophy at university next september!!!!

      How was the wedding party hope you staggered from one enjoyable conversation to the next all the way through it 😀

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