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!


For a friend: What is dasein?

It may be a bit hashy because I’m still in the early stages of understanding it myself but I’ll give it a go.

I won’t do a Heidegger on you and put the answer before the getting to the answer so I’ll paste here what was going to be my last paragraph:

“It is Care (Giving a damn) that distinguishes Daseins from things that are objectively present like stones. It is because Dasein gives a damn that it acts or doesn’t act.”

Dasein is that which discloses things in many ways. By disclosing Heidegger means revealing.

So Dasein as being-in-the-world discloses a world.

Equiprimordial with Being-in-the-world is Being-the-there. In a sense you could say that Dasein discloses a world in which space (the-there) can be.

Dasein also discloses by understanding; but Heidegger doesn’t use understanding in the normal sense of the word. By understanding Heidegger means that Dasein realizes its possibilities of Being. That is to say Dasein realizes it could engage or not engage in certain activities.

In the act of understanding Dasein projects itself onto those possibilities. “I could be a juggler, carpenter, banker or whatever”

In fact understanding is a possibility of Dasein’s being: Dasein as understanding.

From understanding Heidegger derives interpretation. The Dasein understands the possibility of juggling and understands 3 possibilities.

      1. To engage in the activity of juggling.

      2. Not to juggle

      3. To enter into the possibility of interpretation which would ask “What are these handy things I juggle with?” “What is juggling?”.

He then talks of Dasein as attunement.

I think he means understanding is a kind of attunement as well but I’m not sure.

He says that attunements are kinds of moods; but again I don’t think he just means emotional moods because he says before we are able to feel anything (like a table) we have to have the existential of attunement. I think he is saying something like attunement is the capacity to feel anything included via the senses.

He then talks about thrownness.

How Dasein is thrown into a situation and is normally entangled in the They. That is to say that Dasein in this mode has its understanding limited by the they.

The they (as I see them) are culture, society, others, or any gathering of people with shared social norms.

So for example the Dasein in the current social milieu if he is entangled in the They would understand the possible beings it could be to be banker, cleaner, or anything socially acceptable; but wouldn’t realize the possible being of going into the forest and living like an animal.

I think the simplest and best definition of Dasein Heidegger gives is that of care. Dasein is a being that cares about its own being. Now you cannot derive Dasein by a putting together of all those equiprimordial existential features but must see those features through the whole of Dasein.

Now understanding, modes of attunement – such as anxiety – interpretation and activities Heidegger says derive from Care. So Heidegger says that care is the most primordial feature of Dasein.

Not care in the particular sense of “caring for something” which is derived from this Care. But the care one has for oneself and ones potentialities and possibilities of being.

It is Care (Giving a damn) that distinguishes Daseins from things that are objectively present like stones. It is because Dasein gives a damn that it acts or doesn’t act.

So according to my first reading; first incomplete reading that is (I’m only on chapter 6) that last paragraph is the simplest and clearest definition of Dasein I can give.

Hope you found it helpful.

Western Philosophy meets Eastern Philosophy through Heidegger Part. 1

I believe that in Heidegger’s “Being and Time” the east and the west have finally come to the same conclusion concerning our own being; come to the same conclusion concerning existence.

It is as if a man called “The West” and a man called “The East” were to walk in opposite directions around a globe and have finally met and shaken hands again.

Western philosophy has been in the process of attempting to reach “Truth” via a discourse based on logic. It has sought “Truth” through apophantic statements; sentences about which one can say “This is true/false”

I believe the idea of “Truth” is a construction; a remnant left over from Plato’s theory of forms.

In the east; or rather in certain strains of eastern thought; or to put it in Heideggerian terms: in certain modes of Dasein that have occurred in the east, the concept of truth has not arisen.

This mode of Dasein is what we call meditation.

In meditation one eventually realizes that the internal dialogue is not their “true self”; maybe because it manifests – when looked at closely – to be no different to the experiences we gain from “what is external to us”.

Through meditation the Dasein realizes that the emotions it has; or rather the attunements it undergoes are not itself.

To be continued…

Hunger as Attunement

I can’t really think of anything to write about at the moment so I think I’ll just ramble.

Today I was reading the sections of Heidegger’s “Being and Time” that deal with attunement.

Currently I’m starving.

My family and I are having pizza for dinner and guess who’s last in line?

That’s a rhetorical question by the way! I write as my belly grumbles.


Hunger is a mode of attunement I think.

When I am neither hungry or satiated I don’t notice the smells of food.

Or to put it in Heideggerian terms:

When I am not in the mode of attunement called hunger the world does not disclose itself as containing tasty smells.

The tasty smells that the mode of attunement called hunger disclose place me into a new mode of attunement called anticipation.

I have also noticed that when I am in the mode of attunement called over-stuffed the world discloses the smells of food as something almost sickening.

So I go from the mode of attunement called over-stuffed (maybe I stay in that mode but it recedes into the background; becomes inconspicuous) to the mode of attunement called sickened.

[I have made up the names for the modes of attunement here because 1) I don’t know of – or even if there are – the conventional terms for the various modes of attunement; and 2) This is my blog and I can do what I want.]

Ha! Would you look at that! Turns out I had something to write about after all!