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39 2 Mineness and the Practical First-Person Heidegger’s non-substantive account of subjectivity—coupled with his characterization of our everyday way of being as a lostness in the anonymity and averageness of the public realm—leads us to wonder whether there really is a Heideggerian “self” at all. Despite the tendency to read Heidegger—especially his later writings—as advocating some version of such a position, Heidegger recognizes that there is a sense in which there is nothing “less dubious than the givenness of the I” (BT 115/109). His deep concern is not to show that there is no I but to show that its very obviousness promotes its misunderstanding. The primary form that such a misunderstanding takes, as we have seen, is the view that the self can be understood in isolation from the worldly context of meaning in which it is immersed. In contrast, Heidegger argues that to be a self is to be open to the world and dependent on its meaning frameworks. Despite the importance of this reorientation, however, we cannot allow it to obscure the fundamental individuation and self-presence that also characterizes Dasein. As Heidegger notes, the very notion of the I contains an indication of the solitude of the self; it suggests that “an I is always this being, and not others” (BT 114/108). The purpose of this chapter is to examine what the individuated, first-personal quality of Dasein looks like; in other words, how we can capture the traditional sense of selfhood as a kind of singular condition characterized by self-awareness. What can such first-personal selfhood look like on Heidegger’s account, considering his insistence that our everyday way of being does not consist of a distinct subjective “inner” realm that exists in isolation from an objective “outer” realm, but is defined, rather, by an intentional directedness that transcends sharp subject/object boundaries and finds shape for this intentionality in the world? The question of import, then, is what differentiates my first-personal way of being from yours, if this being is not to be understood as isolated in some selfenclosed substantive subjectivity à la Descartes? What makes it mine and how do I have “access” to such a unique being? Though Dasein’s individuation will not be fully explicable prior to a discussion of authenticity, here our purpose is to demonstrate the 40 T I M E A N D T H E S H A R E D W O R L D manner in which Dasein is given to itself in an everyday way through the first-personal mineness that characterizes all of its lived experiences. In what follows below, I will argue that this basic self-givenness cannot be characterized as a conceptual self-grasping but only as a kind of prereflective practical self-presence. On Heidegger’s account, the manner in which the self is present to itself is not primarily in terms of explicit self-knowledge or deliberate self-representation. Rather, the self is always and most fundamentally present to itself as care for its own being. It is this committed, caring “mineness” that constitutes first-person presence to self; a self-presence that is inherent in every intentional act that one undertakes, regardless of how steeped in averageness. Understanding this mode of self-presence will allow us to recognize how Heidegger can accommodate our sense that something like a self must remain—despite Dasein’s worldly averageness and its tendency to fall into inauthenticity. As we will see, a practical notion of the first-person differs from much of the current literature on this issue, which tends to champion some variety of a representational model of self-awareness—in which the first-person is a type of “I think” or “I reflect” that accompanies all of one’s actions. Epistemic Self-Awareness Sydney Shoemaker—a philosopher who has done a great deal of work on the problem of the first-person—argues in “First-Person Access” and elsewhere that in asking about the nature of the first-person, we are investigating “the mind’s epistemic access to itself . . . the view that each of us has a logically ‘privileged access’ to his or her mental states, and that it is of the essence of the mind that this should be so.”1 On this approach , self-awareness is taken to be a type of higher-order attitude or comportment that each of us takes toward our own thoughts or activities...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780810166561
Related ISBN
9780810129023
MARC Record
OCLC
867739840
Pages
314
Launched on MUSE
2013-08-13
Language
English
Open Access
No
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