From Death as Possibility to Being as Possibility
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Possibility, Möglichkeit, is a central but problematic notion in Heidegger’s thinking. It is problematic not least because the German Möglichkeit is of an entirely different origin than its English translation possibility. The way we understand “Möglichkeit” impacts not only our interpretation of death and being in Being and Time, but also how we understand Heidegger’s turn and the thinking of the event. It is pivotal to bear in mind the difference in the origin of the words “Möglichkeit” and “possibility.” In what follows I shall explicate Heidegger’s notion of Möglichkeit in light of the analytic of Dasein’s death. The core argument of this chapter is that death as ownmost possibility brings Dasein before being. Moreover, I shall carve out how this early vicinity of possibility and being introduced in Being and Time later leads Heidegger to determine being itself as the possible. He does so most prominently in the Letter on Humanism and in the earlier lecture on Plato’s Doctrine of Truth. I shall consider both texts here.
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