Write on one of the following questions. Your paper is to be ca. 1500 words long (5-7 pages). You will submit an electronic copy on turnitin.com by that time, and turn in a hard copy to your TA at the end of lecture on May 5. Your TA will provide detailed instructions about how to submit your paper using Turnitin. If you fail to submit your paper in both formats, we will not grade it.
Late papers: If you turn in your paper after the due date you will lose points, depending on the length of time they are past due date.
Read the questions carefully, asking your section leader when in doubt. We will be looking for papers that try to answer the question that is being asked, including all of sub-prompts, but not questions that have not been asked. For most questions you will do well if you organize your paper along the lines indicated by the ordering of the sub-prompts here. But this order is not mandatory. We are only looking for organizations that are convincing.
We want you to engage the texts. Show this by referring to the texts in our reading list and to the Lecture Summaries. You lose points when you do not cite and refer! You can refer in your text by adding a parenthesis, citing our Reader by page number or citing convention ( for Aristotle: 1028a4, for Heidegger: book p. 45 or marginal or 48). If you use and cite another source, you may use the same mode of reference (author’s name, year, page number) and list the bibliographical information at the end of your paper under “Cited Works”. Secondary or other work you use must appear in the bibliography. Use of work without acknowledgment is plagiarism, and will be sanctioned.
I. Heidegger and Aristotle on Us (what we are, who we are)
1. Aristotle addresses us as a specific kind of animal.(a) What are essential features of ‘being an animal’? What other things hold of many animals, and not of living beings that are not animals? What are essential features of plants? In each case give one example of how that feature is functioning, and what this function does. [You may use modern understanding of animals and plants.] (b) What are essential features of ‘being human’? Which of them distinguishes us from other animals? Give an example for the functioning of the distinctive feature, and of actions performed using that feature. (c) How does the distinguishing feature pervade, organize and regulate our whole being, in particular those features and functions that we share with other animals and plants?
[For this question you need to go to Aristotle De Anima Book I: 402a1-403b22; Book II: Chapters 1 through 4: (412a3-416b31.); De Anima, Book III, Chapters 4 & 5; and 10 & 11 (419a10-430a27 and 433a9-434a22) [8 pages]Summaries 2 & 3.]
2. Heidegger addresses us as ‘beings for whom their Being is an issue/is at stake/is a concern. Also as beings that need to take a stand towards their Being.
(a) What is the difference between ‘being such-and-such’ [substantial understanding] and ‘having to be one’s Being’? [Hint: the difference between writing a paper and having to write a paper or having the project of writing a paper]. (b) In which way is there an openness in what we become when we select and pursue projects that determine who we are? Think of an example for such a project., trying to say what the project is, who you become when you choose this project, how you would need to act in order to realize your project and who you become through this project. Can you change your mind on the way, and what does that mean? What if you realize your project, and have become what you wanted to become, and do not like that ‘me’ you have now become?(c) What is it for Dasein to be singular, and how does this singularity manifest itself in action and destiny? 3. Compare and contrast Aristotle and Heidegger! What are some of the main points of difference? Which of the two conceptions comes closer to how you feel about yourself and your life? (You may also find them equally close, or fail to find any affinity with your own life. Whatever you choose, give reasons for your choice!)
[For this question you need to go to B&T § 9, marginal and book pp. 41ff; § 41, marginal pp. 191-196 & p.199-200, Book p. 184-189 & 191-192 – care; ‘ B&T § 43 c), marginal pp. 211-212, Book p. 203-204 – care. Summaries 4 & 5.]
II. The World: Aristotle’s world is primarily a world of substances. Heidegger’s world is (a) the world in which we are; (b) the world of non-Dasein items as a world of handiness.
Aristotle: 1. What distinguishes substances from items like qualities, relations, and location?2. What are the criteria for being a substance, and not a non-substance kind of item? [hint: independence]3. Substances are composites. Reconstruct Aristotle’s idea on how they are composed. [hint matter and form]. Also report which roles these two moments play in accounting for (a) substantial unity, (b) substantial change.[hint: one substance coming into being or going out of being].Also describe the condition that precedes and/or follows in terms of form and matter. [Hint: Are there other substances or not, either preceding or following a specific substance’s ‘life’?]4. Does Aristotle’s world also change when there occurs substantial change?
[Metaphysics Book VII, Chapters 1, 3, 4 Basics on Substances (1028a10- 1032a12); Book VIII Chapters 1 and 2: kinds of substance (from 1042a24 on – 1043a29)Form and Matter: Physics Book II, Chapters 1 & 2 (192b8-194b16.Summaries 6 & 7.]
1. How is Dasein in its world? How is ‘Dasein-in-its-world’ different fromAristotle’s ‘a-world-consisting-of-substances’? [Hints: Never without world, at the center of one’s world; entities: objective presence vs. practical significance]2. What is the essential connection between Dasein, world, and in-being? Why can these ingredients not be separated? (Separation would mean: a world without Dasein, worldless Dasein) [Hint: to be at . . ., to be significant for . . .]3. What is it to be encountered as ‘handy’ or ‘at hand’. Use an example. [hints: usability, relationality and holistic structure of practical significances] 4. How does ‘world’ appear in the deficient modes of entities with practical significance? Why does it not appear as such – i.e. as world – as long as we can just handle practical entities in the pursuit of care? 5. Bonus question: Think of situations or interests or perspectives, in which we are Rational Animal in an Aristotelian world rather than Dasein in a Heideggerian, and the other way round: when are we rather moving as Dasein in a Heideggerian world? Give reasons.[Hint: Many possibilities! Is the following a candidate? Everyday automatized comportment vs. teaching ourselves a new skill? Another: Taking life decisions and wondering about the chances to succeed.]
[B&T § 15, pp. 66-72 & § 16, pp.72-76 – world ‘at our hands’; Heidegger; B&T §§ 25 & 26, marginal pp. 114125, book pp. 112-122 – Other Dasein, the fellow human. For possible contrast with substances: B&T § 12, p. 55: A world of independent things in time and space with qualities.Summary 5 – ‘being-in-the-world’ & summaries 6 and 7 – handiness and Other Dasein.]