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CRITICAL EVALUATION OF MARTIN HEIDEGGER’S PHENOMENOLOGY OF SELFHOOD

Project, Thesis Topic: A Critical Evaluation of Martin Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Selfhood


CHAPTER ONE

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The problem of being is beyond every other problem that confronts philosophers of every land and clime. This is because every philosophy is a philosophy about something that exists. Philosophy is not devoid of being, be it political, moral, artistic, epistemic, and cultural or even religious philosophy.

Suffice it to know then that the misunderstanding of being is the cause of various outrageous philosophies that has led to the ‘destruction’ of lives and properties. Both the twentieth century and the twenty-first century marked this destruction: The Nazi war (1933-1945), the Hiroshima and Nagasaki war (1945), the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970), the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 and Jos crisis of this year to be conservative with enumeration.

Unfortunately, most people in modern times, in spite of all these inhuman acts in the bloody wars above mentioned do not give a critical consideration to the self, the essence of the human being, in the action they perform. How can they perform with such consideration when they lack the self-knowledge that should inform their actions?  It is the lack of self-knowledge that rather informs such peculiar inhuman actions like individualism, racism, colonialism, capitalism, injustice, lawlessness, tribalism, feminism, identity crisis, slavery and others

In the course of my philosophic ponder on this sorry situation of human existence, I discovered a philosopher, Martin Heidegger, whose ontological analysis of the human being contradicted the outrageous philosophies that supported the dehumanization of the human being. His project was to raise anew the question of Being (Die frage des Sein) which has been forgotten. What more? His phenomenology of selfhood in which the being (self) of the human being and other beings are an issue for the human being, will give us a proper orientation towards a better and richer human existence. But to what extent is he correct in this task?

This motivated our project of critically evaluating his phenomenology of selfhood.

1.2       PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

This study intends to critically analyze and evaluate the Phenomenology of Selfhood as Heidegger treated in his ‘Being and Time’.

Without doubt, existentialists of various persuasions have never restrained from giving theories of human existence. We have also noted that at times, a prima facie consideration of such theories by scholars basically strips philosophy of its critical habit and clothes it with the garment of untold emotion of praise. At the long run, we find out that we have been praising a cankerworm that has become deep-sitted in us.

The purpose of our study is to explore irresistibly what Heidegger really means by Selfhood. In this exploration; we shall discover some possible loopholes in it and then fill them up with our ideas. This will lead to some spate of completeness though in itself susceptible to other scholarly critic and so on.

This study views that this will yield to a better appreciation of Heidegger, phenomenology of selfhood.

1.3       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The problem in Heidegger’s phenomology of selfhood consists of these questions:

Has the phenomenology of selfhood any ontological foundation?

  1. How in the discipline of ontology is Heidegger correct by posting a ‘new ontology’- Dasein analytic, given the fact that he used charged, creative, unusual and dramatic terms in portraying the selfhood of the Human Being?
  2. Are we sure that he is not misrepresenting selfhood; is the meaning of selfhood not independent of Heidegger’s phenomenology of selfhood?
  3. Are there spates of universality, objectivity, verifiability and absoluteness in his phenomelogy of selfhood?
  4. Is his phenomenology of selfhood not equivocal in the sense that he gives a two fold possibility of Dasein’s selfhood as being-one’s-self and being with? Do I necessarily need others while in the world even with the authority of my self-identity? Does the definition of self-identity require being with any other to hold true?
  5. Finally, Heidegger gave many aspects of selfhood-care, being-in, world hood and others as the basic constitution of Dasein. Where can we locate selfhood since he did not give an ontological primacy to any of them?

1.5       METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY

The research methodology used in this study was interpretive, analytic, expository and evaluative.

1.4       THESIS

This work demonstrates that although Heidegger’s phenomenology of selfhood is insightful in that it portrays in a novel way the essence of Human existence, and consequently addresses various existential issues of our age, yet there are some lacunae in it.

1.6       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study is primarily philosophical theoretical analysis. Our focus in this work, which is to critically analyze Heidegger’s phenomelogy of selfhood, accords with the following scope or structure.

Chapter one of this essay includes the general introduction.

Chapter two is the literature review of philosophers whose phenomenology of selfhood is considered relevant.

In chapter three, the researcher critically exposed and analyzed Heidegger’s phenomenology of selfhood.

At the course of this analysis, he discovered various other relations of selfhood. He discussed them as such. This discussion occurred in various sections in the order of their relevance. He also showed the implications of selfhood in the various existential problems earlier mentioned.

However at the course of this analysis, he remained under the authority of Heidegger, who he then critically evaluated in chapter four.

Chapter four is the last chapter of this thesis. It critically evaluates Heidegger’s phenomenology of selfhood. This critical evaluation is argumentative. The researcher argues both for and against Heidegger’s selfhood. He did not hesitate to incorporate in the former argument its relevance in our age. The conclusion comes after the evaluation.

1.7       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The significance of the study obviously inheres in the fact that the phenomenology of selfhood will lead us to address philosophically various pressing existential issues of our age and metaphysical problems that bother us.

It would show philosophers and particularly Heidegger’s insightful position about selfhood and how this problem of philosophy is of common concern within and across the spectrum and the various other challenges that confronts us in our efforts to live a steadfast life.

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Topic: A Critical Evaluation of Martin Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Selfhood

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