I've long been meaning to discuss Heidegger on Freedom. I honestly thought that I'd already put up some excerpts from The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic. Looking through my archives though, I found some discussions of Heidegger on time, on time and space, and a paper on Heidegger's sense of freedom. However I couldn't find the excerpts I'd thought I'd put up. Originally I was just going to put up a few excerpts. But there's about six pages that are simply fantastic for discussion. Some of the terminology presupposes a bit of familiarity with Heidegger. But he's actually introducing here one of his more important concepts from this era, the for-the-sake-of. I've discussed that notion many times before, as I think it is one of the more valuable contributions Heidegger gives us.
I've put page numbers in the excerpt below. However so as to not break the text up, I've put them near the beginning of the nearest paragraph. So you get a general idea where it is without disrupting the flow of the text. As ever, any typos are my own.
I'll put up some commentary later tonight or tomorrow.
Metaphysical Foundations of Logic
Pure selfhood, understood as the metaphysical neutrality of Dasein, expresses, at the same time, the metaphysical isolation of Dasein in ontology, an isolation which should never be confused with an egoistic-solipsistic exaggeration of one’s own individuality. We suggested earlier, however, (§10, heading 11) how individuality necessarily has a function in involvement. Because selfhood is the basic character of existence, but to exist means, in each case, a capability-to-be, one of the possibilities of existence must serve for the concrete exposition of ontological selfhood, and for this reason the approach using an extreme model was chosen (cf. Being and Time §64). Nor did I for a moment believe that this problematic and its inherent task would be quickly comprehended today or that it would even have to be comprehended by the multitude. . . .
To be for its own sake is an essential determination of the being of that being we call Dasein. This constitution, which we will now, for brevity, call the for-the-sake-of, provides the intrinsic possibility for this being to be itself, i.e., for selfhood to belong to its being. To be in the mode of a self means to be fundamentally towards oneself. Being towards oneself constitutes the being of Dasein and is not something like an additional capacity to observe oneself over and above just existing. Existing is precisely this being towards oneself, only the latter must be understood in its full metaphysical scope and must not be restricted to some activity or capability or to any mode of apprehension such as knowledge or apperception. Moreover, being toward oneself as being a self is the presupposition for the various possibilities of ontic relations to oneself.
Furthermore, only because this being is, in its essence, defined by selfhood can it, in each case, as factical, expressly choose itself as a self. The “can” here includes also its flight from choice. What then is implied by this possibility grounded in selfhood, this possibility of choosing oneself expressly or of fleeing the choice? What essentially is concomitantly chosen in the express choice of oneself? Here, however, is the origin of “possibility” as such. Only through freedom, only a free being can, as transcending, understand being-and it must do so in order to exist as such, i.e., to be “among” and “with” beings. Several times we mentioned how all these metaphysical, ontological statements are exposed to continual misunderstanding, are understood ontically and existentielly. One main reason for this misunderstanding lies in not preserving the proper metaphysical horizon of the problem. And there is a particular danger of this at the present stage of our exposition. We said that Dasein chooses itself. One inadvertently then fills in the term Dasein with the usual concept of the isolated, egoistic subject and then interprets Dasein’s choosing itself as a solipsistic-egoistic contraction into oneself. In the genuine metaphysical sense precisely the reverse is the case. Dasein, and only Dasein qua Dasein, should choose itself (Dasein). Many times, even ad nauseam, we pointed out that this being qua Dasein is always already with others and always already with beings not of Dasein’s nature. In transcending, Dasein transcends every being, itself as well as every being of its own sort (Dasein-with) and every being not of Dasein’s sort. In choosing itself Dasein really chooses precisely its being-with others and precisely its being among beings of a different character.
In the express self-choice there is essentially the complete self-commitment, not to where it might not yet be, but to where and how it already always is, qua Dasein, insofar as it already exists. To what extent this may, in fact, transpire in each case is not a question of metaphysics but a question and affair of the individual person. Only because Dasein can expressly choose itself on the basis of its selfhood can it be committed to others. And only because, in being toward itself as such, Dasein can understand anything like a “self’ can it furthermore attend at all to a thou-self. Only because Dasein, constituted by the for-the-sake-of, exists in selfhood, only for this reason is anything like human community possible. These are primary existential-ontological statements of essence, and not ethical claims about the relative hierarchy of egoism and altruism. Conceived in an existential-ontological way, the phenomenon of authentic self-choice highlights, in the most radical way, the metaphysical selfhood of Dasein, and this means transcendence as transcending ones’ own being, transcending being as being-with others, and transcending beings in the sense of nature and items of use. Again, we are here suggesting, methodologically, an extreme existential-ontological model.
N.B. In Kierkegaard there is much talk of choosing oneself and of the individual, and if it were my task to say once again what Kierkegaard has said, then it would not only be a superfluous endeavor, but would be one which necessarily in essence lagged behind Kierkegaard with regard to his purpose. His purpose is not ours, but differs in principle, something which does not prevent us from learning from him, but obliges us to learn what he has to offer. But Kierkegaard never pushed onward into the dimension of this problematic, because it was not at all important for him, and his work as an author had a completely different basic purpose, that also required different ways and means.
The statement, “For-its-own-sake belongs to the essence of Dasein,” is an ontological statement. It asserts something about the essential constitution of Dasein in its metaphysical neutrality. Dasein is for its own sake and herein, in the for-the-sake-of, lies the ground of the possibility for an existentiell, egoistic or non-egoistic, for-my-own-sake. But herein lies, just as primordially, the ground for a for-him-or-her-sake and for every kind of ontic reason-for. As constituting the selfhood of Dasein, the for-the-sake-of has this universal scope. In other words, it is that towards which Dasein as transcending transcends.
In the context of the inquiry about transcendence, we began with the problem of world and came, by way of the realm of ideas and the επεκεινα της ονσιας, up against for-the-sake-of, as the basic character of world. This for-the-sake-of is to be understood as the metaphysical structure of Dasein, not, however, with regard to a factual existent’s setting up particular egoistic goals. We must pursue more sharply this for-the-sake-of, as metaphysical constitution and basic structure of world, so that we have an understanding of being-in-the-world as transcendence.
The for-the-sake-of is what it is in and for a willing. But the latter does not mean the existentiell-ontic act of will, but means rather the intrinsic possibility of willing: freedom. In freedom, such a for-the-sake-of has always already emerged. This self-presentation of the for-the-sake-of resides in the essence of freedom. There is not something like for-the-sake-of somewhere extant, to which then freedom is only related. Rather, freedom is itself the origin of the for-the-sake-of. But, again, not in such a way that there was first freedom and then also the for-the-sake-of. Freedom is, rather, one with the for-the-sake-of. It is unimportant here to what extent something defined as free is, in fact, free or to what extent it is aware of its freedom. Nothing is said here regarding the extent to which it is free or only latently free, bound or enthralled by others or by beings not of Dasein’s kind. Only a free being can be unfree.
Here we also have to remove freedom from the traditional perspective where emphasis is placed on self-initiating spontaneity, sua sponte, in contrast to a compulsive mechanical sequence. But this initiative “from itself” remains indefinite without selfhood. And this means that one must take transcendence back into freedom; one must seek the basic essence of transcendence in freedom.
In other words, the world described primarily by the for-thesake-of is the primordial totality of that which Dasein, as free, gives itself to understand. Freedom gives itself to understand; freedom is the primal understanding, i.e., the primal projection of that which freedom itself makes possible. In the projection of the for-the-sake-of as such, Dasein gives itself the primordial commitment [Bindung]. Freedom makes Dasein in the ground of its essence, responsible [verbindlich] to itself, or more exactly, gives itself the possibility of commitment. The totality of the commitment residing in the for-the-sake-of is the world. As a result of this commitment, Dasein commits itself to a capability of being toward-itself as able-to-be-with others in the ability-to-be-among extant things. Selfhood is free responsibility for and toward itself.
As free, Dasein is world-projection. But this projecting is only projected in such a way that Dasein holds itself in it and does this so that the free hold binds Dasein, i.e., so that the hold puts Dascm, in all its dimensions of transcendence, into a possible clearance space for choice. Freedom itself holds this binding opposite to itself. The world is maintained in freedom counter to freedom itself. The world is the free counter-hold of Dasein’s for-thesake-of. Being-in-the-world is accordingly nothing other than freedom, freedom no longer understood as spontaneity but as defined by the formulation of Dasein’s metaphysical essence, which we have described (which is, to be sure, not as yet fully defined).
The free counter-hold of the for-the-sake-of has, however, as transcendence, the character of leaping over each factical and factual being, as was pointed out earlier. World, as the totality of the essential intrinsic possibilities of Dasein as transcending, surpasses all actual beings. Whenever and however they are encountered, actual beings always reveal themselves-precisely when they are disclosed as they are in themselves-only as a restriction, as one possible realization of the possible, as the insufficient out of an excess of possibilities, within which Dasein always maintains itself as free projection.
Dasein is in itself excessive, i.e., defined by a primary insatiability for beings-both metaphysically as such and also existentially, in factic individuation. This primary insatiability can be seen in a definite, ontic, existentiell comportment. Only on the basis of insatiability can there be any settling-down-with, any existentiell peace-of-mind or dissatisfaction. The latter dissatisfaction should not be confused with insatiability, in a metaphysical sense. The essence of freedom, which surpasses every particular factic and factual being, its surpassive character, can also be seen particularly in despair, where one’s own lack of freedom engulfs a Dasein absorbed in itself. This completely factical lack of freedom is itself an elemental testimony to transcendence, for despair lies in the despairing person’s vision of the impossibility of something possible. Such a person still witnesses to the possible, inasmuch as he despairs of it.
The surpassing of factic beings that is peculiar to the world as such, and thereby to transcendence and freedom corresponds to the epekeina [beyond]. In other words, the world itself is surpassive; beings of Dasein’s character are distinguished by upswing or élan [Uberschwuflg]; world is the free surpassive counter-hold of the for-the-sake-of.
Only insofar as Dasein in its metaphysical essence, freely presenting its own for-the-sake-of, overshoots itself, does Dasein become, as upswing toward the possible, the occasion (from a metaphysical viewpoint) for beings to emerge as beings. Beings of Dasein’s nature must have opened themselves as freedom, i.e., world must be held out in the upswing, a being must be constituted as being-in-the-world, as transcending, if that being itself and beings in general are to become apparent as such. Thus Dasein, seen metaphysically as this being-in-the-world, is therefore, as factically existent, nothing other than the existent possibility for beings to gain entry to world. When, in the universe of beings, a being attains more being [seiender] in the existence of Dasein, i.e., when temporality temporalizes [Zeitlichkeit sich zeitigt], only then do beings have the opportunity to enter the world. Entry into world, furthermore, provides the possibility for beings to be able to be revealed.
Before proceeding to clarify transcendence in its intrinsic possibility, so as to see then the rootedness of the essence of ground in transcendence, we must first make transcendence more intelligible by briefly characterizing the entry into world.
So far as we have succeeded in clarifying transcendence, one thing must be clear. The world does not mean beings, neither individual objects nor the totality of objects standing opposite a subject. Whenever one wishes to express transcendence as a subject-object relation, especially as in the movement of philosophical realism, the claim is frequently made that the subject always already presupposes the “world” and, by this, one means objects that are. We maintain that this claim is far from even seeing the real phenomenon of transcendence and even further from saying anything about it.
What is it supposed to mean that the subject “presupposes” objects that are, “presupposes” that these objects are? There is no sensible meaning to connect with this statement, aside from the fact that we never run across any such pre-supposing. Is it supposed to mean that “we” make in advance the assumption that objects are? On account of some stipulation? By what right do we make that assumption? How did we come to it in the first place? But only on the supposition of the isolated subject. And do those particular beings show themselves as such to us that we only out of kindness, as it were, permit to exist. There is nowhere the trace of any such presupposition. And only one thing is apt in all the talk about presupposing the “world,” presupposing objects, and that is that factically existing Dasein always already comes across extant things, has always already in advance come across beings. But beings and their already being in advance do not rest upon a presupposition; nor, as it were, upon a metaphysical fraternizing: let’s presuppose beings are and then we want to try to exist amidst them. Our very encounter with extant things sharply contravenes our having presupposed they exist. It implies on the contrary that, as existents, we have no prior need to presuppose objects beforehand.
Intraworldliness is accordingly not an extant property of extant things in themselves. Extant things are beings as the kind of things they are, even if they do not become intraworidly, even if world-entry does not happen to them and there is no occasion for it at all. Intraworldliness does not belong to the essence of extant things as such, but it is only the transcendental condition, in the primordial sense, for the possibility of extant things being able to emerge as they are. And that means it is the condition for existing Dasein’s experience and comprehension of things as they are. World-entry and its occurrence is the presupposition not for extant things to become first extant and enter into that which manifests itself to us as its extantness and which we understand as such. Rather, world-entry and its occurrence is solely the presupposition for extant things announcing themselves in their not requiring world-entry regarding their own being.
As being-in-the-world, transcending Dasein, in each case, factically provides beings with the opportunity for world-entry, and this provision on the part of Dasein consists in nothing other than in transcending.
If, however, intraworldliness is not a property of intraworldly extant things as extant, where does it belong then and how is it itself? It obviously belongs to world and only is along with it; it only happens insofar as being-in-the-world happens. There is world only insofar as Dasein exists. But then is world not something “subjective”? In fact it is! Only one may not at this point reintroduce a common, subjectivistic concept of “subject.” Instead, the task is to see that being-in-the-world, which as existent supplies extant things with entry to world, fundamentally transforms the concept of subjectivity and of the subjective.
When Dasein exists, world-entry has simultaneously also already happened together with it, and it has happened in such a way that extant things entering there in principle undergo nothing. They remain so completely untouched that it is on account of world-entry that Dasein can, on its part, approach, encounter, and touch them. But if what enters world undergoes nothing in the occurrence of world-entry, is then the world itself nothing? In fact the world is nothing-if “nothing” means: not a being in the sense of something extant; also “nothing” in the sense of no-thing, not one of the beings Dasein itself as such transcends; but Dasein transcends itself as well. The world: a nothing, no being- and yet something; nothing of beings-but being. Thus the world is not nothing in the sense of “nihil negativum.” What kind of’ nihil” is the world and then ultimately being-in-the-world itself?
Here we come upon the question about the intrinsic possibility of transcendence itself, of being-in-the-world as the upswing to a surpassive counter-hold, wherein Dasein makes itself known to it-self in its metaphysical essence, so as to bind itself primordially as freedom in this self-understanding. I maintain that the intrinsic possibility of transcendence is time, as primordial temporality!
Clark: After having re-read these pages several times, it is unclear to me what you believe this adds or problematizes with respect to our discussion about agent causation. Coming from my background, I would translate it by saying that the basic freedom is the choice-to-be-with or the choice to be an isolated ego. So the basic choice is the choice to be the "I-" in the I-Thou (realizing there is no "I" in an I-Thou without a Thou) or the I of the I-It -- where the emphasis is on the hyphen rather than the personal designator. However, such a view doesn't entail that there are not other choices, or that the primordial moral choice as the being-with-others somehow precludes other types of freedom and choice as well.
So perhaps you could elucidate or express how you think Heidegger's position either undermines agent causation or shifts the discussion (as I take you to be saying) by problematizing it.
I do plan on writing on that. (I was going to do it today - but life didn't quite agree)
Don't you think the issue about volition is significant though?
I'd also say that for Heidegger there never is a choice-to-be-with. We always already are with. That's the point of Heidegger's approach to the question.
I think when considering the "I" or the "ego" that one must keep in mind how radically he's transformed this notion. In this book he is reacting against Leibniz. In Being and Time against Descartes. Once you change that basic perspective, the entire meaning of free will and self changes, rather significantly.
Clark: I'd say that for Heidegger there is no deliberated choice-to-be-with; however, there is a choice as to "how" we are with. Are we with as one who is for others, or are we with as an inauthentic alienated ego for myself? Further, though not deliberated, the choice is voluntary as to how we shall be with the other. Heidegger says he that he is addressing an issue that Kierkegaard addressed but that Kierkegaard didn't get to or to which he did not push onward to plumb the impliations of his view futher. I take that issue to be the facticity of our being with whereas Kierkegaard addressed the how of being with and how we choose our way of being in the world in choosing a way of Being. It is not a deliberated or thought out decision; it is much more fundamental. It is a choice that makes the moral tenor of all of our other choices flow in its image. If I choose to be in the aesthetic, the ethical or the faith-way of being I don't deliberate about whether I shall be any of these ways of being. Moreover, I agree that the notion of ego is altered (since there is no isolated or primal ego but always a preceded-by-the-other in being-with) and the very self or "I" from which I proceed is defined by the way of being in relation.
What I disagree with is that these notions somehow negate or render problematic the notions of either agent-causation or accountability. Not only is our mode of being with chosen but in fact presupposes a form of agent causation (just as it did with Kierkegaard) and the notion of accountability is heightened. In fact, it seems to me that we are accountable for our way of being with (whether as a facade that believes it is an isolated ego or as an authentic "caring-for-in-being-with) and also for the choices we make within the various modes of Being. So I look forward to seeing how you think through these issues differently.
Blake, I'm starting my writeup on this and it should be out in a few hours. (I'm doing other things on a new server - so I'm doing multiple things at once)
As you say, there is no choice to be with, it is part of our fallenness in Heidegger's view. What is important though is that, like Nietzsche, Heidegger rejects considering freedom and free will in a scheme that is bound to causality. That's really what his criticism regarding spontaneity is about. (And he states this in more than one place) Rather, freedom is transcendence. "...the transcendence to the World is freedom itself..." (On the Essence of Ground, 40) Further, this freedom or transcendence is the self. This transcendence ought be considering as grounding itself as a process.
Now I suspect you don't have problem with that, thus far. However what this entails, according to Heidegger, is because we are already thrown into a world Dasein does not have mastery over its that-ness. That's the very meaning of being thrown.
With your comments above, you say how freedom as primordial freedom is "not a deliberated or thought out decision; it is much more fundamental. It is a choice that makes the moral tenor of all of our other choices flow in its image." But isn't that my point? That freedom ought not be conceived of as conscious freedom? Nor freedom in terms of causal choices? What you say in that paragraph is largely repeating my position which you disagree with so strongly when I first presented it.
What the libertarian and compatibilist call freedom is really just the natural flow from what is more primordial. But this means that the analysis of both the libertarian and compatibilist is wrong. Freedom "happens" far more primally.
The reason these render problematic agent-causation is that both the agent and the cause are ill conceived. To switch from the analysis Heidegger gives to an analysis in terms of an agent and a cause and determine accountability or responsibility in terms of those is fundamentally to miss what Heidegger is getting at. It's akin to saying one agrees with Heidegger but to not see how it renders say Descartes problematic.
The issue of responsibility is, as you say, quite important. But once again it seems to me that what Heidegger takes as responsibility is quite different from responsibility in terms of a causal choice picked by an agent.
There is of course a difference between getting the correct exegesis of Heidegger and providing a compelling view -- e.g, just because Heidegger said it doesn't make it so. Moreover, I believe that you are conflating two difference concepts and issues. Our thrown-ness into the world as always already in relationship (our facticity) does not determine the "how" of our way of being in the world. I grant that according to Heidegger our way of being in the world need not be a concious choice -- it may be a part of our fallen-ness, of just being in the world and going along in every-day-ness. However, Heidegger allows that we may become conscious of this fallen-ness and choose out of it. In a sense fallen-ness is inauthentic precisely because it is unconscious and not authentically chosen as a way of being in life. A good treatment of these issues is by Travis O'Brian, "Faith and Authenticity: Kierkegaard and Heidegger on Existing in 'closet closeness' to the Nothing," Faith & Philosophy 20:1 (Jan. 2003), 72-84.
It is a part of our fallen-ness that once we adopt a way of being in the world we can be swept along with it -- and our inauthenticity will taint all of our choices -- though they are indeed choices nonetheless. We may even choose and deliberate about our choices within a way of being, but we may be totally unconscious that our way of choosing is tainted and self-serving and infected through-and-through with our unconscious way of being. I treat many of these issues in volume 2 of my book when treating self-betrayal and self-deception. To wake up to authenticity is not a choice, but to change from being inauthentic to authentic is precisely a choice to be conscious about my choices and my way of being. It is a choosing into consciousness if you will. So I don't see what Heidegger says as being inconsistent with agent causation -- I see it as presupposing it. Indeed, what we may be responsible for is our failure to choose consciously when we could do so if Heidegger is correct!
I look forward to your take on these issue. However, if you are correct and Heidegger's treatment doesn't really address responsibility and accountability, then isn't his view irrelevant to the issues of agent causation as you see it? After all, all freedom is not moral freedom, and all accountabiity is not exhausted in Heideggers treatment of facticity. Yet if what agent causation addresses is precisely how we are accountable and morally reponsible, then isn't your reference to Heidegger rather beside the point?
You interpret fallenness as a kind of unconsciousness. Now I don't agree with that. Inauthentic Dasein are conscious in the normal everyday terminology. They are just lost in their everydayness. Being lost and fallen is not the same as being unconscious. But let's assume your statement for the time being. The whole point of Heidegger's analysis is that truth is unveiling or letting-be of beings. However because of Dasein's finitude which it becomes aware of in its authenticity, it recognizes that it is in a process of letting-be. That is why the primary existentiality of Dasein is in the future. It is that coming-to-be of being. But the fact it is a coming-to-be implies that we are unconscious of those things. Authenticity is not a leaving unconsciousness but a very recognition of unconsciousness, that is temporality and transcendence. (I think Derrida plays up this aspect a great deal, especially in his writings about Freud)
To say that Heidegger is presupposing agent causation goes directly against what Heidegger says. That was pretty much the them of the post I'd originally written this afternoon. I think Heidegger is very explicit in denying your position in the introduction to Being and Time. (Note that he is here, I think, critiquing Kant's notion of causality and will as well as his famous section on spontaneity as imagination in knowing in B74. He does this more explicitly in his writings on Kant.)
Despite [Kant's] taking this phenomenon back into the subject, however, his analysis of time remains oriented towards the traditional, common understanding of it. It is this that finally prevented Kant from working out the phenomenon of a "transcendental determination of time" in its own structure and function. As a consequence of this double effect of the tradition, the decisive connection between time and the "I think" remained shrouded in complete obscurity. It did not even become a problem.
By taking over Descartes' ontological position Kant neglects something essential: an ontology of Dasein. In terms of Descartes' innermost tendency this omission is a decisive one. With the cogito sum Descartes claims to prepare a new and secure foundation for philosophy. But what he leaves undetermined in this "radical" beiginning is the manner of being of the res cogitans, more precisely, the meaning of being of the "sum." (Being and Time, 24)
He continues on and it is well worth reading. The fundamental problem with agent causation is that it, like Descartes and Kant, presupposes a determined agent. But that is the very thing Heidegger calls into question.
You also say that in fallenness "our choosing is tainted and self-serving." But that is once again what Heidegger critiques. The problem with fallenness is that it is not self-serving. Be very careful not to read Heidegger's language with Christian connotations. While the language sounds very much like that of Genesis 2, Heidegger means something quite different. Authenticity and inauthenticity are not moral categories nor are they what often they were took as in French existentialism back in the 40's and 50's. Beware a Sartrean reading of Heidegger.
Now you may be getting at Heidegger's notion of care. We overcome this in resoluteness. Heidegger wrote though that this was not deliberation nor purposefull, as agent causality is.
The resoluteness intended in Being and Time is not the deliberate action of a subject, but the opening up of Dasein, out of captivity in that which is, to the openness of being. (The Origin of the Work of Art, 53)
Secure, securus, sine cura means without care. . . We are without such care only when we do not establish our nature exclusively within the precinct of production and procurement, of things which can be utilized and defended. We are secure only when we neither reckon with the unprotected nor count on a defense erected within willing. (ibid, 294 Italics mine)
That is what is characteristic of fallenness is self-interested calculation. But the choice is not to a kind of choosing of the sort you suggest. It is a letting be. Truth as unveiling. It is why freedom and truth are bound up together. It is, in Heidegger's words, "a compliance and thus, as it were, a nonwilling." (ibid, 67)
Regarding it not being true just because Heidegger said it. I fully agree. But lets at least get at what Heidegger is saying first. Then we can move to argument.
Regarding responsibility, I'll get into that more tomorrow. But first I want to comment on the above post and then answer any questions/challenges you (or others) may have. I'd say though that responsibility arises precisely because of my choice to be free in authenticity. That is that I let myself be. That implies responsibility. But a fuller sense of repsonsibility must await a discussion of justice - both in Heidegger and I think Derrida.
Clark: Let me cut to the chase here because I think that you have misunderstood my view. I do maintain that we cannot be held responsible for unconscious acts. We can be provided that we were capable of being conscious. For example, if I get out of my car and unconsciously fail to put on the emergency brake and then my car begins to roll and runs over a little girl. I am accountable and responsible for my negligence though the act was unconscious. Indeed, I am responsible precisely for failing to be conscious when I should have been conscious of the safety of others. So I believe we can be morally responsible for unconscious omissions of duty so long as we are capable of being conscious. For example, if I am a two year old playing around in a car and I take the brake off but I do not have the capacity to be conscious of the dangers that such an act entails, if the car then runs over a little girl because the brake was off, I am not morally negligent or accountable precisely because I lacked capacity to be conscious.
With that out of the way we can turn back to Heidegger. Before addressing this at greater length later, let me say that I often disagree with Heidegger on precisely these issues. I believe that both Kierkegaard and Buber have the more penetrating and accurate treatment of these issues. So quoting Heidegger as if he were scripture won't work for me. I don't claim to be a Heidegger scholar, but I know a bit about Kierkegaard and Buber. I agree that inauthentic Dasein are conscious for Heidegger in the usual sense, but they are not conscious of being inauthentic -- and that is precisely my point. If Heidegger didn't see moral connotations in his notion of fallen-ness (and I'm not sure he didn't); nevertheless, I do (and I am partial to the Sartrean reading of the notions of bad faith and inauthenticity which are moral in character -- though not morality as an absolute truth or moral system; but as an abdication of being and authentic choice).
Responsibility in the primordial sense is not yet moral responsibility. (Just like ethics for Levinas isn't ethics as usually discussed)
As you say, you disagree with Heidegger on these points. My concern was more at getting what Heidegger was getting at and why that entails me disagreeing with you. I'm not trying to "quote Heidegger as scripture." Rather I was trying to answer your earlier comments of, "it is unclear to me what you believe this adds or problematizes with respect to our discussion about agent causation." Hopefully that is clear or at least clearer now.
Clark: Thanks the explanation. Where you are coming from is clearer now -- about as clear as one can be explicating Heidegger and then saying "I agree with him". I just don't get why you believe that such "primordial freedom" is all that there is or that it is even the most important kind of agency or freedom?
Clark, let me take a stab at some of this, though I'm going to do so without spending much time on it, so I may not be clear or I may scramble up things.
It seems to me to me that you and Blake may be talking past each other because there is something like an equivocation on the word "freedom" in the discussion, an equivocation like that on the word "truth" in most discussions, compared to what Heidegger means by it. Heidegger asserts that the correspondence theory of truth is accurate for propositional truth, but he wants to talk about a notion of truth that is more fundamental than propositional truth. Similarly, isn't his talk about freedom a talk about what we might call in a Kantian fashion "the grounds for the possibility of agentive freedom"?
Whether or not there is an equivocation, based primarily on Heidegger's "The Essence of Truth," this seems to me to be a reasonable summary of his understanding of freedom:
1. We find ourselves in a world that we did not make.
2. However, that it is a world, that it is a place in which we find ourselves, means that it is open—appearing is always a matter of possibility, i.e., of openness. Things always appear as some particular thing that could appear otherwise.
3. To say # 2 is to say that, as being-in-the-world, we are oriented toward possibility, i.e., free-1.
4. That we are in the world and oriented toward possibility means that we can respond to the world, even if we cannot make it. In other words, we are free-2, we have volition.
Heidegger is interested in countering the almost omnipotent power of the subject on a Cartesian view, the power of the agent to make himself and his world. He counters it by arguing that volitional freedom necessarily runs up against the limits of one's world: volitional freedom is finite. Nevertheless, he argues, the world itself is a space of freedom, of possibility: the finitude of volitional freedom is founded on the openness of the world, the freedom of being in the world. If it were not finite, volitional freedom could respond to the appearing of the world, since the appearing of the world is finite, i.e., has limits. (All real possibility has limits.) Therefore, the limitation on volitional freedom is not a defect in volitional freedom, but a product of free being-in-the-world.
correction in the last paragraph of the last comment: "volitional freedom could NOT respond to the appearing of the world."
I don't have time to say much tonight I'm afraid. I don't think primordial freedom is "all there is." However if we are looking for the essence of the phenomena I think we must engage with it. Further as we engage with it, that will radically change how we look at the other forms of freedom, as I think Heidegger says explicitly both in his commentary on Leibniz and Kant.
I'll get to Jim's comments later.
Not much more to add, rereading things. The issue, Jim though, isn't whether we have what you call free-2 but rather what conditions are on free-2. Libertarian free will has significant temporal considerations that I simply see as problematic given Heidegger's analysis.
Jim: You're right, it seems to me, we have been talking past each other. I have been talking about freedom-2 while Clark has been talking about freedom-1. Both are important. I think I'll follow up on how Kierkegaard might impact this discussion regarding the how of being and the decision of faith as a way of being. Thanks for straightening us out.
Blake, to be clear, I don't think the division is quite what Jim says. While it is true that I have at times been talking about freedom-1, part of the point is how that relates to freedom-2. Thus the link to Kant, Descartes, Leibniz and others. The issue is really whether Libertarian notions of free will can make sense when there is not an already existing agent and when time is so integral within Dasein. I just don't see how it works.
Clark: Now I'm confused again. It seems that you now have a twofold burden: (1) to show what problematic conditions there are on LFW that are exposed by Heidegger; (2) that LFW cannot meet those objections. Of course, not being able to see how LFW works is not much of a problem unless you can show that given our epistemic status we should be able to see such things. Indeed, one of the salient features of LFW is that it is a mystery at some level -- just like people and why they make the choices that they do (and in that sense of mystery). The point of LFW is that the past isn't necessarily the future and people have the ability to act out of character. So not seeing how it works isn't the problem. Now if you mean that LFW is just unintelligible or that it cannot work because it is incoherent or not in alignment with our best science, then that is another discussion -- but that isn't how you have articulated your objections.
As I said, I think the first issue is to see what Heidegger's position is.
To move on to why LFW is problematic though, the issue is the nature of openness and the unveiling of entities in Heidegger's thought. (Both before and after the turn in his thought)
Just to add to that - the issue is really whether an entity can act out of character, as you put it. I just don't see that such a thing is conceivable in Heidegger except in the error of inauthentic views of entities.