Martin Heidegger (1889-1976 CE) was a German philosopher whose best-known book, Being and Time, is considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. Heidegger's work has strongly influenced philosophy, theology, and the humanities. Within philosophy it played a crucial role in the development of existentialism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, postmodernism, and continental philosophy in general. Bertrand Russell called the philosophy of Heidegger highly eccentric in its terminology and extremely obscure. English philosopher Roger Scruton stated that, “Heidegger’s major work Being and Time is formidably difficult - unless it is utter nonsense, in which case it is laughably easy. I am not sure how to judge it, and have read no commentator who even begins to make sense of it.” Heidegger was also a prominent member of the Nazi party, for which he often comes under attack.
Needs to Adapt
Heidegger's philosophy is founded on the attempt to conjoin what he considers two fundamental insights. The first is that Heidegger claimed Western philosophy has, since Plato, misunderstood what it means for something "to be," tending to approach this question in terms of a being, rather than asking about being itself. In other words, Heidegger believed all investigations of being have historically focused on particular entities and their properties, or have treated being itself as an entity, or substance, with properties. A more authentic analysis of being would, for Heidegger, investigate "that on the basis of which beings are already understood," or that which underlies all particular entities and allows them to show up as entities in the first place. Secondly, Heidegger argues that to be able to describe experience properly means finding the being for whom such a description might matter. Heidegger thus conducts his description of experience with reference to "Dasein," the being for whom being is a question. In Being and Time, Heidegger criticized the abstract and metaphysical character of traditional ways of grasping human existence as rational animal, person, man, soul, spirit, or subject. Dasein, then, is not intended as a way of conducting a philosophical anthropology, but is rather understood by Heidegger to be the condition of possibility for anything like a philosophical anthropology. Dasein, according to Heidegger, is care. In the course of his existential analytic, Heidegger argues that Dasein, who finds itself thrown into the world amidst things and with others, is thrown into its possibilities, including the possibility and inevitability of one's own mortality. The need for Dasein to assume these possibilities, that is, the need to be responsible for one's own existence, is the basis of Heidegger's notions of authenticity and resoluteness - that is, of those specific possibilities for Dasein that depend on escaping the vulgar temporality of calculation and of public life. The marriage of these two observations depends on the fact that each of them is essentially concerned with time. That Dasein is thrown into an already existing world and thus into its mortal possibilities does not only mean that Dasein is an essentially temporal being; it also implies that the description of Dasein can only be carried out in terms inherited from the Western tradition itself. Ugh. This seems like nothing other than the removal of reality by one step and calling that reality - Plato and his parable of the cave rehashed and obscured to cover his tracks. I would have dropped Heidegger from this list had he not been in Monty Python’s philosopher song.