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Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa write that: “According to Heidegger our nature is to be world disclosers. That is, by means of our equipment and coordinated practices we human beings open coherent, distinct contexts or worlds in which we perceive, feel, act, and think.”

Heidegger scholar Nikolas Kompridis writes: “World disclosure refers, with deliberate ambiguity, to a process which actually occurs at two different levels. At one level, it refers to the disclosure of an already interpreted, symbolically structured world; the world, that is, within which we always already find ourselves. At another level, it refers as much to the disclosure of new horizons of meaning as to the disclosure of previously hidden or unthematized dimensions of meaning.”

Being-in-the-world is Heidegger’s replacement for terms such as subject, object, consciousness, and world. For him, the split of things into subject/object, as we find in the Western tradition and even in our language, must be overcome, as is indicated by the root structure of Husserl and Brentano’s concept of intentionality, i.e., that all consciousness is consciousness of something, that there is no consciousness, as such, cut off from an object (be it the matter of a thought or of a perception). Nor are there objects without some consciousness beholding or being involved with them.

At the most basic level of being-in-the-world, Heidegger notes that there is always a mood, a mood that “assails us” in our unreflecting devotion to the world. A mood comes neither from the “outside” nor from the “inside,” but arises from being-in-the-world. One may turn away from a mood but that is only to another mood; it is part of our facticity. Only with a mood are we permitted to encounter things in the world. Dasein (a co-term for being-in-the-world) has an openness to the world that is constituted by the attunement of a mood or state of mind. As such, Dasein is a “thrown” “projection” (geworfener Entwurf), projecting itself onto the possibilities that lie before it or may be hidden, and interpreting and understanding the world in terms of possibilities. Such projecting has nothing to do with comporting oneself toward a plan that has been thought out. It is not a plan, since Dasein has, as Dasein, already projected itself. Dasein always understands itself in terms of possibilities. As projecting, the understanding of Dasein is its possibilities as possibilities. One can take up the possibilities of “The They” self and merely follow along or make some more authentic understanding.

Heidegger gives us four ways of using the term world:

1. “World” is used as an ontical concept, and signifies the totality of things which can be present-at-hand within the world.
2. “World” functions as an ontological term, and signifies the Being of those things we have just mentioned. And indeed ‘world’ can become a term for any realm which encompasses a multiplicity of entities: for instance, when one talks of the ‘world’ of a mathematician, ‘world’ signifies the realm of possible objects of mathematics.
3. “World” can be understood in another ontical sense—not, however, as those entities which Dasein essentially is not and which can be encountered within-the-world, but rather as the wherein a factical Dasein as such can be said to ‘live’. “World” has here a pre-ontological existentiell signification. Here again there are different possibilities: “world” may stand for the ‘public’ we-world, or one’s ‘own’ closest (domestic) environment.
4. Finally, “world” designates the ontologico-existential concept of worldhood (Weltheit). Worldhood itself may have as its modes whatever structural wholes any special ‘worlds’ may have at the time; but it embraces in itself the a priori character of worldhood in general.


The Essential Dialectic of World-Horizon is:

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The Intermediary Dialectic of World-Horizon is:

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The Complete Dialectic of World-Horizon is:

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