I'm considering submitting the following as my final assessment paper for philosophy. Is it clever? Anyone think it'll work? I've not completed a single reading since the midterm, so writing about this tomorrow isn't gonna be easy.
To Heidegger, the fundamental question of metaphysics is “Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?”. The question stands alone because of the breadth, depth, and priority holds over its askers, that is; it considers all of the objects of knowledge in that it makes serious question of the ‘fact’ of each and every being’s existence, it scrutinizes the conditions, causes, and changes of all beings and withholds assent to no observations. Due to the sheer magnitude of its inquiry, Heidegger sets about using it to restore the lost meanings of existence and life; dasein.
Without wanting to overstep boundaries of the prompt, I would like to make my own presentation. The views I present may or may not align with those of Heidegger himself, though if that compels you to dismiss what I’m about to say, please skip to the last paragraph.
The other day I experienced a moment of anger, in attempt to calm myself down I sought to question my anger; I ultimately found that I was only upset because I had done what I had done. That is to say that I would have not felt upset if I had not behaved.
Then I wondered why it is that I behaved and found that it was only because I sought change. At this point, I weaved round and began, again, to question why I had sought change and bubbled up in further rage. After this, I remembered that I was only upset because I had done what I had done, and then I realized that anyone who had thought the same thought would find that it was true.
Then it occurred to me to ask how it is that anyone would measure the same truth, to which I realized that I ought to be asking themselves “Why do I change?” Because I only perform behavior in order to alter the environment in which I exist; if whatever it is that can possibly be done needn’t be done, then why would I do it?
It was at this point that I recognized that I had questioned the existence of all beings. First myself; as I need to be something in order change to another thing. Then anything else; because my own knowledge was insufficient. Then the identities of beings; as in order for them to change they had to be different to one another before and after the change had taken place. At this point I had questioned the beings that beings become when they change, I had also called into question the identities of the beings by questioning what a being becomes when it changes.
In making all of these questions from the question of change, and in setting
One’s self upon them, one finds some strange thing hanging in ‘sight’. That is to say that I felt as if the application of logic, at least as well as I could use it, really wasn’t leading me anywhere. No matter how far I got, I kept floating back to the initial anger. I’m a physics student, so I went back to Einstein’s thought that perhaps the truth lay in some notion of relating beings; that perhaps all beings are if and only if they are, and that only in being whatever they were, and only if they truly were, was what they could be. That unless some thing was, and that the thing was itself, then the being could make sense of nothing. After all, the only meaning I could ever expect to take from a thought would be whatever it was that I was thinking about, and it would depend on whatever it was that I was thinking about. And after that, in some crucial metaphysical respects, Einstein’s view is really a lot like what a physicist who might, or might not, agree with the views of some philosopher like plato, or kant, might say.
Alas, even after all of this, I still step back and assess this statement only to find that it needn’t be true; even if I did experience thinking about some being, who is to say it was of my own will? Who is to say it wasn’t about imposition? After all, don’t our instincts consist of the behaviors we perform without actively choosing to? Nobody could measure my existence unless they were able to experience it and if I cannot know that I can experience theirs, then how could I ever expect a concurrent measurement of my own? Perhaps I have Hume to thank for this. After all, both Hume and I apparently sought to describe something equally important to the both of us since we questioned it to the point of observing no meaning, maybe we’re thinking about the same thing and responding to it as equals. But it’s really hard to tell because the words we use have no real meaning.
But what if after all of this thinking I only get a D+ on this exam? Perhaps I might expect to be sad, but what if it were only because I had done what I had done?