"Benefiting from Plato and Hegel, and Heidegger's ideas, Eldred (2007) discusses how (it can be seen that) the singular self is refracted on the other and thus 'broken in' on the world through the dialectic between singularity and universality." Tunc D. Medeni & I. Tolga Medeni 'Reflection and refraction for knowledge management systems' in International Journal of eBusiness and eGovernment Studies Vol. 4 No. 1 2012.
Let us first make our intentions clear, in approaching the phenomena of self and other within the context of the Plato's, Hegel's and Heidegger's thinking, by discussing in general terms what it means to interpret, or reinterpret today a dialectical text of Plato's. We stand in an historical relationship to such philosophical texts, where history does not mean merely what is past and long past, but, since Hegel and Heidegger, the happening and shaping, along with and through philosophical thinking, of the continually temporalizing space in which we humans live. Insofar, what Plato's thinking thinks is a stage in the progressive unfolding of those contours of beings in their being that have come to be known to philosophical knowing (Hegel). Moreover, what lies latent as unthought in Plato's texts can speak to us not merely innocuously in the fashion of a scholarly history of ideas (that has to be clearly distinguished from an Hegelian historical development of the Idea), but, by being receptive to what is sent and bringing the as-yet unthought to thought, as a shaping force for our historical future which has yet to arrive (Heidegger).
For Hegel, Plato's Parmenides — "the most famous masterpiece of Platonic dialectic" (dem berühmtesten Meisterstück der Platonischen Dialektik., VGPII W19:79(2)) — is a site where we can watch dialectical thinking in action and learn from it.
Was nun die spekulative Dialektik des Platon anbetrifft, so ist dies, was bei ihm anfängt, das Interessanteste, aber auch das Schwierigste in seinen Werken, — so daß man es gewöhnlich nicht kennenlernt, indem man Platonische Schriften studiert. [...] Platons Untersuchung versiert ganz im reinen Gedanken; und die reinen Gedanken an und für sich betrachten, heißt Dialektik. [...] Solche reine Gedanken sind: Sein und Nichtsein (to\ o)/n, to\ ou)k o)/n), das Eine und Viele, das Unendliche (Unbegrenzte) und Begrenzte (Begrenzende). Dies sind die Gegenstände, die er für sich betrachtet, — also die rein logische, abstruseste Betrachtung; dies kontrastiert dann freilich sehr mit der Vorstellung von dem schönen, anmutigen, gemütlichen Inhalt des Platon. (W19:65, 67)It always was a dull-witted caricature, one still doing its pedestrian service today, to characterize Hegel's dialectic as the three-step movement from thesis to antithesis to synthesis. Dialectic means to think through the interrelations among ontological concepts. The "pure thoughts" to which Hegel refers are not merely subjective ideas, but ideas with the full, ontological weight of the word as the facets or sights of being as they gain shape and contour in beings as such. Philosophical thinking is able to see these facets of being, explicitly bringing them to light as such, by engaging in the dialectic as "objective dialectic (Heraclitus), change, transition of things through themselves, i.e. of the ideas, that is here, of their categories, not external changeability, but inner transition out of and through itself" (objektive Dialektik (Heraklit), Veränderung, Übergehen der Dinge an ihnen selbst, d. i. der Ideen, d. i. hier ihrer Kategorien, nicht die äußerliche Veränderlichkeit, sondern inneres Übergehen aus und durch sich selbst, W19:66). The use of the word "category" is already an oblique reference to Aristotelean categories, which are likewise facets of being, making Aristotle insofar just as much an 'idealist' as Plato and Hegel. The "objective dialectic" must not be taken simply in the sense of external change or temporal, ontogenetic becoming, but of the transitions of the ideas themselves out of themselves which can be thought through in dialectical thinking and which can be also externalized in external change, including the external, temporal change of human history which, according to Hegel, is the externalization of the one idea itself, i.e. the absolute Idea which for him is synonymous with God. Thus, for instance, Plato's speculative dialectic is epoch-making not only in the history of philosophy but also "some centuries later constitutes the basic element in the fermentation of world history and the new shaping of the spirited human mind" (einige Jahrhunderte später überhaupt das Grundelement in der Gärung der Weltgeschichte und der neuen Gestaltung des menschlichen Geistes ausmacht, W19:66).
The perplexing thing about the ideas and their dialectical transitions is that they turn into their opposites. Hegel summarizes the overall result of Plato's masterly dialectic in the Parmenides as follows:
Dieser Dialog ist eigentlich die reine Ideenlehre Platons. Platon zeigt von dem Einen, daß [es], wenn es ist, ebensowohl als wenn es nicht ist, als sich selbst gleich und nicht sich selbst gleich, sowie als Bewegung wie auch als Ruhe, Entstehen und Vergehen ist und nicht ist, oder die Einheit ebensowohl wie alle diese reinen Ideen sowohl sind als nicht sind, das Eine ebensosehr Eines als Vieles ist. In dem Satze 'das Eine ist' liegt auch, 'das Eine ist nicht Eines, sondern Vieles'; und umgekehrt, 'das Viele ist' sagt zugleich, 'das Viele ist nicht Vieles, sondern Eines'. Sie zeigen sich dialektisch, sind wesentlich die Identität mit ihrem Anderen; und das ist das Wahrhafte. Ein Beispiel gibt das Werden: Im Werden ist Sein und Nichtsein; das Wahrhafte beider ist das Werden, es ist die Einheit beider als untrennbar und doch auch als Unterschiedener; denn Sein ist nicht Werden und Nichtsein auch nicht. (W19:81f)As a summary of the result, this is not the dialectical movement of thinking itself that traces the transitions of the simple, pure ideas of themselves into their opposites, but only a description extrinsic to such a movement which, for Hegel, is divine:
Indessen sehen die Neuplatoniker, besonders Proklos, gerade diese Ausführung im Parmenides für die wahrhafte Theologie an, für die wahrhafte Enthüllung aller Mysterien des göttlichen Wesens. Und sie kann für nichts anderes genommen werden. [...] Denn unter Gott verstehen wir das absolute Wesen aller Dinge; dies absolute Wesen ist eben in seinem einfachen Begriffe die Einheit und Bewegung dieser reinen Wesenheiten, der Ideen des Einen und Vielen usf. Das göttliche Wesen ist die Idee überhaupt, wie sie entweder für das sinnliche Bewußtsein oder für den Verstand, für das Denken ist. (W19:82)The divine being for thinking is shown, i.e. explicated, unfolded, in the Logik in the progressive movement of the dialectic from the abstract beginning of being in its "indeterminate immediacy" (unbestimmte Unmittelbarkeit) through its determination as determinate being (Dasein), via being as essence, which is the truth of being in its immediacy in the sense of a closer approximation of the philosophical idea to concrete reality (and conversely), to being as concept (Begriff), where the idea finally emerges as "subject-object", the concept as realized. As a divine movement, the Logik can be called a theology, but as the movement from the purest, most abstract ideas such as being, non-being and becoming, through progressively more concrete ideas, which are concrete in the sense that they are the result of a progressive, cumulative 'growing together' of more and more determinations along the way, the Logik, along with the Phänomenologie des Geistes, is ontology. Heidegger comments on these works in 1942/43:
Die eine und die andere Theologie [d.h. PhdG und Logik, ME] ist Ontologie, ist weltlich. Sie denken die Weltlichkeit der Welt, insofern Welt hier bedeutet: das Seiende im Ganzen. (Heidegger 'Hegels Begriff der Erfahrung (1942/43)' in Holzwege 1950 S.187)For Heidegger in a later, 1957 paper, this justifies the characterization of metaphysics in general, and Hegel's Logik in particular, as "onto-theo-logic" (Onto-Theo-Logik, Heidegger 'Die onto-theo-logische Verfassung der Metaphysik' in Identität und Differenz Neske, Pfullingen 1957 S. 56). The divine thus comes into the world and is prosaically close at hand as the worldliness of the world. Being so close at hand, the godliness of the world is unrecognizable for a religion that experiences the divine as situated in a transcendent beyond. Hegel is above all a thinker who shows that the Absolute is not situated in some transcendent beyond, but commingles with finite beings which, as touched by the Absolute, are at the same time infinite, a synonym in Hegel's language for the Absolute and divine. This is apparent already in Hegel's interpretation of the Platonic ideas, which he brings down to earth, "that this essence of things is the same as the divine being" (daß dies Wesen der Dinge dasselbe ist, was das göttliche Wesen, W19:84). Such an interpretation agrees entirely with Heidegger's. The difference between Hegel and Heidegger seems to be one of viewing angle, with the former looking toward the divine, the latter toward the worldly, but with both looking at beings in their being. In contrast to Hegel, Heidegger notes in his paper on onto-theo-logy:
Wer die Theologie, sowohl diejenige des christlichen Glaubens als auch diejenige der Philosophie, aus gewachsener Herkunft erfahren hat, zieht es heute vor, im Bereich des Denkens von Gott zu schweigen. ('Die onto-theo-logische Verfassung der Metaphysik' Identität und Differenz S.51)Where Hegel speaks of the Idea, the being of beings, as the divine Absolute, Heidegger prefers reticence, but this may amount to the same thing, for Hegel himself underscores many times that the Absolute, a placeholder for God, is itself merely an empty name whose meaning is given only through what is predicated of it through the movement of speculative-dialectical thinking, and these predicates are precisely the ontological concepts for the worldliness of the world. For Heidegger, the reason for keeping silent about God is not "some kind of atheism" (auf Grund irgendeines Atheismus, ibid.), but the "step back" (Schritt zurück, ibid. S.46, 61, 63) from the onto-theo-logische constitution of metaphysics into the as yet "unthought unity" (ungedachte Einheit, ibid. S.51) of these two essential, onto- und theo-logical strands of metaphysical thinking. Whereas for Hegel, the God of the Christian religion is lifted(3) or sublated in thinking the Absolute dialectically (and therefore beyond the reach of and indeed unrecognizable for religious experience as normally understood), for Heidegger, this metaphysical God is merely a supreme being, a summum ens, a Causa sui:
[...] Causa sui. So lautet der sachgerechte Name für den Gott in der Philosophie. Zu diesem Gott kann der Mensch weder beten, noch kann er ihm opfern. Vor der Causa sui kann der Mensch weder aus Scheu ins Knie fallen, noch kann er vor diesem Gott musizieren und tanzen. ('Die onto-theo-logische Verfassung der Metaphysik' Identität und Differenz S. 70)However, it also can be observed that you don't need a god, whether Causa sui or not, to dance and make music, and that you can also kneel before a loved one, all of these acts being 'divine'. Heidegger had insight into the non-religious nature of the metaphysical god already early on:
Qei=on bei Aristoteles ist nichts Religiöses: qei=on als das eigentliche Sein des Immerseins. (Grundbegriffe der Aristotelischen Philosophie SS 1924 Hg. Mark Michalski, Klostermann, Frankfurt/M. 2002 GA18:243)It is therefore not without justification, and not even contrary to Hegel, that we shall further follow Heidegger's worldly viewing angle on metaphysical thinking, which situates the divine very close to home, at home even in prosaic, quotidian life and not at all transcendent, if transcendence means a beyond. Then Hegel's Logik and Plato's Parmenides are indeed dialectics of the worldly, but divine in their worldliness in that they demonstrate the unique strangeness of human being itself, exposed as it is to the 'infinite' realm of ideas, ungraspable by finite understanding. Hegel himself is not at all far from Heidegger's worldly point of view when, in discussing the Neo-Platonist, Proclus, he notes that,
Musth/rion hat aber bei den Alexandrinern nicht den Sinn, den wir darunter verstehen, sondern es heißt bei ihnen überhaupt spekulative Philosophie. (W19:467)which brings philosophical thinking and the divine very close together, so close in fact, that it is the philosophers who hearken to what the Idea as Weltgeist has to send to humankind, a conception again not far removed from Heidegger's thinking on the history of being and its historical sendings, even though Heidegger underscores the leaps and ruptures in these sendings from being in its uniqueness rather than a continuous unfolding:
Wie es, das Sein, sich gibt, bestimmt sich je selbst aus der Weise, wie es sich lichtet. Diese Weise ist jedoch eine geschickliche, eine je epochale Prägung [...] In die Nähe des Geschicklichen gelangen wir nur durch die Jähe des Augenblickes eines Andenkens. (Heidegger 'Die onto-theo-logische Verfassung der Metaphysik' in Identität und Differenz Neske, Pfullingen 1957 S.65)Hegel, on the other hand, emphasizes the development or unfolding of the one Idea as Weltgeist. For instance, according to Hegel, with the discovery of the trinity, the concrete unity of three in one, "the Alexandrians grasped the nature of spirited mind" (Die Alexandriner [...] haben die Natur des Geistes aufgefaßt. W19:488)
Dies ist nicht so ein Einfall der Philosophie, sondern ein Ruck des Menschengeistes, der Welt, des Weltgeistes. Die Offenbarung Gottes ist nicht als ihm von einem Fremden geschehen. Was wir so trocken, abstrakt hier betrachten, ist / konkret. Solches Zeug, sagt man, die Abstraktionen, die wir betrachten, wenn wir so in unserem Kabinett die Philosophen sich zanken und streiten lassen und es so oder so ausmachen, sind Wort-Abstraktionen. — Nein! Nein! Es sind Taten des Weltgeistes, meine Herren, und darum des Schicksals. Die Philosophen sind dabei dem Herrn näher, als die sich nähren von den Brosamen des Geistes; sie lesen oder schreiben diese Kabinettsordres gleich im Original: sie sind gehalten, diese mitzuschreiben. Die Philosophen sind die mu/stai, die beim Ruck im innersten Heiligtum mit- und dabeigewesen; die anderen haben ihr besonderes Interesse: diese Herrschaft, diesen Reichtum, dies Mädchen. — Wozu der Weltgeist 100 und 1000 Jahre braucht, das machen wir schneller, weil wir den Vorteil haben, daß es eine Vergangenheit [ist] und in der Abstraktion geschieht. (W19:488f)When a 'pagan' Neo-Platonist such as Proclus retraces the abstract dialectic in Plato's Parmenides and works out the structure of the trinity, this is of course not a revelation of the Christian God, nor even necessarily of a supreme, divine being, but of the divine nature of being itself. The philosophers have a head start on human history as it is played out in strife and struggle because, in thinking through their abstractions, they fore-see the shape of ideas to come as they gain contour in the clearing while the fog lifts. In the above passage, Hegel employs the language of absolutist rule (e.g "cabinet orders"), but we need not be put off by the more authoritarian language of another age. Even today, as long as philosophy is practised, philosophers can hearken to that hidden source whose sendings, with much exertion on the thinkers' part, gradually come to light for speculative thinking, i.e. for the thinking gaze that looks past the mere given onticity of beings and sees being in its manifold. These general, preliminary thoughts on speculative, dialectical thinking may set the scene for what is at stake in interpreting, or reinterpreting, Plato's or Hegel's dialectic today.
2. Approaching an existential dialectic of self and other through an interpretation of a passage from Plato's ParmenidesAs announced, the initial focus for the present essay is to be a lengthy passage from the mid-point of Plato's Parmenides, alongside The Sophist and Philebos, one of his dialectical dialogues, and the most elaborate and involved one in which Plato has the famous philosopher from Elea unfold a dialectic of to\ e(/n, the one. The particular passage chosen is a dialectic of the one (to\ e(/n), the others (ta\ a)/lla), the same/self (tau)ton) and the other (to\ e(/teron) which has a most perplexing, contradictory result. The reason for this choice is that the very ambiguity in the term tau)ton, meaning both 'the same' and 'the self', holds promise of an interpretative twist that would allow the apparently abstract dialectic of simple essentialities, Wesenheiten or Platonic ideas to gain a concreteness and worldliness that it otherwise does not seem to possess, and did not yet possess in the historical world of the Greeks, for it is only in the modern age since Descartes that the self as an individual human subject has become a major problem for philosophical thinking. We will read the passage not with a view to providing a detailed commentary and interpretation of it, but with regard to a more concrete idea of to\ e(/n 'the one' and tau)ton 'the same/self', namely, as "das Selbst", the individual self, for, to start with, we note along with Hegel that "the self is the simplest form of the concrete, the self is without content; insofar as it is determined, it becomes concrete" (Das Selbst ist die einfachste Form des Konkreten, das Selbst ist inhaltslos; insofern es bestimmt ist, wird es konkret [...], Hegel VGPII W19:487).
We can pursue such a strategy of reading because a dialectical development of the abstract ideas takes place in thinking that is the unfolding of the Idea itself, or the face of being, i.e. the sight that being grants to beings, from very few, simple determinations through to progressively more determinations that 'grow together' in concreteness. Abstract ideas are the building blocks of the world in its worldliness. The dialectical movement of ideas is the way thinking can come to grips with the being of the world, its ontological worldliness, bringing the manifold of separate determinations in their confusing multiplicity into an order of thinking that shows, if not their given complex, countless, ontic, empirical, partly causal interconnections, then at least their essential, simple ontological form-structure and how they hang together as facets of being whose givenness is no longer taken for granted but becomes mysterious in the genuine sense of philosophy.
This is what Hegel means by bringing the phenomena to their concept. The concept is always the ontological concept. Otherwise the phenomena remain "begrifflos", "without concept", buffeted back and forth by the arbitrary winds and breezes of opinion and understood only as ungrounded notions or empirically given facts, whose ontological origins remain unclarified. For, with Plato's discovery of the ideas as the facets of being lent to beings, the mystery of the world in its worldliness becomes graspable for (speculative) thinking, the thinking of Reason as distinct from Understanding, insofar as thinking can pursue the dialectic of these ideas, their contradictory movement into their opposites and into each other. Hegel therefore writes:
Wenn Platon vom Guten, Schönen spricht, so sind dies konkrete Ideen. Es ist aber nur eine Idee. Bis zu solchen konkreten Ideen hat es noch weit hin, wenn man von solchen Abstraktionen anfängt als Sein, Nichtsein, Einheit, Vielheit. Dieses hat Platon nicht geleistet: diese abstrakten Gedanken fortzuführen zur Schönheit, Wahrheit, Sittlichkeit; diese Entwicklung, Verpilzung fehlt. Aber schon in der Erkenntnis jener abstrakten Bestimmungen selbst liegt wenigstens das Kriterium, die Quelle für das Konkrete. [...] Die alten Philosophen wußten ganz wohl, was sie an solchen abstrakten Gedanken hatten für das Konkrete. Im atomistischen Prinzip der Einheit, Vielheit finden wir so die Quelle einer Konstruktion des Staats; die letzte Gedankenbestimmung solcher Staatsprinzipien ist eben das Logische. (W19:85)The "principles" are the starting-points which govern a movement of thought, allowing the simple ontological structure of a concrete manifold to progressively come to light. The simplest, most abstract ideas, such as the one and the many, are only abstract, but they are the "criterion", the "ultimate thought-determination", the "source", i.e. the a)rxh/ in the Greek sense as the point of origination or 'whence' that governs what follows from that origin, bringing order and light into the confusing jumble of the world as it is ontically, factically given to experience. The most abstract of ideas serve as principle, and "the principle must gain content" (das Prinzip soll Inhalt gewinnen, (VGPII W19:488) because, at first, it is "only implicitly concrete; it is not yet known as concrete" (nur an sich konkret, er wird noch nicht als konkret gewußt, (VGPII W19:488). At first and for the most part, the ideas are seen and understood implicitly, i.e. folded in on themselves, an sich.
In the present case we are not concerned with the "principle of unity,
plurality" as "the source for a constuction of the state" but with the
dialectic of five highly abstract ideas or facets of being: the one (to\
e(/n), the not-one (ta\ mh\ e(/n), the
others (ta\ a)/lla, ta)/lla, ta)=lla), the same/self
(tau)ton, identity, selfhood) and the other
(to\ e(/teron, otherness) inhabiting "the logical
dimension" i.e. the ontological dimension, as the supposed "source", "criterion"
and "ultimate thought-determination" for the ontological relations also
between the individual human self and the others. Let us finally hear the
The result of the intermediate dialectic, we read, is that "The one, then, is, it appears, other than the others and than itself, and is also the same as the others and as itself." [147c], a most perplexing result which is now to be translated into its more concrete meaning with regard to human beings in their being. The one then becomes the individual, and the others are other human beings. According to the dialectical result, the individual is the same as itself, other than itself, other than the others, and also the same as the others. How is this possible? How can such a result, which defies plain logic, be arrived at? Is Plato's dialectic here only "superficial" (äußerlich), as Hegel claims generally for certain of the transitions in the Parmenides? First of all, it seems perfectly obvious that the individual is the same as itself, and this indeed is the first leg of the intermediate dialectic 146b-147c which is arrived at indirectly by excluding in turn that the one could be a part of itself, or the one could be a whole of which it itself is part, or that the one could be other than itself.
More light can be shed on the one being the same as itself from a formulation in The Sophist occurring in the famous dialectic of the five abstract "genera" (ge/nh): movement (ki/nhsij), standstill (st/asij), being (to\ o)/n), the same and the other with regard to the first three: Ou)kou=n au)tw=n e(/kaston toi=n me\n duo=in e(/teron e)stin, au)to\ d" e(aut%= tau)to/n. (254d14) Heidegger translates, overlooking that not two, but three genera are involved, "Nun ist doch von ihnen jedes der beiden ein anderes, selber aber ihm selbst dasselbe" ('Grundsätze des Denkens Freiburger Vorträge 1957', III. Vortrag 'Der Satz der Identität' in Bremer und Freiburger Vorträge ed. Petra Jaeger Gesamtausgabe Band 79, Klostermann, Frankfurt GA79:116) My own rendering: "Is not each of them other than the other two, itself however the same with itself." The queer thing about Plato's formulation is the threefold occurrence of "the same" in nominative, accusative and dative. Heidegger interprets this third, dative occurrence "as the mediation with itself" (als die Vermittelung mit ihm selbst; GA57:116), so that the identity of a being with itself is not merely an obvious tautology, saying 'nothing', as plain-speaking logicians would like to have it, but an ontological insight that first gains its full status in German speculative idealism with "Fichte, Schelling and Hegel" (Fichte, Schelling und Hegel, GA57:116). Heidegger offers a phenomenological interpretation of the mediated nature of the principle of identity, which is a statement (Satz), by pointing out that, "The statement A is A lays A there as A." (Der Satz A ist A legt A als A dar. GA57:111). That is, like all sentences such as 'The road is long', the principle of identity brings to presence and lays before us A as itself, i.e. the principle says that A shows itself of itself as itself. The principle thus refers to the possibility of A disclosing itself as it is of itself, the possibility of truth as disclosedness: A presents itself as A. With regard to the human individual, this abstract principle posits the possibility of an individual's presenting itself to itself and others as itself, which is one characteristic of authenticity, as will be laid out further below.
The second leg of Plato's above-cited dialectic is to show that the one is other than itself, and this is because it can be "in another place/time" [e(te/rwqi 146c] whilst remaining itself, the Greek word e(te/rwqi having, ambiguously, both a spatial and temporal sense. Any being, not just a human individual, whilst being itself is other than itself, insofar (tau/tv, in this point) as it is also itself at an other place or time. The third leg is very brief and consists of only two steps. The one is other than the not-one seems uncontroversial since only the negation is applied to the one. But, in being other than the not-one, the one is other than other beings, and the not-one as beings are the others (ta)=lla). In particular, this implies that the individual is other than the others. The fourth and final leg of the proof is the lengthiest and involves a detour through a dialectic of sameness and otherness, which are opposites to one another (e)nanti/a a)llh/loij [146d]). Being opposites, they cannot partake in each other at all; they contradict each other. In particular, otherness cannot be in any being for any time at all because, if it were, it would be in the same for this time and therefore insofar partake of sameness. Therefore, the one and the others, if they are other than one another, cannot be so by virtue of otherness being in them, nor, plainly, can they be so by virtue of sameness being in them. Therefore, they cannot "escape out of" (e)kfeu/goi [147a]) being not other than one another. Nor can the one be part of the others as whole, nor the others part of the one as whole. There remains, by exclusion, only the possibility that the one and the others are the same. That, concisely, is the dialectic of the one and the others in the middle of the Parmenides.
What could this mean with a view to the individual and the others? The individual human being is the same or identical with itself in a way quite different from the sameness with themselves of other beings, for the individual human being is itself a self. That this self is the same (tau)ton) with itself is not a 'logical' triviality like A = A, but has phenomenological content, for the individual as self relates to itself, i.e. it is reflexive, bent back upon itself in being open to, knowing and understanding itself as itself. This is what is traditionally referred to as self-consciousness, by virtue of which, according to Kant, the human being is the unique being able to say 'I'. But in saying 'I', the individual has already betrayed itself as a singular individual, for by so saying, it has called itself by a universal title, raising itself out of its unique singularity into universality. When the 'I' comes over the human, making it a human being, this 'I' is supposed to designate I myself in my singularity, but in truth does just the opposite, for every individual human being is an 'I', encroached upon (übergriffen, 'reached over') and covered by this universal designation. There is no way of pointing to individual singularity without already translating it over the gulf to universality. It can even be said that there is no singularity at all, for unique singularity has always already been universalized by the gathering of the lo/goj. Apart from the self-reflexivity of the I, there is also its possibility, as pointed out above, of its showing itself off as itself, insofar being itself: I am I insofar as I show myself to myself and the world as myself.
To say 'I am' is to speak in the first person vis-à-vis the others who, for the most part, are in the third person: 'they'. There is a gulf between the first person and the third person, for the I is only itself and not the others. I is other (e(/teron) than the others. But even this description in terms of first and third person does violence to the phenomenological situation here, because these titles are themselves universal, not individual and singular. Moreover, the others also say 'I' of themselves; insofar we are the same as each other. And yet, when I reflect on myself as myself, I am aware of the unbridgeable gulf between my self and the others. There is and cannot be any language of singularity, which remains not only mute, but ungatherably beyond or prior to the lo/goj altogether. Singularity itself is a universal designation. In bending back upon itself as a self in self-consciousness, thus becoming a human being as (modern) subject, the singular individual is always already cast irrevocably into universality, is part of this universality and insofar a particular, not a unique singularity. Being the same as itself in being reflected back upon itself as a self, the individual subject has already left individuality in the sense of unique singularity, for this self-reflection through which it understands itself as self goes hand in hand with the human individual's being aware of and understanding the world which can be articulated in language as totality of beings. The individual has 'transcended' or 'climbed over' (überstiegen) to the world.
The individual as a self can say, 'I am', and it can say this in one place or another, one time or another, remaining itself as a self in becoming other in time and space (e(te/rwqi [146c]). This would correspond to Plato's dialectic as we have discussed it, and also to Fürsichsein or being-for-itself as thought in Hegel's Logik. Existing as it does in time and space, the individual self is other (e(/teron) than itself through being not just living movement, but living movement that is bent back on itself as self-reflexion: I know myself as my identical self, remaining myself through time, and this phenomenon of self-identity is richer, more concrete than the abstract identity demonstrated in Plato's dialectic or initially in Hegel's Logik in the so-called Seinslehre or Doctrine of Being.
Moreover — and this corresponds to the most round-about part of the dialectic in the passage cited from the Parmenides — since sameness and otherness (or identity and difference) are opposites (e)nanti/a [146d]), i.e. contradictory, otherness cannot reside in me in my singularity, for as singular I am purely identical with myself, a pure, empty tautology beyond any grasp or gathering and prior to any self-showing of myself as myself. Similarly, otherness cannot reside in the others as singularities. Insofar, I am not other than the others by virtue of otherness residing either in me or in the others. Furthermore, I as this singularity am not the whole who contains the others, nor are the others the whole of whom I am part. There remains therefore only the possibility of I and the others being the same. But this is only an indirect, negative proof which is also rather formal, so let us attempt a more phenomenological, positive demonstration:
The individual does not merely say, 'I am', nor does it say merely, 'I am I', thus expressly saying its reflexive identity with itself in a superfluous tautology, but rather it knows itself to be and says that it is other than I by understanding itself as such-and-such, for instance, 'I am tired'. I am not tiredness itself, but I am it also in a certain way, for I partake of tiredness; it belongs to me in the given situation and insofar I am the same as tiredness. 'I am tired' brings my tiredness to appearance in presence, first of all, for myself. Beyond transitory situations, I also understand myself to be a reliable person or of a certain vocation, and being reliable or exercising a certain particular vocation, say, translator, car mechanic or fashion designer, I identify myself with and am insofar the same (tau)ton) as reliability and the vocation in question in comporting myself within certain habitual practices out there in the world, for selfhood is not a matter of an inward identity, but of an identity as a way or ways of being in the world, of how I comport myself habitually in the life practices that constitute my world. I identify myself plainly with what I am not in understanding my self as a translator, car mechanic or fashion designer, perhaps even saying occasionally to myself, 'I am a translator'. Only by identifying myself with something other, i.e. with what I am not, do I escape the hollow, tautological, selfsame selfness of 'I am I' (the self-confirmation of the self-conscious ego for itself and thus the origin of modern subjecthood), for, to say 'I am...' is already to expect an otherness, a difference, and not merely the repetition of a tautological identity that says nothing. Hegel expresses this in his Logik with regard to all beings (which must have been overcome by being to be) as follows:
Es liegt also in der Form des Satzes, in der die Identität ausgedrückt ist, mehr als die einfache, abstrakte Identität [A ist A, ME]; es liegt diese reine Bewegung der Reflexion darin, in der das Andere nur als Schein, als unmittelbares Verschwinden auftritt; A ist, ist ein Beginnen, dem ein Verschiedenes vorschwebt, zu dem hinausgegangen werde; aber es kommt nicht zu dem Verschiedenen; A ist – A; die Verschiedenheit ist nur ein Verschwinden; die Bewegung geht in sich selbst zurück. – Die Form des Satzes kann als die verborgene Notwendigkeit angesehen werden, noch das Mehr jener Bewegung zu der abstrakten Identität hinzuzufügen. (Hegel Logik II, Werke Bd. 6 W6:44)Insofar, with regard in particular to the first person at issue here, to be who I am, I identify myself, and must identify myself with what or who I am not, i.e. with the other, and this identity with the other is by no means negatively an alienation (othering or estranging) from myself, but such othering from myself is constitutive of my genuine identity with myself, my sameness. In identifying myself with the other, and thus being the other, I am simultaneously myself and also positively alienated or othered from myself. Moreover, to be myself as a self in the world, I must be other than myself. To be my singular self, I must be universal, graspable as who I am only through universals such as "tiredness" or "car mechanic". 'I am I' then does not say merely tautological self-identity but 'I present my self as who I am — to both myself and others'.
I am therefore other than myself in being identical with myself, and in being so, I, this unique singularity, am universal, my opposite, thus, a living contradiction. I can only understand myself as self through the universals which shape the world into which I have been cast, by partaking of those universals as a particular instance and thus understanding myself and being understood by others in terms of such particularity, which forms the always broken middle or rickety, mediating bridge between singularity and universality. Others can also partake of this universal. E.g. if I am reliable or a translator or a fashion designer, others can also be reliable or translators or fashion designers. Insofar, I am the same as the others, and the others are the same as me. The mediation between me and the others is that we partake, albeit each of us in countless, idiosyncratic, combinatorial constellations, of the same universal(s), thus being identical with each other as particulars by participating nolens volens in universality. Universality, for its part, is thrown up by an historical world as a cast of being enabling certain masks for participating existentially in it. Particularity bridges the gulf between singularity and universality, and thus also between singularity and singularity, insofar as it can be bridged at all. This bridging may be relatively smooth, firm and affirmative, or broken, tortured and tentative, depending upon the degree of fracturedness with which singularity in its reflexiveness is able to identify itself with the universals, i.e. the ideas or faces of being, that shape its historical world. As already stated, I as this singularity am not the whole who contains the others, nor are the others the whole of whom I am part; for me to be merely a participant in a whole defined by the others would be a totalitarian conception of the individual. To be the same as the others, we must be mediated with one another by something in the middle in partaking of the same universal(s), for I as this singularity cannot be the same as the others as the singular beings they are.
Let us pursue this line of questioning further on the abstract level of logic understood in the Hegelian way as ontological structure by delving into the dialectic of the poles constituting identity. By doing so, we will be practising dialectics in the sense of "contemplat[ing] the pure thoughts in and for themselves" (W19:67) and also continuing to follow up on Hegel's insight that "[t]he ancient philosophers knew very well that such abstract thoughts were invaluable for the concrete." (W19:85) We need to infiltrate the text to live and breathe through its pores in order to shake off the impression propagated by Hegel's many detractors in our profoundly unphilosophical age that he is performing merely capricious dialectical acrobatics that can be written off as 'mystical' or 'speculative' nonsense. The pure thoughts of dialectical thinking are the abstract, ontological elements from which the world in its worldliness is made.
The identity and difference of subject and predicate is dealt with in the Logik as the theory of the judgement (das Urteil) which is itself the second chapter of the first section of three sections in the Doctrine of the Concept, which in turn forms the concluding third part of the Logik as a whole. The first section of this culminating part of the Logik bears the heading "Subjectivity" (Die Subjektivität), which is itself misleading because the three chapters it comprises, The Concept (Der Begriff), The Judgement (Das Urteil) and The Conclusion (Der Schluß), are by no means to be taken as merely aspects of the (subjective) thinking mind, but equally as ontological structures of reality itself. The concept itself "contains the three moments: universality, particularity and singularity" (enthält die drei Momente: Allgemeinheit, Besonderheit und Einzelheit, LII W6:273) that are held in unity by the concept that, as free "being-in-and-for-itself" (Anundfürsichsein, W6:273), posits each of its moments, each of which being "just as much the whole concept as determinate concept and as a determination by the concept" (sosehr ganzer Begriff als bestimmter Begriff und als eine Bestimmung des Begriffs, W6:273). The emphasis here is at first on the concept's unity that holds together and mediates its three moments, but, as "absolute negativity" (absolute Negativität, W6:272) and initially as "immediate" (unmittelbare, W6:272) concept, it "dirempts itself" (dirimiert ... sich, W6:272) so that "the moments become indifferent to each other and each for itself" (die Momente gleichgültig gegeneinander und jedes für sich wird, W6:272) and "its unity in this division [as judgement] is only a merely extrinsic relation" (seine Einheit ist in dieser Teilung nur noch äußere Beziehung, W6:272) of "moments posited as independent and indifferent" (als selbständig und gleichgültig gesetzte(n) Momente, W6:272).
The "unity of the concept lost in its independent moments" (Einheit des in seine selbständigen Momente verlorenen Begriffs, W6:272) therefore has to be regained through the "dialectical movement of the judgement" (dialektische Bewegung des Urteils, W6:272) which culminates in the "conclusion" (Schluß, W6:272) in which "not only the moments [of the concept] as independent extremes are posited, but also their mediating unity" (ebensowohl die Momente desselben als selbständige Extreme wie auch deren vermittelnde Einheit gesetzt ist, W6:272). The task is thus set at the opening of the Doctrine of the Concept in its "subjectivity" of going through the dialectical movement (a thinking-through) in which the concept at first loses and then regains the unity of its three moments, universality, particularity and singularity.
Hegel understands the judgement (Urteil) or, more naturally in English, the proposition not as a subjective act but, proceeding from the etymology of the German word that cannot be imitated in English, as "the original division of what is originally one" (die ursprüngliche Teilung des ursprünglich Einen, W6:304) which was previously referred to as the concept "dirempting itself" (dirimiert ... sich, W6:272). The "original division" of the concept is here rendered as the primal split (or schism) of an original unity in the concept or Begriff, which likewise can be understood from its etymology as a 'grasping together' or 'com-prehending'. The dialectical task of the third chapter of the first part of the theory of the concept therefore has to be seen in overcoming the primal split of the judgement in the movement of the conclusion (Schluß) which, in turn, again has to be understood in its deeper ontological sense as a 'closing together' of precisely this primal split which is located, in the first place, in the "abstract proposition ... 'the singular is the universal'" (abstrakte Urteil ... 'das Einzelne ist das Allgemeine', EnzI §166 Anm.). Hegel does not make an explicit point of the etymology of the German word 'Schluß' (although he does say that in the conclusion the subject "is closed together with an other determination" (mit einer anderen Bestimmtheit zusammengeschlossen, EnzI §182)), presumably because its signification as 'closing' is already apparent in German from the word itself, whereas in English, the sensitivity to the etymology of 'conclusion' has been lost.
To underscore that judgement/proposition and conclusion are not merely formal logical categories employed by 'subjective reasoning' in investigating the possibilities of linking propositions through a mediation in syllogisms, but rather are ontological structures, Hegel says in the corresponding part of the Enzyklopädie that "All things are a judgement/proposition" (alle Dinge sind ein Urteil, EnzI §167) and "Everything is a conclusion" (Alles ist ein Schluß, EnzI §181 Anm.). By the former statement he means that "they are singularities which in themselves are a universality or an inner nature, or a universal that is singularized/individualized" (sie sind Einzelne, welche eine Allgemeinheit oder innere Natur in sich sind, oder ein Allgemeines, das vereinzelt ist, EnzI §167). The primal split thus refers in the first place to that between the individual, singular being in its reality and its universal essence, its "inner nature". By the latter statement concerning the conclusion he means that "everything is a concept, and its determinate existence is the difference of the concept's moments so that its universal nature gives itself outward reality through particularity and thereby, and as negative reflection-into-itself, makes itself into an individual/singularity" (Alles ist Begriff, und sein Dasein ist der Unterschied der Momente desselben, so daß seine allgemeine Natur durch die Besonderheit sich äußerliche Realität gibt und hierdurch und als negative Reflexion-in-sich sich zum Einzelnen macht, EnzI §181 Anm.). "The conclusion is therefore the essential ground of everything true" (Der Schluß ist deswegen der wesentliche Grund alles Wahren, EnzI §181 Anm.), "what is reasonable and everything reasonable" (das Vernünftige und alles Vernünftige, EnzI §181), where reason for Hegel is a synonym for the idea (EnzI §214) and truth for him means the correspondence (as opposed to the "contradiction"; cf. EnzI §24 Zus.2) between reality and the concept (EnzI §213 Zus.).
What is dirempted in the primal split between singularity and universality is to be 'closed together' again and unified in the conclusion, and this is achieved in the first place by the "apodictic judgement/proposition" (apodiktisches Urteil, EnzI §181 Zus.) whose schema is given as "this — the immediate singularity — house — genus —, of such and such a quality — particularity—, is good or bad" (dieses — die unmittelbare Einzelheit — Haus — Gattung —, so und so beschaffen — Besonderheit —, ist gut oder schlecht, EnzI §179), where, for Hegel, "good or bad" (for a certain purpose) is synonymous with 'true or untrue'.(4) Hegel paraphrases this schema of the apodictic judgement as "All things are a genus (their determination and purpose) in a singular reality and of a particular quality, and their finiteness is that the particularity of the singular reality can conform with the universal or not" (Alle Dinge sind eine Gattung (ihre Bestimmung und Zweck) in einer einzelnen Wirklichkeit von einer besonderen Beschaffenheit; und ihre Endlichkeit ist, daß das Besondere derselben dem Allgemeinen gemäß sein kann oder auch nicht. EnzI §179). The particular is the hinge that in the "immediate conclusion" (unmittelbare Schluß, EnzI §182) is supposed to mediate, closing the individual thing in its singular reality together with the universal of its "determination and purpose". Because most things are finite, the mediation with their "nature" through their particular qualities goes awry, so that they are "untrue" and therefore must "perish" (zugrunde gehen, EnzI §24 Zus2). This would mean that, for Hegel, the world as we humans experience it is for the most part untrue, diverging from its true concept that speculative thinking can bring to light as a complex, dialectically unfolding, total ontological structure. The world is not as it should or ought to be, but this Ought is no longer impotent as it is in the moralism of subjective idealism and all kinds of subjective ethics, but rather, the non-correspondence with its concept compels a thing to go under, showing that the ontological concept, that is accessible through dialectical-speculative thinking, is stronger than empirically given reality.
But let us leave aside the question of the closing together of the primal split through the conclusion for the moment and return to a consideration of the primal split or judgement/proposition itself. One of Hegel's standard examples for a judgement is the simple statement of sensuous perception, "This rose is red" (diese Rose ist rot, EnzI §166 Zus.) which brings a singular thing, "this rose", into identity with what it is not, namely, the universal, "red". An even simpler example is 'This is a rose' or 'This is a glass' in which 'this' points to a singular, real thing, proclaiming that it is what it is not, namely, the universal, 'rose' or 'glass', thus lifting the unique, singular thing through the lo/goj (without frictional loss?) to being in its universality. Even the more abstract, simple example, 'This is something', identifies a singular, real thing with what it is not, namely, the universal, 'something', where 'something' for Hegel is a category of immediate being, viz. the reality of determinate being or Dasein. The primal split therefore is truly primal, affecting every being in its being by putting each singular being into a contradictory identity with what it is not, simply by virtue of being what it is. The primal split is prior to whether a being is true or untrue, i.e. whether, in its singular reality as an individual being, it corresponds with its universal concept or not, thus splitting both true and untrue beings alike.
The simple, not to say trivial, judgement, 'This is a glass', would normally not be spoken, but there can be no doubt that we continually practise this judgement in everyday living in identifying practically the things around us as what they are and distinguishing one thing from another, which, in turn, is an aspect of each finite being, that it has a demarcating border-line that marks it off negatively from what it is not. Moreover, not only do we practise this identifying, but the things around us also present themselves to us as what they are, marking themselves off from what they are not through their self-presentation. Hence, Hegel says that each determinate being is a negation, defined as what it is only through its delimitation from what it is not. Our everyday understanding of the world in its very quotidian banality is already beset by the contradiction of the primal split that every singular being can only be what it is in an identity of identity and difference. 'This is a glass' expresses in the so-called copula unequivocally the identity of 'this' and 'glass', whereas 'This is a glass' expresses a difference between 'this' and 'glass'. Here already resides the mystery of being. Although 'This is a glass' would normally not be spoken, a similarly simple judgement such as 'This is a wine glass' could be spoken in the context of distinguishing, perhaps for someone else's sake, a stemmed wine glass from a similarly stemmed, but smaller, water glass. For a waiter serving in a restaurant, for instance, making such a distinction among all the restaurant-things is important. Such a judgement introduces a further determining negation, namely, 'wine' as distinct from 'water', allowing a finer limit to be defined among things, but such finer distinctions obscure the primal split inherent already in every single being, leading to its being invariably skipped over in a phenomenological ontological investigation. Only by viewing the judgement in its simplest phenomenal form can it be seen unobstructedly that everything is a contradiction.
The trivial judgement or proposition, 'This is a glass', contains the so-called demonstrative pronoun, 'this' which demonstrates in the sense of 'pointing out' a singular being. Hegel says of a being, "but it is only this insofar as it is monstrated/pointed out. Monstration/pointing-out is the reflecting movement which collects itself into itself and posits immediacy, but as something external to it" (es ist aber nur Dieses, insofern es monstriert wird. Das Monstrieren ist die reflektierende Bewegung, welche sich in sich zusammennimmt und die Unmittelbarkeit setzt, aber als ein sich Äußerliches. W6:300). The singular thing, however, is more than this pointed-out, immediate thing because it is a moment of the concept and as such has a relation to its other moment, universality or the essence of the thing, its "inner nature" (EnzI §167) which, "climbs down" (heruntersteigt, W6:296) into singularity, so that "by resolving to become a judgement/by opening itself up to the primal split in singularity, it posits itself as something real" (indem er sich in der Einzelheit zum Urteil entschließt,(5) sich als Reales [...] setzt, W6:403), the moments of the concept being as they are initially "still enclosed within the concept" (noch in den Begriff eingeschlossen, W6:403). The moments of the concept have thus become "independent determinations" (selbständigen Bestimmungen, W6:301) and the concept has "lost itself" (sich verloren, W6:301) in the "original division" (ursprünglichen Teilung, W6:301) of the judgement or primal split. In this primal split, to see anything is to "see double, once in its singular reality, and once in its essential identity or in its concept: the singular being raised into its universality or, what is the same, the universal singularized/individualized into its reality" (doppelt sehen, das eine Mal in seiner einzelnen Wirklichkeit, das andere Mal in seiner wesentlichen Identität oder in seinem Begriffe: das Einzelne in seine Allgemeinheit erhoben oder, was dasselbe ist, das Allgemeine in seine Wirklichkeit vereinzelt. W6:311).(6) Heidegger devotes a long chapter to the problem of logic, namely, that logic has become a "special discipline within philosophy" (gesonderten Disziplin innerhalb der Philosophie, GA24:252) emptied of any ontological content and therefore divorced from "the central problems of philosophy" (den zentralen Problemen der Philosophie, GA24:252). The chapter in question therefore takes up "the question concerning the connection of the 'is' as copula to fundamental ontological problems" (die Frage nach dem Zusammenhang des 'ist' als Kopula mit den ontologischen Grundproblemen, GA24:254 italics in the original). Heidegger notes that this problem "will not budge until logic itself is taken back into ontology again, i.e. until Hegel is comprehended who, conversely, dissolved ontology into logic" (kommt solange nicht von der Stelle, als die Logik selbst nicht wieder in die Ontologie zurückgenommen wird, d.h. solange Hegel, der umgekehrt die Ontologie in Logik auflöste, begriffen ist, GA24:254). Heidegger therefore praises Hegel for breathing philosophical life back into the formal, abstract discipline of logic whilst at the same time finding fault with him for turning ontology into logic which, in Hegel's understanding, is the pure movement of dialectical thinking itself speculating on the ontological structure of the world. The later Heidegger, for instance, in the 1957 Freiburg lectures cited above, no longer so rudely accuses Hegel of dissolving "ontology into logic" but claims instead that "the [dialectical-speculative ME] system is as 'the thought' being itself that dissolves all beings within itself and thus outlines the preliminary form of that which comes to appearance as the essence of the technical world." (Das [dialektisch-spekulative ME] System ist als 'der Gedanke' das Sein selbst, das alles Seiende in sich auflöst und so die Vorform dessen abzeichnet, was jetzt als das Wesen der technischen Welt zum Vorschein kommt. GA79:140).
Significantly, although Heidegger calls for the "overcoming of Hegel [as] the inner, necessary step for developing Western philosophy" (Überwindung Hegels [als] der innerlich notwendige Schritt in der Entwicklung der abendländischen Philosophie, GA24:254), Heidegger does not attempt a critical engagement with Hegel's dialectical-speculative logic in these lectures but instead discusses Aristotle as the father of logic and then the later non-dialectical logicians, Hobbes, J.S. Mill as well as the post-Hegelian, Lotze. Following this discussion, Heidegger attempts, in the chapter in question, to retranslate the copula that couples subject and predicate in a logical proposition back into a way of being-in-the-world by showing that the simple proposition is embedded within the prior "uncoveredness" (Enthülltheit, GA24:311) of the world for Dasein. This problem of the copula does not concern us here. Rather, what interests us is how, in the same lectures, Heidegger interprets selfhood as a way of being-in-the-world, for this may shed light on how Hegel's dialectical logic can be translated into a phenomenology of constitution of the self.
Heidegger in fact approaches the phenomenon of the constitution of the self through a concept that he explicitly borrows from Hegel, namely, the concept of "reflection". "Reflect means here to refract on something, to radiate back from there, i.e. to show oneself in the reflection/shining-back from something. In Hegel, this optical meaning of the term 'reflection' resonates at one point... (Reflektieren heißt hier: sich an etwas brechen, von da zurückstrahlen, d.h. von etwas her im Widerschein sich zeigen. Bei Hegel [...] klingt einmal diese optische Bedeutung des Terminus 'Reflexion' an..., GA24:226). Heidegger, translating the Latin-derived 'Reflektieren' into the German-rooted 'Widerschein' or 'shining-back', goes on to make a great deal phenomenologically out ot this "show[ing] oneself in the reflection/shining-back from something".(7) This "optical" etymology of reflection serves Heidegger as an alternative to the well-known etymology of 'bending-back' as in the bending back of consciousness upon itself to become aware of itself as a self in self-reflective self-consciousness.
Instead, Heidegger thinks the self as reflected back from the world, and he is able to do this because human being is no longer thought as self-reflective subjectivity vis-à-vis the world in its objectivity, but rather as Dasein, as being always already involved with beings out there in the world. Dasein is therefore always already embedded in and exposed to the world. Strictly speaking, therefore, there is no such thing as introspection, for Dasein is willy-nilly always looking outward. "[I]n immediate passionate surrender to the world, Dasein's own self shines [back ME] out of things themselves" ([I]n unmittelbarem leidenschaftlichen Ausgegebensein an die Welt selbst scheint das eigene Selbst des Daseins aus den Dingen selbst [zurück ME], GA24:227). Heidegger says it is remarkable "that at first and, in everyday life, for the most part, we encounter ourselves from things and are opened up to ourselves in our self in this way. [...] To be sure, the cobbler is not the shoe and yet he understands himself from his things, himself, his self" (daß wir uns zunächst und alltäglich zumeist aus den Dingen her begegnen und uns selbst in dieser Weise in unserem Selbst erschlossen sind. [...] Gewiß, der Schuster ist nicht der Schuh, und dennoch versteht er sich aus seinen Dingen, sich, sein Selbst, GA24:227, emphasis in the original). One could say that this is a truly speculative insight into the nature of selfhood on Heidegger's part: the cobbler can only see his self in a "mirroring-back" (Widerspiegelung, GA24:248) from the world. The cobbler's things, his workshop surroundings hang together in an interconnection of practical things (Zeugzusammenhang, GA24:231) that refer to each other and which is understood by the cobbler, constituting the ontological worldliness of his workshop-world.
"The self radiating back from things" (Das von den Dingen her widerscheinende Selbst, GA24:229) in Dasein's everyday involvement with them is "inauthentic" (uneigentlich, GA24:228) because "we have lost ourselves to things and people in the everydayness of existing" (wir uns selbst in der Alltäglichkeit des Existierens an die Dinge und Menschen verloren haben, GA24:228 italics ME), being unable to "understand ourselves [...] continually out of the ownmost/propermost and most extreme possibilities of our own existence" (verstehen uns [...] ständig aus den eigensten und äußersten Möglichkeiten unserer eigenen Existenz, GA24:228). This implies that, for Heidegger, the cobbler who understands his self as being-a-cobbler is casting his self only inauthentically and not from his "most extreme" possibilities of existing, for this is impossible on a daily basis. But why should the cobbler's "ownmost" possibility of existing not consist precisely in practising the vocation of cobbler? This would mean only that the most extreme possibility of casting one's self would coincide, or at least conform, with the casting of self resulting from the radiating back of the self out of the things constituting an individual Dasein's everyday world. It would seem that Heidegger denies that the choice of vocation can be an authentic choice from utmost existential possibilities and opportunities that sets the course for an individual existence. Furthermore, if Dasein does not cast its self out of a shining-back from the world, from where otherwise could it cast itself? Surely not out of the ego-point resulting from Dasein re-flecting or bending-back upon itself as self-consciousness, but always from the possibilities of existing radiating back from the world in which Dasein factically and practically exists.
Heidegger is at pains to comprehend "this enigmatic shining-back of the self out of things philosophically" (diesen rätselhaften Widerschein des Selbst aus den Dingen her philosophisch, GA24:229) by grounding it in a more originary "transcendence" (Transzendenz, GA24:230) to the world which he conceives as Dasein's a priori being-in-the-world with "practical things" (Zeug, GA24:232). "[T]his enigma, the world" ([D]ieses Rätselhafte, die Welt, GA24:236) is therefore conceived philosophically by Heidegger as a "totality of interrelated usefulness" (Bewandtnisganzheit, GA24:235) of things rather than people. Although Heidegger points out that this world structured by a totality of interrelated, useful things that is understood by everyday Dasein is a "shared world" (gemeinsamen Welt, GA24:234), this does not suffice to make the ontological structure of the world, i.e. its worldliness, comprehensible as a world inhabited by both things and people in ontological-existential interrelation. This means that Heidegger does not take up, but rather skips over the philosophical problem of how "we have lost ourselves to [...] people in the everydayness of existing" (wir uns selbst in der Alltäglichkeit des Existierens an die [...] Menschen verloren haben, GA24:228 italics ME). He touches on the problem without taking it up and explicating it, presumably because it is a more difficult problem than the worldliness constituted by the interconnections among things. If Dasein's self is constituted, at least "at first and for the most part", through a shining-back out of things in the everyday world, why should it not be co-constituted "equally primordially" by a shining-back out of people, i.e. out of other Dasein in the everyday world? What does it mean to say that "we have lost ourselves to [...] people" and how does this loss of self relate to the shining-back from the world through which the self is constituted ontologico-existentially? It does not suffice, as many are wont to do, to refer merely to Heidegger's concepts of Mitsein and Mitdasein, Wersein and Mansein in Sein und Zeit and other of his writings, to 'prove' that Heidegger has not 'forgotten' the other, for a study of these writings shows precisely that the problem of the constitution of self remains, to put it mildly, underdetermined. This underdetermination results from Heidegger's primary focus, in Sein und Zeit and elsewhere, on the being of things in the world and the merely secondary or even derivative status of Mitdasein understood via things.
Let us consider Heidegger's own example of the cobbler to see what Heidegger leaves out of phenomenological account. Not only the shoe and all it hangs together with in the cobbler's workshop-world "shines back" at the cobbler in constituting his everyday self, but also and especially the cobbler's customers who encounter the cobbler as a cobbler not merely by knowing that there's a cobbler's shop in such-and-such a street, but above all by recognizing and estimating his work as cobbler, thus reflecting back the cobbler's self in paying for his service of repairing shoes. A cobbler who does not come to enjoy this validating shining-back from his customers as the cobbler-self he is, is no longer a cobbler. (In Hegelian language: He is a bad cobbler who does not correspond to the concept of cobbler.) Such shining-back of the cobbler's self resides in the cobbler's customers' comportment toward him, namely, in their estimating and valuing his services by paying for them. The cobbler-self is therefore a reflection from the others, a mirror-reflection in which the cobbler can see that he is a cobbler, i.e. that he can understand his self as a cobbler-self. Who he is is not a result of tautologous self-re-flection, i.e. of his being bent back upon himself in an awarenesss of himself, but of a shining-back from the others in their estimating him as a cobbler. His whoness is at least equally a validating mirror-reflection from the others, not just a shining-back from things. The others estimate him to be a cobbler because he has the ability to mend shoes, and this estimation by the others assumes the palpable form of their paying for the actual exercise of his powers to repair shoes, thus confirming and valuing these powers and also enabling the cobbler to continue his existence as a cobbler who understands his self as 'cobbler'.
The self is a reflection, a shining-back from the world of things and others, and the worldliness of the world is not exhausted in the interrelations among useful, practical things, but encompasses also the interplay among people who mutually reflect who each other is by estimating 'at first and for the most part' each other's abilities. The so-called division of labour in society is itself structured as a mutual mirroring of who each other is by estimating and valuing each other's powers. The worldliness of the world therefore has a mirror-complexity that goes beyond that elaborated by Heidegger as the Bewandtnisganzheit of practically useful things whose whatness resides in what they are practically good for. In addition, we now have the others, who are also good for something or other through exercising their abilities, including deficient modes of being 'good for nothing'. Who they are is defined not only by what they are good at, i.e. by their possessing certain abilities, but by these abilities also being shone back by a world shared with others in an ongoing estimating play of mirror-reflection of who each other is. From this it can be seen that the whatness or quidditas of what something is has to be clearly distinguished from the whoness or quissity of who somebody is, and this insisting on a distinction only furthers, and by no means repudiates or diminishes, Heidegger's grand effort to phenomenologically work out the peculiar ontological character of human being itself as Dasein, i.e. as being-in-the-world, thus breaking with the Cartesian tradition of an all-too-simple and inadequate distinction between res extensa and res cogitans.
In extending Heidegger's analyses and twisting them toward the others,(8) the question of the selfhood of Dasein becomes a matter of Dasein's understanding its self as radiating back from things and the others. For Heidegger, this conception of selfhood would still be inauthentic selfhood, indeed more so, because Dasein allows itself to be defined as who it is from the estimations shining back from the others, das Man. Thus, Dasein is more than ever "lost" to the others, a mere plaything of their mirror-reflections of how they estimate it to be as somewho.(9) But the shining-back does not have to operate so smoothly, without resistance and fractures. Is there not also the possibility that Dasein, as a free origin of its very own self-casting, is able to differentiate and to discover in this mirror-reflection from the others, and also nurture, its ownmost potential for being (Seinkönnen) in the world, finally exercising this potential as developed abilities? Could not, and must not, a critical, i.e. differentiating, Dasein choose its self at the extreme in choosing its ownmost potential and devoting itself to nurturing precisely this potential? Or is the potential factually nurtured only ever merely a reflection from the others (in the first place, one's parents) who predefine who Dasein is to be? To be sure, without the reflection from others, Dasein as being-in-the-world-with-others would be unable to choose itself at all, but this does not exclude that the self that Dasein, ultimately as an origin of free nothingness, does choose from the range of mirror-reflections could be its ownmost, authentic self. Nor does the mirror-character of selfhood mean that authentic selfhood could not and must not reside in critically developing and realizing one's ownmost potential discovered in the shining-back from the world, albeit that this potential could only be realized in a world shared with others in a definite historical time with its own temporal atmosphere, which implies essentially also that the others must in some way or other also estimate these abilities.
Does this discussion of Heidegger's phenomenology of Dasein that has led to a more refined and phenomenally concrete understanding of selfhood as an aspect of whoness than Heidegger himself presents mean that a consideration of Hegel's dialectic is now superfluous? What does Hegel have to offer that Heidegger's groundbreaking phenomenology itself does not already provide? To decide this question, we must return to the discussion of the dialectic of the concept, primal splitting and closing together of the preceding section.
Taking up Heidegger's example of the cobbler once again, the proposition, 'John Brown is a cobbler', is also a primal split between the singular, proper-named human being, John Brown, and the universal, 'cobbler' (which in turn is a particular, relative to the universal of human vocation). As we have seen in the previous section, to be a cobbler, in turn, is to constitute one's self through a shining-back from the world of things and others in casting one's own existence. Thus, John Brown is his self only through, i.e. not without, the mirror-reflection from the things with which he is engaged daily and from the others who estimate and validate him as a cobbler. His identity is the mirror-reflection from what and who he is not by being in the world in a certain vocational way. The negation and contradictoriness in the constitution of self through a radiating back from the world is inadvertently expressed already by Heidegger when he writes, as already cited, "Reflect means here to refract/break on something (sich an etwas brechen), to radiate back from there" (GA24:226). The individual has to "break on something", namely, the world, especially the world of the others, to be a self, in a radiating-back from this refraction as a universal. Singularity has to be broken in (like a brumby or mustang) to take on the mask of universality in a primal split.
Other things are not constituted as selves through a shining-back from the world; selfhood is a prerogative of human being as openly being-out-there-in-the-world. John Brown, in a reflection back into himself, understands himself as a cobbler and is absorbed by the world in being a cobbler by exercising his cobbler vocation, his cobbler business. This means that he adopts for himself the judgement of the primal split, 'I am a cobbler'. This is now a proposition in the first person, rather than the third person proposition, similarly a primal split, 'John Brown is a cobbler'. This third-person judgement is made from the standpoint of the others, for it is they who talk about John Brown, determining him as a cobbler, and conducting themselves toward him accordingly. For John Brown to be a cobbler, is it sufficient for the others to understand John Brown as a cobbler, in line with the third-person judgement, 'John Brown is a cobbler'? Is there a discrepancy between the third-person proposition and the first-person proposition, 'I am a cobbler'? Can the others foist the identity of cobbler onto John Brown? To take the moment of self-reflection in the constitution of self: I am a cobbler not merely by being defined as such by the shining back from the others, but only if, in addition, I myself, on self-reflection, adopt the mask of cobbler as my identity.
Or, to take another example, is there a discrepancy between the third-person proposition, 'Charles is heir to the throne', and the first-person proposition, 'I am heir to the throne'? This latter example makes the discrepancy abundantly apparent, because, to be heir to the throne, it matters little what I think about it and who I understand myself to be, because being heir to the throne is first and foremost a shining-back from the others who understand the heir to the throne in accord with the practised traditions of monarchical lineage in the land. I may renounce my heirship to the throne by abdicating, thus breaking with the determination of my self by the others and making the discrepancy apparent, but I cannot cast my self out of my self as heir to the throne, for that would be only to make myself a laughing stock, again making the discrepancy between self-casting of the self and casting of one's self through the reflections from others apparent. This example shows also that it is not self-evident that 'I am I' purely and simply, because presenting myself of myself as myself may not be possible in a world in which who I am is cast primarily by others.
To cast my self as such-and-such an identity is to adopt a certain comportment toward, and thus an habituated stance in the world of things and others through which I show myself off (a)pofai/nesqai) to myself (the self-reflective first person) and the others (third person) as who I am — the 'apophantic as', now in the first person. To cast my self as a cobbler means exercising my acquired abilities in a regular, habitual way, and in this sense means putting on a certain mask of identity by identifying with what I am not, namely, the practices constituting the vocation of cobbler. My self-casting is therefore an identity of identity and difference, because the practices constituting the vocation of cobbler are a universal in the sense of belonging to a given historical world, i.e. a cast of being in a given time. The moment of difference in this self-casting becomes apparent if I decide to cast myself in an alternative way, putting aside the mask of the vocation of cobbler, and adopting the mask of another vocation or perhaps another kind of mask altogether. The mask, conceived ontologically, is an existential possibility of identity through casting one's self as a way of comporting oneself in the world, and is possible only because there is a difference in the constitution of self-identity. The usual ontic understanding of mask in play-acting is derivative of this deeper ontological-existential concept of self-identity and is something interposed between an individual and the world in the difference between self and world that allows someone to show himself off as who he is.
My ontological-existential mask of self-identity as cobbler also has to be reflected back from the world in order for me to be a cobbler. It is not sufficient for me to simply say to myself, 'I am a cobbler', or to adopt the comportment of a cobbler by busying myself in a cobbler's workshop. In addition, the others have to validate this comportment by giving me cobbler's work to do. For the most part in everyday life, the validation of vocational identity takes place through being paid for the exercise of abilities, money being the universal, reified medium for valuing and thus recognizing and validating individual powers. So there must be some sort of congruity between the first-person judgement, 'I am a cobbler', and the third-person judgement, 'He is a cobbler', for me to have my self cast and defined as cobbler out there in the world into which I have always already been cast. The others with their third-person judgements therefore have a power over my own determination of self and I am partly dependent in my cobbler-being on having this identity as self reflected by the others.
The discrepancy between my own casting of self and how the others judge me to be from their third-person viewpoint is a constant feature of existing in the everyday world, since there is a fundamental difference ontologically between the first-person and the third-person perspective, each of which represents a fold in the manifold of being. This fundamental difference arises from the nature of selfhood as being a constitution of self through a shining-back from the world, including especially the world of others. The discrepancy between first-person and third-person casting of an individual self may be experienced in the first person merely as the pain on hearing discrepant third-person opinions about oneself, or it can sharpen into an opposition and outright contradiction when the individual refuses or is unable to see its self in the identity reflected back from the world. The others can reflect back to me a self with which I cannot identify, a mirror of self-identification in which I, as this singular individual, cannot recognize myself.
My identity is then truly broken and refracted in the mirror of the others. I am then alienated from the world, finding in the reflections from the others only the otherness of the self-casting I have defined for myself. The struggle and pain to become one's own, self-cast self arise both out of the difference between self and world that is necessary for identity to be shone back (thus constituting a more or less tenuous identity of singularity and universality), and also out of the discrepancy between one's own self-understanding (constituted as just such an identity of singularity and universality) and the reflections received back from the others. The individual's singularity must in any case break on the world in assuming an identity by adopting a universal reflected back from the world, and this breaking on the world in a primal split is ontologically prior to and therefore deeper than the issue regarding a possible discrepancy or divergence between my own self-casting and a casting of self foisted upon me by the others.
This struggle and pain can be the process of finding one's own refracted reflection in the world in the sense of finding the mask of self-comportment that truly fits one's ownmost potentiality for being-in-the-world, i.e. one's own authentic self. I as the abstract identity of 'I am I' is an emptiness and nothingness, an "abstract negativity" demarcating me in my abstract, indeterminate freedom from the world, that can only be escaped by casting my self in the broken dialectic between my singularity and the universality of what the world shines back. Moreover, the struggle and pain can be in addition the process of striving to have one's self-chosen identity also reflected by the others, thus bringing one's first person exposure to the world into congruity with the third-person judgement of the world in its opinions that hold me to be who I am. The more singularly I cast my self as a way of self-comportment in the world, adopting my ownmost universal, the more likely it is that this singular self-casting will fail to find a reflection from the others. The greater degree of singularity results in a more brittle and broken mediation by singularity and an adopted universal offering itself in a given historical world in a given historical situation and time, and results in a divergence between a self-chosen way of self-comportment and the standard set of masks of self-comportment offered by the world of the others, including those offered by the cultural traditions cultivated. In one way or other, the individual is always confronted with having to find its self in a mediation between its singularity and the universal options it is surrounded by in the world, for singularity is always and essentially caught in the primal split of having to break and be other than it is, namely, a universal. The self is both the same as and different from the world that radiates back, thus echoing Plato's dialectical result, discussed in a previous section, that the one is both the same as and different from the other and the others.
The individual finding its self in the world in the first person requires a mediation, albeit broken and more or less brittle, between its unique singularity and universality considered here as the modes of comportment available in the world in which that individual exists. This mediation is a closing together of the primal split between singularity and universality in freely finding an identity as self in a "self-determination [...] to close itself together only with itself" (Selbstbestimmung [...], sich nur mit sich selbst zusammenzuschließen, RPh. § 7). Although any given way of comportment such as being a cobbler adopted by the singular individual as its self is a universal, any given way of comportment, when viewed from the persepective of the world, is only a particular way of existing in the world within the totality of ways of existing held open by an historical world. The particular way of existing in the world chosen by a singular individual in constituting its self-identity is to serve as the mediation that bridges the primal split between singularity and universality, allowing the individual to be part of its world. Nevertheless, despite this mediation, individual singularity can only be its self by being its other, namely, a (particular) way of existing in the world that shines back a universal as its identity. This is a 'closing together' of the individual with the world termed formally the "conclusion of determinate being" (Schluß des Daseins) in Hegel's Logik. This conclusion or 'closing together' has "an indeterminate set of mediating termini [...] so that it lies in(10) an extrinsic arbitrariness or an external circumstance and contingent determination with what kind of universal the subject of the conclusion is to be closed together" (eine unbestimmbare Menge von Mediis Terminis, [...] so daß es ganz in einer äußerlichen Willkür oder überhaupt in einem äußerlichen Umstande und zufälligen Bestimmung liegt, mit was für einen Allgemeinen das Subjekt des Schlusses zusammengeschlossen werden soll. LII W6:364). Even this formal description of the "conclusion of determinate being" has an existential-ontological interpretation when read in the present context of how the individual is to find its self in the world, since the individual is cast into the world, confronted with "external circumstance[s]" on which it is refracted and from which it chooses, sometimes in an arbitrary and capricious manner, thus allowing its identity to be dictated 'inauthentically' by these "external circumstance[s]".
The totality of possible ways of being in the world open to an individual comprises all the particular ways of existing from which the individual has to choose among its options into which it is thrown in its individual situation, and this choice 'breaks in' the individual's singularity, mediating it with a particular, factually chosen way of existing (such as its particular vocation) that shines back as its identity. This is a kind of 'disjunctive closing together' in which individual singularity is now mediated with a particular identity through the universal of the totality of possible ways of existing in an historical time. The individual must choose among the totality of its possibilities; its self is a necessary closing together with the world in one identity or other, no matter how impoverished, tenuous or brittle this identity may be. In the disjunctive conclusion, the culminating "conclusion of necessity" (Schluß der Notwendigkeit, W6:391) in Hegel's Logik, the mediating link is the "universal sphere which contains its total particularization" (allgemeine Sphäre, die ihre totale Besonderung enthält, W6:398), and it is this "universal sphere" as totality that confronts the singular individual as the world on which it is broken and from which it must choose its self.
But is there not yet another kind of mediation between the singular individual and the universal of the others through a particular other that could close together the primal split between the individual self and the world? So far we have considered the others in general or as a whole, who reflect the individual's self and its self-standing by esteeming and validating it in positive, neutral or negative modes. But, of these others, there is always also the particular other whom the individual encounters face to face. This particular other is a definite, particular other, a "bestimmte[s] Bestimmte" (W6:296), i.e. another singular real individual with whom the face-to-face encounter takes place in its own dimension, namely, the dimension in-between of the first-and-second person, as distinct from the usual first-and-third person relations with the world both of things and others. Hegel says that the singular is "determinacy relating to itself" (sich auf sich selbst beziehende Bestimmtheit, W6:288) through which the concept "steps into actuality" (tritt in Wirklichkeit, W6:299). In the present context this means that the singular individual encounters its self in breaking on and shining back from the other, actual individual whom it encounters face to face.
'At first and for the most part', however, such an encounter does not take place in everyday life, even when people meet in person, because the personal dealings with one another are mediated overwhelmingly by the matter at hand, such as giving the cobbler one's shoes to heel, paying the cashier at the supermarket check-out or arranging a bank loan with the bank employee. In such dealings, the person-to-person interchange is reduced to a ritualistic, conventional politeness that serves only to lubricate the exchange, and the recognition of each other is only the formal, schematic recognition as persons in general. The other in such dealings is only one among many, i.e. a particular specimen of a general class (a universal) such as 'customer' or 'patient'. In such general dealings with one another, the face of the other itself remains only a general schema particularized in this particular person, and does not attain the unique singularity of a definite, singular, individual other. For the most part, social intercourse is an interchange among particular persons, not singular individuals. Even social gatherings usually remain on the level of general, albeit particularized, exchanges in which one enquires about the other in the conventional manner in which one politely enquires about others in such social situations, for instance, a dinner party. The other's singularity remains for the most part hidden behind the mask of the persona.
The face-to-face encounter, by contrast, is a mutual mirroring of who each other is in which individual singularity shows itself — 'I am I' in a radical sense of self-presentation of myself as myself —, and this mirroring takes place through the way in which the individuals comport themselves as singular individuals toward each other, no matter how fleetingly and en passant. Such mutually reflecting comportment in which singularity shines through shows (a)pofai/nein) how the two individuals estimate and esteem each other as who they are in their singularity. Each individual has a status as somewho in the world, and the way the other individual comports itself toward the first individual makes it apparent whether this status as self is affirmed or whether its stand as self is depreciated through behaviour that shines back as slighting the individual. Every encounter is therefore to a greater or lesser degree a test of self-standing in the world, and because this is so, minute attention must be paid to the kindness and attentiveness of comportment if the other is not to be offended by having its who-self slighted, no matter how slightly. If the other behaves coarsely and impolitely in the encounter, this can be brushed off by, in turn, estimating this person at a lower self-status. The mirror-play with such persons then has little weight in defining or affirming, through reflection, one's own self and its standing, and the encounter between individuals becomes instead a mere exchange between particular persons. 'Rude behaviour' as the negation of politeness does not touch the singular individual but offends only the conventional, general rules of interplay between persons for which singularity remains withdrawn into the background.
On the other hand, the individual also has truly face-to-face encounters with other, significant individuals, so that the shining-back from these others carries more weight in one's own self-definition. To be close to another individual in the existential-ontological dimension sui generis 'in-between' you-and-me means to mutually disclose in the mirror-play more of one's singular self in the sense of how one understands the world in more detail (since world-understanding is self-understanding) and to give weight to how this singular other reflects this self-definition of the self: appreciatingly or depreciatingly within an attuned atmosphere of encounter that enables mutual self-disclosure. This is the encounter in the moment or Augenblick in which gazes are exchanged. Such a close, face-to-face encounter has the intimacy of eye-to-eye, "My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares" (John Donne The good-morrow). The gaze of the other that shines back can be either an affirmative, understanding, empathic look or a depreciating look to kill. Such close encounters with an intimate other, a confidant, are a mediation with the world that embed the individual more deeply in the world than the reflections of its self through average everyday dealings with others.
With those individuals to whom it is close in the sense of mutual self-disclosure, mutually supportive self-affirmation and also conflicts that touch each other's understanding of self, a singular individual shares its world by confiding its ownmost masks of identity (there is no maskless identity since identity is always and essentially identity with other). The conflicts between you and me are how we break and refract on each other, reflecting back to each other selves with which it is painful to identify. The dimension in-between of you-and-me can be the crucible in which we mutually cast and form each other's selves through conflicts over differences in which our respective singularities are refracted, moulded and remoulded in adopting hitherto unfamiliar universals radiated back from the respective other, sometimes with the burning sharpness of a laser beam. You and I may break apart through our mutual refractions on each other, or we may emerge from the crucible, each recast as selves and welded together in a mutual understanding and harmonious attunement. The shared world of you-and-me provides the more or less fleeting existential shelter of homeliness. Such being-at-home in the world is possible only because in a close relationship of you-and-me an affirmative mutual mirroring of self in its singularity takes place above all atmospherically, thus providing both individuals with a firmer stance as selves borne in the world. Because the other individual, 'you', mediates me with the world in which I have to find myself in self-refraction and self-reflection, there is also the ontic possibility that you-and-me cut off from the world of the others, cocooning ourselves in a symbiotic relationship of mutually mirroring affirmation. The mediation with the world through the interstice of you-and-me thus fails. You as my significant other therefore have to maintain your self in your otherness from me as a mediating link with the world if I as this individual self am to be truly 'closed together' with the world and my primal split with the world alleviated through an impossible mediation.
As we have seen repeatedly, mediation is ultimately impossible because self-identity is an identity of identity and difference, i.e. a living, moving contradiction between singularity and universality in which there is friction and fracture to a greater or lesser degree. We have gained this insight into the contradictory nature of selfhood and therefore human existence as a whole ontological structure by asking what the Platonic, and then the Hegelian dialectic could have to do with the constitution of the self in a reflective, refractive interplay with the other in three guises: the thingly world, the others and the singular other of 'you'. It is not to be had solely from Heidegger's thinking, which only dimly illuminates the phenomenon of you-and-me and also eschews dialectical figures of thought, for which contradiction is the nub.
But, someone will object, isn't there a problem with the Hegelian dialectic's claim to achieve absolute knowledge in which the totality of the world's ontological structure is revealed in the blinding, infinite light of systematic dialectical reason? Isn't Heidegger's life-long struggle to open up an access to being prior to that of the lo/goj conceived as proposition and reason pertinent above all with regard to the absolute claims of Hegel's Logik as "the highest summit" (der höchste Gipfel; GA79:150) of the Western lo/goj? Does this circumstance not justify Heidegger's indictment of dialectical thinking? These objections are indeed worth making. However, it will be noticed that the dialectic of self and other presented above is a broken Hegelian dialectic that rests on the insight — pace Hegel — that existential singularity cannot be mediated, 'closed together' entirely smoothly with the universal via particularity. There is a refraction through which the singular individual is broken on the world and raised to participate as a particular individual in the universal cast of a world. The contradiction between singularity and universality thus signifies here an existential pain of entry to the world. But what, more precisely, does this have to do with Heidegger's thinking? It has to do with Heidegger's more originary, more incipient (anfänglicher) conception of lo/goj and le/gein as a gathering laying-together that brings beings (Anwesendes) to present themselves in presence (Anwesen) as what they are (cf. GA79:143). Hegel's insight into the contradiction that the identity of a being is an identity of identity and difference (e.g. 'This is a glass.'; cf. above) is aligned with Heidegger's insight into the apophantic as that interposes itself so that a being shows itself as what it is, an insight that depends on a phenomenological interpretation of Aristotle's le/gein ti kata/ tinoj (Anal. Priora I 24a14; cf. GA79:143) that does not amount simply to 'saying something about something', i.e. as not relating merely to statements but to the self-showing of beings in the open clearing of presence-and-absence. Insofar, Hegelian dialectic and Heideggerian phenomenology are not at loggerheads.
With respect to the first-person statement of identity, 'I am I', the phenomenological, existential interpretation yields something other than the self-positing of the modern ego-subject as fundamentum inconcussum, as it does with Fichte. Rather, it yields an insight into the fragility and groundlessness of the individual human being in its singularity. How so? Above it was said that first-person self-identity enunciates "the possibility of an individual presenting itself to itself and others as itself". Such self-identity, however, viewed strictly, is impossible, or void if identity is understood as selfsame equality without difference, I = I. Why? Because the as inevitably introduces a difference in between I and I. 'I am I' demands a difference, for otherwise it remains an impotent, tautological, 'autistic' statement of singularity's existential nothingness, i.e. its inchoate freedom. A singular existence must proceed to identification with an other that shines back from the world; it must assume a mask in which it appears as who it is of itself. The issue is whether the mask it adopts as its own is it ownmost, utmost potential for existing in the world.
Similarly, any being's self-presentation of its identity with
itself as itself, i.e. 'A is A' understood as A presenting itself as
A, must proceed to difference in its identification with an appearance-as-...
The as, however, is the scaffolding of an historical time that is
always already interposed between beings and their self-presentation. The
historical as that casts beings in their totality as resources
whose movement and change are to be knowingly calculated and controlled
is intermeshed with the historical as that casts beings in their
totality as opportunities promising gain. These superposed ontological
scaffoldings characterize our own times. The step back from the twofold
constellation of being I call the "grasp"(11)
to letting beings present themselves of themselves as they are,
however, does not leave them in their naked truth, but allows them to show
themselves in an alternative historical scaffolding sent by propriation
as an other, simpler historical mode of human being in its
plurality and being itself belonging together. In this alternative cast
human beings become more receptive to and appreciative of beings' and each
other's self-presentations as granted in the open time-space of