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By Raymond Tallis (auth.)

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Additional info for A Conversation with Martin Heidegger

Sample text

A ten ton, one mile-long hammer, for example, would not be handy or ‘ready-to-hand’ in the sense that you mean. Whereas I agree with you that ‘The structured nearness of useful things means that they do not simply have a place in space, objectively present somewhere …’, I still maintain that they have to be close by in a physical, objective sense in order to be available to me, who, in the end, has some sort of irrevocable relationship with a body that is located in physical space. ) What am I trying to argue?

Such things would include tools such as hammers and nails to help us perform certain tasks. The hammer is not a neutral, meaningless bit of matter, which is then expropriated for particular purposes: its very presence, in the moment of our encounter with it, is invested with use, with purpose, with meaning. That meaning, what is more, reaches beyond the isolated act of hammering; for hammering itself makes sense only as part of a world in which there are human needs served by hammers – and nails and wooden planks: a world in which there are dwellings and the skills of construction and foresight: Strictly speaking, there ‘is’ no such thing as a useful thing.

Me). And I can find nothing in them to explain the existence of that someone – that ‘who’, ‘I’, ‘me’. At the same time, however, I cannot deny the central role of the brain in enabling us to be people for whom there is a world; nor – and I speak as one whose main professional concern is with patients who have suffered strokes – can I ignore our dependency on the normal functioning of the brain for our normal awareness and our normal conduct as human beings. At a deeper level (one which I visit rather too rarely), I cannot explain how the subject relates to the object.

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Categories: Phenomenology