Complicated Presence

Heidegger and the Postmetaphysical Unity of Being

By Jussi Backman

Subjects: Heidegger, Metaphysics, History Of Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenology
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438456485, 374 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438456492, 374 pages, June 2015

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Abbreviations of Heidegger’s Works
Other Works
English Translations
The Unity of Being at the End of Metaphysics
Heidegger as a Postmetaphysical Thinker of Unity
Being as Meaning and the History of Being: Methodological Considerations
Outline of the Study
1. From the First Inception to the Other: Metaphysics and the Unity of Being
The First Inception: The Unity of Being in Anaximander, Parmenides, and Heraclitus
The First End of the First Inception: Plato and the One Over Many
Ontotheology: Aristotle and the Analogical Unity of Being
The End of Metaphysics and the Transition to the Other Inception
2. Being and Time: The Complicated Unity of Dasein
On the Way to Being and Time: The Situation as a Singular Unity
Ontothnetology: A New Exemplary Being
Fundamental Ontology: From the Exemplary Being to Being and the Turn Back
The Self as an Ecstatic Unity of Timeliness
The Instant as the Ecstatic Clearing of Presence
The Ecstatic-Horizonal Correlation of Dasein and World: Temporal Schematism
From the Unity of the Horizonal Schemata to the Sense of Being: Complicated Presence
Complicated Presence as Differential Unity: The Ontological Difference
3. The Turn and the Emergence of the Fourfold
The Turn: Complicated Presence as the Reciprocity of Dasein and Being
The Emergence of the Fourfold: Complicated Presence as Intimate Unity
4. Contributions to Philosophy: The Singular Simplicity of the Event
Thinking in Reverse
The Coordinates of the Transition
The Unique Singularity of Beyng
Beyng Is, Beings Are Not
5. Insight Into That Which Is: From the Uniform Presence of Technicity to the Complicated Presence of the Thing
Thinking Being without Beings
The Cyclic Structure of the Insight Into That Which Is
The Complicated Presence of the Thing as an Interplay of the Fourfold World
The Setup, the Peril, and the Turn to the Thing
6. Identity and Difference: Differential Identity as the Ground of Unity
The Complicated Identity of Being and the Human Being
Discharge as the Differential Unity of Being and Beings
The Concord between Event and Discharge: Complicated Unity
Conclusion: the Simplicity and Complexity of Presence

A synthetic assessment of Heidegger’s entire path of thinking as a radical attempt to thematize and rethink the fundamental notions of unity dominating the Western metaphysical tradition.


From its Presocratic beginnings, Western philosophy concerned itself with a quest for unity both in terms of the systematization of knowledge and as a metaphysical search for a unity of being—two trends that can be regarded as converging and culminating in Hegel's system of absolute idealism. Since Hegel, however, the philosophical quest for unity has become increasingly problematic. Jussi Backman returns to that question in this book, examining the place of the unity of being in the work of Heidegger. Backman sketches a consistent picture of Heidegger as a thinker of unity who throughout his career in different ways attempted to come to terms with both Parmenides's and Aristotle's fundamental questions concerning the singularity or multiplicity of being—attempting to do so, however, in a "postmetaphysical" manner rooted in rather than above and beyond particular, situated beings. Through his analysis, Backman offers a new way of understanding the basic continuity of Heidegger's philosophical project and the interconnectedness of such key Heideggerian concepts as ecstatic temporality, the ontological difference, the turn (Kehre), the event (Ereignis), the fourfold (Geviert), and the analysis of modern technology.

Jussi Backman is University Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


"…Complicated Presence is one of the most thought-provoking recent books on Heidegger, a complicated but essential contribution." — Gatherings: The Heidegger Circle Annual

" insightful, nuanced, well-written, cogently argued, and thoroughly researched interpretive account of Heidegger's philosophical pursuit of the question of Being … a valuable and insightful read … that deserves to be reckoned with … Highly recommended." — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews