The Time of Life

Heidegger and Ethos

By William McNeill

Subjects: Ethics
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791467848, 248 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791467831, 248 pages, June 2006

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Table of contents


1. The Phenomenon of Life: Human, Animal, and World in Heidegger's 1929-30 Freiburg Lectures


The Soul, Unity of the Body
The Organism and its Organs
The Animal as Other
The Being of the Animal: Organism and Environment
The Phenomenon of World
The Time of Life: Self and World


2. Care for the Self: Originary Ethics in Heidegger and Foucault


Heidegger: Selfhood and the Finitude of Time
Foucault: Ethos and the Practice of Freedom
Care for the Self and the Task of Philosophizing


3. Apportioning the Moment: Time and Ethos in Heidegger's Reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Rhetoric


Koinønia: Ethos and Community
Time and Ethical Virtue


4. The Time of Action: From Phenomenology of Praxis to the Historicality of Being


The Moment as the Site of Human Action: Heidegger's Reading of Aristotle and the Phenomenology of Dasein
The Moment as the Time of Ereignis: From Phenomenology to the History of Being


5. Historical Beginnings: Moment and Rupture in Heidegger's Work of the 1930s


Ethos and Concealment: The Power of Beginnings
History and Origin: The Irruption of Worlds


6. Ethos and Poetic Dwelling: Inaugural Time in Heidegger's Dialogue with Hölderlin


Temporality, Attunement, and the Phenomenology of World
Inaugural Time in Hölderlin's Poetizing
Is There a Measure on Earth? Poetizing and Human Ethos
The Eclipse of Experience: Exposure and Dwelling in Greek Tragedy
The Festival


7. The Telling of Ethos: Heidegger, Aristotle, Sophocles


A "Scarcely Pondered Word": Aristotle's Testimony
Theoria and Tragedy: Aristotle's Poetics
Theoria and Katharsis
"The Purest Poem": Heidegger's Antigone



Explores the notion of ēthos in Heidegger’s thought.


The Time of Life explores Heidegger's rethinking of ethics and of the ethical in terms of an understanding of the original Greek notion of ēthos. Engaging the ethical in Heidegger's thought in relation to Aristotle, Michel Foucault, and Friedrich Hölderlin, William McNeill examines the way in which Heidegger's thought shifts our understanding of ethics away from a set of theoretically constructed norms, principles, or rules governing practice toward an understanding of the ethical as our concrete way of Being in the world.

Central to this study is the consideration of the ethical in relation to time: the time of biological life, the time of human life as biographical and historical, the temporality of human action, and the historicality of human thought. In addition, this book critically examines the predicament of ethical responsibility in a scientific-technological era, considering how the world of modern science and technology call upon us to rethink the nature of ethical responsibilities.

William McNeill is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University and is the author of The Glance of the Eye: Heidegger, Aristotle, and the Ends of Theory, also published by SUNY Press.


"McNeill's scholarship on Heidegger is excellent, and he writes clearly and with great lucidity and insight on thoughts and questions that are quite difficult to articulate. " — Daniela Vallega-Neu, author of The Bodily Dimension in Thinking

"McNeill's knack for explicating the kernel of Heidegger's often-thorny argumentation is on full display throughout the book, and his ability to render the difficulty posed by Heidegger's dense thinking into the most cogent expression is most remarkable. " — Jeffrey L. Powell, Marshall University