Answer in Philosophy for Hutchii #279565
What is meant by the statement ”Man is a being-unto-death” explain briefly and substantially.
When the philosopher Heidegger affirmed that the human being is not someone who dies, but that in himself he is a being-to-the-death. This means that he wanted to convey death more than a situation we will find at the end of our lives, is a goal line to which we are heading. Therefore for human beings, time comes to an end with our death and if we want to understand what it means to be an authentic human being, then it is essential that we constantly project our lives onto the horizon of our death.
There are four rather formal criteria in Heidegger’s conception of being-towards-death: it is non-relational, certain, indefinite and not to be outstripped. Firstly, death is non-relational in the sense in standing before death one has cut off all relations to others. Death cannot be experienced through the deaths of others, but only through my relation to my death. I will contest this criterion below.
Secondly, it is certain that we are going to die. Although one might run away from the fact, no one doubts that life comes to an end in death. Thirdly, death is indefinite in the sense that although death is certain, we do not know when it going to happen. Most people desire a long and full life, but we can never know when the grim reaper is going to knock at our door.
Fourthly, to say that death is not to be outstripped simply means that death is pretty damned important. There’s no way of trumping it and it outstrips all the possibilities that my power of free projection possesses. Death is that limit against which my potentiality-for- being is to be measured. It is that essential impotence against which the potency of my freedom shatters itself.