Volume 46, Issue 2, June 2006
Heidegger and the Ontology of Freedom
In this paper, I suggest that Heidegger’s conception of freedom, elaborated in piecemeal fashion in Being and Time, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, and Metaphysical Foundations of Logic and culminating in The Essence of Human Freedom, provides
a way of rethinking our conception of freedom, not as a set of specific determinations and rights, but as the very condition for the possibility of both existence and community. In this elaboration, it is possible to trace Heidegger’s gradual removal of freedom from the ontology of self-presence. This, I argue, offers us a way of thinking freedom, not in terms of a quality or attribute that Dasein possess, but in terms of community, fraternity, and hence ethics.