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Das Ungeschehene

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On Heidegger’s Novel Way of Relating to the Historical Past

image of Research in Phenomenology

This paper aims to explicate what Heidegger means by das Ungeschehene (the un-happened), revealing the significance of this concept in providing us with a novel way of understanding and relating to the historical past. Taking recourse to GA 38, it will show that this concept has to be understood in connection with Heidegger’s very specific way of understanding what was (das Gewesene) not as that which has simply elapsed and passed away (das Vergangene) but as that which continues to abide and bear upon the present. It will clarify that the un-happened is neither the same as that which did happen nor the same as that which did not happen. Through a concrete discussion of a specific period in India’s colonial history, it will establish how the un-happened occupies a unique place between what happened and what did not happen, making it very different from a counterfactual.

Affiliations: 1: IIT Bombay


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1. Heidegger Martin 1988 ga 34 Vom Wesen der Wahrheit Mörchen Hermann Frankfurt am Main Vittorio Klostermann
2. Heidegger Martin 1997 ga 66 Besinnung von Hermann F-W Frankfurt am Main Vittorio Klostermann
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