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Temptation, Self-Possession, and Resoluteness: Heidegger's Reading of Confessions X and What Is the Good of Being and Time?

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In Heidegger's 1921 lectures, he presents an extensive interpretation of Book Ten of Augustine's Confessions. The present paper elaborates parallels between that interpretation of Augustine's Confessions and Heidegger's interpretation of existence in Being and Time, with special reference to the themes of self-possession (continentia) and resoluteness (Entschlossenheit) as respective anchors of the two interpretations. The study also highlights ways the two interpretations diverge, i.e., the aspects of the interpretation of the Confessions' themes of the good and desirable, the joyful and endearing, the delectatio that Augustine deems the end of our care (finis curae) that do not find their way into the existential analysis. By way of conclusion, questions are raised about the significance and plausibility of Heidegger's prima facie omissions of these themes from his existential analysis.

Affiliations: 1: Boston University

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