Sussex Undergraduate Philosophy Society – SUPSOC Seminar Series
First Seminar of the Spring Term: Heidegger’s Boredom
A seminar by Christos Hadjioannou
Abstract: Martin Heidegger is, along with Ludwig Wittgenstein, the most influential philosopher of the 20th century. There are many ways in which Heidegger revolutionized philosophy and contributed to the emergence of the major philosophical tradition of “phenomenology”. One of his original contributions was the way he understood, and the role he ascribed to, the affective level of experience (‘affect’ in the sense of feeling or mood). According to Heidegger, we shall never have comprehended fundamental philosophical concepts unless we have first been gripped by whatever they are supposed to comprehend: all such being gripped happens to us while we are undergoing a feeling or mood, and it occurs by way of that mood. Philosophical comprehension arises always necessarily from the fundamental moods [Grundstimmungen], which for Heidegger attune us to what is as a whole of Dasein, (Heidegger’s early name for the human being). Philosophy in each case happens in a fundamental mood.
In his magnum opus, Being and Time, he identified anxiety or ‘Angst’ as the fundamental mood that revealed the way the Dasein is “held out into the Nothing”. Later though, during the lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude Heidegger identified boredom as the fundamental mood through which we gain access to these fundamental concepts of ‘world’, ‘finitude’ and ‘solitude’. Boredom is also identified by Heidegger as “the concealed destination” of the era of modern science. In this talk, we shall examine some of the main arguments that Heidegger makes concerning boredom, and try to gain an initial, provisional, understanding of what boredom is, what it reveals, and how it reveals it.