On the phenomenon of time and temporality in Edmund Husserl’s and Martin Heidegger’s thought addressing the problem of death

Keywords: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, the Time, the Death, the Being
Language: In German

E. Husserl’s and M. Heidegger’s focus on time and temporality is well known. However, opinions still differ concerning whether and to what extent the perception of time in Husserl’s phenomenology has left an impact on Heidegger’s focusing on time. Some researchers highlight a radical difference between both philosophers’ approaches to time and temporality (although not excluding some similarities, analogies or parallelisms), but others attempt to show the closer contact points and deeper coincidences in the philosophers’ views.

In order to highlight the relationship between the two thinkers’ views on time and temporality, it is necessary to focus on how they have looked at death. It is in the perception of death that the fundamental differences in their understanding of time appear. Husserl, while discusing death, focuses on the eternal, endlessly flowing time as an unending continuation of Now-Moments. Heidegger, in contrast, focuses on the finality of time. He turns to history and death as solution fields to the time problem, where, in his view, Husserl’s focus on consciousness and Ego as foothold for the solution of the time problem no longer works. It is in relation to the problem of death that both philosophers look radically different to time and human temporality. For Husserl, the life of an active, world-constituting Ego is endless, i.e. “immortal” (including when the particular human dies); Heidegger’s analysis of time highlights a radical ending, finality, and non-evasion of death, where time appears as the initial opportunity of presence (Dasein).