chapter  15
Nothingness and Phenomenology
The co-disclosure of Sartre and Heidegger
WithStephen Mulhall
Pages 17

Martin Heidegger's phenomenology of death amounts to nothing less than the whole of Division Two's recapitulation of Division One of the book, Being and Time is thereby retrospectively disclosed as essentially or primordially a phenomenology of death. For Heidegger's characterization of death as our ownmost, non-relational, not-to-be-outstripped possibility cannot coherently be thought of as rendering death directly intelligible, since it presupposes that death is an existential possibility, when Heidegger himself has repeatedly insisted that it cannot be so understood. Just like Heidegger, Sartre begins by asking whether any mode of human conduct might illuminate the general relation of human beings to the world, points out that in so doing he adopts a questioning stance to the world, and then asks himself whether this interrogative mode of conduct might be the illuminating instance he seeks. Little wonder that Heidegger began his book by remarking that 'in any being towards entities as entities there lies a priori an enigma'.