Master of Arts (MA)


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type



The thought of Martin Heidegger is considered to make a drastic change from modern philosophical thought which begins with Descartes. The reason for the strong distinction that Heidegger makes between those philosophers and his own thought is a result of the way in which his understanding of the kind of being we have (Dasein) is different from conceptions of the human subject. Because traditional approaches to ethics incorporate this understanding of the human subject, an investigation of ethics from Heidegger’s presentation of Dasein is poised to lend new insights into what it means to be ethical. The point of this thesis, though, is not to find those ways in which Heidegger’s presentation of Dasein can add to our understanding of ethics. Instead, it is first to suggest that an understanding of Dasein can make sense of ethical language. In order to make the case that Dasein is ethical, it will first be required that we present those elements of Dasein’s being which are central to its distinction from the traditional human subject. The next task will be to examine this depiction of Dasein in relation to traditional ways ethics has been carried out. If we are able to find a connection between some key elements of Dasein’s being and what we traditionally think to be ethical, then we will have a strong base off of which to build a case for thinking that Dasein can be understood as an ethical kind of being. We will argue that there are such elements which give us strong reason to consider Dasein as ethical. Finally, it will be our task to show how these key elements interact with one another and are constitutive of Dasein’s being. We will argue that this can be done and that Dasein can be made the focus of a further ethical investigation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Schufreider, Gregory