Notes on Heidegger’s notions of ready/present-at-hand

The idea of the worldhood of the world in general

The world is the structure that makes being possible. For Heidegger, the world allows us to see entities within itself. What shows-itself and is-itself is a part of being. ‘Worldhood’ designates the structure which being creates. There are four definitions of world which Heidegger gives us:

1. The total number of entities which can be inspected and examined by someone.
2. A signification for the total number of entities that have being.
3. Our lived existence e.g. private/public.
4. A specific world-view that nontheless embraces the prior character of total number of entities that constitute the world in general.

In this section, Heidegger looks at the third definition. The term nature limits the being of possible entities within the world. Nature acts as a way to name and position the structures of beings, thing, and entities. Indeed, nature itself can only be understood by categorising the world as a concept.

An analysis of Enviromentality and worldhood in general

Dealings, refer to our everyday being-in-the-world, which is the closest way we encounter entities. Phenomological interpretations for Heidegger, are not a way of knowing how things truly are. Rather, it is a way to determine the structure of being that the entity possesses. Our everyday presence in the world in not highly abstract or analytic, but banal and mundane.

It is something like simply opening a door by turning a latch. It is activity rather than interpretation. We don’t overcomplicate things through analysis in our activities. e.g. we don’t say ‘I’m going to turn the doornob 40 degress to the right with my hand’ when we turn a doorknob. We don’t think about it, we just do it as a means for some other end.

The being that manifests itself through equipment is called ‘readiness-at-hand’. Being that manifests itself through analysis and contemplation on an object is called ‘present-at-hand’.

How the worldly character of the environment Announces itself in Entities within the world

When we find Equipment unusable, we do not do so through analyzing its properties but rather looking at the context in which we use the tool in our dealings. The world itself is not an entity within itself, yet it is determinate of such entities. Only through the means of the world, can entities show themselves. Pure presence-at-hand announces itself in such equipment, but is withdrawn to readiness-at-hand when a task develops. Being-in-the-world neither consists solely of ready-at-hand or present-at-hand. There is instead, a back and forth movement between the two.

The fact that the defective object highlights its own defectedness brings it from being ready-at-hand to present-at-hand. This is done by highlighting how it is an object that now cannot be used.