Heidegger on "They"and Call of Conscience 

with John Russon


Time: Saturday, October 11th, 3:00 pm - 6:00pm
Location: "5170" OISE Building, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. 


Heidegger 9- On the "They"and call of conscience from Agora on Vimeo.


Heidegger on the "They"and Call of Conscience- Part 1: Lecture


Heidegger 9- On the "They"and call of conscience- Q/A from Agora on Vimeo.

Part 2: Answers to Questions


Guiding Questions:

1. Heidegger argues that, for the most part, we are not self-possessed individuals, but we exist, rather, as a “they-self.” What does he mean by the “they” and how does this challenge our typical ways of understanding ourselves? What are the ethical implications of this notion?

2. Heidegger claims that the experience of conscience offers us a transformative relationship to our situation. What are the fundamental aspects to the “call of conscience” that Heidegger emphasizes, and how do they contrast with the defining experiences of the “they”? How does the experience of conscience open up transformative possibilities for us?

Please read the following text for this session:

Heidegger, Being and Time, section 27 (on the “they”) and sections 55, 56 and 60 (on conscience)


Here is the link to Heidegger's entire book "Being and Time" translated by Macquarrie and Robinson:


John Russon is a Professor of Philosophy at University of Guelph. Please check his page below:


John explains about his talk:

Heidegger’s phenomenological description of our self-experience challenges many of the ways that we commonly understand ourselves. Typically, we think of ourselves as individuals who are self-possessed and self-defined. In his analysis of the “they,” though, Heidegger shows that we are fundamentally not self-possessed; on the contrary, our typical condition is to be caught up in the sway of a kind of indeterminate public identity, and an identity, furthermore, that keeps us from taking responsibility for ourselves. Through his analysis of the experience of conscience, Heidegger identifies the possibility for a transformative relationship to ourselves in which we embrace the possibility for a kind of self-responsibility even as we experience ourselves as answering to imperatives that come to us from beyond ourselves. We will investigate the experiences of the “they” and conscience in order to understand more fully Heidegger’s phenomenological project and also to appreciate more deeply what it means for us to take responsibility for our own lives.


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