Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 153–159 | Cite as

Anne O’Byrne: Natality and finitude

Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2010, 218 pp, ISBN: 978-0-253-35531-7, $65.00 (Cloth), ISBN: 978-0-253-22241-1, $22.95 (Pbk.)
  • Jeffrey Epstein
Book Review

Natality is “the condition of our having been born” (16, original italics). In the wake of Heidegger, O’Byrne insists that “we want an ontological response to the question of birth; we want to know the existential significance of natality” (17, original italics). Accordingly, for a deeper understanding of natality, we must first turn to Heidegger. Heidegger’s Being and Timegives an account of the structure and significance of our natal and mortal finitude, that we come to be and that we pass on. By finitude, we should not envision a particular event such as our birth (which happened to us in the past) or death (which inexorably awaits all of us in the future); rather, Heidegger is concerned with the existential “condition of finitude” (3) in which our mortality and natality are always already structuring features of our existence—now—whose significance and meaning must be determined. This is one source of the well-known ontological difference in which Heidegger attempts to give a...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SUNY Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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