In the most narrow sense, an idea
is just whatever is before the mind
when one thinks
. Very often, ideas are construed as representational
images; i.e. images of some object
. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts
, although abstract
concepts do not necessarily appear as images.
consider ideas to be a fundamental ontological category of being
The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings. In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflex, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place.
Martin Heidegger (26 September 1889 – 26 May 1976) (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈhaɪ̯dɛɡɐ]) was an influential German philosopher. His best known book, Being and Time, is generally considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. Heidegger remains controversial due to his involvement with Nazism.
Heidegger claimed that Western philosophy has, since Plato, misunderstood what it means for something "to be," tending to approach this question in terms of a being, rather than asking about being itself. In other words, Heidegger believed all investigations of being have historically focused on particular entities and their properties, or have treated being itself as an entity, or substance, with properties. A more authentic analysis of being would, for Heidegger, investigate "that on the basis of which beings are already understood," or that which underlies all particular entities and allows them to show up as entities in the first place. But since philosophers and scientists have overlooked the more basic, pre-theoretical ways of being from which their theories derive, and since they have incorrectly applied those theories universally, they have confused our understanding of being and human existence. To avoid these deep-rooted misconceptions, Heidegger believed philosophical inquiry must be conducted in a new way, through a process of retracing the steps of the history of philosophy.