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Heidegger and art – here!

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Here is an interesting meditation on the power of art to reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary. Recommended for all you Aesthetics students out there!



  1. Mike says:

    How does the resident Heideggerian feel about that piece?


  2. Kleiner says:

    I presume that I am meant to be the “resident Heideggerian”? Yikes!

    I think it is a nice little article – it does an admirable job of trying to saying something intelligible, in a short piece, about a topic in Heidegger that is extremely confusing (and perhaps confused).

    If I were to quibble (as an excuse for saying more about it):
    I am a little leery of calling poets “world-builders”. Of course, the “world” (and the “worldhood of the world”) are technical terms in Heidegger’s thought that need to be unpacked. Point here is that Heidegger’s great hope with poetry is that it might somehow be a kind of thinking that moves beyond the technological. In technological thinking we “build-up” (note the connection to Kant here, who says all cognition is rooted in the “imagination” – einbildungskraft, literally “to build up”). Heidegger’s aletheia-ology (truth as disclosure) asks for something different – an uncovering rather than a building-up.

    Is there such a thing as this thinking? I think that, for Heidegger, is in question. In the end, I think (and I think Heidegger thinks) that even poetry fails. Sure, poetry is a kind of language that allows for more “play”, so poetic thinking is better than the technological. But the problem is that the poets, as Plato says, “lie too much”. What the poet does is trot out an ‘army of metaphors’ (to use Nietzsche’s phrase), but in so doing he still speaks with a set of universal concepts or definitions that can cover many particular and concrete beings. That is, he piles on a host of predicates that “essentially hold” for the subject, and since these predicates will end up with a character of “presence”, they will inevitably fail to grasp the drama of our project-character and so fall into the “metaphysics of presence” – the metaphysical tendency of viewing persons as “substances” (similar to those we encounter as present-at-hand with lists of essential properties).

    This is why I think Heidegger is struggling, mightily, to make the “ethical turn” that is made by those that follow him (Levinas in particular).


  3. Daniel says:

    due to me writing a final paper on this last spring I have an opinion, but for sake of saving face I will just comment on one line of Kleiner’s.
    Even though Heidegger thinks that poetry fails, he is a great writer. Ironically enough sometimes it reminds me of poetry.


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