Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction

By Michael Inwood | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
Art

Heidegger showed little interest in art until the mid-1930s, and then it appears in the company of several related interests: the presocratic philosophers, whose works are often in poetic form and are more closely related to Greek poetry than, say, Kant is to German poetry; philosophers such as Schelling and Nietzsche, for whom art has a central position in philosophy; and language, which, for Heidegger, originates with poets.


Artworks and Things

Heidegger's most general work on art, 'The Origin of the Work of Art', was published in 1950, but stems from lectures given in 1935. He rejects two widely held doctrines. First, that art is concerned only with beauty and pleasure: 'art is rather the disclosure of the being of beings' ( IM. 111). Second, that a work of art is primarily a thing, and that aesthetic value is superimposed on it by our subjective view of it: for Heidegger it is art that shows us what a thing is. There are nevertheless two ways in which an artwork is a thing. First, a work, such as a painting, can be moved and stored like other things. (He later rejects this way of viewing artworks. It treats them as objects present at hand, in the way that an art-dealer or a removal-man does.) Second, it has a thingly aspect: 'There is something stony in a work of architecture, wooden in a carving, coloured in a painting, spoken in a linguistic work, sonorous in a musical composition' ( OWA, 19).

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Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • References viii
  • Chapter 1 - Heidegger's Life 1
  • Chapter 2 - Heidegger's Philosophy 9
  • Chapter 3 - Being 13
  • Chapter 4 - Dasein 20
  • Chapter 5 - The World 31
  • Chapter 6 - Language, Truth, and Care 47
  • Chapter 7 - Time, Death, and Conscience 64
  • Chapter 8 - Temporality, Transcendence, and Freedom 87
  • Chapter 9 - History and World-Time 98
  • Chapter 10 - Art 116
  • Chapter 11 - St Martin of Messkirch? 129
  • Further Reading 135
  • Glossary 137
  • Index 142
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