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Heidegger and the Earth

Heidegger and the Earth: Essays in Environmental Philosophy

  • Book Info
    Heidegger and the Earth
    Book Description:

    In this newly revised and greatly expanded edition ofHeidegger and the Earth, the contributors approach contemporary ecological issues through the medium of Heidegger's thought.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9772-0
    Subjects: General Science, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Abbreviations: Selected Works by Martin Heidegger
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Editors’ Introduction
    (pp. ix-2)

    Paradox is the titillating Other of all logics rooted in the law of non-contradiction. It is Other because it cannot be assimilated; it is titillating because it is transgressive. Most of us enjoy an occasional encounter with paradox the way we enjoy a good joke – rarely, however, do we take paradoxes seriously. Indeed, our enjoyment depends on our thinking’s maintaining itself within the logic of non-contradiction and on our viewing the paradoxical from that perspective instead of immersing ourselves in the paradoxical on its own terms. Yet when we think with Heidegger – and especially when that thinking concerns itself with...


    • 1 Guilt as Management Technology: A Call to Heideggerian Reflection
      (pp. 5-16)

      Martin Heidegger was born in 1889 in Messkirch, Germany, a small town in the Black Forest. He died in 1976. As these dates indicate, Heidegger lived through a time when the industrialized world was undergoing a series of upheavals probably now only dimly imaginable to those of us who are the products of them. His life spanned an era of political and technological revolution that drastically altered even the most basic patterns of human (and certainly not only human) life in virtually every corner of the world.

      Heidegger often refers in his writings to some of the most dramatic changes...

    • 2 Heidegger and Ecology
      (pp. 17-44)

      In a lecture delivered in 1951, Heidegger discussed a late poem by Hölderlin in which these lines appear:

      Humans dwell on this earth

      Full of merit, but also poetically.¹

      At the end of the lecture, in which Heidegger had shown in what sense our dwelling is fundamentally poetic, he called our present dwelling ‘completely unpoetic.’ It is unpoetic ‘because of a peculiar excess of raging measuring and calculating’ (GA 7:202–3). The diagnosis refers to our ‘genuine need for dwelling’ (ibid., 162), the need for our dwelling on the earth. Heidegger had this dwelling in mind already in the second...

    • 3 Earth-Thinking and Transformation
      (pp. 45-61)

      Let me begin by suggesting two images of how human beings live or experience being alive:

      A way of connectedness and expansion,in which one experiences oneself and the world as non-separate relatedness or connectedness‚ expansive and expanding in which one experiences an inner spaciousness that expands beyond one’s skin and oneself and includes a deep experience of being one with all lifeand

      A way of disconnectedness and contraction,in which one experiences oneself and the world as separate, discrete, isolated, and isolated, in which one experiences an inner contracting a self-contracting.

      Most of us in the West have...

    • 4 Singing the Earth
      (pp. 62-69)

      Another trail among the patterns of thinking shown to us by Martin Heidegger is opened evocatively by Kenneth Maly, who thoughtfully enlarges the notion ofearth,thinking it as a transformative imaging of ever-changing connectedness. Such earth-thinking is one way of undergoing the transformative journeying experience (Erfahrung) of thinking that Heidegger so often emphasized in his work. I will pick up two of the trails opened by Maly and walk a bit farther down them. As I do that, I will show how this earth-thinking connects with Heidegger’s thinking on language, and make some suggestions in that direction, opening up...

    • 5 Call of the Earth: Endowment and (Delayed) Response
      (pp. 70-100)

      Don’t we already know about Heidegger and the earth? We have read about the earth and world, about the temple and rock-cleft valley, in ‘The Origin of the Art Work’; about earth and heavens, divinities and mortals in ‘The Thing’ and ‘… Poetically Man Dwells …’ Of course these works are profound and bear rereading; but haven’t we already grasped what they say? We also know that Heidegger’s insights into the character of technology and dwelling have had a strong positive impact on environmental theory, and on the ecological practices of professional architects and planners, as well as on many,...


    • 6 The Word’s Silent Spring: Heidegger and Herder on Animality and the Origin of Language
      (pp. 103-122)

      Perhaps the greatest obstacle to Heidegger’s reception as an ecological thinker has been his unwavering insistence on the ‘abyss of essence’ that lies between human beings and animals. In the now famous words of the ‘Letter on Humanism’: ‘Of all the beings that are, presumably the most difficult to think about are living creatures, because on the one hand they are in a certain way most closely akin to us, and on the other they are at the same time separated from our ek-sistent essence by an abyss’ (P 248). Clearly Heidegger recognizes an affinity here, what he goes on...

    • 7 Environmental Management in the ‘Age of the World Picture’
      (pp. 123-143)

      Geographic information systems (GISs) have transformed the work of environmental management around the world. That technology has transformed our relationship with the natural environment itself. Basically, it allows anyone to image the entire planet. More to our purposes here, it enables environmental managers to construct a comprehensive and detailed map and database of land and water anywhere on the earth’s surface. GIS users can now access, synthesize, and analyse information of all sorts in order to identify and address problems and opportunities. Advocates of GIS argue, justifiably, that GIS has become ‘the predominant platform for analysis, modeling, and management in...

    • 8 Humanity as Shepherd of Being: Heidegger’s Philosophy and the Animal Other
      (pp. 144-166)

      A major debate in environmental philosophy concerns the question of how to think about the ontological and ethical status of non-human animals.¹ This is a problem because, like us, non-human animals are sentient beings; in other words, they have subjective lives – a fact that would seem to require granting them special ethical status. Yet at the same time, the radical differences between their form of subjectivity and ours, especially in cognitive ability, leads some thinkers to regard nonhuman animals as mere tools, clothes, or foodstuffs. Martin Heidegger himself contributes to the confusion in his writing on non-human animals; at times...


    • 9 The Path of a Thinking, Poeticizing Building: The Strange Uncanniness of Human Being on Earth
      (pp. 169-185)

      The unique and uncanny strangeness of human being has been at the heart of Western modes of thought since their inception with the Greeks. There have been times when it has been highly pronounced: in Plato and Nietzsche, to mention only two possible figures in the history of philosophy. And there have been times when this strangeness has not been so directly addressed (in different ways): in Aristotle and Hume, again to mention only two out of a possible many. How this strangeness has been discussed is manifold; how it has been perceived and named has assumed many forms. We...

    • 10 There Where Nothing Happens: The Poetry of Space in Heidegger and Arellano
      (pp. 186-200)

      In the series of public lectures titled ‘The Nature of Language,’ Heidegger says that thinking and poetry ‘dwell in the same neighborhood’ (WL 69–70) and that ‘each needs the other in its neighborhood, each in its fashion, when it comes to ultimates’ (ibid., 70). And because ‘the nature of art is poetry,’ as Heidegger says in the essay ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’ (PLT 75), we can also say that thinking and art dwell in the same neighbourhood.

      Thus we might view Heidegger and Juan Arellano, a Filipino architect and artist, dwelling in the same neighbourhood. Arellano’s...

    • 11 Meeting Place
      (pp. 201-214)

      One cannot know the earth as one cannot know one’s death. Both stand there, at best right by one, alongside and other, ecstatically abiding. Perhaps, however, one can be invited to neighbour the earth, as one can sometimes find death as one’s companion. But how? How would one receive such an invitation, and how follow it out? How could it be put to the test?

      I believe you must respond to these questions from where you stand, from a particular and local placement, as these questions address you in that place.

      The Blues stand there: I look up and trace...

    • 12 Eating Ereignis, or: Conversation on a Suburban Lawn
      (pp. 215-235)

      Del: Heidegger sometimes speaks of dwelling in ways that make it sound simple – just a matter of letting go of our fast-paced, competitive, technologically mediated lives and living genuinely and peacefully with the world around us. Dwelling as a way of living sounds more like a surrender and a release than a practice or a discipline. But when you really think about it, it isn’t simple at all.

      One day in the late spring of 2005, I found myself standing at the edge of a university quadrangle on a beautiful afternoon. The scene before me was predictable, at least for...

    • 13 Down-to-Earth Mystery
      (pp. 236-252)

      And why, indeed, should anyone care whether it is accomplished? This essay responds to those two questions by bringing the matter down to earth, down to what Heidegger at times calls ‘the simple’ – which is also deeply mysterious, as we begin to think it. And it isthinkingthat is the key, if we are to turn away from the attitudes and actions that foster the accelerating destruction of both earth and world, and turn to engaging with things and with one another as dwellers on this earth, as those who can open to and abide and even take delight...

  8. Selected Works by Martin Heidegger
    (pp. 253-254)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. 255-258)
  10. Index
    (pp. 259-268)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 269-269)