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Heidegger, Funerary Practices, and the Fourfold


Heidegger, Funerary Practices, and the Fourfold

Edmonds, Leah (2022) Heidegger, Funerary Practices, and the Fourfold. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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Heidegger famously argues in Being and Time that to live well and honestly, we must face up to our own mortality. Within Being and Time, Heidegger is clear that neither exposure to the deaths of others, nor engagement in funerary practices, bring us closer to death in the proper—“authentic”—sense. In this paper, I take up a hint offered by Johannes Niederhauser in his 2019 book, On Death and Being, that Heidegger amends his original position on funerary practices in his later work. My project is to affirm that this change indeed took place over the course of Heidegger’s career by highlighting his approving reference to the Totenbaum (that is, the coffin) in “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” and his remarks on Sophocles’ Antigone in his lecture course Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister”. In turn, I attempt to account for the change in Heidegger’s position by examining funerary practices in light of the thinking of the “fourfold”. Ultimately, I claim that funerary practices may be considered a form of poetry understood in the broad sense of “poetic dwelling”. In the final sections of the paper, I suggest, beyond Heidegger’s own words but in line with his thinking (at least as I interpret it), that the death of others constitutes a potent and universal access point for reflection on Being qua Being, even amidst the profoundly desensitized era of what Heid calls “enframing” (Gestell).

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Edmonds, Leah
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:13 September 2022
ID Code:991124
Deposited By: Leah Edmonds
Deposited On:14 Sep 2022 21:17
Last Modified:19 Sep 2022 16:29
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