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|Title:||Freedom and the Fourfold in the Thought of Martin Heidegger|
|Advisor:||Grant, George P.|
|Abstract:||<p>The purpose of this study is to draw out of Heidegger's work, and to argue for the thesis, that freedom saves its essence in the region of the truth of Being. In relation to freedom, this region is called it the free". The usual. idea of freedom, whether it be self-realization, self-perfection or self-determination, attaches itself to the fact of self-causing-itself, whether this be an I-self or a we-self. Heidegger challenges this idea of freedom because it leaves the nature of the self assumed and unquestioned. He insists that the truth of self cannot stand without awareness of what is other than it. Heidegger puts his thesis. succinctly in the form of a challenge in the "Letter on Humanism".</p> <p>"Whether the region of the truth of Being is a blind alley, or whether it is the free where freedom saves its essence, everyone may judge for himself, after he has tried to go the pointed way, or better to go a better one, which means to pioneer a way appropriate to the question."</p> <p>Though the fourfold relationship of earth, sky, gods and men is not mentioned explicitly in this challenge, it becomes clear in the study that the eventual unfolding of the whole event of freedom saving its essence in the free requires the unfolding of this relationship which binds into the free. For Heidegger freedom is vindicated rather than dissolved by saving its essence in the fourfold. Depending on the stance taken, it is possible to see Heidegger's thought as an attack on freedom if it remains confined to the self and thus truncated. At the same tlme, his thought can be seen as a reassertion of freedom when it is restored to its proper hidden ground. As a whole unity, his work is a long hard sustained attempt to think the truth of modern freedom together with the truth of reverence and submission, the truth of what is revered.</p> <p>To try to do justice to the gradual unfold~ng of all the components of the thesis of freedom saving its essence in the fourfold, I have examined chronologically eight of Heidegger's works stretching from 1929 to 1959. They are The Essence of Ground, The Essence of Truth, What Is Metaphysics?, Epilogue, "Toward the Determination of the Place of Engagement", "Letter OD. Humanism", "The Thing", "Building, Dwelling, Thinking", and "Heidgerlin's Earth and Sky". Along the path of his thought, Heidegger unfolds gradually the whole of what is occurring while freedom saves its essence in the free. His thought about freedom and the fourfold may be said to consist of two steps, as long as it is understood that the first step is not·merelx a means .to the second, but rather continues to be a necessary part of the whole of what is occurring.</p> <p>The first step concentrates on human existence which Heidegger describes as threefold transcendental freedom whereby we stretch from our current situation to the world we project. For humans, he suggests, truth (1) arises out of the tension that we are in the midst of beings (2) and also that we let beings Be what they are (3). Transcendental freedom is threefold freedom toward the ground, the transcendental basis of the truth of all current beings, both human and objective. At the time this first step was taken in the early works, it was already understood as incomplete and preparatory. Before the fourfold region of the truth of Being could be unfolded it was necessary to show that threefold human freedom toward the ground occurs in a zone of transcendence. It is not possible to move directly from the current modes of being to the truth of Being, because part of that unfolding is the truth of threefold freedom. With the second step from freedom to the region of the truth of Being, Heidegger tries to study how human' . freedom is determined' or attuned by the region it is in, in a way which does not dissolve it, but rather liberates it. The great difficulty and danger is to study this matter in a way which is appropriate to its strangeness, and which is nonetheless rigorous.</p> <p>The completion of the second step occurs when the region of the truth of Being, called "the nearll and the zone of transcendence called "the far" are declared both to be "the same." They belong together and thus also necessarily remain different. This "completion" is at the same time worked out by Heidegger as the cooperative effort of thoughtful and poetic production of the truth of Being. They are the same because each operates according to its own laws, and both belong or dwell into the free. The completion is also a restoration of what is present and immediate, after a bold investigation of the truths of future and past "heritage". The "mature" human threefold had to include also the acceptance of what is present before the full unfolding of the fourfold truth of Being was possible. The truth of lithe same" draws together human thinking and making in the unhidden foreground while restoring awareness of their heritage in the hidden background. When freedom returns to its matter or element, it saves or hides its essence and is thereby vindicated.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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