Heidegger's Metaphysical Abyss

Heidegger's Metaphysical Abyss : Between the Human and the Animal

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Heidegger presented reflections on animality most extensively in his 1929-30 lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. In these lectures, Heidegger poses two provocative metaphysical theses: The human, he claims, is 'world-forming'; in contrast, the animal is 'poor in world.' Contemporary secondary literature has emphatically criticised these theses on account of the objection that they forge an 'abyss of essence' between human and nonhuman
organisms. The theses undermine scientific developments by breaking apart the biological continuum in order to secure the human within in its own unique category, all the while leaving the world-poor animal on the other side of the abyss. Heidegger thus reinstates an outmoded dualism that he ought, on his own
terms, to renounce: human versus animal. Heidegger's Metaphysical Abyss undertakes a close examination of the lecture course in order to clarify the true meaning, scope, and significance of Heidegger's theses. Drawing on other places within Heidegger's writings where the theme of animality features, Cykowski demonstrates that Heidegger's examination of animality points beyond received dualisms back to a more essential way of philosophising about life and the human's relationship to it.
Heidegger thus intended to examine and illuminate, rather than simply to repeat the orthodox metaphysical hierarchies that we have inherited, and his exploration of animality raises deep questions about the status of the human within nature that continue to be important today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 150 x 225 x 20mm | 390g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198865406
  • 9780198865407
  • 2,285,477

Table of contents

Introduction: Heidegger and the question of the animal
1: The human versus the animal: A close look at Heidegger's comparative examination
2: The metaphysical context of Heidegger's animal analysis
3: The role of fundamental attunement in FCM
4: A journey through boredom
5: Life and biology: The animal world
6: From life to spirit: The human world
7: The outcome, criticisms, and legacy of Heidegger s comparative examination
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About Elizabeth Cykowski

Beth Cykowski completed her MA in Continental Philosophy at the University of Warwick, and her DPhil on Heidegger and animality at St Anne's College, Oxford in 2015. She has since taught Philosophy at the University of Exeter, worked as a Departmental Lecturer in Post-Kantian Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and as a Stipendiary Lecturer in Philosophy at New College, Oxford. She is currently working as a private philosophy tutor.
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