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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2019, Vol. 14 Issue (4) : 570-592
Daoism and the German Mission in Martin Heidegger’s “The Thing”
Mark Kevin S. Cabural()
Division of Humanities, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
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In this article, I examine Martin Heidegger’s 1950 lecture/essay “The Thing” (Das Ding) in two ways. First, as a piece influenced by chapter 11 of the Daodejing. And second, as a postwar writing which can be interpreted vis-à-vis the Black Notebooks and his other writings. There are instances in “The Thing” which are analogous to his statements found in the Black Notebooks and his other writings which describe and clarify his controversial political affiliation. In brief, I suggest here that Heidegger’s articulation of the concept of wu 無 of chapter 11 of the Daodejing as the void of the jug in “The Thing” may potentially describe his controversial engagement with German National Socialism as part of his response to the call for German mission. Notably, the fundamentality of the void of the jug is comparable to the exclusivity and exceptionality of the Germans in their mission; and the use of the void of the jug as outpouring is an interesting way to emphasize his disagreement with the regime by pointing out that his support to German National Socialism is not to the extent of brutally annihilating the Jews.

Keywords Martin Heidegger      Daodejing      German mission      nothing      void      emptiness     
Issue Date: 06 January 2020
 Cite this article:   
Mark Kevin S. Cabural. Daoism and the German Mission in Martin Heidegger’s “The Thing”[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2019, 14(4): 570-592.
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