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The Origin of the Work of Art (Continued)

We'll continue where we left off, somewhere before "The Work and Truth."

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  • Imran M.

    I think this last point deals with where we left off on equipmentality. Heidegger says the common person's definition of art is material (the stuff the art is made out of) combined with form (the ideas or personality of the artist). But this is just what craftwork or equipment is: material that's forged according to ideas or purpose. One difference with artwork is that the material retains, Heidegger says, some of the reverential character and awe that the early Greeks had for things. In seeing oil paintings, for example, oil doesn't just get reduced to the chemical compound the artist happened to use up to produce the painting, the way it might get used up to grease a gear or power a lamp. The oil paint, much like stone or metal or other materials, very much defines the character of the artwork, and is as much on display to us as whatever other ideas the artist was able to convey in it.

    Looking forward to picking up on "worlding" and holy ground through art next time.


    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Imran M.

    With the scientific revolution, we become interested in everyday things again, but not at all because we appreciate how particular things take form in front of us and allow us to encounter something about them. Instead, we're just interested in how we can use the things to make life better for us humans. Our goal is to have a general science where we can make the most use of all things, regardless of the form in which we first find them. So we realize a whale, for example, may appear to us as a great living mammal, but it can also be thought of as a reservoir of chemical compounds that we can extract and harvest to power our lamps, grease our gears and so on. The fact that we encounter it as a live mammal, or encounter the wood in our logs in these towering protrusions from soil with birds' nests on them, is just incidental to the later use we can make of them.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Imran M.

    Physical things end up pointing us to more abstract, more understandable, and in some sense more true ideas about the world.

    With Judeo-Christianity, we got an even more receding picture where the real nature of things is not only invisible, but it's not at all related to how a thing looks or functions, because the real nature of all things is they're creations of God. We have to look away from the things and worship God or read scripture to understand what's going on in the world. There's no special revealing when we encounter everyday rocks and trees, for example, because revealing is only by God and of God.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Imran M.

    I thought the commentary above was a pretty clear summing up of the main points we covered at the meet. In particular it compares the "phusis" concept of things (which is something like rocks and trees blooming into physical existence, revealing themselves to us in our environment) with the later "epochs of being." So Plato and Aristotle in some sense have less reverence for things as we encounter them than the early Greeks and more interest in the underlying structure (e.g. the mathematical structure) which we can understand from evaluating things abstractly. For example, if I can model a collection of stones as a right triangle, I can use trig properties to deduce precisely the size of the stones I need to make a ramp with a certain angle of incline. If I wasn't able to "see a triangle into the stones," so to speak, it would be much harder for me to get the incline I wanted, and even if I got it, I wouldn't understand why I got it.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Imran M.

    Thank you all for coming out. It's good to see so much general interest in Heidegger, from new and old readers of philosophy alike. He's in some ways the most accessible and in some ways the most difficult person we can ask to explain art to us.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Erik C.

    I will be at the meeting a little before 6 in case anyone else wants to show up early and talk.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone

    December 12, 2012

  • Kinga

    i wish i could join for a continuation of this dicusssion. i am out of town ...

    December 6, 2012

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