Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Charles Guignon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ofelia Schutte, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joanne Waugh, Ph.D.


Heidegger, Husserl, Phenomenology, Aesthetics, Aletheia


My purpose, broadly construed, is a simple one; to interpret Heidegger's "The Origin of the Work of Art" in the light of his early work on the nature of phenomenology and philosophy. My method will therefore be to present certain key elements of Heidegger's early understanding of phenomenology and philosophy, and then to trace these elements, and certain challenges which arise from them, into their development in Being and Time. Following this I will enquire into how these considerations should guide our interpretations of "The Origin of the Work of Art" and evaluate how "The Origin of the Work of Art" presents a different perspective, and perhaps a new answer, to earlier concerns.

My thesis is that, within "The Origin of the Work of Art", Heidegger develops a more radical understanding of the insight which first allowed him to reply to the neo-Kantian attacks on phenomenology and which led him to break away from Husserlian phenomenology. This insight/innovation is the transformation of categorial intuition into pre-ontological understanding, as discussed in the work of commentators such as Theodore Kisiel. From the insights of intentionality and categorial intuition follows the explicit necessity of human finitude as later understood as Dasein's thrown-being-in-the-world. This finitude leads to what I call the riddle of Gelassenheit, meaning how, faced with the inevitability of comportment and the concealing nature of all limited disclosure, we can yet comport ourselves in such a way as to allow things to be what they are. One answer to this riddle is provided in the comportment specifically towards the undisclosed which is later to become Gelassenheit proper, but which also appears in the techne of the artist which points to the origin of our pre-ontological understanding (i.e. world) in the fundamental event of disclosure/concealment that occurs in art.