Force and metaphysics in Heidegger

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Heidegger is a thinker of force; and yet his fundamental proposition about force is that it cannot be an object for thought. The challenge he articulates and confronts is how to render force without traducing it a priori. In what follows I trace the vicissitudes of this adventure of thought and writing from the early critique of Cartesian physics and metaphysics in Sein und Zeit, through the detailed analysis of Aristotelian dunamis in Von Wesen und Wirklichkeit der Kraft, to the rhetoric of Kraft and Gewalt in the later work on poetry and the university. My aim is twofold: to establish what force ‘is’ for Heidegger, and to ask whether Heidegger succeeds in his aim to think force without reifying it as a present object.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Heidegger
  • Martin
  • force
  • Descartes
  • Aristotle
  • humour

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