Chinese Landscape Painting and the Study of Being: An Imagined Encounter Between Martin Heidegger and Xia Gui

Studies in Philosophy and Education 39 (3):309-320 (2020)
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Abstract

In this paper, we pose a speculative encounter between Heidegger and the Chinese Song Dynasty landscape painter Xia Gui. Our intention is to reassess Heidegger’s theory of the fourfold. By placing the concept in a cross-cultural context, we argue that Heidegger was essentially correct in that the world is structured as a fold between interrelated elements. At the same time, we challenge the quantity and quality of the folded elements. If one turns to the work of Xia Gui in conjunction with relevant Daoist texts, what one finds is a threefold structure to the world, composed of earth, sky, and mortals without Heidegger’s emphasis on divinities. In conclusion, we suggest that studying the folding structure of the world ought to be done through cultural comparisons of philosophical and aesthetic traditions in order to understand the potentiality for worldhood as an xfold.

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