Heidegger, art and politics: exploring the notion of truth that can be revealed through a work of art in relation to the political sphere


In this thesis I argue that Heidegger avoids a problem regarding totalitarianism that is found in political thought within the Western tradition, most specifically seen in Plato and Hegel. In order to fully understand what Heidegger's political sphere would look like, to see whether or not he avoid the troubles of totalitarianism, one first needs to understand the crucial relationship that Heidegger proposes between art and the political sphere, more specifically between art and being. For Heidegger, to understand the role of the political in one's life, one must first understand the nature of being. And for Heidegger, a work of art is that which reveals the truth about being. But before one can understand what Heidegger sees as the relationship between art and being and the further relationship between art and the political sphere, one needs to understand what the role of art is in fact for Heidegger. But before one can fully understand Heidegger's conception of art and how it reveals the truth, one needs to recognize that for Heidegger we live in an age of aesthetic alienation. According to Heidegger, in our day and age the study and treatment of art have become problematic. We are misguided in the way that we approach, discuss, use and treat art; we must first try to understand why Heidegger thinks that is. And so in this thesis, this is where I begin. I argue that if one can understand this connection between art and truth, art and being, and art and the political sphere, one can begin to see how Heidegger's view of the political overturns the traditional Western schema and avoids the ramifications that tend to gravitate uncontrollably toward totalitarianism



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