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Heidegger and the question of man's poverty in world

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  • B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
  • Philosophy


This article offers a new reading of Heidegger's thesis of the animal in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Framing Heidegger's text through a brief analysis of Protagoras' genetic story of nature and of man's nature in Plato's eponymous dialogue, our reading brings out three key elements common to both texts: living nature as a normative rather than a physical order, the poverty of man's world in relation to the animal, and the attempted redemption of the latter through the acquisition of Weltbildung. Staying with the way Heidegger brings out man's poverty in world in the text allows us (i) to undo once for all the oft-repeated charge of Heidegger's anthropocentric interpretation of the animal, (ii) to stage the hypothesis that philosophy and the life sciences of his day draw upon a common basic experience of the autonomy of life in relation to everything human, all-toohuman, and (iii) to demonstrate the normativity and poverty of life.

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