Nothingness and the Clearing: Heidegger, Daoism and the Quest for Primal Clarity

Review of Metaphysics 67 (3): 583 - 601 (2014)
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Abstract

Martin Heidegger has made uncovering the truth of being his life’s work. He ultimately came to locate this truth at the site of the clearing (lichtung), which allowed him to sweep away the traditional formulation of the question of being and begin anew with beyng. This second beginning, as Heidegger called it, stood apart from the original in that he saw fit to cloak beyng in nothingness. This paper explores Heidegger’s use of nothingness and his claim that in order to overcome the divide between the two beginnings, we must leap into the abyss of the clearing. Given Heidegger’s interest in East Asian philosophy, his use of nothingness appears to resemble that of Daoism. Despite this outward similarity, however, this paper will argue that Heidegger’s doctrine of nothingness failed to grasp the cosmological significance of the clearing for he saw it only in terms of symbolizing the existential play of being. Thus while Heidegger argues that the clearing marks the unconcealement of beyng, Daoism uses the clearing to point us to the root of being in nothingness.

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David Chai
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Citations of this work

Asteroids, Holoblack and Clearance Futurism.Pat McConville - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (3):405-418.
Zhuangzi and Musical Apophasis.David Chai - 2017 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 16 (3):355-370.

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