Identifier

etd-11052004-163310

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The late modern and postmodern theme of homecoming permeates the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, who grapples with the topic throughout the various phases of his lifelong meditation on Being. Heidegger continually gave thought to the relationship between Being and the place or site in which it becomes manifest, whether it is a system of references and manipulable entities (Being and Time), language (An Introduction to Metaphysics), or aesthetic works of art (“The Origin of the Work of Art”). Taking as its point of departure Heidegger’s persistent and dynamic search for home (Heimat), this study will examine the political implications of his philosophical sojourn with an eye on the nationalistic tendencies that were exhibited by Heidegger’s rectorship at the University of Freiburg. Moreover, the study will consider the German philosopher’s attempted philosophical homecoming from the perspective of Emmanuel Levinas’s pointed critique of Heidegger’s place-bound view of human existence. Taking aim at the ontological, anti-humanistic, and pagan elements of Heidegger’s thought, Levinas posits an alternative that is ethical in emphasis, humanistic in thrust, and transcendent in scope. Supplementing and correcting Heidegger’s homecoming ethos with a philosophy that stresses hospitality (l’hospitalité) towards the Other (autrui), Levinas suggests that our ethical responsibility for the stranger, widow, and orphan supercedes our attachment to place. By facilitating a rapprochement between Heideggerian dwelling and Levinasian nomadism, this study will make visible a postmodern relation to home that does not succumb to narrow national particularism nor to rootless, global cosmopolitanism.

Date

2004

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cecil L. Eubanks

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