What is it about?

The broad concern of this article is to contribute to discussions within hermeneutical philosophy that address the question of life as a form of correlation. More specifically, its purpose is to shed light on the character of life as correlation with reference to a basic aspect of this correlation: our living relation to things. To this end, the author focuses, first, on the later Heidegger's suggestion that our proper relation to things takes shape as an enactment guided by the releasement or letting-be (Gelassenheit) of things in their independence; second, on Günter Figal's recent claim that this enactment, in turn, depends on our referential relation to the exteriority or objectivity of things. The author concludes that our living relation with things may be understood best in terms of the movement or mutual interplay of these two conditions.

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Why is it important?

This argument is important, first, because it clarifies the phenomenon of life as this may be elucidated hermeneutically; second, because it brings into focus the relation between hermeneutical experience and factical existence; and third, because this, in turn, gives new emphasis to the idea that hermeneutical experience is characterized by objectivity.


This article contributes to current debates about Heidegger's notion of letting-be, as well as to the philosophy of things and thing-theory.

Dr Theodore George
Texas A&M University System

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This page is a summary of: Thing, Object, Life, Research in Phenomenology, January 2012, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/156916412x628720.
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