The Silence of the Origin: Philosophy in Transition and the Essence of Thinking

in Research in Phenomenology
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This article pursues Heidegger’s protracted engagement with the question of silent origins. First, I explore the so-called transitional thinking grounded in the fundamental attunement of reticence as it is put forward in the Beiträge zur Philosophie. Second, I consider the complex matter of Heidegger’s reference to the intimate, yet distinct, roles of poetry and thinking when it comes to articulating a response to the attunement of reticence. I then move to explain what is at stake in Heidegger’s engagement with Hölderlin on the nature of language, silence, and listening. This latter task involves analyzing Heidegger’s contention that Hölderlin’s poetic thought is both philosophically exemplary and futural. Finally, since I take Heidegger’s interpretation of Hölderlin to be a critical appropriation, we must assess the coherence of his redeployment of Hölderlin’s thought models, especially, I will claim, his appropriation of the halfgods.




Daniel O. Dahlstrom, “Heidegger’s Heritage,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 59 (2003): 27.


Maurice Merleau-Ponty, La Prose du monde (Paris: Gallimard, 1969), 64; translated by John O’Neill as The Prose of the World (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), 46.


John Sallis, “Grounders of the Abyss,” in Companion to Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy, 190.


Heidegger, GA 39: 189; my translation.


Heidegger, GA 39: 199–201.


See Heidegger, GA 39: 267.


Heidegger, GA 39: 245.


Heidegger, GA 39: 117.


See William McNeill, The Time of Life: Heidegger and Ethos (Albany: SUNY Press, 2006), 150–51.


Heidegger, GA 52: 69–71. Quoted and translated in William McNeill, The Time of Life: Heidegger and Ethos, 150–51.


See Dennis J. Schmidt, “Strategies for a Possible Reading,” in Companion to Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy, 36.


See Robert Bernasconi, “‘Poet of Poets. Poet of the Germans,’ Hölderlin and the Dialogue between Poets and Thinkers,” in Heidegger in Question: The Art of Existing (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1993), 135–48.


Heidegger, GA 4: 41, 59. See also GA 39: 33.


See Charles Guignon, Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1983), 142–43.


Richard Polt, “Meaning, Excess, and Event,” Gatherings: The Heidegger Circle Annual 1 (2011): 34.


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