Heidegger’s Hölderlinian Breath

  • Lenart Škof
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 10)


As the chapter on Heidegger and the philosophy of elements proposes, we are always already close to the elements of earth and fire as well as to water and air. This chapter thus follows the intersubjective impulse in ourselves as expounded in the first part of the book as well as in the chapter on Feuerbach; at the same time it inaugurates a new sense of the elements found in Heidegger’s more “esoteric” teaching, especially as related to his insightful interpretations of Hölderlin’s poetry. Heidegger’s thought is here related to the double-Heideggerian gesture, as it were, of machination (Machentschaft) on one hand (with the elements of earth and fire) and gentle mesocosmic constellation (fourfold; the elements of water and air) on the other. With Heidegger, as interpreted in this chapter, we thus already sense the new advent of a (meso)cosmic gesture of breath, which passes through his poetic language and inaugurates a new future peaceful world for us mortals. As our interpretation suggests, we have two Heideggers, one not being able to confess to his contemporaries—even close friends such as Hannah Arendt or Paul Celan—that his insistence on the elements of earth and fire was an echo of a history and forgetting of Being he wanted to analyse and supersede; and another Heidegger, being close to Schelling’s approval of cosmic breath and Hölderlin’s poetic world. The main purpose of our exploration of Heidegger is thus to show how sensitive (although only intuitively) his later approach was for the phenomenon of breath(ing). Finally we interpret das Geviert as the atmosphere of ethics (the mesocosm).


Heidegger Hölderlin Breath Intersubjectivity Ethics Schelling 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lenart Škof
    • 1
  1. 1.Science and Research CentreUniversity of PrimorskaKoperSlovenia

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