Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy



First Advisor

Galen A. Johnson


Heidegger's essay "The Origin of the Work of Art" contains difficult and often ambiguous concepts. This thesis attempts to clarify Heidegger's thoughts on works of art. The discussion begins with an examination of what Heidegger means by truth. The determination is that a thing's meaning in relation to our existence and what that meaning reveals about us constitutes Heideggerian truth. The disclosure of truth requires an encounter which allows things to direct us as to what they are. The possibility of our being directed is dependent upon the establishing of certain conditions. Equipment, science, technology, and language are investigated to determine whether or not they are able to establish the conditions which are necessary for the disclosure of truth. The conclusion is that they are not because they fall victim to our directives when we encounter them. Works of art are those things which are able to establish the necessary conditions for a proper encounter with things. Since things other than works of art are subject to our directives, artworks have become the only things which are able to disclose truth. This claim finds support through analysis of Heidegger's works "The Origin of the Work of Art", "The Essence of Truth", and "The Question Concerning Technology" and through a critical examination of commentaries on those works.



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