Worlding versus Worldview: Heidegger’s Thinking on Art as a Critique of German Historicism

B. Venkat Mani, Pamela M. Potter and Katherine M. Robiadek


This article suggests that Heidegger’s thinking about art is an integral part of his overall philosophical project critiquing dominant metaphysical views in the Germany of his time. Heidegger’s understanding of the work that art does assumes a central role in his project at a critical moment in German intellectual life when critiques of historicism were strengthening. Heidegger engages such critiques through pointing out connections between German historicism and modern metaphysics. My contribution is to detail some of what is at stake in Heidegger’s thinking about art as it connects to his critique of historicism on ontological grounds, specifically in the opposition of his understanding of a “world” created through art to the historicist “worldview.” Ultimately, I argue that the mode of thinking Heidegger associates with art is necessary for the ontological transformation needed for understanding human existence as the basis of history (instead of any metaphysical ideals, such as historicist progress). (KR)