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Unassessed essay 2


Choose one of the following essay titles or topics and write 1500 words. The deadline is the start of week 11 (the first week of the Easter vacation): Monday March 17. Please email your essay. The essay is formative and can be used as the basis of your assessed essay/s and/or exam answers.


1. Write a close reading of one poem from this term in relation to one of the following: enframing; technē; humanism; homelessness.

2. Explore Heidegger's notion that 'questioning builds a way' either in relation to 'The Question Concerning Technology' and/or the Tao te Ching.

3. To what extent does Heidegger's 'later' (post 1935) thinking contest the division between 'eastern' and 'western' philosophy?

4. 'A German friend of Heidegger told me that one day when he visited Heidegger he found him reading one of Suzuki’s books; “If I understand this man correctly, ” Heidegger remarked, “this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings ” ... For what, after all, is Heidegger ’s final message but that Western philosophy is a great error, the result of the dichotomizing intellect that has cut man off from unity with Being itself and from his own Being' (William Barrett, in D. T. Suzuki, Selected Writings). Discuss.

5. Do you agree with Heidegger's definition of humanism as ‘meditating and caring’ ('Letter on Humanism')?

6. 'Language is the house of Being. In its home man dwells' ('Letter on Humanism'). Discuss.

7. Write an essay discussing Heidegger's reliance on Hölderlin and/or Rilke as a way of incarnating his philosophy of poetry.

8. ‘All of nature and history are hung out to dry on this global rack, all perfectly arranged, stripped of all mystery. This enframing is the essence of technology’ (Graham Harman, Heidegger Explained: From Phenomenon to Thing). Discuss.

9. ‘Heidegger’s environmentalism is a sad, fascist, stunted bonsai version, forced to grow in a tiny iron flowerpot by a cottage in the German Black Forest’ (Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought). Discuss.

10. For Heidegger, Dasein embodies what he calls disclosedness or care. Write an essay on any of the set poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Georg Trakl, J. H. Prynne or Jorie Graham that embody this thought.