Death as Shrine, Sanctuary and Law

  • Johannes Achill Niederhauser


Already in the early lecture course on Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics Heidegger says that a proper “mystery [Geheimnis] is lacking in our Dasein.” (GA 29/30: 244/163) What that mystery is, is perhaps not the right question. Instead, what Heidegger seems to have in mind with his continued reference to the Geheimnis, is a certain unavailability. In my view, death as refuges hence is, if not itself the secret of which Heidegger often speaks in later texts. Still, death is that which makes an openness for mystery possible, for death directly concerns us but is a source of uncertainty. The only realm that technology cannot control is death. This is why technology must work against death. In this chapter I shall first illuminate what Heidegger means when he says that we are to become mortals. Secondly, I shall explicate some of Heidegger’s public remarks on the Holocaust he makes in the context of becoming mortals. In my view, his public remarks on the matter are more important and more accessible, as they are presented in a clearly argued series of talks that systematically engage with the question what is today?


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Achill Niederhauser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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