“No Selfhood…No Freedom: Martin Heidegger’s Radical Definition of ‘Transcendence’ in 20th Century Europe”
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This essay endeavors to craft a modern definition of the term “transcendence” based on the work of twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger. For 2,500 years, the term “transcendence” has been employed to describe the distance between man and truth. In Heidegger’s monumental philosophy such limits are shattered. As such, this essay makes an effort to “fetch back” the term “transcendence” in light of Heidegger’s work, and in so doing effect a revival of ideas of “beauty,” “truth,” and “freedom” aimed at restoring the essence of metaphysics itself. Positing a definition of “transcendence” that radically departs from Western historical definitions of the term, this work crafts a philosophical and linguistic argument following the history of metaphysics in the West while pushing it to its breaking point. Written to parallel Heidegger’s own philosophical voice and style, this quest for a modern definition of transcendence aims, above all, to lead readers to the core of Heidegger’s thought and in so doing effect an epochal encounter with what Heidegger refers to as “the Being of beings.” Four of Heidegger’s key essays guide the style and content of this essay: “What is Metaphysics?” “On the Essence of Truth,” “The Origin of the Work of Art,” and “The Question Concerning Technology.” In an effort to revive the metaphysical tradition by pushing it to its most radical yet fundamental extremes a new, essential, definition of the term “transcendence” is forged, which knows neither distance nor limit—which seeks the truth of freedom.