Heidegger and the Will: On the Way to Gelassenheit

Paperback / softback
The problem of the will has long been viewed as central to Heidegger's later thought. In the first book to focus on this problem, Bret W. Davis clarifies key issues from the philosopher's later period - particularly his critique of the culmination of the history of metaphysics in the technological will to will and the possibility of Gelassenheit or releasement from this willful way of being in the world - but also shows that the question of will is at the very heart of Heidegger's thinking, a pivotal issue in his path from Being and Time (1926) to Time and Being (1962). Moreover, the book demonstrates why popular critical interpretations of Heidegger's relation to the will are untenable, how his so-called turn is not a simple turnaround from voluntarism to passivism. Davis explains why the later Heidegger's key notions of non-willing and Gelassenheit do not imply a mere abandonment of human action; rather, they are signposts in a search for an other way of being, a higher activity beyond the horizon of the will. While elucidating this search, his work also provides a critical look at the ambiguities, tensions, and inconsistencies of Heidegger's project, and does so in a way that allows us to follow the inner logic of the philosopher's struggles. As meticulous as it is bold, this comprehensive reinterpretation will change the way we think about Heidegger's politics and about the thrust of his philosophy as a whole.