For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Heidegger's Ontology of Work"

by Blok, Vincent (2015)


In this chapter, the author shows that Heidegger's ontology of work in the 1930s is already prefigured in Being and Time. With this, the question arises how this prefiguration of the "total" work-character in Being and Time is related to the ontology of work in the 1930s. As Heidegger characterizes human dealing with the world indeed as being-at-work in the work-world, but this inclusiveness of our being-in-the-world is not total. Heidegger's conceptualization of care in terms of work makes clear that Junger initially did not have a negative influence on Heidegger's thought at the beginning of the 1930s, as suggested by Michael Zimmermann, namely the stimulus to develop an alternative for the technological future forecasted by Junger. Heidegger's use of the concept of work in the period 1930–1934 is definitely positively inspired by Junger, although not necessarily completely the same as Junger's.

Key Passage

Despite Heidegger’s criticism of Jünger’s metaphysical position in the period of 1934–1940, a more nuanced picture shows itself if we look at Heidegger’s concept of work in the beginning of the 1930s. In  The German Student as Worker from 1933 for instance, Heidegger argues that work “confronts us with beings in a whole.”  1  “Work displaces and inserts the people in the radius of action of all essential powers of being. The structure of  völkischexistence, which is shaped and constituted  in    its work and  as    work, is the state. The National Socialist state is the work-state.”  Work seems to be the fundamental category of human existence in the 1930s, which, as we will see, is inspired by the work of Jünger.  (p.63)


Heidegger, Ontology, Pragmatism, Relationality, Being, Junger, Zimmermann


On Jünger, On Heidegger

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