For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"A Groundless Place to Build: The Ambivalence of Production as a Chance of Action Between Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt"

by Guidi, Lucilla (2017)


The paper discusses Martin Heidegger’s account of the anyone in Being and Time in connection with his reinterpretation of Aristotle’s categories of poiesis and praxis, carried out in his Lecture on Aristotle’s Ethics. The main purpose of the paper is to rethink the relation between production and action developed in Hannah Arendt’s Vita Activa, by understanding them as two different ways of enacting our relation to the world. By showing the inseparability between anyone and self in Heidegger’s account, and therefore by drawing a parallel between these two different ways of existing and Heidegger’s phenomenological interpretation of poiesis and praxis, the paper aims at reformulating Arendt’s distinction between work and action. The purpose is to show – with and against Arendt’s conception – that there is no authentic action without a transformation of the sphere of production. Furthermore, by analyzing the constitutive ambivalence of the activity of building, the paper describes – with and against Heidegger’s perspective – the possibility to transform the self-assurance involved in each making, i.e. in our productive way of being. This transformation points to an ongoing process and lies in facing our self-assurance, thereby acknowledging our constitutive groundlessness and building a public and political place.


Heidegger, Production, Arendt, Poiesis, Praxis, Action, Building, Craftsmanship


On Heidegger, On Arendt

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