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The Modern Privilege of Life

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image of Research in Phenomenology

AbstractThis essay reconsiders the notion of “world” by looking critically at the idiom of life dominating current critical debates. Showing how and why life should be displaced from the privileged position it has assumed in modernity, it examines Arendt’s and Heidegger’s comments on the world. In The Human Condition, Arendt provides an interesting philosophical and cultural account of the rise of life to prominence in the modern age, pointing out its detrimental effects on the understanding of the world and human action. Heidegger, on the other hand, executes, through his idiomatic approach to mortality, perhaps the most radical displacement of life in an attempt to rethink and bring to eminence being and the event of the world. At stake is a different experience of the world and a change in the understanding of the human, situating the human (and) life always already in response to the nonrepeatable event of being.

Affiliations: 1: University of Buffalo


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