Idealistic Studies

Volume 42, Issue 2/3, Summer/Fall 2012

Henry Southgate
Pages 131-144

From Theodicy to Ontodicy
An Interpretation of "The Origin of the Work of Art"

I interpret Heidegger’s “Origin of the Work of Art” in terms of his contemporaneous lectures on Schelling’s Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom. I uncover several connections and similarities between the two works, which make possible a new reading of the artwork essay: namely, as an “ontodicy.” This term of Jean-Luc Nancy’s denotes the readiness with which Heidegger’s thinking on Being may be used to justify evil. I argue that Nancy’s term may be applied legitimately to the artwork essay also, i.e., that it can be read as a silent justification of evil.