Environmental education, Heidegger and the significance of poetics

Ruth Irwin* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


For Heidegger, poetics is not merely a genteel pastime, extraneous to the real work of finding shelter, food and clothing as suggested by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Poetry has a more ‘essential’ role in human endeavour, bringing understanding of ‘Being’ from concealment and introducing it in original and originating ways into language. Language is, for Heidegger, the ‘house’ of Being. Heidegger regards poetics as a crucial means of rediscovering the appropriate relationship between ourselves and Being. In his early writings he tries to annihilate the ancient separation of the subject from the object which divorces humans as individuals from each other and from the earth. In the 1930s he discusses the ways that humanity becomes merely one object
amongst all objects because of the technological enframing of everything as a consumable resource. In the light of reducing all beings to objects, nothing can be the subject of knowledge, and he acknowledges that there is some degree of significance to the age old separation of subjectivity. Poetics avoids the reduction of all knowledge to the objectification of technological enframing. Instead of constantly typifying all interaction, events, and objects as
potentially consumable resources, poetics re-engages us with the task of what it is to be human – relating to beings as a whole. This paper explores the significance of poetics both in terms of the traditions of philosophical nominalism and in Heidegger’s schema of onto-theo-logy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-69
Number of pages13
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number1
Early online date21 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • poetics
  • philosophy of language
  • environmental philosophy
  • environmental education
  • Heidegger


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