Love as Passion: Epistemic and Existential Aspects of Heidegger’s Unknown Concept

  • Tatjana Noemi TömmelEmail author
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)


It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that Heidegger never wrote a single word on love. However, Heidegger’s philosophy is not without love: a careful reading of his writings including lecture courses, notes and correspondence reveals that love is not only featured as a notion among others in his works, but in fact plays a major role in the development of his thoughts. The chapter will focus on the most important epistemic, existential and social aspects of love in Heidegger. The first part will analyze the relation between love and cognition. Influenced by Plato, Augustine, medieval mystics and Max Scheler, Heidegger discusses the epistemic function of love in his earliest writings and later conceives a concept of philosophy, in which love actualizes Dasein’s primordial transcendence and is therefore the “foundation of phenomenological understanding” (GA 16, 185). The second part will focus on Heidegger’s early Freiburg and Marburg years and will show how love becomes the key to leading an authentic life, usually associated with anxiety and death. Decades before ‘event’ or ‘enowning’ (Ereignis) becomes the focal point of his thinking, Heidegger describes the beginning of love as a true break-out, which transforms existence for good. The third part will discuss the interpersonal or social dimension of Heidegger’s concept of love. Like the kind of solicitude that ‘leaps ahead,’ love is focused on the other’s authentic existence. By discussing love’s role for cognition and truth, sociality and authenticity, the chapter gives an overview of Heidegger’s little known concept of love, thus trying to gain a more differentiated image of the “socio-ontological deficits” (Schmidt 2005) of his analysis of Dasein.


Love Passion Transcendence Cognition Authenticity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBerlin Technical UniversityBerlinGermany

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