consideration of death, for “death is bound most intimately with the motility of life” (GA 29/30: 387/266, tm). Without a full account of the animal, nothing can be decided about its death, even whether this would properly be called a death as we understand it. Despite the most scientific of similarities, “it is questionable whether death and death are the same in the case of man and animal, even if we can identify a physico-chemical and physiological equivalence between the two” (GA 29/30: 388/267). The behavedness of the animal, its location within a disinhibiting ring, shapes not only how death might happen to it, but also how it might be toward death, or “come toward” its death. As Heidegger puts it, “From what has been said already it is easy to see that behavedness, as the fundamental structure of life, prefigures quite determinate possibilities of death, of coming-towards-death [Zum-Tode-kommens]. Is the death of the animal a dying or an ending? Because behavedness belongs to the essence of the animal, the animal cannot die, but rather only end, insofar as we ascribe dying to the human” (GA 29/30: 388/267, tm). At the time of fundamental ontology, the animal is denied its death.

All of these views on the organism undergo radical revision during the time of the fourfold. Even the fact that there are now separate analyses addressing plants and animals can be seen as a break with the perspective of the organism that guided the earlier lecture course.24 The plant and animal are now thought in terms of an exposure to the world beyond them, a striking shift of register from the view that the organism would be locked within a disinhibiting ring. Heidegger’s treatment of plants is likewise a rethinking of growth, his discussion of the animal a rethinking of both the animal’s relation to death and the animal’s difference from ourselves as well. These will be addressed in turn.

The term used in the presentation of the fourfold for plants and flora is Gewächs, the collective noun for all that grows and undergoes growth, Wachstum. In the privately printed “The Pathway” and the new “Introduction to ‘What Is Metaphysics?,’” both dating from 1949, Heidegger takes the tree as the representative plant and develops his understanding of the growing being around it. In “The Pathway,” the horizontal meandering of the path is complemented by the verticality of a tall oak tree, under which Heidegger would sit and puzzle over philosophy. The tree itself, however, teaches him about growth: “Meanwhile, the hardness and scent of the oakwood began to speak more clearly of the slowness and constancy with which the tree grew” (GA 13: 88/HMT 70). The measured growth of the tree brings together the hardness to endure with the delicacy of scent. Like the stone previously mentioned, the tree itself speaks: “The oaktree itself spoke: only in such growth is there grounded what lasts and fructifies; to grow means to open oneself up to the expanse of the sky and at the same time to sink roots into the darkness

24 A note from the late 1930s entitled “Animal-Plant” concludes with the implication that animals and plants should be understood as bearing “accordingly different phenomenological characters!” (GA 73.1: 414).

Andrew J. Mitchell - The Fourfold

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