The thing and the work
In § 17 we have seen that Heidegger had reached the point where it became clear that the question concerning the essence of art is to be approached by means of a careful study of the work of art. One of the first things which everyone immediately notices when confronted with works of art is, in Heidegger's view, that they are things, things not made by nature but by man. Yet most aesthetic theories pass by this aspect of the work of art in silence. One is convinced that even though it is indeed true that art works are things made by man, nonetheless it is true also that what makes them be the beautiful works they are, consists in something else. In other words, most aesthetic theories give some kind of symbolic interpretation of art works and claim that in each work of art there is something else over and above the thingly feature of the art work. It is thus understandable that in these theories one will make a distinction between some material substrate and a form, some material element and some formal element, between sensuous material and some "idea", or between form and content.
Kockelmans, J. (1985). The thing and the work, in Heidegger on art and art works, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 110-137.
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