Otto Pöggeler, in his book Neue Wege mit Heidegger, states that there is an influence of the Taoist canonical work Dao De Jing, in particular of part I.11, on Heidegger’s analysis of the jug and its emptiness in his lecture Das Ding (The Thing). It seems much more probable, however, that, rather than a Taoist influence, the choice of the example of the jug is part of a programme of opposing Descartes’ rejection of the existence of empty space in his Priniciples of Philosophy, part II, section 17, where Descartes, in giving an example of a mistaken understanding of “empty” space, uses the very same case of the jug. Heidegger, then, probably chooses the example of the jug in order to tackle the modern reduction of the thinghood of a thing to the uniform extension of a body which precludes our conceiving a thing as such. The motif of emptiness, at the same time, plays a fundamental role in the sphere of the origin of the constitution of the meaning of a thing as such, which is a meeting of the quartet of heaven and earth, the godly and the mortal.
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