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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.77 n.1 Pretoria  2012




Worldviews: A blessing or a curse?


Wêreldbeskouings: 'n Seën of 'n vloek?



Bert Olivier

Department of Journalism, Media and Philosophy, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa





The concept of a worldview resonates with other concepts, such as those of 'culture', 'civilisation', and 'way of life'. Arguably, it is a modern phenomenon, the possibility of which was actualised at the dawn of the modern epoch. Nevertheless, in principle, its 'possibility' goes back as far as Plato's Republic. It is Heidegger, however, who is most informative for understanding what a worldview is, as well as why the modern epoch is its time of provenance. Consequently, an analysis of Heidegger's essay, 'The time of the world picture' (or worldview) provided the framework within which it was argued that worldviews are both blessings and curses in the current era: blessings, because, as Harries has argued, we have been disabused of the modern idea of one encompassing worldview or ideology, so that one can no longer believe in only a single 'correct' view of the world; curses, because they bedevil any well-intended attempts at communicating with understanding on issues of common concern. It was the burden of this article to provide a way of addressing this state of affairs with some hope of transcending the causes of alienation and it is again Heidegger who is the source of such a way, through his notion of the 'fourfold'.


Die begrip van 'n wêreldbeeld vind weerklank by ander begrippe, soos 'kultuur', beskawing, en lewenswyse. Daar kan geargumenteer word dat dit 'n moderne fenomeen is, waarvan die moontlikheid in die daeraad van die moderne epog verwerklik is. Die moontlikheid daarvan kan nietemin in beginsel so lank gelede as in Plato se Republiek nagespeur word. Dit is egter Heidegger wat die meeste insig gee in die aard van 'n wêreldbeeld, sowel as in die redes waarom dit eers in die moderne era gerealiseer is. Gevolglik voorsien 'n analise van Heidegger se essay, 'Die tyd van die wereldbeeld' die raamwerk waarin daar betoog word dat wêreldbeelde sowel seëninge as vervloekinge is in die huidige era: seëninge, omdat, soos Harries aanvoer, ons verlos is van die moderne idee van een omvattende wêreldbeeld of ideologie, sodat 'n mens nie langer in slegs een 'korrekte' siening van die wêreld kan glo nie; vervloekinge, omdat hulle alle goedbedoelde pogings om oor sake van gemeenskaplike belang te kommunikeer, in die wiele ry. Dat daar 'n manier is om hierdie toedrag van sake met die hoop op oorkoming van die oorsake van vervreemding aan te spreek, is die taak wat hierdie artikel sigself gestel het om aan te toon en dit is weereens Heidegger, met sy begrip van die 'viervoud', wat die bron is hiervan.



Full text available only in PDF format.



The author wishes to acknowledge the financial assistance he received from the National Research Foundation which contributed towards the research for writing this article.

Competing interests

The author declares he has have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article.



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Bert Olivier
PO Box 77000
Port Elizabeth 6031
South Africa

Received: 05 July 2011
Accepted: 29 Sept. 2011
Published: 06 Nov. 2012

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