The virtual fourfold

reading Heidegger’s fourfold through O’Shiel’s phenomenology of the virtual




Martin Heidegger, Daniel O'Shiel, fourfold, real virtualities, phenomenology


Daniel O’Shiel recently identified four categories of virtuality, which he terms “real virtualities”, that are perpetually present in human perception. These virtual horizons (Self, World, Others, and Values) continuously structure our experience without themselves being directly experienced. This essay argues that O’Shiel’s four categories of the virtual correspond strongly to the concept of the Fourfold found in the writings of the later Heidegger, and that Heidegger’s Fourfold can be fruitfully understood as a phenomenological framework of the virtual.

Author Biography

Jean Du Toit, North-West University

Senior Lecturer, School of Philosophy, North-West University


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