Werner Erhard

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Recently Published:

Speaking Being: Werner Erhard,
Martin Heidegger, and a New
Possibility of Being Human
by Bruce Hyde, PhD
and Drew Kopp, PhD; Wiley 2019



Putting Integrity Into Finance:
A Purely Positive Approach,

By Werner Erhard and
Michael C. Jensen

Published by The Center On
Capitalism and Society
Volume 12, Issue 1, May 2017



werner erhard harvard university

Working Paper by
Werner Erhard and
Michael C Jensen



werner erhard NBER

Working Paper by
Werner Erhard and
Michael C Jensen



ecgi werner erhard

Working Paper by
Werner Erhard

and Michael C Jensen



Discussion With
Werner Erhard and
Professor Jonathan D. Moreno










DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK (by the publisher):

"Speaking Being: Werner Erhard, Martin Heidegger, and a New Possibility of Being Human is an unprecedented study of the ideas and methods developed by the thinker Werner Erhard. In this book those ideas and methods are revealed by presenting in full an innovative program he developed in the 1980s called The Forum - available in this book as a transcript of an actual course led by Erhard in San Francisco in December of 1989. Since its inception Erhard’s work has impacted the lives of millions of people throughout the world. Central to this study is a comparative analysis of Erhard’s rhetorical project, The Forum, and the philosophical project of Martin Heidegger. Through this comparative analysis the authors demonstrate how each thinker’s work sometimes parallels and often illuminates the other."

"The dialogue at work in The Forum functions to generate a language which speaks being. That is, The Forum is an instance of what the authors call ontological rhetoric: a technology of communicating what cannot be said in language. Nevertheless what does get said allows those participating in the dialogue to discover previously unseen aspects of what it currently means to be human. As a primary outcome of such discovery, access to creating a new possibility of what it is to be human is made available."

"The purpose of this book is to show how communication of the unspoken realm of language--speaking being--is actually accomplished in The Forum, and to demonstrate how Erhard did it in 1989. Through placing Erhard’s dialogical teaching next to Heidegger’s thinking--presented in a series of “Sidebars” and “Intervals” alongside The Forum transcript--the authors have made two contributions. They have illuminated the work of two thinkers, who independently developed similar forms of ontological rhetoric, while working from very different times and places. Hyde and Kopp have also for the first time made Erhard’s extraordinary form of ontological rhetoric available for a wide range of audiences, from scholars at work within a variety of academic disciplines to anyone interested in exploring the possibility of being for human beings."

Dr. Bruce Hyde was a Professor of Communication Studies at St. Cloud State University until his death in 2015. His interests as an educator have been the ontological dimensions of language and communication; and dialogue.

Dr. Drew Kopp is an Associate Professor in the Writing Arts department at Rowan University. He has published articles in prominent journals in the field of rhetoric and writing studies, including Rhetoric Review and Kairos.



Jason Tham, Rhetoric Review, Volume 39, 2020 - Issue 2, Pages: 250-253: Rhetoric Review is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal publishing in all areas of rhetoric and writing.

"Speaking Being is an innovative and daring attempt at apprehending the complex phenomena of human existence through a rhetorical framing. Ontological rhetoric contributes to ongoing scholarship by reconfiguring the Rubik’s cube of rhetoric—reimagining what it means to (un)speak being. "

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review:
"Speaking Being provides a unique and unparalleled opportunity to delve into not just philosophical perceptions and concepts, but their integral relationships in the real world via the communication process Erhard practices."



"This book is powerful, imaginative, frustrating, amusing, threatening, and enlightening—all at the same time. It also has the power to transform your life."

-Jonathan D. Moreno, Professor of Ethics, University of Pennsylvania, author of Impromptu Man

Speaking Being presents, perhaps for the first time, a complete transcript of an actual Forum led by Werner Erhard, allowing the reader to directly observe and experience the unique power of dialogue as a tool for human transformation. Furthermore, authors Hyde and Kopp provide an intellectually satisfying correlation between the philosophical ideas of Martin Heidegger and the out-here-in-the-world work of Werner Erhard, revealing their surprising complementarity. I congratulate the authors on achieving this tour de force.

-Michael Leslie, Associate Professor, Journalism and Communications, University of Florida

"The profound impact of Werner Erhard’s work on culture and society is a manifestation of an incredible insight, the experience of being, presented in this book through a comparative analysis of a transcript of a 1989 Forum led by Erhard alongside Heidegger’s reflections on the meaning of “being there.” The authors have drawn amazing parallels between these two extraordinary thinkers and have demonstrated the intersections of Heidegger’s language with Erhard’s ontological rhetoric of transformation. Erhard has at times described aspects of his method as ruthless compassion, and like all forms of compassion, evident here is a fundamental motivating desire to alleviate the suffering of others."

-James R. Doty, MD Founder & Director, The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Senior Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science

Speaking Being presents an ontological play between Erhard, Heidegger, the participants of a Forum delivered in 1989, and the reader, who is summoned to the scene to dwell in compelling questions and distinctions, the living of which make available the invention of a life that is experienced as authentic. The relentless commitment of authors Hyde and Kopp to communicate the unsayable, Being, opens up new directions for a rhetoric of emancipation that goes beyond traditional critical theories. Speaking Being speaks a new relation to language, one that honors the unexplored ontological power of language to create a new freedom to be, to live with existential courage.

-Margarida Garcia, Vice-Dean, Research and Communications, Faculty of Law (Civil Law) and Professor, Faculty of Law (Civil Law) and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa

"Theory and Practice: Ways of seeing what one claims to be the truth of some intended object of consciousness and ways of applying this truth to one’s everyday existence in order to cultivate wisdom, goodness, self-realization, and justice. The dialogical teachings of Werner Erhard speak to the importance of this relationship and its ontological significance. Professors Hyde and Kopp, scholars of rhetoric and communication who had observed and participated in programs designed by Erhard, provide comprehensive and detailed conversations—what they term “ontological rhetoric”—that took place in Erhard’s 1989 Forum, and they demonstrate how Erhard and Heidegger can be read together for the benefit of both. This book is a major achievement in the scholarship of Erhard and Heidegger studies. A much-needed moment of enlightenment."

-Michael J. Hyde, University Distinguished Professor of Communication Ethics, Wake Forest University, author of Perfection: Coming to Terms with Being Human

"Speaking Being is not a book. It is a multimodal tour de force of ontological rhetoric that hails its reader into an event and in so doing performs as an event, rather than what is commonly rendered as a book between two covers. Its status as an event is performed on every page wherein the “showing” of Being is enacted via its remarkable design. Kaleidoscopically, Bruce Hyde and Drew Kopp have drawn their readers into a dazzling display, where the participants in dialogue with Werner Erhard in a specific Forum in 1989 are put into dialogue with Martin Heidegger. The result is arguably one of the most astounding academic interventions into both Erhard’s methodology and Heideggerian thought. Citing David Farrell Krell, Hyde and Kopp remind us that “‘to be on a woodpath’ means to be in a cul-de-sac, a path that leads nowhere and has no exit.” Speaking Being puts its readers in a dizzying cul-de-sac within which they may never leave, but rather transform into one of the glittering particles of this rhetorical kaleidoscope."

-Cynthia Haynes, Professor of English, Clemson University, author of The Homesick Phone Book: Addressing Rhetoric in the Age of Perpetual Conflict

"Educational research confirms that without a significant intervention, students who become teachers are likely to replicate the pedagogical approaches their teachers used with them. Practicing Erhard’s approach to ontological inquiry—presented in print for the first time in this book—provides such an intervention. It equips students, teachers, academics of any field to critically examine their dispositions and access more effective ways of being and acting. Speaking Being is a must read for scholars of social foundations of education, teacher education, and frankly, for members of any field of study."

-Carolyne J. White, Professor of Social Foundations, Department of Urban Education, Rutgers University Newark

Many academics in cultural studies accept postmodernity and content pedagogy as unquestionable facts of the world, but with a paltry understanding of how these ideas undermine our intention to produce morally conscious, action-oriented citizens. In their lucid exposition of Werner Erhard’s methodology, Hyde and Kopp offer a cogent roadmap out of such a paralyzing paradigm of knowledge and subjectivity. Brilliantly, the authors use Martin Heidegger’s writing to illuminate Erhard’s work and The Forum’s compelling impact on participants. Readers will discover for themselves, based on the contexts they bring, a powerful pedagogy of transformation grounded in an ontological inquiry into human being that leads students to discover their own paths of social agency and initiative. Highly recommended!

-Dr. Trystan T. Cotten, Associate Professor, Gender Studies, University of California, Stanislaus, founder and managing editor of Transgress Press

This engaging study of Erhard’s counter-discursive approach to transformational education—and how this approach aligns significantly with Heidegger’s thinking—might serve as a starting point for a deeper Indigenous philosophy. Rooted in a more non-hierarchical epistemology, such an Indigenous philosophy promises to move us away from a colonized and deeply problematized way of thinking, toward embracing the power and mysteriousness of presence, and making possible a place-based, non-anthropocentric interconnectedness. This is the next essential step we must take if we are to survive as a species.

-Four Arrows, aka Don Trent Jacobs, PhD, EdD, editor of Unlearning the Language of Conquest, author of Point of Departure and Teaching Truly

A different you and a different me must show up each day if we are going to tackle the world’s most vexing problems. This book talks us through a process of transformation by showing us what it means to be an authentic human being in an inauthentic world, and what it means to take a stand for a world where everyone matters and where everyone can make a difference.

-Wiley “Chip” Souba, MD, ScD, MBA
Professor of Surgery, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

While some readers of Speaking Being may be familiar with The Landmark Forum, most don’t know its connections to the philosophical tradition. Hyde and Kopp have woven together concise explanations of Heidegger’s notoriously difficult thinking with an actual transcript of Erhard’s Forum—by turns moving, funny, and shocking. This juxtaposition draws the reader into the experience and powerfully illuminates the teachings of these two thinkers.

-David Storey, Associate Professor, Boston College, author of Naturalizing Heidegger

In Speaking Being the reader discovers two original thinkers—Werner Erhard and Martin Heidegger—two intellects who independently reached linguistic, ontological, and phenomenological philosophies that illuminate each other. Authors Hyde and Kopp accomplish the formidable task of masterfully presenting Erhard and Heidegger side by side in a readable, lively, and illuminating text. There is nothing quite like it!

-Jeronima (Jeri) Echeverria, Professor of History and Provost Emerita, California State University at Fresno, former Executive Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the California State University System

Millions have experienced the ideas of Werner Erhard, one of the most incisive and insightful thinkers of our generation. This book gives two additional and rare opportunities: to read the text of a Forum led by Erhard, and in parallel, to walk with a guide to the synergies between Erhard and the thinking of Martin Heidegger.

-David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist at Stanford University, NY Times bestselling author



Werner Erhard, Martin Heidegger and The Politics of Being, by Michael Zimmerman:

"Reading Bruce Hyde and Drew Kopp’s insightful book, Speaking Being, has been a remarkable journey, one that brings me back to the transformation I experienced when I took The est Training in December 1981. During the Training, I discovered a profound and wholly unanticipated connection between the work of Werner Erhard and that of Martin Heidegger... Erhard developed the key elements of what would become The Forum (and later, The Landmark Forum) long before he knew anything about Heidegger. The point of Speaking Being is not to show that Erhard’s ideas derive from Heidegger’s, but rather that there is a remarkable afinity between ideas that the two thinkers arrived at independently The first question I will explore at length is this: Do the remarkable parallels between the work of Erhard and Heidegger confirm the validity of their respective findings?"

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