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Heidegger and the Question of National Socialism

Heidegger and the Question of National Socialism: Disclosure and Gestalt

  • Book Info
    Heidegger and the Question of National Socialism
    Book Description:

    Adopting both a historical and phenomenological approach to the subject, this book is equally an examination of German conservative ideology, a critique of technological determinism, and a study of one of the most controversial philosophers of twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8441-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-35)

    The object of this book is to investigate the philosophical foundations and cultural context of Martin Heidegger’s political and aesthetic thought in relation to the question of being, the question which determined the course of the philosopher’s thought. In particular, I will focus on the question of ‘form,’ in the sense ofgestalt, as the guiding thread which determined not only Heidegger’s understanding of the being of beings in the 1930s, but also German conservative thought in the arts, technology, and political science. The question of gestalt signifies the necessity of giving form to an existence impacted by the threat...

  6. 1 The Challenge of the Planetary
    (pp. 36-61)

    The earth is not a planet. Heidegger’s political thought emerges from the need to rethink the concept of the planet to which the discourses of science have given rise. For Heidegger, accordingly, the question of the essence of politics arises with the need to save the possibility of an earth which can still be the homeland of its peoples. The planet is an errant star which has thrust the earth, its sky, and attendant moon into forgetfulness. In a short essay of 1959 – ‘Aufzeichnungen aus der Werkstatt’ – Heidegger comments on the significance of space flight, inaugurated by the Soviet Union...

  7. 2 Rhetoric and the Public Sphere
    (pp. 62-87)

    As a result of the character and significance of Heidegger’s Rector’s Address of 1933, it has attracted great attention in recent years. Heidegger’s attachment to some form of National Socialism can no longer be convincingly characterized as an aberration without essential relation to his thought. Considered as a political act the address has often been cited as evidence for Heidegger’s commitment to National Socialism, even if to an unorthodox version purged of its racist elements. As such, the address is judged to reveal the hidden essence of Heidegger’s philosophy and to betray its fundamental weakness. Alexander Schwan, for example, argues...

  8. 3 Heidegger and the Conservative Revolution
    (pp. 88-172)

    Heidegger’s ‘Rector’s Address’ has drawn perhaps inordinate attention in recent years, particularly as evidence of Heidegger’s ‘involvement’ in National Socialism – which it undoubtedly offers. The interpretations of Ott, Rockmore, Philipse, Köchler, and Fritsche, among others, are typical in the sense that they implicate Heidegger in the totalitarian designs of National Socialism, even if they allow that Heidegger’s version of Nazism was not necessarily racist, and that it was, in fact, unorthodox in its entire tendency.¹ Yet the philosophical grounds of Heidegger’s invocation of the fundamental interrelation of Volk, work service, and science in the Address remain insufficiently clarified by these...

  9. 4 Volk, Work, and Historicity in Heidegger’s Logik of 1934
    (pp. 173-209)

    The critical discussion of Heidegger’s understanding of Volk has tended to re-inscribe Volk into the metaphysics of collective subjectivity.¹ I propose to challenge this interpretation by reference toBeing and Timeand, in particular, to Heidegger’sLogik als Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache, lectures delivered in the summer of 1934, shortly after his resignation of the rectorship. The editor of this volume, Günter Seubold, indicates, in his postscript to the text, that theLogikreplaced the course Heidegger had originally announced for the summer, entitled ‘Der Staat und die Wissenschaft’ (The State and Science). We may expect that the...

  10. 5 An Introduction to Metaphysics and Heidegger’s Critique of ‘Intellectualism’
    (pp. 210-255)

    It is the fundamental premise of Heidegger’sEinführung in die Metaphysikthat the ‘political’ question can only be asked in a sufficiently radical way, so as to allow a new founding project of state and Volk to institute itself, if it is asked as the question of being. This demands that thedifferentiation of being be brought into knowledge in and through the practice of founding thoughtin art, thinking, and leadership. National Socialism understands itself, Heidegger avers, as a necessary counter-movement to ‘intellectualism’ and the deracinated ideologies and political cultures of Marxism and liberalism (GA40, 130–1/122). Although the...

  11. 6 Heidegger and Carl Schmitt: The Historicity of the Political
    (pp. 256-290)

    Heidegger explicitly rejected the ‘concept of the political’ which Carl Schmitt developed in the attempt to salvage a notion of political being from the all-inclusive claims of socio-technical society. In theParmenidesof 1942–3, Heidegger maintains, without mentioning him by name, that Schmitt’s understanding of the political does not suffice to grasp the nature of thepolis(GA54, 135). Heidegger’s late disavowal notwithstanding, it remains necessary to determine to what extent his understanding of modernity accepts the thesis of Schmitt’sDer Begriff des Politischen, particularly since Schmitt and Heidegger have so often been linked, categorized, and ‘accused,’ as political...

  12. 7 The Beiträge zur Philosophie and the Differentiation of Being
    (pp. 291-410)

    TheBeiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis)– translated by Emad and Maly asContributions to Philosophie (From Enowning)– has been called Heidegger’s secondmagnum opus. TheContributions‘first traces out and brings into the open the transition to the other beginning of Western history, it attempts to prepare for the other beginning by providing a site for the truth of be-ing [Seyn] in Da-sein.’¹ In the fundamental wordEreignis– enowning, or, the event of appropriation – Heidegger intimates the event of an encounter of Da-sein and being, granted or sent by the historicity of being, which apportions to all entities its own...

  13. Conclusion: Imperial Truth and Planetary Order
    (pp. 411-428)

    In an essay originally written as a foreword to the German edition of Farias’sHeidegger et le nazisme(1988), Habermas claims that Heidegger’s history of being ‘rigidly maintained the abstraction of historicity (as the condition of historical existence itself) from actual historical processes.’ In place of a measured response to these processes, Heidegger’s thought takes, in the 1930s, first, an ideological form, allied to the Conservative Revolution and National Socialism; and then, in further withdrawal from historical reality, the ‘fatalistic form’ of attending to the eventuation of being.¹ Other commentators have made essentially the same point.² In what follows, I...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 429-448)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 449-476)
  16. Index
    (pp. 477-489)