In Heidegger and Criticism: Retrieving the Cultural Politics of Destruction, William Spanos examines the controversy, both in Europe and the United States, surrounding Heidegger and recent disclosures about his Nazi past. Not intended as a defense or apology for Heidegger’s thought, Spanos instead affirms the importance of Heidegger’s “antihumanist” interrogation of the modern age, its globalization of technology, and its neo-imperialist politics. The attack on Heidegger’s “antihumanist” discourse (by “liberal humanists” who have imported the European debated into the United States) aligns ideologically with the ongoing policing operations of William Bennett, Allan Bloom, E.D. Hirsch, Roger Kimball, Dinesh D”Souza, and others in the spheres of higher education and cultural production. Throughout his arguments, Spanos focuses not so much on Heidegger the historical subject as on the transformative cultural political discourses and practices, implicit in and enabled by Heidegger’s interrogations of Being and Time, that have led to the contemporary emergence of the multiplicity of resistant “Others” colonized by hegemonic discursive formations, all the while reminding us that Heidegger’s philosophic interrogations eventually generate a diverse body of transgressive writing and an oppositional intellectual climate in the West.
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