• Banno
    23.8k
    Heidegger’s Downfall
    A review by Jeffrey Herf of Richard Wolin's Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology

    I think folk hereabouts will find it interesting. Heidegger has more than some few followers hereabouts, from all sides of the political divide. it's now long enough after the publication of the Black Notebooks for good academic evaluations to be available, and hence time for a reconsideration of the place of Nazism in his thinking. I'm certainly not a fan of Heidegger, so I'll probably not comment further. But I'm interested to see what folk think of these recent developments.

    The fact that so many volumes needed corrections confirms the criticism of the original volumes voiced by Richard Wolin and other historians I mentioned in this essay. Faculty assigning works by Martin Heidegger at universities and colleges around the world should read Heidegger in Ruins, and other recent critical scholarship, before carefully scrutinizing the editions they are assigning in their courses. Students should not be misled by the earlier efforts to obscure or falsify the record of his Nazi era writings. — Jeffrey Herf

    What do folk make of these recent developments?
  • Wayfarer
    21.5k
    Grist to the mill.

    Not that I find it the least cause for joy. More for dissappointment.
  • Baden
    15.8k
    I'll probably not comment further.Banno

    We'd like a thesis and commitment to follow-up for serious OPs. Potentially interesting topic but not enough effort here to justify as philosophical, so I've moved it to the lounge.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    I like that Heidegger's history is coming to be more widely known. It's important, I think.

    I don't think it discounts Being and Time at least, though. Mostly because of Levinas. I figure if Levinas can see value in the philosophy and make use of it then I can. (though Levinas is still critical of Heidegger -- like philosophers ought be towards one another)
  • Paine
    2.2k
    The guy was a catalyst for reconsidering Ancient Greek texts in a time where scholars were very pleased with themselves. Some bitter enemies recognize that while keeping with the hating.

    I am not a good reader of a lot of the text because so much of it strikes me as a three-card monte game: Let's switch the value of this to that and move it around a bit.

    I have tried to understand how Heidegger understood Nietzsche and here I am on firmer ground. Those lectures are spectacularly incorrect, turning Nietzsche's ideas into something a believer of 'Germanness' could embrace. I don't know if that is a betrayal or not, but it is difficult for me to accept that Heidegger was not aware of all those times Nietzsche pissed on his idea.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    It is unfortunate that this has been moved to the lounge. The article speaks for itself. It does not require a thesis or demonstration of commitment in order to justify it as serious or philosophical.

    A quote from Heidegger cited in the article:

    The danger is not [National Socialism] itself, but instead that it will be innocuous via sermons about the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

    Heidegger's quote is a telling variation of Plato's " the Just, the Beautiful, and the Good".

    Another quote from the article:

    Heidegger’s 1936 praise of Hitler and Mussolini for introducing a “countermovement to nihilism,” intended as praise for their invocation of the Nietzschean will to power.

    In a 1955-56 lecture course published as "The Principle of Reason", Heidegger discussed the leap of thinking, the leap of reason:

    Being and reason: the same. Being: the abyss (SG 93).

    In place of Plato's Good Heidegger puts Reason.

    In 1969 Stanley Rosen published "Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay". It can be described as Plato against Heidegger. Rosen said:

    Nihilism is the concept of reason separated from the concept of the good.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    In 1969 Stanley Rosen published "Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay". It can be described as Plato against Heidegger. Rosen said:

    "Nihilism is the concept of reason separated from the concept of the good."
    Fooloso4
    :clap: :fire:
  • L'éléphant
    1.5k
    Good. Just as we have Descartes's animal cruelty to tarnish his name, Heidegger has more serious issues.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    In 1969 Stanley Rosen published "Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay". It can be described as Plato against Heidegger. Rosen said:

    Nihilism is the concept of reason separated from the concept of the good.
    Fooloso4

    It's a nice quote but I'm not sure I fully get it. Can you expand?
  • Mikie
    6.5k
    Being and Time was published in 1927, well before Nazis came to power. There’s nothing in there about Nazism. There’s a long analysis about the question of being, its history, and its relevance to what a human being is and what time is. If all of this was somehow an elaborate justification for antisemitism or racist theories, I see zero evidence for it.

    That being said, it’s become clearer that Heidegger was an asshole and a nazi. But I figured most knew that already. Doesn’t undermine his analysis, in my view.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Being and Time was published in 1927, well before Nazis came to power. There’s nothing in there about Nazism.Mikie
    Only if you read the text out of context. Otherwise, SuZ is anti-modernist, pre/ir-rationalist ("blood"), agrarian ("soil"), totalizing & oracular. Fascism was in ascendancy in post-WWI Europe and fascist parties like the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterparte (NSDAP) were very active in Weimar Germany several years before Heidegger published in 1927. Historical context matters, Mikie. As an academic ambitious to make his mark, Heidi addressed his contemporaries – intellectual, and ideological, Mitläufer – according to the Zeitgeist of that era. As a matter of hermeneutic scruple, SuZ should be read in that cultural-ideological context; I don't think my characterization above is hyperbolic or uncharitable considering the Völkische Bewegung milieu.
    Again, the Dasein was Hitler-compatible ...180 Proof
    :brow:
  • Wayfarer
    21.5k
    From the OP review:

    I—and very many others—have admired you as a philosopher; from you we have learned an infinite amount. But we cannot make the separation between Heidegger the philosopher and Heidegger the man, for it contradicts your own philosophy. A philosopher can be deceived regarding political matters; in which case he will openly acknowledge his error. But he cannot be deceived about a regime that has killed millions of Jews—merely because they were Jews—that made terror into an everyday phenomenon, and that turned everything that pertains to the idea of spirit, freedom, and truth into its bloody opposite. A regime that in every respect imaginable was the deadly caricature of the Western tradition that you yourself so forcefully explicated and justified. And if that regime was not the caricature of that tradition but its actual culmination—in this case too, there could be no deception, for then you would have to indict and disavow this entire tradition. — Herbert Marcuse, August 28th, 1947
  • frank
    14.9k
    Again, the Dasein was Hitler-compatible ...180 Proof

    This is a fallacy called reductio ad Hitlerum.
  • waarala
    97
    Richard Hönigswald (18 July 1875 in Magyar-Óvár in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (the present Mosonmagyaróvár in Hungary) – 11 June 1947 in New Haven, Connecticut) was a well-known philosopher belonging to the wider circle of neo-Kantianism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hönigswald


    "On April 16, 1933, as a Jew by birth, he had to leave the university due to the National Socialist Aryanization measures. Colleagues and friends, e.g. Karl Vossler and Giovanni Gentile stood up for him. Nevertheless, on September 1, 1933, forced retirement and retirement took place. A defamatory report by Martin Heidegger also contributed to this; he wrote to dr. Einhauser, a senior councilor in the Bavarian Ministry of Education, on June 25, 1933 [at this time the newly elected rector Heidegger was still an official Nazi]:


    "Dear Mr. Einhauser! I am happy to comply with your request and will give you my verdict below. Hönigswald comes from the school of neo-Kantianism, which represented a philosophy that was tailored to liberalism. The essence of the human being was then dissolved into a free-floating consciousness in general and this was finally diluted into a generally logical world reason. On this path, under apparently strictly scientific and philosophical justification, the view was diverted from the human being in its historical roots and in its popular tradition of its origin from soil and blood. This went hand in hand with a conscious suppression of all metaphysical questioning, and man was only regarded as the servant of an indifferent, general world culture. Hönigwald's writings grew out of this basic attitude. But there is also the fact that Hönigswald defends the ideas of neo-Kantianism with a particularly dangerous acumen and a dialectic that runs empty. The main danger is that this hustle and bustle gives the impression of being extremely objective and strictly scientific and has already deceived and misled many young people. I still have to describe the appointment of this man to the University of Munich as a scandal, which can only be explained by the fact that the Catholic system prefers people who are apparently indifferent in terms of their ideology, because they are not dangerous to their own efforts and are 'objectively liberal' in the well-known way. I am always at your disposal to answer any further questions. With excellent appreciation! Hail Hitler! Your very devoted Heidegger”

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_H%C3%B6nigswald (translated with the Google Translate)

    The main problem here with the Jew Höningswald seems to be neo-Kantianism and Catholicism?! Heidegger was extremely critical towards Catholicism in those days. So, catholic faith represents a threat to "soil and blood"? It could be noted that Heidegger saw Descartes' "speculative" abstract subjectivism to be influenced by the medieval catholic philosophy which had interpreted Aristotle in a misleading way. Medieval philosophy and the following modern development was not "rooted" in a genuine or adequate manner in the antique Greek philosophy. And not to be "rooted" means that the "humanly" important basic philosophical problematics was not understood in its "inner tendency" and thus couldn't be developed in a new situation accordingly or adequately. "Horizont" as the phenomenological concept is here an important reference.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    This is a fallacy called reductio ad Hitlerum.frank
    Non sequitur.
  • Pantagruel
    3.4k
    This is a fallacy called reductio ad Hitlerum.frank

    Nazism was itself the product of a complex historical chain of ideological and political developments. Just because it went horribly awry in the hands of the reigning psychopaths one cannot for that reason alone condemn and convict all of its historical antecedents. Likewise, as a contemporary, Heidegger certainly could not help but be a product of the same historical milieu. Perhaps he was a sympathetic exponent of a version of the system that actually came to into being, perhaps he was even cast in the role as an apologist for that system by its ideologues. But that doesn't make him culpable for the worst of its failings, or incriminate him as one of its architects. He was an intellectual existing in an unfortunate milieu.

    To this extent I'd agree with your characterization of the fallacy. Hitler was responsible for what Hitler did; history was responsible for creating the conditions that made Hitler possible.
  • Joshs
    5.5k
    hose lectures are spectacularly incorrect, turning Nietzsche's ideas into something a believer of 'Germanness' could embracePaine

    I disagree. Heidegger’s main thesis about Nietzsche was that he was the last metaphysician, upholding a certain subjectivism in the guise of the will to eternal return. I thinks that’s spot-on.
  • Joshs
    5.5k
    Being and Time was published in 1927, well before Nazis came to power. There’s nothing in there about Nazism.
    — Mikie
    Only if you read the text out of context
    180 Proof

    There are lots of contexts in which to read it. Those of us who find Heidegger to be many things, a Nazi in political affiliation, someone who expressed anti-semitic views, and one of the most brilliant philosophers of our era, have to reconcile ourselves with these contradictions.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    In 1969 Stanley Rosen published "Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay". It can be described as Plato against Heidegger. Rosen said:

    "Nihilism is the concept of reason separated from the concept of the good."
    Fooloso4

    Rosen’s article can better be described as Plato against postmodernism. We already know you’re not a postmodernist so your support of Rosen’s formulation is no surprise.
  • frank
    14.9k
    To this extent I'd agree with your characterization of the fallacy. Hitler was responsible for what Hitler did; history was responsible for creating the conditions that made Hitler possible.Pantagruel

    :up:
  • Mikie
    6.5k
    As a matter of hermeneutic scruple, SuZ should be read in that cultural-ideological context; I don't think my characterization above is hyperbolic or uncharitable considering the Völkische Bewegung milieu.180 Proof

    No, I don’t think it’s uncharitable. You make interesting points.

    I just don’t see much in the text itself — you mentioned “blood” and “soil,” but where in the text does it mention either to any significant degree? I think the anti-modernist claim is also wrong — I see why people would think it, given the focus on simple tool use and simple, average ways of interacting with the everyday world — but he’s not anti-technology or anti-modernity, in my reading.

    Anyway — if it was all an elaborate system created to justify deeply held antisemitic and German nationalist sentiments, then why is there so little evidence in the text for it?
  • Jamal
    9.3k
    If all of this was somehow an elaborate justification for antisemitism or racist theories, I see zero evidence for it.Mikie

    Anyway — if it was all an elaborate system created to justify deeply held antisemitic and German nationalist sentiments, then why is there so little evidence in the text for it?Mikie

    Is this the claim that is being made in the reviews or in the book itself? Or in this thread, even?
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    In 1969 Stanley Rosen published "Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay". It can be described as Plato against Heidegger. Rosen said:

    Nihilism is the concept of reason separated from the concept of the good.
    — Fooloso4

    It's a nice quote but I'm not sure I fully get it. Can you expand?
    Tom Storm

    Basic to the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle is the desire for and pursuit of the good. This must be understood at the most ordinary level, not as a theory but simply as what we want both for ourselves and those we care about. It is not only basic to their philosophy but basic to their understanding of who we are as human beings.

    Phronesis, often translated as practical wisdom, is not simply a matter of reasoning toward
    achieving ends, but of deliberation about good ends.

    For Heidegger consideration of the good is replaced with the call of conscience. The call of conscience is not about what is good or bad, it is the call for authenticity. Its primary concern is not oneself or others but Being. He sees Plato's elevation of the Good above being, that is, as the source of both being and being known, as a move away from, a forgetting of Being.

    In more general terms, how severing reason from the good is nihilism can be seen in the ideal of objectivity and the sequestering of "value judgments". Political philosophy, for example, is shunned in favor of political science. The question of how best to live has no place in a science of politics whose concerns are structural and deal with power differentials.
  • frank
    14.9k
    nice post. :up:
  • Ciceronianus
    3k


    Thanks for the reference.

    As for Heidi, I have only this to say, or rather say again:

    Notorious Nazi Heidegger
    (Whom Hitler had made all-a-quiver)
    Tried hard to be hailed
    Nazi-Plato, but failed
    Then denied he had tried with great vigor.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    Notorious Nazi Heidegger
    (Whom Hitler had made all-a-quiver)
    Tried hard to be hailed
    Nazi-Plato, but failed
    Then denied he had tried with great vigor
    Ciceronianus

    Ok, even though I disagree with you about the value of Heidi’s philosophy, I gotta give you credit for originality.
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k


    Heidegger's discussion of others in BT reads differently once one is aware of Heidegger's antisemitism:

    To avoid this misunderstanding we must notice in what sense we are talking about 'the Others'. By 'Others' we do not mean everyone else but me-those over against whom the "I" stands out. They
    are rather those from whom, for the most part, one does not distinguish oneself-those among whom one is too. This Being-there-too [Auch-dasein] with them does not have the ontological character of a Being-present at-hand-along-'with' them within a world. (BT 1.4, Macquarrie & Robinson translation, 154 German 118)

    Who are those from whom he does and does not distinguish himself? It is the Volk (the Folk) from whom he does not distinguish himself. Or, as @180 Proof put it Blood and Soil
  • Fooloso4
    5.8k
    What do folk make of these recent developments?Banno

    It is good that the case against Heidegger has been made persuasively, but his Nazi sympathies and antisemitism have been known for a long time. It is, however, now more difficult for his apologists to separate the man from his philosophy.
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