This is a similar point, to my understanding, as Levinas' ethical charge against Heidegger - too much focus on ontology makes you forget the world. By highlighting that Levinas perhaps had an inadequate understanding of the ontological aspects of Heidegger's ontology in response to someone highlighting a political implication of his ontology, it looks to me like you're making a similar move to the one criticised. — fdrake
Those philosophers who are most sympathetic to Levinas’s critique of Heidegger’s ontology tend to be theologically oriented. When they accuse Heidegger of privileging ontology over ethics, by making ontology a neutral concept, what they really mean is that Heidegger follows Nietzsche beyond good and evil.
Their beef with Heidegger extends to all ‘radical relativism’, because whereas
Levinas holds onto a traditional religious notion of the Good as that which transcends all contingent contexts , for the atheistic postmodernists there is no such role
for the Good.
Reading the relativists this way, they fear the latter excuse totalitarianisms by sanctioning an ‘anything goes’ posture. I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind by ‘fascism’.
There is a commentary concerning the relation between Heidegger’s philosophy and his politics that I o
find meaningful, by the philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin.
“Gandhi, Marx, Dilthey, Buber, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, McKeon, and many others taught me deeply. But so did three writers whose politics were highly objectionable to me: Jung, Dostoevsky, and Heidegger.
Jung offers deep and indispensable insights. I did not like knowing that Jung had said: "Hitler is the embodiment of the German spirit." The Nazis knew his views. Records show that they considered sending for Jung to help Rudolph Hess with his mental trouble.
Similarly, I had not wanted to know that Dostoevsky hated Jews, Germans, and Poles. He gave influential speeches in favor of the Panslavic movement. That movement was a direct cause of the Russian-French alliance and the World Wars.
What I heard of Heidegger's Nazi views made me decide not to read him at all. I read him when I was almost 40 years old. Then I realized that Heidegger's thought was already in mine, from my reading of so many others who had learned from him.
With these three we are forced to wonder: Must we not mistrust their seemingly deep insights? How could we want these insights for ourselves, if they came out of experience so insensitive to moral ugliness? Perhaps it might not matter if the insights were less deep. But they open into what is most precious in human nature and life. The depth is beyond question. The insights are genuine.
So one attempts to break out of the dilemma on the other side: Is there a way Nazism or hatred of other peoples might be not so bad? Could it have seemed different at the time? No chance of that, either. I am a Jewish refugee from Vienna, a lucky one to whom nothing very bad happened. I remember what 1938 looked like, not only to a Jew, but to others. I remember the conflicts it made in people. They could not help knowing which instincts were which. Many writers and ordinary people had no difficulty seeing the events for what they were, at the time.
So we return to question the insights again. But by now they are among our own deepest insights. We go back and forth: Nothing gives way on either side. Did these men simply make mistakes? We can forgive mistakes. A human individual can develop far beyond others, but surely only on one or two dimensions. No one can be great in more than a few ways. And silently to myself, when other Americans discuss and share Heidegger's view that to be human is to dwell historically as a people on a soil. How do my fellow Americans manage to dwell with Heidegger on German soil?
My colleagues read this in a universalized way. For us, in the Heidegger Circle, the human is the same everywhere in this respect, and equally valuable. Humans are culturally particularized, certainly, but this particularization is itself universal. Humans are one species. They are all culturally particular. This universal assertion holds across us all, and we see no problem.
Indeed, after 1945 Heidegger writes of the dangers of technological reason on a "planetary" level. But it is reason, which is thus planetary---the same universal reason he says he had always attacked. (Spiegel Interview.) Heidegger's planetary view differs from our more recent understanding of human universality. The difference has not been much written about, so there are no familiar phrases for it. For Heidegger there is no common human nature which is then also particularized and altered in history. There is no human nature that lasts through change by history. There is only the historical particular, no human nature.
Humans eat and sleep differently in different cultures. They arrange different sexual rituals, build different "nests," and raise their young differently. In an animal species the members do all this in the same way. Humans are not even a species. So, at least, it seemed to those thinkers who entered into what is most deeply human. To them, the deepest and most prized aspect of humans was the cultural and historical particular.
In our generation we easily and conveniently universalize the particularization. Not Heidegger. For him, what is most valuable is the necessarily particular indwelling in one people's history and language, on its land, and not another's. We change it without noticing, to read: any indwelling in any people's history is this most highly valued aspect.
it was Heidegger who pioneered a thinking beyond logical universals, beyond the thin, abstracted commonality categories. He pioneered the thinking which consists of situatedness (Befindlichkeit). He said that situational living is already an understanding. He said that understanding is always befindlich. "Understanding always has greater reach than the cognitive can follow." He called it "dwelling" (see Gendlin, Conference Proceedings, 1983). He also called it "indwelling" (einwohnen). He thought its more-than-logical creativity limited within historical soil and nation. To him non-rational meant non-universal.
But with his own books, and through Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and many others, it was he who opened the way to our kind of thinking---the kind that now dwells universally beyond the rational common---although it is only beginning to say how. To work on that is our problem. He contributed enough for one human.
Heidegger must be credited for a great share in that very development because of which we no longer feel the old either/or: either the deeply human historical particular with its political savagery and sadism, or the merely rational commmon.
It is partly the influence of his work in us, which now makes us unable to grasp how he could have failed to sense the nonrational universality of humans. Today, in Chicago, when we look at Louis Sullivan's buildings, the ones that created modern architecture, we wonder why he used so much granite. Why didn't he use just steel and windows?
To understand may be to forgive, but it is certainly not to excuse. Without pretending to lighten the horror, we need to understand why that tradition of thought also brought horror. Only so can we think through what we draw from our immediate past. Only then can we recover the other past, right behind that one. We need both, to articulate our own, non-rational universalization of human depth.” Eugene Gendlin