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Nazi Foundations in Heidegger's Work

From: South Central Review
Volume 23, Number 1, Spring 2006
pp. 55-66 | 10.1353/scr.2006.0006

Abstract

This article presents the central theses of the author's book, Heidegger: l'introduction du nazisme dans la philosophie. The author does not explore simply the history of Heidegger's involvement with National Socialism, which is well known, but rather examines the connections between National Socialism and the foundations of Heidegger's philosophy as the latter is presented in the sixty eight volumes which have appeared to date of the Gesamtausgabe as well as unpublished texts of two of Heidegger's seminars given between 1933 and 1935. The author argues that Heidegger's Nazism is evident not simply in speeches he gave in favor of Nazism but in the entirety of the courses he taught. In the courses from 1933 and 1934, for example, Heidegger discusses the political significance of his masterpiece, Being and Time, and linked it directly to Nazi racist thinking.

The author also shows that the linkage between Nazism and Heidegger's thought did not end in the 1930s and that in the early 1940s Heidegger offered an ontological legitimization of racial selection. After the defeat of Nazism, Heidegger continued to stress at least implicitly the linkage of his conception of death with heroic sacrifice. The upshot of this, ultimately was to call into question in philosophical terms the "deaths" of Jewish victims in the death camps. Heidegger thus contributed to what the author calls an "ontological denial of the Holocaust."



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