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Posts Tagged ‘philosophers’

In His Own Words

October 18, 2016 | by

Newly revealed letters from Heidegger confirm his Nazism—not that there was any doubt.

Illustration: Herbert Wetterauer.

Martin Heidegger never apologized for his support of the Nazis. He joined the party in 1933 and remained a member until the bitter end, in 1945. First, he spoke out enthusiastically in favor of a conservative revolution with Hitler at its helm. From about 1935, he found his own ambitions disappointed, and grew more silent. Yet, when he called his dalliance with National Socialism his greatest mistake after the war, he was upset not at his crime, but at the fact that he got caught.

Not that Heidegger has had to apologize, either. For the past seventy years, his many apologists and acolytes have gone to astounding lengths in trying to prove that his philosophical oeuvre exists independent of what was, they avowed, a mere weakness of character, an instance of momentary opportunism. In 2014, a group of French philosophers even tried to halt the publication of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, his philosophical diaries. But if antisemitic references in his philosophy are oblique and, as some would have it, coincidental to his critique of modernity, the Notebooks leave little room for such charitable reading. Even after the war he would bemoan the Jewish “drive for revenge,” with their aim consisting in “obliterating the Germans in spirit and history.” 

And yet, the Black Notebooks haven’t lain to rest one of the more irksome debates around continental philosophy. Perhaps that’s what the release of Heidegger’s correspondence with his lifelong confidante, his brother Fritz, will achieve. His heirs, having held back these letters for many years, have finally caved to the pressure that began to mount following the release of the Black Notebooks. The excerpts released in advance by Die Zeit and Le Monde last weekend show Heidegger for what, apparently, he was: the real deal, a dyed-in-the-wool Nazi who bought into Hitler’s ideology wholesale. And he wasn’t a particularly sophisticated one. In his letters, the forefather of deconstruction voices his impassioned belief in Volk and Führer, perpetual German victimhood, “world Jewry,” the threat of Bolshevism, and American decadence.

Perhaps it’s inconvenient, but it’s hardly shocking: Heidegger was not just a member of the Nazi party, but also a Nazi. Nor was he just a “metaphysical antisemite”—he also just really disliked Jews. Let’s hope this settles the matter. Read More »

Someone’s Sending Feces to Philosophers, and Other News

October 10, 2016 | by


Full of shit.

  • There are plenty of people in this world who deserve to find an envelope full of human feces in the mail. Philosophers, in my experience, are not among these people; the life of the mind does not often cry out for comeuppance. But someone thinks otherwise. Sally Haslanger, a professor at MIT, was among four philosophers to receive shit in the mail last summer: “Haslanger wasn’t as confounded as one might expect a well-respected philosopher to be when faced with a mysterious package of poop. That’s because three other philosophers also received shit in the mail last summer … All four philosophy professors were embroiled in a 2014 academic brawl over what they perceived as an abuse of power within their field. Now they say someone is sending them shit in an attempt to shut them up. The question is, who? And why now?”

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Where Are They Now? Part Three

August 27, 2014 | by

The third in a week-long series of illustrations by Jason Novak, captioned by Eric Jarosinski.image_8

image_2Read More »