Monday, November 30, 2009

The Heidegger problem ...

... Why they’re really scared of Heidegger.

Heidegger prompts discomfort precisely because he was a Nazi propagating a non-Nazi philosophy. He is just not alien enough. His is a philosophical vision that sits too comfortably with many mainstream attitudes, whether it’s an environmentalist assault upon human hubris or a snobbish disdain for consumerism.

... from this man’s writings, writings in which an insurgent communism could be dismissed alongside a decaying capitalism as manifestations of human societies’ unthinking, Being-forgetting belief in their own rationality, too many disenchanted intellects have found succour – to the extent that Heidegger finds a home. His thought resonates not because he was a Nazi, but because his criticism of modernity echoes many of today’s anti-modern trends.

This an excellent critique, and it is nice to have one, finally, from someone who is actually familiar - and not just superficially - with Heidegger's thought.


  1. What makes you think that other people who have written about this are only superficially knowledgeable of Heidegger's thought?

  2. Oh, I didn't mean everyone, just some. This piece I liked because it did show real familiarity with H's thinking. (I remember, not too long ago, reading a passage of Heidegger in German and realizing that he is clearer in German than he seems to be in translation. I also immediately said to myself, "My God, I actually think I know what he's talking about.") My one quibble with this piece is that it seems to have a higher opinion of Sartre's Being and Nothingness than is deserved. When I waded through Sartre's book in college (I did have a very good course in Existentialism) it struck me as just cheap, imitation Heidegger. At any rate, if I inadvertently slighted any recent Heidegger commentator, my apologies are extended.