Do We Still Need Heidegger — Despite His Nazism ?
Heidegger has become a complicated hot mess for philosophy. Whether on not we need to salvage the man, in my opinion, is beyond the point. What philosophy needs is to disconnect the idea of personality in relation to philosophical merit, and instead, let the philosophy stand on its own.
Philosophy has long feared the logician as some sort of existential reaper. However, logic is not destroying philosophy - the cult of personality is.
Philosophy has long punished those who were too quick to hold onto logic as a determination for value in the fields of theoretical thought, preferring to venture into the riskier world of husserlian ontological free association and Hofweberian free love.
Surely, logicians triumph when someone like Heidegger’s theories become contextually more complicated. When:
1) Nothing non-absolute can causally or ontologically be the basis for an absolute
2) Logicians created logic
3) Logicians are not absolute
4) Therefore, logic is not absolute
1) Nothing beginning can be the basis for an absolute
2) Logicians intended to create logic
3) Logicians never calculated for the paradox of beginning…
4) Therefore, logic never even began.
The joke has now turned on the husserl-ites. Surely it is the logicians getting the last laugh. Which leads us to the basic question i was beginning to ask:
Does philosophy really need Heidegger anymore?
Arguably the most influential European philosopher of the 20th century (only Ludwig Wittgenstein rivals him for the title), Heidegger has long been known to have been a National Socialist. He joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and remained a member through 1945. He eagerly served in an administrative post as rector of Freiburg University after Hitler assumed power. He praised the “inner truth and greatness” of National Socialism during a lecture in 1935. Never once did he express a word of moral condemnation of the Nazis or the Holocaust. (He died in 1976.)
And now, a philosophical diary Heidegger kept through World War II has just been published, displaying blatant examples of anti-Semitism. Heidegger’s defenders have always noted that the philosopher flatly rejected the explicitly racial theories promoted by the Nazis, and the so-called “black notebooks” apparently corroborate that. But they also contain passages denouncing “world Jewry,” the distinctively Jewish “talent for calculation,” and the “collusion of ‘rootless’ Jews in both international capitalism and communism.” These sound like quotes lifted straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
….Heidegger’s greatness lies in his relentless, stunningly radical questioning of settled positions in the history of Western thought. Indeed, in many of the lecture courses leading up to the publication of Being and Time, in much of that book itself, and in several other courses from the late 1920s and early ’30s, Heidegger treated philosophy as a way of life resolutely devoted both to posing radical questions and to resisting the urge for answers.
Heidegger’s criticism of the history of Western thought is that since the time of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have abandoned questioning in favor of proposing answers that have become dogmas that stand in the way of genuine thinking. (This is one reason why Heidegger called Socrates — who never wrote a word and spent his days antagonizing his fellow citizens with pesky questions — the “purest thinker in the West.”)