Secret Transcripts of Heidegger's Notorious Seminar

[Here is a post I started preparing some weeks ago & that got lost in the shuffle. But it seems still worthwhile to me to put it out.] Via signandsight, here are the opening paragraphs of an essay by Albert Kissler on — yes, one more time — Heidegger and fascism. You can read the full essay here.

Chalk and the abyss

The secret transcripts of Heidegger’s notorious seminar “On the Essence and Concepts of Nature, History and the State” have been published for the first time. By Albert Kissler

The bitter word stands in the room. It casts huge shadows over his work. Was Martin Heidegger a “Nazi philosopher“? Did Heidegger, as his student the philosopher Ernesto Grassi emphasised in 1988, derive “justification from his theoretical principles for an anti-Semitic and National Socialist position”? The case against the dark thinker is made with recourse to passages from his “Being and Time” as well as an assortment of statements, letters and reports and, above all, the Freiburg rectoral address and a seminar from the winter semester of 1933/34.

This seminar was declared to contain decisive evidence for “the total identification of Heidegger’s teachings with the principles of Hitlerism”. This was how Emmanuel Faye expressed it in his book “Heidegger. The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy“, which was published last year in English and German translations. Faye was building on the 1987 book “Heidegger and Nazism” by the Chilean historian Victor Farias, who turned 70 last week.

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3 Responses

  1. Might you know if there are any plans to translate this? Thanks.

  2. admin says:

    Haven’t heard of any yet, though I’m pretty sure that such plans are afoot.

  3. cantueso says:

    I am sure he was a Nazi, but this cetainty is only of “Kant’s bet” kind, worthless as an arguemt, but very nice to live with.

    Anyway, how would you prove that anyone is a Nazi, if first of all you did not sit down as Susan Sonntag did and figure out what is basically Nazi?

    And the problem with Heidegger is, very simply, that he is unintelligible in his own native German. His prose sounds vain, lyrical in a silly way, overdone, and he uses a faulty syntax for effect. He has a way of piling on verbs that he tuns into nouns which is mindboggling.

    It is all of it sicking. It is bad for one’s stomach.


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