- Slides: 17
• Website • Weber. ucsd. edu/~tstrong • Link to PD 110 DA • Or go through the department webpage
Martin Heidegger 1889 -1976
• As I write, highly civilized men are flying over my head, trying to kill me. • George Orwell, 1941
A contemporary judgment • Victor Farias: Nazi, Nazi
Heidegger as Rector • Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität. Rede, gehalten bei der feierlichen Übernahme des Rektorats der Universität Freiburg i. Br. am 27. 5. 1933 –The Self. Assertion of the German University: Address, delivered on the solemn assumption of the Rectorate of the University Freiburg on the 27 th of May, 1933
The “spiritual world” • “the power that most deeply preserves the people’s strengths, which are tied to blood and earth. ” This is the “power that most deeply moves and most profoundly shakes its being (Dasein. ). ” – Cf Walter Harre’– Blut und Boden
Freedom in the university • The “highest freedom” is namely “to give the law to oneself. ” Heidegger opposes this freedom to the “so-called academic freedom” which, he says is merely “negative” (SA, 475). • What do we make of that? Compare:
• It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.
What should be the relation of knowledge and life: MH on labor and academic freedom • Compare: • “There goes in the world a notion, that the scholar should be a recluse, a valetudinarian, — as unfit for any handiwork or public labor, as a penknife for an axe. The so-called `practical men' sneer at speculative men, as if, because they speculate or see, they could do nothing. … As far as this is true of the studious classes, it is not just and wise. Action is with the scholar subordinate, but it is essential. Without it, he is not yet man. Without it, thought can never ripen into truth. Whilst the world hangs before the eye as a cloud of beauty, we cannot even see its beauty. Inaction is cowardice, but there can be no scholar without the heroic mind. The preamble of thought, the transition through which it passes from the unconscious to the conscious, is action. Only so much do I know, as I have lived. Instantly we know whose words are loaded with life, and whose not. ”
But (elections of November, 1933) • The Führer has awakened this will in the entire people and has welded it into a single resolve. • No one can remain away from the polls on the day when this will is manifested. – Heidegger – Rector
What happened? • Hans Sluga: Nazi by accident • Fred Dallmayr: Nazi by mistake
• Hannah Arendt (see end of course) notes that the news swept around Germany in the 1920 s that "some-one had started to think. "
Sluga • General qualities of Germany at the time: • (1) concern with willful action in the present; (2) focused on and emanate from a place and group; • (3) rejection of the "common gradations of society" in favor of "messianic leadership. . . in immediate relation to the people"; and • (4) a premium on self-legitimation
Dallmayr • Dallmayr means that Heidegger made a mistake about the nature of National Socialism, probably in thinking it to be an "ontological or paradigmatic movement" – Good in philosophy; terrible in policy
Does the difference make a difference? • Compare: “So? I made a mistake. ” and “I am sorry: it was my mistake. ” • Or: Compare: “I stepped on the baby by accident” and “Honey, I got into an accident today. ”.