Tuesday, March 18, 2014


One of the most important and influential philosophers of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, is once again in the news for all the wrong reasons. It seems that a few passages from the thinker’s soon-to-be-published “philosophical journal” and diaries hint at an even greater level of “anti-Semitism” on his part than had heretofore been acknowledged.

Heidegger, who infamously signed onto the Nazi Party program in the hottest depths of the Third Reich, had always claimed to be a reluctant Nazi, guilty perhaps of moral cowardice for refusing to doom himself by standing against monstrous tyranny, but no race hater. In the recently uncovered journals – which Heidegger ordered held back from publication until his death – he seems to suggest that "Jewish intellectuals" were an important force behind the various movements that coalesced into the generalized paradigm that goes by the name of Modernism. Needless to say, much of Heidegger’s philosophical project involves the critique of Modernism, of which he was no great fan.

Now, whether this in and of it’s self can be said to constitute rank anti-Semitism is obviously debatable. However, in the context of Heidegger’s biography, it certainly is troubling; and this is true, whether his observations are otherwise ever determined to be factually accurate, or not.

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