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Learning, Without Illusions, From A Nazi Philosopher

I do take seriously Heidegger’s claim that some of his key philosophical ideas provided the basis for his political commitments. I have tried to understand how he might have conceived of those connections and to trace some of his efforts to develop those lines of thought. I don’t think that this renders his philosophy irredeemable but neither do I think that one can afford to ignore just how dangerous his enmity to Modernity is. That’s Mahon O’Brien, senior lecturer in philosophy at University of Sussex, in an interview with Richard Marshall at 3:16. Dr. O’Brien objects to those who use Heidegger’s Nazism as a reason to not take his ideas seriously, but just as objectionable are those Heideggerians who deny or downplay the Nazism, both in his personality and in his philosophy: A further challenge for someone like me, who wants to try and face up to Heidegger’s Nazism and deal openly with the fact that he himself insisted that the motivation for his political commitments and activities lay in key elements of his philosophy, is that one has to contend as well with a number of Heideggerians who refuse to acknowledge that there is a genuine problem here. Again, we can divide these types of Heideggerians up into different categories. There are the ‘flat Earthist’ types (they are not as common anymore, but they do exist); they insist that Heidegger was neither a Nazi nor an antisemite and are quick to try and suppress any discussion of this issue. Then [More]

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