Martin Heidegger is widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20 th century, while remaining one of the most controversial. His critique of traditional metaphysics and his opposition to positivism and technological world domination have been embraced by leading theorists of postmodernity Derrida , Foucault , and Lyotard. On the other hand, his involvement in the Nazi movement has invoked a stormy debate. Although he never claimed that his philosophy was concerned with politics, political considerations have come to overshadow his philosophical work. In his fundamental treatise, Being and Time , he attempted to access being Sein by means of phenomenological analysis of human existence Dasein in respect to its temporal and historical character.
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Martin Heidegger is widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20 th century, while remaining one of the most controversial.
His critique of traditional metaphysics and his opposition to positivism and technological world domination have been embraced by leading theorists of postmodernity Derrida , Foucault , and Lyotard. On the other hand, his involvement in the Nazi movement has invoked a stormy debate. Although he never claimed that his philosophy was concerned with politics, political considerations have come to overshadow his philosophical work.
In his fundamental treatise, Being and Time , he attempted to access being Sein by means of phenomenological analysis of human existence Dasein in respect to its temporal and historical character.
He also stressed the nihilism of modern technological culture. By going to the Presocratic beginning of Western thought, he wanted to repeat the early Greek experience of being, so that the West could turn away from the dead end of nihilism and begin anew.
His writings are notoriously difficult. Being and Time remains his most influential work. Heidegger was born on September 26, in Messkirch in south-west Germany to a Catholic family. His father worked as sexton in the local church.
In his early youth, Heidegger was being prepared for the priesthood. In he went to the high school in Konstanz, where the church supported him with a scholarship, and then, in , he moved to Freiburg. By his own account, it was this work that inspired his life-long quest for the meaning of being.
In , after completing the high school, he became a Jesuit novice, but was discharged within a month for reasons of health. He then entered Freiburg University, where he studied theology.
However, because of health problems and perhaps because of a lack of a strong spiritual vocation, Heidegger left the seminary in and broke off his training for the priesthood. He took up studies in philosophy, mathematics, and natural sciences. It was also at that time that he first became influenced by Edmund Husserl. In he completed a doctorate in philosophy with a dissertation on The Doctrine of Judgement in Psychologism under the direction of the neo-Kantian philosopher Heinrich Rickert.
He was conscripted into the army, but was discharged after two months because of health reasons. Hoping to take over the chair of Catholic philosophy at Freiburg, Heidegger now began to work on a habilitation thesis, the required qualification for teaching at the university.
He taught mostly courses in Aristotelian and scholastic philosophy, and regarded himself as standing in the service of the Catholic world-view. Nevertheless, his turn from theology to philosophy was soon to be followed by another turn. In , Heidegger became a junior colleague of Edmund Husserl when the latter joined the Freiburg faculty.
The following year, he married Thea Elfride Petri, a Protestant student who had attended his courses since the fall of His career was again interrupted by military service in He served for the last ten months of the war, the last three of those in a meteorological unit on the western front. His lectures on phenomenology and his creative interpretations of Aristotle would now earn him a wide acclaim. In , with the support of Paul Natorp, Heidegger was appointed associate professor at Marburg University.
Between and , he enjoyed there the most fruitful years of his entire teaching career. His students testified to the originality of his insight and the intensity of his philosophical questioning. Heidegger extended the scope of his lectures, and taught courses on the history of philosophy, time, logic, phenomenology, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Leibniz. However, he had published nothing since , a factor that threatened his future academic career.
Finally, in February , partly because of administrative pressure, his fundamental but also unfinished treatise, Being and Time , appeared.
Within a few years, this book was recognized as a truly epoch-making work of 20 th century philosophy. Up to then virtually apolitical, Heidegger now became politically involved.
On April 21, , he was elected rector of the University of Freiburg by the faculty. He was apparently urged by his colleagues to become a candidate for this politically sensitive post, as he later claimed in an interview with Der Spiegel , to avoid the danger of a party functionary being appointed.
But he also seemed to believe that he could steer the Nazi movement in the right direction. There is little doubt that during that time, Heidegger placed the great prestige of his scholarly reputation at the service of National Socialism, and thus, willingly or not, contributed to its legitimization among his fellow Germans.
And yet, just one year later, on April 23, , Heidegger resigned from his office and took no further part in politics. His rectoral address was found incompatible with the party line, and its text was eventually banned by the Nazis. Certain restrictions were put on his freedom to publish and attend conferences. He came under attack of Ernst Krieck, semi-official Nazi philosopher. For some time he was under the surveillance of the Gestapo.
He was forbidden to teach and in was dismissed from his chair of philosophy. The ban was lifted in Towards the end of s and the beginning of s, he taught five courses on Nietzsche, in which he submitted to criticism the tradition of western metaphysics, described by him as nihilistic, and made allusions to the absurdity of war and the bestiality of his contemporaries.
Finally, his reflection upon the western philosophical tradition and an endeavor to open a space for philosophizing outside it, brought him to an examination of Presocratic thought.
The course was not about early Greek thought, yet the Presocratics became there the pivotal center of discussion. During the s, in addition to giving courses on Aristotle, Kant and Hegel, Heidegger lectured extensively on Anaximander, Parmenides, and Heraclitus.
During the last three decades of his life, from the mid s to the mid s, Heidegger wrote and published much, but in comparison to earlier decades, there was no significant change in his philosophy. Most of his time was divided between his home in Freiburg, his second study in Messkirch, and his mountain hut in the Black Forest.
But he escaped provincialism by being frequently visited by his friends including, among the others, the political philosopher Hannah Arendt, the physicist Werner Heisenberg, the theologian Rudolf Bultmann, the psychologist Ludwig Binswanger and by traveling more widely than ever before. Heiddegger died on May 26, , and was buried in the churchyard in Messkirch.
He remained intellectually active up until the very end, working on a number of projects, including the massive Gesamtausgabe , the complete edition of his works. As it has been mentioned, Heidegger was interested in Husserl from his early student years at the University of Freiburg when he read Logical Investigations. Later, when Husserl accepted a chair at Freiburg, Heidegger became his assistant.
His debt to Husserl cannot be overlooked. Following the Cartesian tradition, he saw the ground and the absolute starting point of philosophy in the subject. The goal of phenomenology for Husserl is then a descriptive, detached analysis of consciousness, in which objects, as its correlates, are constituted. What right does Husserl have to insist that the original mode of encounter with beings, in which they appear to us as they are as things in themselves, is the encounter of consciousness purified by phenomenological reduction and its objects?
Perhaps because of his reverence for Husserl, he does not subject him to direct criticism in his fundamental work. Nevertheless, Being and Time is itself a powerful critique of the Husserlian phenomenology. Heidegger there gives attention to many different modes in which we exist and encounter things.
The starting point of philosophy for him is not consciousness, but Dasein in its being. The central problem for Husserl is the problem of constitution: How is the world as phenomenon constituted in our consciousness? Heidegger takes the Husserlian problem one step further.
Dasein is that being in which any being is constituted. Phenomenology thus receives in Heidegger a new meaning. Heidegger takes it rather to designate a method. For Heidegger the method of ontology is phenomenology. However, being is always the being of a being, and accordingly, it becomes accessible only indirectly through some existing entity. One must direct oneself toward an entity, but in such a way that its being is thereby brought out.
It is Dasein which Heidegger chooses as the particular entity to access being. Hence, as the basic component of his phenomenology, Heidegger adopts the Husserlian phenomenological reduction, but gives it a completely different meaning. To sum up, Heidegger does not base his philosophy on consciousness as Husserl did. Although he agrees with Husserl that the transcendental constitution of the world cannot be unveiled by naturalistic or physical explanations, in his view it is not a descriptive analysis of consciousness that leads to this end, but the analysis of Dasein.
Phenomenology for him is not a descriptive, detached analysis of consciousness. It is a method of access to being. For the Heidegger of Being and Time , philosophy is phenomenological ontology which takes its departure from the analysis of Dasein. The noun is used by other German philosophers to denote the existence of any entity. He relates this question to the question of being.
Dasein, that being which we ourselves are, is distinguished from all other beings by the fact that it makes issue of its own being.
It stands out to being. Dasein is essentially temporal. Existence represents thus the phenomenon of the future. Then, as thrownness, Dasein always finds itself already in a certain spiritual and material, historically conditioned environment; in short, in the world, in which the space of possibilities is always somehow limited.
This represents the phenomenon of the past as having-been. Finally, as fallenness, Dasein exists in the midst of beings which are both Dasein and not Dasein. This represents the primordial phenomenon of the present. It is a movement through a world as a space of possibilities.
As authentically temporal, Dasein as potentiality-for-being comes towards itself in its possibilities of being by going back to what has been; it always comes towards itself from out of a possibility of itself. Hence, it comports itself towards the future by always coming back to its past; the past which is not merely past but still around as having-been. As authentically temporal, Dasein is thus authentically historical.
The repetition of the possibilities of existence, of that which has been, is for Heidegger constitutive for the phenomenon of original history which is rooted in temporality. Throughout his long academic career, Heidegger was preoccupied with the question of the meaning of being. What does being mean?
File:Heidegger Martin 1950 2000 Das Ding.pdf
The following is the second installment of a two-part series. The first part can be found here. The foregoing has been an effort to inscribe das Ding within a philosophical genealogy that begins with Plato and extends all the way to Kant, Heidegger, and Marion, connecting psychoanalytic discourse with that of philosophy and phenomenology in particular. Let us trace this connection a little more closely. The Kantian influence on Freud is noted by Lacan as much as it is by Becker in his paper. The event overflows quantity, the idol quality, the flesh overcomes relation, and the icon resists modality. Access to the fourth is provided by Lacan who writes:.
Martin Heidegger (1889—1976)
Heidegger initially developed the themes in the text in the lecture "The Framework" " Das Gestell " , first presented on December 1, , in Bremen. A means can be seen as that through and by which an end is effected. Thus four ways of owing hold sway in the sacrificial vessel that lies ready before us. They differ from one another, yet they belong together.