This contribution discusses the philosophical meaning of the Martin Heidegger’s Rectoral address. First of all, Heidegger’s philosophical basic experience is sketched as the background of his Rectoral address; the being-historical concept of “Anfang”. Then, the philosophical question of the Rectoral address is discussed. It is shown, that Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität is asking for the identity of human being there (Dasein) in connection with the question about dem Eigenen (the Germans) and dem Fremden (the Greeks). This opposition structuralizes the (...) confrontation with the beginning of philosophical thinking in the Rectoral address. When read against the philosophical background sustaining the Rectoral address, words appearing therein such as “Kampf”, “Macht”, “Volk” and “Marsch” have nothing in common with the same words as used by the Nazis. It is shown that the Rectoral address is an extremely ambiguous text, because it claims a transformation of human being there (Dasein). Although Heidegger’s view on NationalSocialism is distinguished from Nazis ideology, it is clear that he made a mistake about Hitler. This article makes clear how Heidegger later changed his mind and vocabulary, and in what way this kind of mistakes and changes of mind are inherent to philosophical empiricism. (shrink)
In 1933 the philosopher Martin Heidegger declared his allegiance to Hitler. Ever since, scholars have asked to what extent his work is implicated in Nazism. To address this question properly involves neither conflating Nazism and the continuing philosophical project that is Heidegger's legacy, nor absolving Heidegger and, in the process, turning a deaf ear to what he himself called the philosophical motivations for his political engagement. It is important to establish the terms on which Heidegger aligned himself with National (...)Socialism. On the basis of an untimely but by no means unprecedented understanding of the mission of the German people, the philosopher first joined but then also criticized the movement. An exposition of Heidegger's conception of Volk hence can and must treat its merits and deficiencies as a response to the enduring impasse in contemporary political philosophy of the dilemma between liberalism and authoritarianism. (shrink)
Derrida's reading of Heidegger in Of Spirit provides an excellent opportunity to assess the ethical and political value of each of their works. Derrida uncovers a slippage in Heidegger during the 1930s in which Heidegger ?forgot to forget? the dangers of the ?spirit? he had disavowed in Being and Time. This reveals a substantial early investment in the National Socialist project from which Heidegger never adequately recovered. Even in his attempts to distance himself from his Nazi past, Heidegger was (...) still caught up in a metaphysical, though not a racial?biological, gesture and while Heidegger may have written at the end of philosophy, it was an end never come. One cannot stop reading Heidegger on this account. Rather, one is all the more compelled to read him, and after him Derrida. In Derrida's reading of Heidegger, we see the ways in which Heidegger opened up for Derrida an alternative space for the ethical ? in ?The call of Being? before any decision ? in the obligation to the other. However, this ethical possibility of deconstruction is only a space of undecideabiliry and questioning, never a space for political comportment; that is, it is ontological?existential, not ontical?existentiell. In this, while deconstruction opens up a space for ethics, it is never to guide, only to expose. (shrink)
In German archival terminology, the term Akte (file) as the basic unit of storage corresponds with its actualization as discursive (re-)action: the word ‘acts’ can designate at once the content of what is to be archived and the archive itself (Derrida, 1995: 17). Whereas the network of Prussian state archives from post-Napoleonic Germany until the First World War figured as a non-discursive juridical Read Only Memory of internal autopoetic bureaucracy, the German Weimar Republic sought to develop a more democratically transparent (...) archival information politics. This remained, however, for the most part an aspiration of the new political culture, and it was never systematically adopted by state institutions. By contrast, the National Socialist regime was the first to make use of archival memory in a partisan, active manner; Akten were actively instrumentalized as part of the programme for the annihilation of European Jewry. This article, based on the German state archives and also on a case-study concerning the ideologization of the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar, examines archival micro-politics as the site of discursive repression and production, between the affirmation and the resistance of discretely segmented memory to holistic ideological demands. (shrink)
Michel Foucault's concept of bio-politics entails the management and regulation of life processes within the population as a whole. This administration of the biological was perhaps most manifest in the German state under NationalSocialism. Indeed, Foucault remarks that there was no other state of the period in which "the biological was so tightly, so insistently regulated." However while the Nazi regime evinced this bio-political concern with the management of life, it also released an unprecedented murderous potential. It (...) is this paradox, that the care of life can become the administration of death, or what Foucault deemed the transition from bio-politics to thanato-politics, that I wish to investigate through an examination of the construction of the Jewish subject through Nazi medical discourse. This paper will examine how medico-political discourse facilitated the construction of medically authorized norms that constructed the Jew as both a biological and social threat to the body politic, and how this discursively produced "Other" informed the transition from bio-politics to thanato-politics within the confines of the German medical establishment. (shrink)
This article demonstrates the existence of a nationalsocialism in Germany long before the founding of the Nazi movement, and not just in the dark recesses of racial antisemitism but at the very heart of German bourgeois society. The article focuses on two major cases of pre-Nazi nationalsocialism: left-leaning bourgeois reformist Friedrich Naumann; and the ideology supporting Germany's war effort from 1914 to 1918, a phenomenon also known as the 'ideas of 1914'. National (...) class='Hi'>socialism in both these cases rested at its core on a national existentialism: a conviction that Germany is facing a struggle for its very existence as a nation, and that all domestic socioeconomic forces must be systematically regimented andmobilized in the service of the nation's purportedly 'existential' struggles. Nationalsocialism emerges from this article. (shrink)
Why did the Rockefeller Foundation think that it had to redeem its pledge of 1930 after the drastic political changes had occurred in Germany? It is my impression that the foundation was forced reluctantly to do so. There had, of course, been a resolution passed by the trustees in 1930 to vote the funds. This did constitute an obligation for the foundation which its trustees and officers were reluctant to disavow. It would probably have preferred that Planck could not meet (...) the conditions set forth by the foundation. If this had occurred, it could have avoided the onus of failure to meet an obligation undertaken in 1930 and could then have also avoided providing support, even if only indirectly, for National Socialist Germany. When faced with the alternatives of withdrawal or payment of the grant, most of the officers preferred to delay action. Max Mason, on the other hand, had promised Planck that the grant would be made, despite the delay.Increasingly, after 1933, the Rockefeller Foundation spent more time dealing with requests for refugee scientists than with the support of scientific work in Germany. The dismissal of foundation-supported assistants on “racial” grounds had angered some members of the foundation.When the Rockefeller Foundation was chartered in New York in 1913 it declared that its objective was “the well-being of mankind throughout the world”. That remained its aim, but a fanatical nationalism made it impossible for the foundation to pursue an internationalist policy in a country with a regime entirely antithetical to that ideal. (shrink)
The "Socialist Calculation Debate" is little known outside the economics profession, yet this inter-war debate between liberal and socialist economists on the practical feasibility of socialism has important implications for all contemporary public sector bureaucracies. This article applies the Mises-Hayek critique of central planning that emerged from this debate to the crisis presently facing the British National Health Service. The Mises-Hayek critique suggests that the UK government's plan for a renewal of the National Health Service will fail (...) because of the epistemological pathologies that face any centrally planned system. It is argued that the key lesson of the Socialist Calculation Debate is that market prices and private property rights are essential for the efficient allocation of resources and the attainment of the best possible health outcomes. (shrink)
The Synthetic Theory of Evolution (SyntheticDarwinism) was forged between 1925 and 1950.Several historians of science have pointed outthat this synthesis was a joint venture ofSoviet, German, American and Britishbiologists: A fascinating example of scientificcooperation, considering the fact that theevolutionary synthesis emerged during thedecades in which these countries were engagedin fierce political, military and ideologicalconflicts. The ideological background of itsAnglo-American representatives has beenanalyzed in the literature. We have examinedthe scientific work and ideological commitmentsof the German Darwinians during the ThirdReich. We based (...) our analysis on four criteria:1) General attitude towards the Third Reich. 2) Membership in the NSDAP and other nationalsocialist organizations. Endorsement anddisapproval of the state ideology in 3) scientific and 4) other publications. We willmainly discuss the various authors that havecontributed to Die Evolution derOrganismen (1943), a collection thatrepresented the evolutionary synthesis inGermany. Most of the authors promoted eugenicideas, but not all of them adopted the racistinterpretation of the Third Reich. Anotherfinding is that there existed no directconnection between party membership andpromotion of the state ideology. (shrink)
This paper examines some of the key characteristics of a socialist health care system using the example of the British National Health Service (NHS). It has been claimed that the NHS has socialist principles, and represents an island of socialism in a capitalist sea. However, using historical analysis, this paper argues that while the NHS claims some socialist ends, they could never be fully achieved because of the lack of socialist means. The socialist mechanisms which were associated with (...) earlier plans for a national health service such as a salaried service, health centres, elected health authorities and divorcing private practice from the public service were discarded in negotiation. Moreover, even these would have achieved socialism merely in the sense of distributing health care, without any deeper transformation associated with doctor-patient relationships and prevention. In short, the NHS is more correctly seen as nationalised rather than socialised medicine, achieving the first three levels of a socialist health service identified here. It can be said to have socialist principles in the limited distributional sense and has some socialist means to achieve these. However, it lacks the stronger means to fully achieve its distributional goals, and is very distant from the third level of a radical transformation of health care. (shrink)
This article introduces the Völkerpsychologie of the German psychologist and liberal politician Willy Hellpach. It shows how Hellpach used the once venerable approach of Völkerpsychologie, introduced by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal in the nineteenth century, to adapt to the Third Reich and distract the authorities from his political career. The article provides a close reading of Hellpach's main text on the subject, the Einführung in die Völkerpsychologie published in 1938, and explains the ease with which he was able to (...) make this approach compatible with Nazi ideology. Hellpach's case thus illustrates the proximity of national-liberal thinking to ?Nazi ideology?. Moreover, on account of the post-war reception of Hellpach's Völkerpsychologie by scholars such as Ralf Dahrendorf, the article examines the uneasy and incomplete repudiation of Völkerpsychologie after 1945. It concludes that the origins of widely used concepts such as ?national habitus? or ?national identity? can be traced back to the tradition of Völkerpsychologie and related studies of national character. (shrink)
The myth of the homeland -- The Nietzschean self-assertion of the German University -- The geo-politics of Heidegger's Mitteleuropa -- Heidegger's Greeks and the myth of autochthony -- Heidegger's "Nietzsche".
In responding to incidents of internal ‘indiscipline’, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society many times asserted its authority, sometimes in cooperation with agencies of the Nazi regime. Following the Second World War, however, the KWS represented itself as having been intrinsically anti-Nazi. This essay describes the assumptions inherent in this view, and points to its wider implications for post-war German science.
This article provides a political reading of Martin Heidegger's Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis). One of the central themes of the Beiträge is crucial to understanding why Heidegger moved into a position of critical distance from the Nazi regime, because it is an attempt to comprehend what lies behind the events of the time. This is the notion of the politics of calculation, the issue of measure, which relates closely to Heidegger's late concerns with technology. Through readings of Heidegger on (...) Protagoras and Descartes, the role of calculation in the forgetting of being, and the notions of machination, race, and worldview, I show how the Beiträge, and particularly its explicit political context, is valuable in evaluating Heidegger's own career, his political position and politics more generally. (shrink)