Les Ecrits politiques de Heidegger [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 24 (3):547-547 (1971)
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M. Palmier has made a valuable contribution to one of the most controversial issues in contemporary philosophy: the problem of Heidegger and the Nazis. Palmier does not side-step the issue by writing off the political works of 1933-1934 as a regrettable "mistake." "These writings belong to the work of Heidegger as the theological works at Tübingen belong to that of Hegel". He analyzes what is known of Heidegger's early life in a somewhat sketchy way, omitting, e.g., any mention of Karl Braig. After discussing Brentano, Rickert, Lask, and Dilthey, he studies Heidegger's relationship with Cassirer and clears up most convincingly the charge of anti-Semitism levelled against Heidegger in 1950 by Cassirer's wife. This is followed by an equally persuasive and sympathetic account of Heidegger and Husserl. The heart of the book, however, is an analysis of the remark made in 1935 in which Heidegger refers to the "inner truth and grandeur" of the Nazi movement which became so notorious when Heidegger allowed it to appear unchanged in the 1953 edition of those lectures under the title An Introduction to Metaphysics. The grandeur Heidegger has in mind is the confrontation of modern man and planetary technology. This phrase must be understood, Palmier argues, in connection with a book by Ernst Jünger which appeared in 1932 entitled Der Arbeiter. The analysis the author offers is most illuminating. Palmier's interpretation is happily reenforced by an appendix which consists in a selection of texts from Ernst Krieck, an official Party philosopher, in which Heidegger is violently attacked--thus making the distance which Heidegger had put between himself and the Nazis abundantly clear, and effectively counterbalancing Schneeberger's one-sided documentation in Nachlese zu Heidegger.--J. D. C.



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