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Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 Hardcover – November 24, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First edition (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300120869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300120868
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,470,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Is it possible for a great philosopher to become a devoted Nazi? In his absorbing and challenging study Emmanuel Faye grasps the complexity of Martin Heidegger the man and the magnitude of his achievement."—Elie Wiesel
(Elie Wiesel)

“Faye’s reading of Heidegger’s philosophy is quite simply transformative. Through a meticulous perusal of new sources—letters, heretofore unpublished seminars and lecture courses—he demonstrates that, during the 1920s and 1930s, right-wing ideological concerns were absolutely central to Heidegger’s Existenzphilosophie. Upon completing Faye’s study, it will be impossible to read Heidegger again naively, i.e., in a narrowly text-immanent manner.” — Richard Wolin, author of Heidegger’s Children and Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science, CUNY Graduate Center

(Richard Wolin)

"Emmanuel Faye incontestably shows that Heidegger’s Nazism was not fleeting, casual or accidental, but central to his philosophical enterprise.  Faye’s book challenges us to draw the ethical consequences from this fact." — Robert E. Norton, University of Notre Dame

(Robert E. Norton)

“The book is not a pamphlet but the outcome of several years of extensive and serious research. […] Faye has unquestionably succeeded in collecting and laying out for the reader the documents of Heidegger’s deep involvement with National Socialism.”—Robin Celikates, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences
(Robin Celikates)

"All scholars and admirers of Martin Heidegger’s œuvre should read the voluminous book on Heidegger’s infusion of Nazism into philosophy published by Emmanuel Faye. Having studied this tome, even French Heideggerians will no longer be able to deny the embarrassing depth and persistence of Heidegger’s philosophical involvment with Hitler’s National Socialism."—Herman Philipse, Dialogue, Canadian Philosophical Review
(Herman Philipse)

Bronze medal winner of the 2009 Book of the Year Award in the Philosophy category, presented by ForeWord magazine
(Book of the Year Award ForeWord Magazine 2010-01-01)

About the Author

Emmanuel Faye is associate professor at the University Paris Ouest–Nanterre La Défense and an authority on Descartes. Michael B. Smith is professor emeritus of French and philosophy at Berry College and the translator of numerous philosophical works into English.

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Customer Reviews

I'll finish this book, but....
o dubhthaigh
Heidegger's anti-Cartesianism is extremely impressive and does not lead to the right wing political extremism that Faye so passionately fears.
Robert Moore
The subject could have been discussed in a much more succinct and clear manner.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My review is going to differ from most of the others here in that I've actually read the book. This is no mean feat because it is pretty densely written and it refers to countless historical figures unlikely to be familiar to American readers, even those who have studied 20th century German Philosophy and Heidegger. Many of the people Faye discusses are second tier jurists or others who are relatively unknown. Faye also discusses better known figures, like Carl Schmitt and various students of Heidegger (a surprising number of whom were Jewish), but a substantial percentage of them are not academic household names.

Because anything touching politically controversial figures raises suspicions of one's own particular partisanship, let me provide some context by stating in rough outline my own positions. First, I'm extremely liberal politically, very, very far to the left. I consider today's Democratic party a moderate right part (as opposed to the Republicans, who have devolved into a radical right party) and I lament that there is no viable left in America today. I took a graduate seminar on Heidegger and read him in other grad school classes, but my philosophical preferences, despite specializing on Kierkegaard in my proposed but uncompleted doctoral dissertation, leaned strongly in the direction of Wittgenstein and Gilbert Ryle and J. L. Austin. So Heidegger represents neither my philosophical nor political ideal.

And I have no trouble whatsoever about viewing Heidegger as a Nazi. I will confess that this book reshaped my views about Heidegger and Nazism. Prior to the book I believed that Heidegger had backed away from the Nazis after ending his rectorship and that he had been rather tepid afterwards.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ian Kluge on December 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is a paradox: it is both stupid and important. It's stupidity is not hard to see. If, as Faye contends, every line Heidegger ever wrote is soaked in Nazi philosophy, outlook and attitude, then it should follow that a substantial number of Heidegger's readers in addition to scholars should be Nazis or have strong Nazi sympathies. Faye doesn't produce a single shred of evidence that such is the case. Given that Heidegger is probably the most quoted twentieth century philosopher, our philosophical journals should be flooded with articles bearing the unmistakable brown hue of the NSDAP. So where are these articles? The fact that they are nowhere to be found, and that units of storm-troopers are not goose-stepping around philosophy departments all over the world tells us that Faye's thesis is not only fatally flawed but laughable. It is regrettable that Faye's enormous capacity for work was wasted on such an irrational project - which is no more than prejudices disguised (poorly)as scholarship.

Faye's book is laughable, but not unimportant. It is a warning of what happens when advocacy overruns scholarship. When scholars have personal axes to grind, scholarship loses its head, i.e. its rationality. In this age of activism and advocacy, Faye's book is a sharp reminder that scholarship without at least an attempt at objectivity and justice to our subject matter leaves us with only the mangled corpse of scholarship. Faye's book is important - and worth reading - as a warning of what advocacy scholarship can degenerate into. Every scholar should have a copy on his desk as a perpetual warning: Don't ever do this!

Secondly, the book is a also a useful reminder in our politically correct age that great talents are not always nice people.
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36 of 56 people found the following review helpful By enowning on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As far as I've been able to discern, Faye does not discuss any "unpublished seminars of 1933-35". More correctly that should be: "seminars that were not translated into French at the time the book was written." All of Faye's references to Heidegegr appear to be from books published as part of Heidegger's complete works.

People who are interested in Heidegger can read his works, read shelves of secondary literature that don't all agree everywhere but generally interpret Heidegger as an ontologist, or they can read Faye's attempt to create a Nazi philosophy from bits and pieces from Heidegger's works.

That's not to say that Heidegger wasn't a nasty character, or that he meets contemporary tests of political correctness. He did use the Nazi's rise to promote his own career, and so forth, but the bulk of Heidegger's writings are consistent across the 100+ volumes of the complete works, and that's what's Faye's Nazi philosophy needs to be judged against.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jose J. Ramirez on December 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Faye's book is a strong work of historical scholarship. On the one hand, he presents a host of writings by Heidegger that either were not previously known to the public, or that Heidegger scholars have not sufficiently interpreted; on the other hand, he does an excellent job of contextualizing Heidegger's thought right down to the latter's vocabulary. One striking example: "world" (Welt), Heidegger's major concept in Being and Time (1927), developed in a distinctly racial intellectual milieu next to works like Clauss's The Nordic Soul (1925). We therefore owe much to Faye for clarifying the historical record on Heidegger, although I should also note that some of his citations are murky (e.g., the claim that "absence of soil" [Bodenlosigkeit] is a major idea in Being and Time is just not textually supported) and others taken out of context. However, the moment Faye draws philosophical conclusions from his historical scholarship, he compromises much of the book's integrity. Without the slightest philosophical argumentation, Faye assumes that by showing the nationalist, racist context of Heidegger's thought, he's proven that Heidegger's philosophy is inherently reactionary, dangerous, etc. What the book absolute needs to make this connection between context and content, and what is absolute missing in its pages, is a rigorous philosophical argument demonstrating that the meaning an idea acquires in its historical context determines its meaning for all time, such that anyone teaching Heidegger today is essentially teaching Nazism. I personally don't think a sound argument exists for that view, but Faye's philosophical conclusions on Heidegger depend on it, and that makes its absence all the more damaging.
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