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Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 Hardcover – November 24, 2009

3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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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 Through a meticulous perusal of new sources—letters, heretofore unpublished seminars and lecture courses—he demonstrates that, during the 1920s and 1930s, right-wing ideological concerns were absolutely central to Heidegger’s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.

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: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #529,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
By Teed Rockwell
Sonoma State University
December 2014

It is more than a little frustrating that a book as badly flawed as Emmanuel Faye's Heidegger: The introduction of Nazism into Philosophy will probably be unavoidable for future Heidegger scholars. It is a chimerical hybrid of three very different books, two of which are seriously marred by their entanglement with the third. 1) A study of the lectures Heidegger presented at Freiburg from 1933-35, immediately after he resigned from the rectorship 2) A study of Heidegger's immediate predecessors and contemporaries, and how they influenced and were influenced by him. These two "books" contain important information, not easily available anywhere else, about Heidegger's relationship to various odious intellectual trends which were linked with Nazism. This information should not be dismissed or ignored by anyone who is interested in evaluating the truth of Heidegger's vision, and for far too long it has been. Unfortunately this information is organized into 3) a paranoid tangle of very bad arguments claiming that A)Heidegger is nothing more or less than a Nazi apologist, and that consequently, B) the only way we can protect ourselves from a Nazi revival is to expunge all of Heidegger's greatest insights from modern academia and return to a reactionary neo-Cartesianian.

Faye has undeniably discovered some ideas in Heidegger's 1933-35 lectures which appear to be genuinely dangerous and stupid, at least initially. Some of those ideas can be explained away by two interpretations that are far more charitable than Faye's.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very important book. Yes, it is quite polemical (those who defend Heidegger from Faye's research write as if Heidegger were not extremely polemical, but...whatever). Yes, it is an indictment. And it is also spot on. Heidegger deliberately wrote in a very obscurantist manner, in order to conceal his meaning. Faye explores this and has the goods on Heidegger. Moreover, he goes into previously unpublished material to show what Heidegger meant, viz. material from the lectures during the National Socialist hegemony, when it was safe for him to explain his real views. Faye demonstrates the hollowness of those who defend Heidegger against the charge of Nazi racism by saying that he rejected biology; Faye shows that he rejected "Anglo-Saxon" biology as a foundation for National Socialist racism, precisely because it could be rebutted and refuted! He instead opted for a mystical approach to racism focusing on blood, not genes, which was inherently irrefutable. Anyone who ever read Heidegger (as I did) thinking it was about the difficulties of our personal being should read this book; his pronouncements about "Dasein" are not about your or me, but about the German Volk, the being of which Heidegger claimed was the National Socialist state and the unity of the leader (the Führer) and the led.
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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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