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Heidegger's Silence Hardcover – November 6, 1996

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801433108 ISBN-10: 080143310X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Gesamtausgabe, or collected works, of Heidegger currently being assembled already number 79 volumes, but Lang faults Heidegger for what he left unsaid. Heidegger never addressed the "Jewish question," and as Lang contends, "silence can be as deliberate and pointed as presence." Although one might not expect references to Jews in Heidegger's metaphysics, Lang argues that it is a "thoughtful failure," one that "calls attention to itself." His thesis is that Heidegger believed the mystical German Volk and their subsequent embodiment in Nazism to be the meditation of Being and Time and Jews to be excluded from the Volk altogether. In this exclusion lies Heidegger's anti-Semitism and his reason for not mentioning Jews in his writings: they are extraneous and irrelevant in the apprehension of Truth. Although Lang's argument is convincing, it seems rather superfluous to use Heidegger's silence to prove his anti-Semitism. After all, in a speech as rector of the University of Freiburg, he welcomed National Socialism, knowing full well what it entailed, and made remarks about "Jewification" and the "dangerous international fraternity of Jews" while wearing the party insignia on his jacket. A more open question would have been, Can a great thinker be an anti-Semite, an anti-Semite a great thinker?
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Few are as well qualified as Lang (philosophy, SUNY, Albany) to consider Heidegger's Nazism. Taking Heidegger at his word that the key to a text or thinker is the unsaid, Lang considers Heidegger's near-silence on the Holocaust. Happily, he eschews apologetics, polemics, and hysterics for brutally honest, philosophical thoughtfulness. He argues against Habermas that, however mistakenly, Heidegger's early work is grounded in the historical concept of the German Volk. Indeed, this concept influences all of his work, and Lang contends that Heidegger's Nazism springs from such thinking?a tack that, surprisingly, most work on Heidegger and the "Jewish Question," as Lang puts it, does not take. Although Lang does not demonstrate convincingly his implication that Nazism follows necessarily from Heidegger's thinking, this disturbing, thought-provoking work is well worth reading for those specialists and general scholars interested in trying to understand the appalling fact that the greatest philosopher of our century was also a run-of-the-mill anti-Semite.?Lee Horvitz, Miami Univ., Oxford, Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (November 6, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080143310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801433108
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 9, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Berel Lang is Professor of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies at the State University of New York, Albany. He has also written book such as Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life), Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide, Writing and the Holocaust, Post-Holocaust: Interpretation, Misinterpretation, and the Claims of History, Philosophical Style: An Anthology About the Reading and Writing of Philosophy, etc.

He wrote the Preface to this 1996 book, "the thesis I mean to defend is just this: ... that Heidegger's silence on the Jewish Question is intended to speak---addressing and then denying this apparently narrow but, as becomes clear, broadly consequential issue in his thinking. Thus, his answer of silence to the Jewish Question becomes a reflection writ small (as small as absence, but not invisible) of the larger body of writing to which he openly set his name."

He asserts, "for Heidegger to have inadvertently or thoughtlessly neglected either the Jewish Question or the `Jewish Question' is improbable to the point of impossibility... And to this conclusion can be joined yet another consideration....: the fact of his anti-semitism...
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Format: Hardcover
Berel Lang is Professor of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies at the State University of New York, Albany. He has also written book such as Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life), Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide, Writing and the Holocaust, Post-Holocaust: Interpretation, Misinterpretation, and the Claims of History, Philosophical Style: An Anthology About the Reading and Writing of Philosophy, etc.

He wrote the Preface to this 1996 book, “the thesis I mean to defend is just this: … that Heidegger’s silence on the Jewish Question is intended to speak---addressing and then denying this apparently narrow but, as becomes clear, broadly consequential issue in his thinking. Thus, his answer of silence to the Jewish Question becomes a reflection writ small (as small as absence, but not invisible) of the larger body of writing to which he openly set his name.”

He asserts, “for Heidegger to have inadvertently or thoughtlessly neglected either the Jewish Question or the ‘Jewish Question’ is improbable to the point of impossibility… And to this conclusion can be joined yet another consideration….
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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