"On Brinks and Bridges in Heidegger"

>I would say there are two distinct groups in this mailing list.
>One group is concerned about whether Heidegger was/wasn't a
>Nazi and whether his involvement with'em does/doesn't taint
>his philosophy. Occasionally these members explode into flame
>wars. To my mind, these discussions just go around'n'round,
>and should probably be summarized in a faq so that the list
>doesn't have to go over that ground repeatedly.
>
>The other group on the list appears interested in exploring
>what Heidegger had to say about ontology, metaphysics,
>phenomenology, and so on.
>That group is currently involved in a slow reading of the
>Letter on Humanism through the list.
>

Take two.
You may recall I am circumnavigating an essay on Heidegger I've found
difficult to digest. The essay written by Professor Johannes Fritsche is
called "On Brinks and Bridges in Heidegger" as published in the Philosophy
Journal of the Graduate Faculty, vol 18. no. 1, 1995. Why do I find this
essay difficult to digest? And why should anybody care about my particular
indigestion? Simply because it is a blatant accusation concerning
Heidegger's integrity, not only politically but philosophically. It is a
reading that threatens, I believe, the appropriating thought of
Heideggerianism by expropriating it to its most politically sinister
profile. In this essay by Professor Fritsche, we, you and I insofar as we
indulge , are being asked to partake in the cannibalistic dismemberment of
the soul of Heideggerian philosophy, for good or for evil. (I would hope
that others may be interested enough to comment on the substance of what I
have to say here by corroborating the reading and discussing the issue.
The journal may be purchased for $7.50 directly from: Graduate Faculty
Philosophy Journal; 65 Fifth Ave.; NY, NY 10003. Aside from this essay -
which I dislike and hope you will -, this issue includes 9 other essays,
including one by Karl-Otto Apel.) As such, it requires our attention,
insofar as we are interested in Heidegger's thought. To believe it can be
relegated to an FAQ or treated as nothing but flame mail is either
altogether too naive or altogether too much in stride with actuality. We are
in the mist of the tumultuous inflammation of the carcass of Heideggerian
thought - the flame mail is stifling - whose very thought is being wistfully
relegated to the FAQ's of repressed communications.

Perhaps one would attach little importance to it despite the author, were
the topic not increasingly consentable and popular in academic and
intellectual circles today. It is not, after all, the first negative dictum
on Heidegger. On the contrary criticizing Heidegger in the light of his nazi
involvement has become the latest fashion, the "politically correct" stance
as it were when approaching Heideggerian issues. In other words, one is
congratulated for dismissing Heideggerianism, that means the work and the
way of thought of this philosophy, on the grounds that Heidegger espoused
nazism. Fritsche's essay works in the direction of that closure. Thus
Professor Fritsche can declare at no risk of finding himself in a minority
that after the war Heidegger "launched a campaign to rub out the memory of
Auschwitz" in keeping with "the age of Adenaeur", implying that the
significance of Heidegger's later thought lay emtirely therein!

What I propose is to contest this reading, in order to show that despite its
considerable erudition it fails to judge Heidegger's thought in the light in
which it ought to be judged and to show that its affiliation is errant
regarding what Heidegger really had to say to us. It will be a reading that
will hopefully cross over into "Letter on Humanism" and bring another light
into that study. But why this essay by Fritsche and why at this time? I
don't know, it is part of our times, I guess, since it has come to
expression now. It is part of what is granted for us to think about, even if
it is very much a withdrawal of what is essential. There are many other
writings that could be studied that focus on Heidegger's nazism - any
bibliographies? Indeed, it is the very fact that one cannot avoid the
calumniations and innuendos that accompany Heidegger in the journals, the
bookstores, the mail lists , and perhaps even the classrooms, that we should
care. When even professors of philosophy come to this list with the belief
that Heidegger is close to a monster then it is in the interest of everybody
that the charges be brought forth and dealt with, however long, dreary,
tiresome, even anti-productive the task may seem. And when teachers of
philosophy look on their very profession with suspicion because perhaps the
most seminal thinker of the century espoused nazism, it is time to weigh the
issues even if that weighing holds us in a precarious balance. Perhaps
thought is destined to stand in a precarious balance. Is not Socrates'
partaking of hemlock inscribed in the profession?







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