Heidegger, History and the Holocaust

Heidegger, History and the Holocaust

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Heidegger, History and the Holocaust is an important contribution to the longstanding debate concerning Martin Heidegger's association with National Socialism. Although a difficult topic, this ambitious new work moves the entire debate on the Heidegger controversy forward.

Following Being and Time Heidegger expands on his notion of authenticity and related notions such as historicity and discusses the possibility of an authentic Dasein of a people along structurally consistent lines to his account of authenticity in Being and Time. O'Brien argues that the same difficulties which appear to hamstring the early account of authenticity further affect the notion of an authentic Dasein of a people; Heidegger's political myopia in the thirties can thus be attributed to an underlying failure to come to terms with some of the difficulties discussed in this study. O'Brien concedes that Heidegger's philosophy is influenced by its historical period and context but argues that, however inflammatory, Heidegger's rhetoric cannot be simply reduced to crude Nazi jingoism.

This book is a genuinely philosophical approach to the Heidegger controversy and a much-needed re-examination of his ideas and influences.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 15.24mm | 303g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1350007927
  • 9781350007925

Table of contents


Chapter One - Re-assessing the 'Affair'
The 'Affair' and the rhetorical rules since World War II
Heidegger's refusal to recant
Heidegger's Remarks on the Holocaust
Chapter Two - The Essence of Technology and the Holocaust
Heidegger's 'Agriculture Remark' as Epigraph
The Holocaust and the 'Revealing' Rhetoric of the Final Solution
The Wannsee Conference Protocol
Auschwitz: Factory of Death
But Where Have We Strayed to?

Chapter Three - Heidegger's Heritage: Philosophy, Anti-Modernism and Cultural Pessimism
Adorno and the 'Jargon' of German Authenticity
Bourdieu and Heidegger's Ontological Politics
Zimmerman and the 'Influence' of Spengler
Oswald Spengler - Man and Technics
Ernst Junger
Total Mobilization
Bodenstandigkeit, Gelassenheit and the Memorial Address

Chapter Four - The Authentic Dasein of a People
Heidegger and the Authentic Dasein of a People
Freedom Toward Death

Chapter Five - Heidegger and Anti-Semitism
Nature, History, State
The Origin of the Work of Art
The Self Assertion of the German University
The Nazi Rector

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Review quote

O'Brien's work is an important contribution to the growing debate around Heidegger's political and ideological sympathies ... I welcome [his] attempt toward a reconstruction of Heidegger's philosophy. * Phenomenological Reviews * This book makes an important contribution to continental philosophy. It should help to focus the debate surrounding Heidegger's relationship to Jews and National Socialism. * Zeitschrift fur Geschichtswissenschaft (Bloomsbury translation) * 'In this thorough and nuanced examination of Heidegger's Nazism and anti-Semitism, Mahon O'Brien raises the stakes in the "Heidegger affaire" by confronting the question of how to understand the philosophical work of a man who was deeply compromised with the Third Reich. Unsparing in dissecting Heidegger's darkest convictions and lucid in its evaluation of the philosophy, Heidegger, History and the Holocaust provides the reader with the hermeneutical tools necessary for a judicious and critical reading of Heidegger's thought.' * Thomas Sheehan, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University, USA *
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About Dr Mahon O'Brien

Mahon O'Brien is a Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of Heidegger and Authenticity: From Resoluteness to Releasement (Continuum, 2011)
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