Heidegger’s Black Notebooks: Responses to Anti-Semitism by Andrew J. Mitchell, Peter Trawny
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Overview: The 2014 publication of the first three volumes of Martin Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, the philosopher’s private writings from the war years, sparked international controversy. While Heidegger’s engagement with National Socialism was well known, as were a handful of his private anti-Semitic comments, the Black Notebooks showed for the first time that this anti-Semitism was not merely a personal resentment.The notebooks contain not just anti-Semitic remarks but anti-Semitism deeply embedded in the language of his thought. In them, Heidegger tried to assign a philosophical significance to anti-Semitism, with "the Jew" or "world Judaism" cast as antagonist in his project.
How, then, are we to engage with a philosophy that, no matter how significant, seems contaminated by anti-Semitism? This book brings together an international group of scholars from a variety of disciplines to discuss the ramifications of the Black Notebooks for philosophy and the humanities at large. Bettina Bergo, Robert Bernasconi, Martin Gessmann, Sander Gilman, Peter E. Gordon, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Michael Marder, Eduardo Mendieta, Richard Polt, Tom Rockmore, Peter Trawny, and Slavoj Žižek discuss issues including anti-Semitism in the Black Notebooks and Heidegger’s thought more broadly, such as German conceptions of Jews and Judaism, Heidegger’s notions of metaphysics, and anti-Semitism’s entanglement with Heidegger’s views on modernity and technology, grappling with material as provocative as it is deplorable. In contrast to both those who seek to exonerate Heidegger and those who simply condemn him, and rather than an all-or-nothing view of Heidegger’s anti-Semitism, they urge careful reading and rereading of his work to turn Heideggerian thought against itself. These measured and thoughtful responses to one of the major scandals in the history of philosophy unflinchingly take up the tangled and contested legacy of Heideggerian thought.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Faith, Beliefs & Philosophy