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The Philosophy of Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger: From Theology to Phenomenology and Nazism

  • Martin Heidegger was born in 1889 in rural Germany
  • He studied theology and received a scholarship to pursue his secondary education in the nearby town of Constance
  • After two years, he abandoned his training for the priesthood and turned to mathematics and philosophy at the University of Freiburg
  • Edmund Husserl, founder of phenomenology, arrived at Freiburg in 1916 and had a major influence on Heidegger’s thought
  • Heidegger served as Husserl’s assistant from 1919 to 1923
  • Heidegger was offered a post as full lecturer at Marburg University from 1923-1927 when he published his masterpiece Being and Time
  • In 1933, he became Rector of the University of Freiburg and was an outspoken believer in Nazi ideals until their defeat in 1945.

Exploring Heideggers Legacy: An Analysis of His Life, Philosophy and Impact

  • Heidegger’s life and philosophy saw three distinct waves: his earliest theological studies and writings, which saw a foreshadowing of his later work
  • Being and Time, Heidegger’s magnum opus, which sought to answer the question of being but instead turned towards a phenomenological exploration of the human entity
  • And his later period, characterised by a mystical detachment from practical engagement in the world. Heidegger is seen as having left an “Heidegger-shaped crater” on various disciplines due to his influence
  • However, some have argued that his attempt to answer the question of being was “senseless”.

Exploring Heideggers Path to Dissolving the Mind Body Problem Through Everyday Life and Language

  • Heidegger’s philosophy of dasan explores the Mind Body problem posed by Descartes
  • Heidegger seeks to bridge the gap between subject and object through this concept, dissolving the Mind Body problem
  • Through his works, Heidegger encourages us to find an understanding of being by engaging with our everyday lives and practical relationships with people and things (not detached contemplation)
  • Heidegger believes language limits our world – so he attempts to break through this by expanding language
  • Technology is a mode of relating to nature where resources are reduced to simply means for human ends.

Exploring Heideggers Revolutionary Four-fold and Impact on Modern Civilization

  • Heidegger’s later thinking enters an idiosyncratic poetic mode less related to philosophy
  • Heidegger believes in a revolution in humanity’s relation to the world, which he calls “the four-fold” (skies, earth, divinities, mortals)
  • Young people prioritize how instagramable a destination is
  • Technology relates to nature by building dams or turning into tourist attractions
  • Heidegger believes there is rot in modern civilization and that only a God can save us
  • This God is the one who will initiate transformation of humans’ relation to the world
  • Heidegger believed Germany was special for its language and became swept up in Nazism
  • He later turned against it as Nazis were too caught up in technological instrumentalization of the world.

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existentialism is a movement which likeall such movements has a flabbyperiphery and a hard Centerthat Center is the thought of Heideggerthat thought alone existentialism owesits importance or intellectualrespectabilitythe word is is a stealthy term thatslips its way into every nook and crannyof our language though the slightestnotice on our partfor all this prominence or perhapsbecause of this all too close nature fewpeople ever ask what is isaccording to Martin Heidegger this isnot just a forgetfulness on the part ofyou or me but of the entire Westernphilosophical tradition over the pasttwo and a half thousand yearsthe question of being has been utterlyneglected since the work of Aristotlebefore Aristotle in the primordial daysof philosophy's infancy we findphilosophers from Plato and Parmenidesto heraclitus and anaximander askingthis fundamental questionafter a millennia of neglect MartinHeidegger made it his life's work to askjust this question he called the scienceFragger the question of being and hiswork in this field has earned him thereputation among professionalphilosophers as one of the most profoundthinkers of the 20th century he is theWittgenstein of the Continentaltradition he is one of the few Westernphilosophers to have quested into theEastern traditions in search of what wasmissing in the west and he was also alifelong Nazi this concatenation ofstrange threads leaves us with anintellectually and ethically challengingtapestry to confront he was aphilosopher beloved to Continentalphilosophers from the psychoanalyticthinker Jacques lecan to Jill's de Luzand Jacques derida and more recently byThe alt-right Who find much of value inHeidegger's deep philosophical defenseof anti-modernist conservatism andnationalismin this episode we're going to talkabout who Heidegger was in all hisphilosophical and political shadingswe're going to talk about hisMasterpiece Being and Time what hediscovered about being and why in hislater years he argued that a poetic wayof being could save us from thetechnological apocalypse we arecurrently being devoured byMartin Heidegger came from HumbleOrigins born in a quiet rural settingthe village of mascirsh in SouthwesternGermany in 1889 his father was a sextonat a Catholic Churchagainst this humble backdrop Heidegger'sexceptional intellect was recognizedearly and he received a scholarship topursue his secondary education in thenearby town of constanceas the son of a sexton and a man ofintelligence it was written in the starsthat Heidegger would become a priest andalongside his studies in secondaryschool and University Heidegger trainedat the Freiburg Jesuit seminarafter finishing in secondary schoolHeidegger went to study theology at theUniversity of Freiburg and it was duringthis time that Heidegger's stone-writtenpath took an undesigned twistthe swabian heartlands that Heideggeremerged from were more or less unchangedfrom the Medieval era this was aconservative region rooted in a ruralagrarian economy independent on staticsocial hierarchies and long-establishedsystems of land ownership laborreligious lore and customsFreiburg in contrast while still aprovincial term was part of a greaterworld the world of modernity there weremajor cities time compressing transportand Telecommunications industrializationand mechanization it might as well havebeen a different planet the Heidegger'smassacrestwo years into theological studiesHeidegger abandoned his training for thepriesthood and turned his universitystudies firstly to mathematics and thento philosophy in this Meandering pathfrom theology to philosophy the youngsoybean was led onwards by his perennialproblem the signs FraggerHeidegger's studies continued until 1915when he finished his thesis on the 14thcentury Scholastic philosopher JohnDunn's scotus the second half of the20th century second decade was marked bya number of critical events inHeidegger's life for start the firstworld war was in full swing andHeidegger served on the front on threeoccasions between 1914 and 1950 for atotal of 10 weeks this service wasinterrupted by poor health he laterserved for another 10 months Against TheAmericans on the Western Front until thewar ended in November was also during this period whileHeidegger was just beginning to teachCatholic philosophy that he had a crisisof faith he met the Lutheran AlfredApache in the summer of 1916 and theywere married in 1970. in January 1919 herenounced Catholicismbut finally there was the arrival toFreiburg in 1916 of Edmund Hussein thefounder of phenomenology who is alreadya major influence on Heidegger's thoughtfrom 1919 to 1923 Heidegger served ashis turtle's assistantphenomenology was ultimately thefoundation of Heidegger's burdensit was through searle's philosophy thatprovided the methodology that allowedthe swabian philosopher to pursue thescience Fraga in a fruitful wayin 1923 Heidegger was offered a post asfull lecturer in the University ofMarburg which he accepted and it was inthis time that his own phenomenologicalstudy was free to evolve separate fromlucerne's influencebayolicans Heidegger was an incrediblelecture the reserved and reticentcountry lad became something of amystical personality his student thegreat political philosopher HannahArendt later wrote that his Subterraneanreputation was like the rumor of ahidden Kingthese years in Marburg culminated inHeidegger's 1927 Masterpiece bean andtimeon the back of being in time success andwhich we circled retirement Heideggerwas offered the chair of philosophy atthe University of Freiburgfive years later when the Nazis came topower Heidegger became Rector of theUniversity from 1933 until 1934. he wasa devoted and outspoken believer in theNational Socialist calls it was much inthe Germanic idolization of the nationalsocialists the deeply gelled withHeidegger's philosophy he aspired to bethe nation's philosopher but hisadvances were rebuffed by the Nazi partyby 1934 it was clear that Heidegger'sNotions would come to nothing and so hestepped back from the position of Rectordespite this disappointment and thelater censoring of his writing by theNazis Heidegger remained a member of theNazi party until their defeat in 1945.the Nazi period of Heidegger's life isobviously an extremely controversial oneas this one-time student the Frenchphilosopher Emmanuel 11 asked put it onecan forgive many Germans but there aresome Germans it is difficult to forgiveit is difficult to forgive HeideggerHeidegger's defense at thedenatification trials after the war wascalled a pragmatic Alliance but therewas an unsettling trend of anti-Semitismand of nationalism that could not be soeasily dismissed his former student andlover the Jewish philosopher HannahArendt who met Heidegger in privateafter the war and publicly announcedthat she forgave him later saidHeidegger lies notoriously always andeverywhere and whenever he canthe extent of his affiliation with theNazis and the significance of this forhis philosophy as a whole has been amatter of intense debate in the decadessince the Second World Warthe later philosophy of Heidegger tookwhat Scholars have called the turnmoving from the Practical engagement inthe world that we see in being in timetowards an increasingly mysticaldetachmentreason is demonized as the moststiff-necked adversary of thought whenasked in a 1966 interview with theirSpiegel for some practical philosophicaladvice for a troubled age Heideggerresponded that only a God can save usafter an enforced Exile from theUniversity on account of his associationwith the Nazi party Heidegger returns toteaching full-time at Freiburg from 1951to 1958 and continued to give occasionallectures as late as 1967.the majority of this later period of hislife was spent at his beloved like cabinin the Black Forest a key component ofthe Heidegger mythology it's thelandscape out of which Heidegger'sphilosophy evolved from its constructionin 1922 right up until his death whichcame in 1976 at the age of was a life lived in a small corner ofthe world and yet that life throughHeidegger's acts and his thinkingit's interweaved and Echoes through thedarkest and grandest corners of thehuman endeavorwith that biographical context in placelet's talk about the three waves ofHeidegger's philosophy in his earliesttheological studies and writings wecould already see the foreshadowing ofwhat is to come Heidegger was far froman original thinker at this point butalready we can see the concern withbeing emerging Heidegger traces hisAwakening from his dogmatic Slumber tohis reading of a book on Aristotle'sconception of being in 1907 at the ageof 16. this was the book that stirredhis interest in philosophy and hisconcern with Aristotle's categorizationof being that was to prove a centralconcern in being in time this was thebook that stirred his interest inphilosophy and its concern withAristotle's categorization of being wasto prove a central concern in being intimeAristotle's theory of categories dividedbeing into two overarching groupseverything that is can be divided intosubstances and attributessubstance is what a thing is in itself atree a star or a lamp this is a centralcategory of beingall other categories are attributes forexample harsh large bright purplemalleable poisonous or permeablewith this categorization of beansAristotle had misplaced the question ofbeing itselfthe early Heidegger's work on thinkerslike John Dunn scotus was a study of themedieval handling of this questionthe medieval School of scholasticismfound Aristotle's account insufficienton account of Godfor obvious reasons the Scholasticscould not accept gold as another beingamong beings he was not simply thegreater among substances and hecertainly was not just another attributethe Scholastics seeking a synthesis witharistal instead argued the gold ratherthan substance is the ground of being itis through God that all beings come tobe and so he is something separate toand more fundamental than the othercategories in time Heidegger came tofind this argument insufficient it wasstill an evasion from the scienceFragger it still failed to ask thequestion of being and this is exactlywhat Heidegger sought to wrestle with inhis mature Works being in time isundoubtedly Heidegger's magnum opus andone of the great masterpieces in thehistory of philosophy despite its almostcomplete opacity the book has leftheidegger-shaped crater in thehumanities most notably in philosophypsychology literary Theory and theologyHeidegger's task in Being and Time as itwas throughout his career was to ask thequestion of being that the philosophicaltradition had forgotten in his quest tofind the meaning of being that appliedto all beings Heidegger distinguishedbetween the antic I.E the study ofbeings and their properties such astable atom purple or poisons from theontological I.E the study of Monolithicbeing in itselfthe latter the study of the strangebeguiling fact that things haveexistence at all is according toHeidegger the proper domain ofphilosophy The Sciences and most ofphilosophy is antic it is an attempt toaccumulate knowledge of particularentities their characteristics theirrelations to each otherstation on beans and the antic leads toa forgetting of the ontological aforgetting of beingthe antic is studying the secondaryfield of beans but the ontological isstudying What Lies Beneath and beyondall of these antic entities being itselfthis bean is not a b it's not an entitya class of entities or some property ofthese entities it is the thing untoitself any scientific study thus isDownstream of this fundamentalontological work of philosophythe trouble of course in so far as thephilosopher is concerned is that thisontological being is a pretty hard thingto approach in a scathing dismissal ofHeidegger's work the British analyticphilosopher AJ air wrote the question ofbeing a senseless querying of what mustbe an absolute presuppositiontreat it as a question there is no wayto answer itHeidegger was not unaware of thisdifficulty he decided that in order toapproach this monolithic being he wouldhave to make a detour being he insistedwas always the being of something so tostudy it he had to choose one of thesesomethings and analyze it something hechose was the human entity and so therabbit hole began for the rest of beingin time Heidegger immersed himself in aphenomenological exploration of thebeing of human individuals and while henever did get back to his question ofbeing this detour was to prove immenselyvaluable to the Continentalphilosophical tradition even if itultimately left Heidegger unsatisfiedif the 176 000 words have been in timecould be reduced to a single term itwould be dasai that sign is the specificnature of the being of humans being intime is essentially one longphenomenological exploration of humanbeing dasan which literally translatedmeans being there is a seemingly humbleterm that packs one of the biggestpunches in the history of philosophysince the days of Descartes there's beena fissure running through our sense ofreality with Descartes we have theemergence of the Mind Body problem forhim mind and body are two completelydifferent thingshis meditations on first philosophyDescartes writes I have a clear anddistinct idea of the Mind as a thinkingnon-extended thing I have a clear anddistinct idea of body as an extendednon-thinking thing therefore the mind isreally distinct from the body and canexist without it and with that FellSwoop reality was divided between themind and the body this led to thephilosophical Schism between rationalismand empiricism that was to some extenthealed by cat but even with the work ofthe great cant the mind-body problemremained and reality was still divideddasai is a one word paradigm shift inthe structure of scientific revolutionsThomas talks about how when aparadigm shifts the problems of theprevious Paradigm aren't necessarilysolved but rather they are dissolvedthey cease to be problems quite oftenthey cease to even be sensible and theyare forgotten that line does this to theMind Body problem the hard boundarybetween subject and object is collapsedand in instead we find dasaiHeidegger tells us the philosophers havebeen confused by objects seeing them asas he puts it present at hand whereasthey are in fact more readilyexperienced as ready at hand ourexperience of other entities is not thedetached contemplation of Descartes in astove room inventing analytic geometryin 1913 Heidegger's teacher hussarlnoted this distinction in his studies ofconsciousnessI am in the world it is continuallypresent for me a world of facts valuesand goods a practical worldthings stand there as objects to be usedthe table with its books the glass todrink from the vase the piano and soforth it is to this world that I bringmy comparing counting presupposinginferring the theorizing activity of myconsciousnessthis was early end quote captures quiteneatly the distinction between Descartesperspective and Heidegger's dasan thetheoretical detached contemplative modeis the secondary layer of Consciousnessit is something we apply to the moreaccurate conception of human experiencethat is dasanis inherently engaged with the everydayworld as it goes about The Business ofBeing Alive this is a more accurateportrayal of our experience of the worldthat Descartes contemplating the worldgeometrically alone in his Stover buthumans going about their daysinteracting with friends family andcolleagues working at their computers orwith the particular tools of their tradethat sign is right there in the worldthere's no need for a bridge between thesubject and the object becausethe beginning of humans is alreadydissolved in the world it is swimming init the actual experience of being humanis an experience of entanglement we havepractical involvement and commitments toother people and things in the world weare tangle up in the world not knowingwhere it ends and we beginit takes Cartesian mental gymnastics tomake it otherwise it's like studying anorganism in isolation from its ecosystemyou might get a few interesting insightsby reducing the complexity involved inthe study but there's no sense in whichyou have understood the being of theorganism entirely because this beingcannot be understood in isolation butonly ecologically being in time is anexploration of this being in the worldof dasan in a future episode we'll do adeeper dive on Heidegger's Masterpieceand explore the nuances and thePractical importance of this idea ofdasan its authentic and inauthenticmodes its modes of connection with otherpeople and its relationship with timeand death while it ended up merely beinga phase in Heidegger's own intellectualexperience being in time has a dramaticeffects on the subsequent intellectuallandscape with the rest of the culturehas been deeply affected by thisexploration and Analysis of dasanHeidegger himself was dissatisfied andmoved on after the publication of Beingand Time Heidegger's thought underwentwhat has come to be known as the turnand with this turning the second half ofbeing in time which was to be calledtime and being was abandoned andHeidegger's philosophy entered a neweven more opaque faithtwo themes Central to the laterHeidegger are poetry and technologythese themes converge and point to anapocalyptic moment faced by civilizedHumanity today there is a choice beforeus the way of technology or the way ofpoetrypoetry here is not simply a style ofwriting that we contrast with prose it'semblematic of a deeper conception of notjust language but our relationship tothe world that language immediateHeidegger's ambivalent relationship withlanguage was not new being in time isfamous for the number of new words thatHeidegger coins like James JoyceHeidegger finds it necessary to breakthe wheel of language in order to reachtowards a new understandingthe other great philosopher of the 20thcentury Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrotethat the limits of my language means thelimits of my worldHeidegger implicitly arrived at the sameconclusion and so he sought to expandhis language in order to expand hisworld his task was to find a way ofthinking being and the language in whichto speak it Heidegger is trying to getout of the way of the pathways that ourlanguage keeps guiding us into again andagain we are under a spell and Heideggertries to reinvent the wheel in order toescape it Heidegger was not despite whatsome analytic philosophers believe beingdeliberately obscurantist he wasn'twriting in a dance language for his ownentertainment he was trying to bringabout a transformation in the way thatwe thinkties in what he means by technology whenHeidegger speaks about technology he'snot just talking about the instrumentsthat have emerged from scientificinnovation technology is a mode ofrelating to the world nature is reducedto nothing but so many resources for themachine everything from the minerals inthe ground plants animals and evenhumans become what Heidegger callsstanding Reserve their resources to beexploited as means to an end the caseswhere we do leave nature alone we speakof its potential for tourism thisperspective doesn't stop at the naturalworld as we've seen according to thetravel site Expedia the biggest priorityfor young people booking holidays abroadis how instagramable the destination isanother commentator on Heidegger talksabout her chatting to someone in a barhas become networking and Heideggertalks about how the remaining vestigesof nature are weighed by their touristpotential technology for Heidegger thenis not just tools and gadgets but thedeeper mode of relating to reality thatthese tools are mere indicators ofeverything is now measured by itsinstrumental value by its worth as aresource over against this technologicalmode of relating there is the poeticonthe technological mode relates to theriver by building a hydroelectric Dam orby turning it into a tourist attractionin contrast with holderlin's poem theRhine which appreciates the river forwhat it is it relates poetically toNature Heidegger believes that there isa rot in modern civilization this iswhat he meant when he said it did notmatter who won the second world warbecause whatever happened it wastechnology that won what Heidegger wantsis a revolution in our mode of relatingto not just nature but the entire domainthat he calls the four-fold which ismade up of the Skies the Earth thedivinities and of Mortalspoetic theme also explains the turningin Heidegger's thinking in hindsight hefound that the language of Being andTime was still too caught up in thetechnological mode metaphysical languageis still too distant and removed and sohis later work enters into an even moreidiosyncratic poetic mode that is lessand less related to what we know asphilosophywhen asked in a 1966 interview with theGerman newspaper their Spiegel for somepractical wisdom the philosophy mightoffer the troubled Zeitgeist Heidegger'sreply was only a God can save us whatHeidegger means by God here is not aDivinity in the traditional sense but asecular Return of sacredness the Godwhether that be a hero or a movement ofsome sort is the one that will initiatethe transformation of Humanity'srelatedness to the worldHeidegger believed that there was aninherent connection between this God andGermany Heidegger was part of atradition that believed the Germanlanguage was special only Greek was asspecial as German for its ability totransform our relation to the worldof course this is where we get into theweeds of Nazism again it's easy to seehow this emphasis on the importance ofGermany even if it is its languagerather than its blood got Heideggerswept up in the enthusiasm for theNational Socialist Party of course youwould later come to see that the Naziswere just as caught up in thistechnological instrumentalization of theworld as any other power and in thissense at least he became disillusionedwith them though his nationalism and hisanti-Semitism seem to have survivedintact it's a strange reason to turnagainst Nazism but the laser Heideggeras with any version of Heidegger isanything but a common person in spite ofhis rustic philosophical worldview inmany ways the swabian philosopherbecomes more and more like the earlypre-socratics that he so adored than hedoes like any modern 20th centuryphilosopher or person in his laterthinking he becomes less of aphilosopher a more of a prophet of beinguttering oracular formulations on thedesperate apocalyptic moment facingHumanity that's everything for thisepisode of the living philosophy I'dlike to thank Shane chrysantheater andall the other patrons for their supportof the channel if you'd like to getaccess to weekly bonus episodes monthlyq and A's and to get your name intocredits Like These Fine people you canhead over to patreon as ever if you haveany insights thoughts or feedback I'dlove to hear from you down in thecomments otherwise I should see you nexttime thank you for watching