Monday, January 19, 2015

Daily Nous on Günter Figal's resignation.
Günter Figal (Freiburg) resigned his position this past Thursday as chair of the Martin Heidegger Society in the wake of the publication of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks (Schwarze Hefte), which many believe show that Heidegger’s antisemitism was more central to his thinking than previously thought.
Scroll down this page from the Hannah Arendt Center and you'll find a decent little reflection on Figal's resignation.
I only know Figal as the editor of an anthology translated into English, and that he edited some GA volumes. So I don't know that this is a loss, whether the next scholar will be more or less competent, nor what the back story is. That Figal is shocked to suddenly discover Heidegger was an anti-semite sounds disingenuous to me. I can't imagine the head of the Heisenberg archives resigning after discovering something anti-Semitic in Werner's private notebooks. The point of the exercise is to document the physics.

I thought the same until reading Figal's interview (albeit through Google translate) and my suspicion is that the antisemitism is somewhat of a pretext, the main reason being the control maintained by the family and their continued demand to restrict access to the parts of the archive. It seems that the issue is that he feels that for the family Heidegger is a business, and he lost the battle to provide open access in the name of scholarship. With all the flack he and the foundation must be receiving these days from scholars, he seems to have reached a point where he no longer wants to be the spokesperson for the Heidegger family and thereby sullying his own name and honour in the process.
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