Wednesday, August 19, 2015
FIGURE/GROUND interviews Günter Figal.
My esteem for Heidegger as a philosopher never included his thinking of the thirties. I have always disagreed with his conception of philosophy as a particular national historical duty of the German people, and I have always regarded his attempt to understand the takeover of the National Socialists in 1933 as a chance for a new philosophical beginning without any apologetic impulse: simply as erroneous. Following, however, Hannah Arendt’s interpretation of Heidegger’s political affair as an ‘episode’, I assumed that after resigning as Rektor of the University of Freiburg Heidegger had practiced a kind of ‘inner emigration’ – relying on Hölderlin and no longer on Hitler. The so-called ‘Black Notebooks’, however, offer another tableau. When I read them, I was especially shocked by Heidegger’s aggressive anti-Semitism, and, after the publication of his post-war notes, by his total ignorance of Germany’s responsibility and guilt. Heidegger’s anti-Semitism was the main reason for my resignation as president of the Heidegger Society. I was no longer able to represent Heidegger as a person, and I had also realized that an uncompromisingly critical discussion of Heidegger’s ideological position inside the Heidegger Society was not possible.
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