Tuesday, September 15, 2015
There's a response to Thomas Sheehan's article "Emmanuel Faye: The Introduction of Fraud Into Philosophy?" in Philosophy Today, from François Rastier.
Heidegger having been compromised, to say the least, Dr. Sheehan thinks he can defend him by attacking the reputation of Emmanuel Faye, and by thus jeopardizing his honor.
In so far as I can tell, Rastier's argument can be summed up with: "Faye says Heidegger was Nazi, Sheehan says he wasn't. Everyone knows Faye is right", which is absurd. Heidegger's Nazism has been officially documented since the denazification committee published its report in 1945. Over the decades Sheehan has published many articles critical of Heidegger's Nazism. Sheehan's point is that Faye has added nothing to our understanding of Heidegger, much of Faye's interpretation of Heidegger is wrong (doesn't correspond with what Heidegger wrote or meant), and Faye has altered some texts to support his point of view. This response is an ad hominem attack on Sheehan that never engages with "Emmanuel Faye: The Introduction of Fraud Into Philosophy?".

The open letter is signed by 21 academics. I recognize three names. Sidonie Kellerer I believe studied under Faye. Richard Wolin is a historian, not a philosopher. Johannes Fritsche is the author of Historical Destiny and National Socialism in Heidegger's Being and Time; it's on my list, but I'm into Andrew Mitchell's The Fourfold now.
We append to the present letter a short bibliography intended to enable the readers of Philosophy Today to reach their own conclusions.
Gosh, papers by the same people who signed the letter. They will need to get some "name" Heideggerians on board, or respond to the items in "Emmanuel Faye: The Introduction of Fraud Into Philosophy?", to get any traction.

[Some version of some browsers (UC, Chrome) can't display the response PDF file when you click on the link. Try Firefox, Edge, or downloading PDF file.]
The personal tone Sheehan opted to use in his letter is somewhat regrettable, but that his arguments are well-researched. On the other hand, considering the following example, one can't help but wonder if Rastier and his cohorts even read the letter.

From Rastier's response: "The case brought by Faye has been corroborated by Heidegger himself,with the publication of the Black Notebooks, and many studies, including apologetics, recognize this: e.g., those of Trawny and DiCesare. Sheehan is undoubtedly aware of the state of the question, but appears unwilling to share such information with the readers of Philosophy Today."

The opening paragraph of Sheehan's open letter: "No one working in contemporary Western philosophy can be unaware that Martin Heidegger’s Black Notebooks (Gesamtausgabe 94–97, with more to come) confirm what has long been known: that this “greatest philosopher of the twentieth century” was an unabashed anti-Semite. He was also a strong supporter of Hitler and the Nazis from 1930 through at least 1934, and a convinced fascist long after he took distance from the Party. If anything, the Black Notebooks reveal how Heidegger tried to launder his anti-Semitism through his idiosyncratic “history of being,” his devolutionary narrative about Western civilization that ends by claiming that “machination”—the terrible state of the world today—is amply instantiated in world Jewry."
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