Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RE: Heidegger: which books shall we burn?

enowning left the following comment on the post "Heidegger: which books shall we burn?":

Faye finds some of his stuff in the Nietzsche lectures, although I believe he finds it in the GA version (the complete works) which are somewhat different from the Nietzsche volumes published in the 50s. All of Heidegger's books are republished in the GA, including some marginalia from Heidegger's copies of the books, and some material from transcripts of the actual lectures. Unfortunately, I haven't heard of any plans to re-translate the Nietzsche volumes beased on the official GA versions. They've been translated once, and there's other untranslated books that are more compelling than retranslating and publishing books that are already available; e.g., we don't have a translation of the GA version of Being and Time yet.

Faye partly hones in on sentences with the word "race" in them, although Heidegger says in a couple places that he thinks biological racism is stupid. It seems Heidegger mainly dislikes cosmopolitan types and wants to send them to camps to learn to be authentic peasants like the real Volk. This apparently is one reason for his break with the party, which having discovered the decadent delights of cosmopolitan Berlin wanted nothing to do with Heidegger.


Some very interesting comments. Thanks.

I have the 1996 Joan Stambaugh translation of Being and Time. She seems to have translated the German version originally published by Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tubingen in 1953.

I saw a comment in some article I read recently about the new edition having been "sanitized" by Heidegger's family. Could that be the GA the writer was talking about?

Yes, Julian Young says something similar about "cosmopolitan types." He calls them city-dwellers, I believe. Robert Paxton in his book Fascism says that there was a strong anti-modern element in the early stages of German Fascism. The Anti-Moderns shared Heidegger's view that cities should be abandoned and that Germans should return to the authentic work of the trades and farms. Young is critical of Heidegger for proposing to forcibly move people out of the cities. He said that would have been like ethnic cleansing. However, those ideas never got very far. Hitler and his helpers had their own ideas about the direction National Socialism should take.

As to "race," Heidegger had no sympathy for the non-scientific belief that the races were biologically different. He did believe the German culture was different. He believed it was more spiritual than the surrounding cultures. From the present standpoint, it is hard to understand why he and the other "Green" Fascists thought Germany was more spiritual than any of the other European nations or Russia.

1 comment:

enowning said...

I don't think his family can sanitize B&T with the GA edition because it's his most popular book and scholars would notice immediately. Other volumes with works being published for the first time have more room for controversy. There are published seminars that are solely based on student transcripts, so there's room for judicious edits. That's also the case with books based on lectures published in Heidegger's time, especially if the lecture was delivered in several venues. The GA versions try to capture all the variations. The Nietzsche books are also in a similar situation. The Nietzsche lectures were the basis for the books, and the GA versions apparently are closer to the original books. This is all for specialists tracking the evolution of Heidegger's ideas. Heidegger is remarkably consistent compared to other philosophers who were productive over decades.

Heidegger is nakedly prejudicial towards the special philosophical nature of the German language. Apparently it is grammatically closer to Greek than other languages, but I'm not enough of a philologist to know. I find Heidegger to be a radical universalist when compared to his predecessors in German Idealism (Kant, Hegel, et al) - Dasein, Ereignis, and so on, work the same way for Bushmen, Eskimos, and Bavarians. It's easier for them to be authentic, than it is for city dwellers.