Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Faye on Heidegger's guilt -- by association

In pages 18 through 29 of Heidegger, The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy, Emmanuel Faye proves Heidegger’s guilt Heidegger’s guilt by association.  He can’t actually prove Heidegger’s guilt (on the subject of race) from anything Heidegger said; so he does what he considers the next best thing.  He proves the guilt of people Heidegger knew and then proves Heidegger was on friendly terms with them.  Therefore (in Faye’s mottled mind) Heidegger agreed with what they said and is therefore guilty of their guilt. 
Faye in these pages describes the views of Ludwig Ferdinand Clauss and Erich Rothacker – especially the latter and fully intends to ascribe the things Faye quotes them as saying to Heidegger.  On page 21 he writes, “Nevertheless, so many reciprocal relations link the two men that their comparison cannot fail to shed some light.  Rothacker himself, in a lecture delivered shortly before his death, will go so far as to say that the notion of the world as developed by Heidegger in Being and Time was nothing but the reworking of what he himself had already said in 1926.”
Would any serious student of Heidegger claim that his ideas are nothing more than the ideas of someone else, Husserl for example?  Certainly not.  And was Heidegger noted for agreeing with any of his contemporaries?  I haven’t seen any evidence of it.  He and Karl Jaspers wanted to become friends and they worked at it for a time, but Heidegger was too insistent on his own views to accept Jaspers’ differences.   So if Heidegger couldn’t get along with Jaspers whom he wanted to be friends with; how much credence shall we give Faye for his argument that Rothacker and Heidegger saw eye to eye on matters of race? 
Surely this is among the weakest forms of argumentation.  We can read Gadamer to learn how difficult it is for two people to understand each other, let alone agree, but Faye has no qualms about bringing Heidegger into agreement with casual acquaintances.
As to Heidegger’s agreement with the racial views of Clauss, Faye writes “It is therefore not without reason that Heidegger and Clauss have been closely associated by an author particularly well informed about the racial doctrine of this period . . .  That author is Erich Rothacker.”

Slam dunk!

No comments: