Thursday, May 20, 2010

Albert Kissler examining Faye's "smoking gun"

pensum  left the following comment in regard to  "The Kirsch Review of Faye's book on Heidegger":

now that the lecture notes that Faye based his argument on have been published (in German) it would seem the shrill tone of Faye's diatribe can finally be exposed as the empty rant that many feel it is, check this review. out.

            The article Pensum refers to is by Albert Kissler and entitled "Chalk and the abyss."  It is subtitled, "The secret transcripts of Heidegger's notorious seminar 'On the Essence and Concepts of Nature, History and the State' have been published for the first time." 
            Kissler says the editor of transcripts, Holger Zabrowski, accuses "his French colleague" of 'polemical obfuscation.'  "Faye, he said had interpreted sources, which at the time were inaccessible to a wider public, in a most unscholarly fashion.  'He always reads into the respective texts what he intended to find and conceals this strategy from the reader'.  Zabrowski does indeed find Faye guilty of lying.  Faye claims, in the objectionable seminar of 1933/34, that 'the extermination of the Jews in all of the conquered territories in the East was justified in advance.'  This simply not true."
            COMMENT:  I wasn't the only one to think this of Faye.  Faye clearly had an agenda.  I'm reminded that French "men of letters" sought a replacement for Communism after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Some of them believed they had found it in Heidegger and invested a good deal of intellectual coin in support of that belief.  Others recalling the Vichy days, perhaps, refused to forgive Heidegger for having gotten along in the Third Reich, much as many French intellectuals had done during that period. 
            Heidegger has been criticized for describing his actions, after the war, much as countless French leaders and intellectuals did when they were accused of collaboration.  An explanation was required of everyone whose actions were in doubt.  Some explanations were not accepted and a person was beaten to death, shot, executed, or imprisoned.  The same sort of thing happened in Germany, but in both France and Germany most people wanted to get past those times.  However, as we have seen, such critics as Farias and Faye believe that Heidegger committed an unforgivable sin by allying himself with Nazi ideals, even though, as he said this occurred in the early days when the Nazi Party seemed malleable.  His intention was to guide the party into a kind of spiritual leadership of Europe.  But, his critics said, he was smart.  He should have known what National Socialism would become.  Except he didn't know.  Few in the 1933/34 period anyplace in the world knew what National Socialism would become.   Most intellectuals believe Heidegger was a brilliant philosopher.  None, as far as I know, extend that brilliance to prescience. 
            Heidegger will continue to be a French problem, because France -- at least a substantial number of their "men and women of letters" -- cannot abide Liberal Democracy.  It smacks of victor's justice.  The British and Americans occupied France in 1944 and, essentially, demanded that it and the rest of Europe accept Liberal Democracy.   Who were the British and Americans to demand such a thing of France?   I don't know, but lying about Heidegger, as the hysterical Faye does isn't likely to further his French agenda -- whatever that is.

1 comment:

enowning said...

To my mind one needs to seperate Heidegger's actions with the Nazis and his culpability (or lack of prescience, if you will) from his works. Mathematicians, scientists, engineers, don't have this problem; if an equation is correct and useful, it is a good equation irrespective of the history of the person who thought it up.

The notion that Heidegger's insights are wrong because of his acts, is a symptom of political correctness gone wild.