Heidegger's Roots: Nietzsche, National Socialism, and the Greeks

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Cornell University Press, 2003 - History - 350 pages

Despite a flood of recent works on Martin Heidegger and Nazism, there has been no sustained investigation of the shared themes that were the common ground between Heidegger's thought and that of the ideologists of National Socialism. In this lucid and fair-minded book, Charles Bambach reads Heidegger's writings from 1933 to 1945 in historical context. Bambach shows that Heidegger was engaged in a conversation with the National Socialists and others on the German right about the authentic mission of the German Volk, and that this theme was central to all of his thought.

Bambach depicts the development within Heidegger's work of a philosophy marked by a belief in rootedness in the homeland, the ground of ancestral kinship, and a notion of a privileged, originary connection to the ancient Greeks. Bambach makes clear that Heidegger's philosophical account of the history of the West is structured by a grand metaphysical vision of German destiny as something rooted in the soil. All of Heidegger's post-1933 works can, Bambach maintains, be read as arguments for a German form of racial-political autochthony.

An essential reference in the debates over one of the twentieth century's most influential?and controversial?philosophers, this book demonstrates the profound influence on Heidegger's work of both historical context and the other thinkers with whom he engaged in dialogue. These latter include not only the ancient Greeks and such German predecessors as Hegel, Hölderlin, and Nietzsche, but also those contemporaries of the radical right from whom he would later try to distance himself.

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About the author (2003)

Charles Bambach is Professor of the History of Ideas/Philosophy at the University of Texas, Dallas. He is author of Heidegger, Dilthey, and the Crisis of Historicism, also from Cornell.

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