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Heidegger's Crisis shows not only how the Nazis exploited philosophical ideas and used philosophers to gain public acceptance, but also how German philosophers played into the hands of the Nazis. Hans Sluga describes the growth, from World War I onward, of a powerful right-wing movement in German philosophy, in which nationalistic, antisemitic, and antidemocratic ideas flourished.
Sluga Hans :
Hans Sluga is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
Sluga tells us: it's impossible to consider the Nazi involvement of the German philosophers as a touchstone for judging their philosophy. Otherwise, we would have to consign the whole of the philsophy, in all its forms, in all its currents, and with all its differences, to the depths of hell. But Sluga is a philosopher and hears the voice of reason. He pleads in this book for another way forward: a call for philosophy to engage in a perpetual self-examination.
[The author's] aim is neither to indict nor to acquit any single individual. Rather, Sluga maintains, it is the outlook and presuppositions of an entire generation that demand our most urgent scrutiny and, when found guilty, our repudiation...Lynching Heidegger is academic scapegoating in the worst sense, for it is nothing other than a diversionary tactic for evading intellectual responsibility.
[T]his authoritative study of German philosophy during the Nazi era does not offer a detailed analysis of the work of Martin Heidegger. Its scope is much wider. Sluga...offers a paradigmatic interpretation of the politics of philosophy exemplified in radical historical circumstances. His reading of the crisis enveloping German philosophy after the First World War rightly concentrates on the notions of nation, leadership, conflict and order, concepts which are shown to be both philosophical and political in nature...What this major work achieves is no less than the most readable, intelligent and reliable survey of German fascism in the context of a culture-specific philosophical tradition...Heidegger's Crisis: Philosophy and Politics in Nazi Germany should be compulsive reading, not only for Germanists.
The Berkeley philosopher Hans Sluga has written a first-rate account of how Germany's leading intellectuals, who were supposed to possess a broad understanding of German politics and societal reality, readily succumbed to the temptations of Nazi ideology...In a series of brilliant intellectual portraits, Sluga demonstrates that German philosophers, starting around the turn of the twentieth century, were shaken by the challenges to their profession posed by societal changes and the rise of the natural sciences.
An important contribution to the continuing effort to comprehend the link between Heidegger's nazism and his philosophy.
Hans Sluga has written a thoughtful work¿penetrating analysis of the historical crisis within German philosophy itself that positions Heidegger's work within its own generational and institutional context. What animates Sluga's whole project is its unrelenting focus on the "precarious," "unstable," and sometimes "dangerous" interaction between philosophy and politics (vii).
[Sluga] is much less concerned with proving to himself or to others that Heidegger's soul was saved, and instead he sets himself the laudable task of clarifying the political, institutional, and philosophical context in which it all happened. In this he is very successful.
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