For some time, the German philosopher Martin Heidegger has been treated with a certain level of skepticism because of his engagement with the Nazi party, a skepticism that has resurfaced with the publication of the Black Notebooks, private journals he kept throughout the last several decades of his life. In his new book Time and Trauma: Thinking Through Heidegger in the Thirties
(Rowman and Littlefield, 2020), Richard Polt
starts by taking a close look at his Being and Time
(1927), followed by a close analysis of his philosophical development in the 1930’s. He shows through a close textual analysis that Heidegger’s political engagement stemmed from certain philosophical commitments and errors. The book then ends with an attempt to see what, if anything, can be salvaged from Heidegger’s philosophy for political thinking.
Richard Polt is a professor of philosophy at Xavier University, and is the author of, among other things, Heidegger: An Introduction
and The Emergency of Being: On Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosoph
y. He is co-editor with Gregory Fried of the book series New Heidegger Research, and together they have translated a number of Heidegger’s lectures including Introduction to Metaphysics, Nature, History, State, and Being and Truth.
Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.