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In these lectures, delivered in 1933-1934 while he was Rector of the University of Freiburg and an active supporter of the National Socialist regime, Martin Heidegger addresses the history of metaphysics and the notion of truth from Heraclitus to Hegel. First published in German in 2001, these two lecture courses offer a sustained encounter with Heidegger's thinking during a period when he attempted to give expression to his highest ambitions for a philosophy engaged with politics and the world. While the lectures are strongly nationalistic and celebrate the revolutionary spirit of the time, they also attack theories of racial supremacy in an attempt to stake out a distinctively Heideggerian understanding of what it means to be a people. This careful translation offers valuable insight into Heidegger's views on language, truth, animality, and life, as well as his political thought and activity.
Gregory Fried offers in this book a careful investigation of Martin Heidegger's understanding of politics. Disturbing issues surround Heidegger's commitment to National Socialism, his disdain for liberal democracy, and his rejection of the Enlightenment. Fried confronts these issues, focusing not on the historical debate over Heidegger's personal involvement with Nazism, but on whether and how the formulation of Heidegger's ontology relates to his political thinking as expressed in his philosophical works. The inquiry begins with Heidegger's interpretation of Heraclitus, particularly the term polemos ("war", or, in Heidegger's usage, "confrontation"). Fried contends that Heidegger invests polemos with broad ontological significance and that his appropriation of the word provides important insights into major strands of his thinking -- his conception of the human being, understanding of truth, and interpretation of history -- as well as the meaning of the so-called turn in his thought. Although Fried finds,that Heidegger's politics are continuous with his thought, he also argues that Heidegger's work raises important questions about contemporary identity politics. Fried also shows that many postmodernists, despite attempts to distance themselves from Heidegger, fail to avoid some of the same political pitfalls his thinking entailed.
Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics, one of the most significant philosophical works of the 20th century, combines a powerful reinterpretation of Greek thought with a sweeping vision of Western history, and offers some clue as to the reasons for Heidegger's support of the Nazi regime. This new translation provides conventional translations of Greek passages that Heidegger translated unconventionally. There are also extensive notes, a German-English glossary, and an introduction that discusses the history of the text, its basic themes, and its place in Heidegger's oeuvre. Fried teaches philosophy and humanities at Boston University. Polt teaches philosophy at Xavier University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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