Heidegger is splashing some ink on the pages of the New York Times once again. A "new" book by Emmanuel Faye has hit the English speaking shelves this month, translated by Michael B. Smith from the French, which came out in 2005. So far, I've looked at the forward by Tom Rockmore, and the preface and introduction by the author. The book evidently caused a bit of heat (une reaction au chaud) when it came out in
Faye worries that some intellectuals have been blithe apologists of Heidegger's nazi past. He claims that Heidegger's philosophical message was and continues to be the basis of national socialism. He would like to see his works removed from the philosophy section of the library and placed in the basement under "history, nazism, hate speech", marked with a government warning label He claims:
..."the diffusion of Heidegger's works after the war slowly descends like ashes after an explosion - a gray cloud slowly suffocating and extinguishing minds"
In other words, a Heideggerian "suicide bomber" has allegedly corrupted our youth, and continues to do so even from the grave. I am reminded of Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles", where a black sheriff is seen riding into town, as a crier shouts "the sheriff is a N****R !", only to be drowned out by the clapping of a bell. Mr. Faye feels that he is the crier in this case, shouting "Heidegger is a N**I !", having been drowned out too long by philosophical apologists grounded in their Heideggerian pixie dust.
After listening to the Berkeley podcasts for a couple of years, and reading and continuing to read things by or about Heidegger, I am not really convinced by the claims made in the first 32 pages by the Frenchman. So far, I have not found myself goose stepping around town, or sporting a toothbrush moustache, or knowingly(?) contemplating the inner truth and beauty of national socialism. Is there a danger that my not so young mind has been irrevocably corrupted by contemplating the existential analytic of the dasein? OK, OK, so I bought the damn book - I did have a coupon -and I may even get to page 33, before moving on with my idle curiosity.
Interestingly, the authors father was also a philosopher who had it in for Heidegger. And the son of Heidegger has done a pretty remarkable job getting a bunch of old lecture notes of his father on the shelves of bookstores across the world. The past, present and future all look very promising indeed for Heidegger enterprises, both pro and con.