Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heidegger and onticism of globalization

Heidegger never supported Nazism. Bernhard Radloff published an outstanding book, to that effect, in 2007 on Heidegger’s critique of German ideology, Heidegger and the Question of National Socialism, which has not come into paperback; but he later provided a thorough synopsis of his book as a response to two critical reviews of the book, which is available here: “Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Globalisation.”

March 6, 2017

To my mind, ‘metaphysics’ in Heidegger’s critique of German ideology is meant rhetorically: An ideological pretense of metaphysical grounding is implied by academic (German historiological) notions of globalization that pretend to warrant acquiescence to real National Socialism—not related to Heidegger’s communitarian notion of the early 1930s, which was always about regional, localist reform, never anticipating a hegemony (let alone actual Hitlerism) of power. (The “Heil, Hitler” salute—and salutation—was mandated by Berlin in July, 1933. It was commonly regarded among the populace as a gesture of ridicule, according to a well-known German diarist of the period, Victor Klemperer.)

The issue for Heidegger is a so-called “metaphysics” implied by German ideology in the university. But metaphysics itself is irrelevant to political ideology. There’s nothing really ontological about political conceptions. But there’s an ontic pretense of philosophical warrant in German academic historiology of the 1920s and ’30s (a focus which is doggedly prominent in Heidegger’s notebooks of the mid-to-late 1930s).

I call that philosophical pretense onticism. If you’re not familiar with Heidegger’s distinction between ontic and ontological, that’s OK here. This is also not relevant to Radloff’s discussion. But what Radloff calls “metaphysics” can just as well be called “onticism,” while the basic issue for Heidegger is the groundlessness of ideological pretenses in academic historiology. Heidegger is working (late 1930s) before post-Marxist critique of ideology was formulated as such by the first generation Frankfurt School.

The philosophical difference between what’s ontic (conceptually constitutive) and ontological (genealogy of onticality) has a critical derivative of onticism (a pretense of philosophical basis which is untenable).

July 7, 2014

Radloff’s useful discussion doesn’t intend to capture the general context of Heidegger’s reading of his times; rather, it pertains largely to Heidegger’s critique of modernization during those times—which is not a wholesale rejection of modernity!

Heidegger gained his fame without anticipation of the 1930s that actually happened. Of course, no one anticipated the Depression and rise of reactionary totalitarianism. His work had to be forever changed by his experience of his times; yet, it originates in his work of the 1920s—though the originary potential of thinking is not purely biographical. Heidegger never thought that his thinking was The New Basis for anything. That belongs to his legacy, appropriated validly by future readers. But his 1920s work was essential to where his turn to teaching after visionary years of the late 1930s and after WW-II led him: teaching for new generations who should think to prevent political regression, teaching to the future that he could not envision.

The work that he caused to be translated into English before he died is the work that he regarded as primary to his accomplishment and for the future. What came later to translation (his lectures to ears of his times) are transcripts of presentations thought by him in light of his written work (and those transcripts are surely not simple totalities of all that he said in each course!). Each lecture transcript is a clarity of topical pathmaking that each course enacted; and an enacted course—that pathmaking—was an extended event appropriating yet-unpublished major writing.

Altogether, that work—written work published, major work unpublished, and transcripts of lectures—is the basis for appropriately understanding how he understood his life, as philosopher and as teacher of thinking.

I want to eventually dwell with his sense of the 1930s beyond “Heidegger and reading political times,” in light of many discussions I’ve had with other Heidegger scholars.